# 43448

POMIS, David ben Isaac de (1524 - ca.1594)

De Medico Hebraeo Enarratio Apologica … …

$9,000.00 AUD

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Venice : Apud Ioannem Variscum [Giovanni Varisco], 1588. First (and only) edition. Octavo (190 x 140 mm), modern brown cloth over boards; original first blank with early ownership signature to verso (browned, clipped at upper corner), title-page with vignette woodcut printer’s device, and with coat of arms to verso; pp. [7] (Dedication to Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino), [1] (foreword by Paulus Manutius), [2] (foreword by Judah Alchalay), [4] (index), 1-127; decorative woodcut initials; sidenotes; first few leaves with a mild horizontal crease at centre, some occasional and very light foxing, otherwise clean and crisp throughout; a very good copy in a modern binding.

David de’ Pomis (1525-1593) was a physician, philosopher and linguist, born in Spoleto to a Jewish family of bankers. He commenced medical studies in Todi under two of his uncles (both rabbis) and continued them at Perugia, where he received his doctorate in 1551. He was then for a brief period rabbi and physician at Magliano in Tuscany. However, there followed a number of years of insecurity during which successive papal edicts withdrew and restored the right of Jewish physicians to attend Christians; de’ Pomis found himself forced to keep moving from town to town in Italy, finally settling in Venice in 1569. It was here that he published most of his works.

His tract De Medico Hebraeo Enarratio Apologica (Venice, 1588) is a refutation of aspects of a bull of 1581 issued by Gregory XIII (1572-85) which brought various charges against Jews – and, more specifically, Jewish physicians. De’ Pomis argues that, in accordance with the teachings of the Bible as well as the Talmud, a Jewish physician is morally obligated to attempt to alleviate the suffering of every patient. He also cites numerous cases in the historical record to illustrate the fact that Jewish doctors can and have distinguished themselves by their medical prowess and civic-mindedness. The last section comprises a selection of Talmudic rules translated into Latin, presented as a form of collective argument to counter the charge that the Talmud is to be despised for its moral character.

The writings of the learned De’ Pomis were wide-ranging. He is now perhaps best known for his trilingual Hebrew, Latin, and Italian dictionary, the Ẓemaḥ David (Venice, 1587), which he dedicated to Pope Sixtus V – although this work is more than a straightforward dictionary, since it also contains disquisitions on scientific and historical subjects. He also wrote a philosophical essay on human suffering, Discorso intorno a l’humana miseria e sopra il modo di fuggirla (Venice, 1572), a treatise on the plague (Venice, 1577), and another on geriatric conditions (Venice, 1588).

Very rare. No sale record traced on Rare Book Hub.