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SEFER TAHKEMONI

Harizi, Judah Ben Solomon, 12th/13th Cent. edited by M. E. Stern

Published by [Vien] : M. B. Shtern, (Bi-Defus E. Fon Shmidboyer ‘im Im Holtsvorteh), 1854
Soft cover
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(FT) Cloth, 12mo, 70 pages. 22 cm. In Hebrew with German title page: "Tachkemoni; Mekamen oder Divan. " "ki ha-sefer ha-yak' ar halazeh, asher zeh kemo shesh me’ot shanah, ke-k' eren or bahir . Yatsa le-or be-or hah' Ayim, eneno nidpas rak' shelosh pe’amim .me-et Yehudah ben Shelomoh Alharizi." Al-Harizi, (1165–1225) was a "Hebrew poet and translator. He was born in Spain, very likely in Christian Toledo, a city that at this time preserved Arabic culture and that he describes with particular detail; however, there are no conclusive proofs of it, and other places have also been suggested. His education in this cultural atmosphere made him familiar with Arabic and Hebrew language and literature.Al-Harizi's most important literary translation is his Hebrew rendering of the maqamat of the Arabic poet Al-Hariri (Bosra, d. 1121), which he entitled Mahbarot Iti'el ("Notebooks of Ithiel"), completed before 1218. His translation of the maqama, an Arabic literary form in rhyming prose, attains the quality of an original composition, and imparts a Hebrew flavor to Al-Hariri's typically Arabic art; it reproduces the elusive word play and ornate style of the original.Al-Harizi himself used this form for his major work Sefer Tahkemoni ("The Wise One"?), completed after 1220; he was among the first to use this genre in Hebrew literature. Its 50 maqamat show Al-Hariri's influence, being at the same time his way of showing the possibilities of the Hebrew language and of defending its usage. The language, rhymed prose with some poems intermingled in the text, is taken from the Bible and is often a mosaic of biblical quotations. The different addressees of the work that appear in the manuscripts are not surprisingly Oriental Jews, as Al-Harizi composed this book in his travels through the Orient, from one country to the other, or, as he says, from Egypt to Babylon.The maqamat of the Tahkemoni begin with a narrative frame introduced by the narrator, Heman the Ezrahite, who represents in many cases the opinion of the writer. The main character, Heber the Kenite, resembles the heroes of the Arabic maqama in his nature, a roguish polymath and rhymester. He appears in many different forms and is only recognized at the end of the narratives, after having shown his abilities and wisdom. The book includes love ditties, fables, proverbs, riddles, disputes, and satirical sketches, such as the descriptions of a flea and a defense by a rooster about to be slaughtered.Apart from its literary merit and brilliant, incisive style, the Tahkemoni also throws valuable light on the state of Hebrew culture of the period, and describes the scholars and leaders of the communities visited by the author. Al-Harizi gives vivid descriptions of the worthies of Toledo, the poets of Thebes, a debate between a Rabbanite and a Karaite, and conditions in Jerusalem. The Tahkemoni also contains critical evaluations of earlier and contemporary poets, although Al-Harizi's appraisal of his contemporaries is not always reliable and occasionally misses their most essential features" (Aharon Mirsky, Avrum Stroll, &Angel Saenz-Badillos in EJ, 2006). OCLC lists 14 copies worldwide. Original bright green wrappers, Hebrew and German, present and in Very Good Condition, as is the rest of the paper and internal binding. Wear to outer boards, front hinge repaired, Very Good Condition Thus. (k-ger-1-2). Bookseller Inventory # 20893

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Bibliographic Details

Title: SEFER TAHKEMONI

Publisher: [Vien] : M. B. Shtern, (Bi-Defus E. Fon Shmidboyer ‘im Im Holtsvorteh)

Publication Date: 1854

Binding: Hardcover

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