Sefer ha-Tamar. Das Buch von der Palme des Abu Aflah aus Syracus. Ein Text aus der arabischen Geheimwissenschaft. Nach der allein erhaltenen hebräischen Ueberstzung herausgegeben und übersetzt von G. Scholem Dozent an der hebräischen Universität Jerusalem. Heft II. Ueberstzung. Abu Aflah, Gershom Scholem, Abufalah.
Sefer ha-Tamar. Das Buch von der Palme des Abu Aflah aus Syracus. Ein Text aus der arabischen Geheimwissenschaft. Nach der allein erhaltenen hebräischen Ueberstzung herausgegeben und übersetzt von G. Scholem Dozent an der hebräischen Universität Jerusalem. Heft II. Ueberstzung.
Presentation Copy, Inscribed by Gershom Scholem

Sefer ha-Tamar. Das Buch von der Palme des Abu Aflah aus Syracus. Ein Text aus der arabischen Geheimwissenschaft. Nach der allein erhaltenen hebräischen Ueberstzung herausgegeben und übersetzt von G. Scholem Dozent an der hebräischen Universität Jerusalem. Heft II. Ueberstzung.

Hannover: Kommissionverlag der Orient-Buchhandlung Heinz Lafaire K.-G. (Arthur Scholem, Berlin), 1927. First edition. Presentation copy, inscribed to Kitty Marx-(Steinschneider). In publisher’s printed wrappers, printed in red and black. 59, (1) p. Few marginal corrections of typos in pencil, probably by Scholem. Cover artistically restored, just as the upper corner of the first leaf slightly affecting the inscription. Overall in fine condition.

Scholem’s translation of the medieval alchemist text, inscribed in German to Kitty Marx-Steinschneider (1905–2002), a close friend of him.

Sefer ha-Tamar was written by Abu Aflah the Saraqusti (Abufalah), the Muslim Arab alchemist, lived in Syracuse, Sicily in the 11th century. The text only survived in Hebrew translation, under the title Sefer ha-Tamar (Book of the Palm-Tree) and it was an influential treatise among the medieval Jewish alchemists, and had fundamental importance in the development of the Kabbalah.

Gershom Scholem edited and translated the text. The Hebrew edition was published in Jerusalem in 1926 and the German translation, this book, in Hannover the following year.

In modern Jewish studies it was Moritz Steinschneider, the Austrian bibliographer and Orientalist who first referred to Abu Aflah of Syracuse in his early work “Zur Pseudepigraphischen Literatur” (Berlin, 1862) and later in his article in “The Jewish Quarterly Review” (Vol. 9. 1896– 1897; pp, 228–230, 616–630). Steinschneider grandson was Scholem’s close friend, who married to Kitty Marx, whom this book is inscribed. Kitty’s father Alexander Marx, the German-born American historian, bibliographer and librarian is also mentioned in Scholem’s introduction.

Bibl.: Patai, R.: The Jewish Alchemists. A History and Source Book. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994. pp. 98–118.; Stillman, Y. K.; Stillman N. A.: From Iberia to Diaspora. Studies in Sephardic History and Culture. Leiden. Boston: Brill, 1999. p. 239.

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