Urial Acosta. A SPECIMEN OF HUMAN LIFE: An Autobiography. "With new documentary material translated for the first time into English". NY: Bergman Publishers, 1967. Apparent 1st edition thus (NAP). Somewhat scarce in this edition.
12mo, hardbound in red cloth boards wtih silver titles on the spine; several b/w illustrations from engravings and antiquarian sources; bibliography; original dust jacket; 127pp. Translation of the original Exemplar humanae vitae with other works.
Uriel Acosta (c1585-1640 - also as Uriel da Costa) was a noble Portuguese Jew whose family was forced to convert to Catholicism to avoid civil persecution. He became a Thomist scholar, but grew disillusioned with the Catholic Church, fled to Amsterdam along with his family, where they converted to Judaism. He eventually embraced Old Testament Judaism, and publically criticized Rabbinical Judaism, writing "Eleven Theses Against the Tradition" critical of the ritualism and legal posturing in Rabinnical Judaism that he believed were layered onto pure Biblical Judaism. This offended the Jewish hierarchies, the books were confiscated and burned, and he was fined and excommunicated for blasphemy (some say the Jews had no choice but to censure him because his views also offended Christians and and there was risk to the Jewish communities if weren't silenced). After a time he was forgiven and reconciled with the Jewish community, but he continued to expound rationalistic views and became not an agnostic but something like a Deist or simply a freethinker, questioning not only formal religion but the underlying theology (the immortality of the soul, etc.). He was again excommunicated, forced into exile for 7 years, shunned, spat at the the streets, and so forth. Overcome by isolation and despair he again sought reconciliation and recanted. This time time he was made an example - he was publically flogged in the Amsterdam synagogue and treated with cruel indignities such that he had no further hope. After writing his account of the intolerance he had experienced (Exemplar humanae vitae ), he shot himself with a pistol in 1640. He is considered an early Rationalist or Skeptic precursor to Spinoza, and is usually treated in association with skepticism.
Uriel Acosta's Account of his own life
Uriel Acosta's Eleven Theses against the Tradition;
Excommunication of Uriel Acosta: Proclamation of the Jewish Community in Venice - Excerpt from the Court Register Amsterdam - Resolution of the Deputies of the Jewish Nation in Amsterdam - Question by the Jewish Community in Amsterdam - Resolution of the Holy Community " Talmud-Torah"
Limborch's Defense of Christianity in Answer to Acosta's Objections.
CONDITION: Very Good or better. Ex-private library copy Synagogue), with the usual indications (a few stamps and a pocket). The book has just a slight trace of wear to the extremities - binding is very tight, pages are clean and unmarked. The jacket has minor edge wear, browning to the spine, and a small sticker taped to the spine (could be removed). Overall a very presentable reference copy.
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