An almost 700-year-old text from the Guide of the Perplexed is about to go on auction, and the starting price for this important historical item is $129,250.
The Guide of the Perplexed is considered to be the most important book in Jewish philosophy. The book was written by Rabbi Moshe Maimonides (The Rambam) who lived between the years 1135 and 1204.
Maimonides was an outstanding character: He was a halacha consulter to the degree that he wrote the Mishneh Torah, a renowned doctor who served in the sultan's court and a sharp philosopher who affected not only Jewish thinkers from Shpinoz to Leibowitz but also the greats of Christian philosophers.
The Guide of the Perplexed is Maimonides' interpretation of the meaning of the Hebrew Bible by discussing the balance between philosophy and faith as far as the perception of God and redemption of the soul.
In this text, Maimonides deals with the tension created between the Torah of Israel and non-Jewish philosophers who he knew deeply. In the Guide of the Perplexed, Maimonides shows that the broadened horizons do not weaken the Jewish culture but richen and strengthen it.
What is the story of the copy going on auction?
The ancient handwritten text that is about to go on sale was written in Provence sometime between 1335-6, and the name of the writer is Yitzhak Bar Yossef. This is one of the oldest handwritten copies of the Guide of the Perplexed.
In the book, there are 45 parchment pages that have text written on both sides. The handwriting is adorned in red and purple ink around the chapter heads written in letters called "Sephardi square script".
Handwritten copies of the Guide of the Perplexed that were copied in the first few decades after the translation was complete are adorned mostly with different decorations, but as the years went on, the attention to adorning the book became less, and actually, around the year when the book on sale was copied, it was rare for the book to be adorned with such attention.