Lot : 40

Incunable! Sefer Hashorashim by the Radak

Naples, 1491

Start price: $50,000
Est. Price: $70,000 - $100,000

Incunable! Sefer Hashorashim by the Radak

Naples, 1491


Fundamental work of Hebrew language including the roots of all words in lashon hakodesh presented in alphabetical order, along with their definitions and sources in Tanach by Rabbi Dovid Kimchi, the Radak.

Complete copy, including the final page which was added after the initial printing.

The colophon on Leaf 167b states: “Completed here in the city of Naples… on Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Adar of Year Five-Thousand and Two-Hundred and Fifty-One to Creation [by] I, the humble resident of Qal‘at ’Ayyūb, in the Kingdom of Aragón, Yitzchak son of my master, my father Yehuda son of David zt”l, who is called son of Catorzi.”

Qal‘at ’Ayyūb, presently Calatayud, was a prominent Jewish metropolis and the largest city in Aragón which is located in northeast Spain. The name Calatayud derives from the Arabic Qal‘at ’Ayyūb, literally the “the fortress of Ayyub”,
The last Rabbinical sage to dwell in Qal‘at ’Ayyūb prior to the Inquisition and Expulsion was the renowned Chacham Rabbi Yitzchak Arama, author of Akeidas Yitzchak.
The first page features a decorative bordered title, characteristic of the celebrated Soncino family, 15th century Hebrew printers. The floral border is adorned with leaves, depictions of winged angels, a lion standing on its two hind legs and the head of an ox.

This incunable was printed in double columns . the colophon with the following description: “Behold we consented to print this book in two columns in order to enhance its benefits and beauty.”
This edition of Sefer Hashorashim includes within the text the relevant source of the verses cited in Rashi script.

532 years old!
This sefer symbolizes the endurance and survival of the Jewish nation, People of the Book, surviving in good condition for 532 years!

Naples, 1491. Joshua Solomon son of Israel Nathan Soncino Press. Printed in block letters, the title, preface and names of shorashim (root words) printed in extra large block letters.[168] leaves. Page size: 28 cm. Leaf 1a, 168 are blank pages.
Edges slightly rounded; margins of few pages at beginning and end of sefer were professionally restored. Miniscule holes on several pages, water stains and signs of use.
Bound in new leather binding.
Provenance: Winners sale 143 and further professional restoration and enhancment was applied.    


Incunabula (plural of incunable) are books, pamphlets, or broadsides printed in Europe prior to the 16th century. The word derives from the Latin term ‘cradle’ or ‘swaddling cloth, ’ connoting the infancy of the printed word. While the incunable period actually stretches across a half-century, from 1455-1500, the first Hebrew presses opened years later, and thus the period of Hebrew incunabula is limited to a mere thirty years, from 1469-1500.

The estimated number of Hebrew works printed during the incunable period is approximately two hundred. Today, we are aware of some 140 titles, albeit many of them are incomplete copies.

Incunabula are desirable collectibles, highly sought-after by antique Judaica collectors. The greatest libraries in the world vie for the number of incunabula in their treasured collections.
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