MANASSEH BEN ISRAEL

(1604-1657)

MANUEL MENDES SOEIRO, was born in the island of Madeira, as a son of Gaspar Rodrigues Nunes, an anuss (Jew forced to convert to Christianity).

After appearing in an auto-de-fe in Lisbon, as a penitent, the father escaped with his family to Amsterdam, where he took the name of Joseph Ben-Israel. Joseph was the name of one of the sons of the patriarch Jacob (Israel) also known as Joseph of Egypt, who had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Those were the names that Gaspar Rodrigues Nunes, alias Joseph Ben-Israel, gave to his two sons.

Manasseh became a member of the Hevrah for Talmud Torah at the age of 12, began to frequent the yeshivot when he was 14, made his first public oration in Portuguese when he was 15 and at 17 wrote his first book, Safah Berurah, an umpublished grammatical work.

In 1622 he succeeded R. Isaac Uzziel as preacher to the Neveh Shalom congregation.

He founded the earliest Hebrew printing press in Amsterdam (1626), where he published works in Hebrew, Spanish and Portuguese for the remainder of his life.

Penei Rabbah, his index to the Midrashim, appeared in 1628. The first part of his Conciliador (1632, in Spanish, afterward in Latin), reconciling apparently discordant biblical passages, gained him a great reputation in Christian circles. The remaining three parts appeared in Spanish only (1641, 1651).

Many of his works were largely directed to non-Jews: The Creatione, De Termino Vitae, De Resurrectione Mortuorum, De Fragilitated Humana all in Latin.

For the sake of the Portuguese anussim he wrote and published Thesouro dos Dinim, a code of Jewish Law.

Other works were: Piedra Gloriosa, Nishmat Hayyim, The Hope of Israel (Esperanza de Israel), the last being a description of the reported discovery of the Lost Ten Tribes in South America.

In an effort to solicit the goodwill of the English parliament toward the return of the Jews to England, Manasseh dedicated to them the Latin edition of his Esperanza.

WORKS BY MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL AND PRAYER AND RITUAL BOOKS PRINTED IN HIS PRINTING HOUSE:

Humas de Parasioth y Aftharoth
Pentateuch and Readings from the Prophets, in Spanish.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5387 (= 1627).
Begun 1 Shevat 5387 (18 January 1627). On second title page: 1 Heshvan 5388 (11 October 1627).
338 ff. 8

Sefer peney rabah
Concordance by Menasseh Ben Israel.
Finished 1 Adar Sheni 5388 (6 March 1628).
Financed by Ephraim Bueno and Jonah Abarbanel. With commendatory poems by Isaac Aboab.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5388 (= 1628)
Two parts.
78 ff. 4

Mahzor. Orden de Ros Asanah y Kipur
Prayerbook for New Year and Day of Atonement.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5390 (= 1630).
234 ff. 8.

Orden de los cincos Tahanioth
Printed by order of Efraim Bueno and Yonah Abravanel.
Amsterdam: 5390 (= 1630).
222 ff. 8.

Hebrew Bible, unvocalized
Amstelodami. Sumptibus Henrici Laurentii 1630.
612 pp. 8.

Pentateuch with Targum, Five Scrolls and the Haftaroth
Printed and corrected in Amsterdam at Menasseh ben Josef Ben Israel.
Amstelreodami. Sumptibus Henrici Laurentii 1631.
256 ff. 4.

Seder arba Ta'aniyyot
Prayers for Fasting. Sephardic rites.
Printed on request of David Pardo and Shalom ben Joseph Gallego.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5391 (= 1631).
116 ff. 8.

Mishnayot
Unvocalized. 2 parts.
Title in Latin: Misnaioth sive Textus Thalmudicus a variis mendis, quibus priores editiones scatebant, repurgatus. Accedunt breve in margine notae.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5393 (= 1633).
Part I: 113 ff.
Part II: 155 ff.
8.

Conciliador o de la conveniencia de los Lugares de la S. Escriptura que repugnantes entre si parecen
Title varies

Part I: Francofurti [= Amsterdam], s.n., 1632. 412 [15] pp. 4.
Part II: Amsterdam, Nic. de Ravesteyn, 5041 [*5401] (= 1641). [15] 195 [21] pp. 4.
Part III: Amsterdam, Semuel ben Israel Soeiro, 5410 (= 1650). [11] 208 [6] pp. 4.
Part IV: Amsterdam, Semuel Ben Israel Soeiro, 5411 (= 1651). 201 [7] pp. 4.

Conciliator sive de convenientia locorum S. Scripturae, quae pugnare inter se videntur
Latin translation of the first part of Menasseh Ben Israels "Conciliador ..." by Dionysius Vossius. Amsterdam 1633.
With a preface by the author and a commendatory poem in Latin by Dr. Zacutus Lusitanus, dated 31 August 1633.
[7] 240 ff. 4
Bibl.Ros. 1891F6: On title-page:
Amstelodami, auctoris typis et impensis.
Bibl.Ros. 19F8: On title-page:
Francofurti [Amstelodami], auctoris typis et impensis

There is another edition of this book, entitled:
Menasseh Ben Israel, Primo questionum in Genesis. In Constantinopolus [Amsterdam], ex officina Iohanni Benjamini de Montibus, Anno Domini 1641.
The contents are the same as those of the 1633 edition, but there is no preface.

19b23/Tratado del Temor Divino
Extracto del doctissimo libro llamado Ressit hohma, traduzido nuevamente del Hebrayco, a nuestro vulgar idioma. By Elia ben Moses Vidas. Translated by David de Ishac Coen de Lara.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5393 (= 1633).
Dedicated to David de Lima, sonnet by Josseph Frances dedicated to the translator and preface by De Lara.
210 pp. 4.

Siddur berakha. Orden de bendicin
Hebrew and Spanish texts opposite each other.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5394 (= 1634).
96 ff. 16.

Tehillim. Psalterium Hebraeum
Ex recensione doctissimi Hebraei, R. Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 1634.
Sumptibus Henrici Laurenti.
140 ff. 12.

De Creatione Problemata XXX:
cum summarijs singulorum problematum, & indice locorum Scripturae, quae hoc opere explicantur.
Amstelodami, typis & sumptibus auctoris, 1635.
The printer's mark represents a socalled magical square, divided into 9 little squares; the consonanhave been arranged in such a way that horizontally as well as vertically the same three Psalm words can be read: Psalm 85 verse 11

Sefer Tehillim. Psalms
Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5395 (= 1635).
90 ff. 24.
There is also another edition consisting of 94 leaves including 'Sumptibus Iansonii' on the title page.

Bible (vocalized)
Corrected by Menasseh Ben Israel. Ordered and financed by Hendrik Laurentius.
Title in Latin. Preface by Menasseh Ben Israel, both in Hebrew and in Latin.
Four parts, all parts have separate title pages.
497 ff. 4.

De Resurrectione Mortuorum Libri III
By Menasseh Ben Israel.
Menasseh Ben Israel: Amstelodami, typis et sumptibus auctoris, 1636.
Dedicated to Laurentius Reael and Albertus Conradus van der Burch, dated Amsterdam 20 February 1636.
352 pp. 8.

Orden de la oraciones del mes, Hilhoth sechita
Amsterdam, Industria y despesa de Menasseh Ben Israel. 1 Chesvan 5397 (= 30 October 1636).
Dedicated to Henrique Hoffiser, dated 1 April 1636.
548 ff. 24.

'Esrim we'arba'ah
Hebrew Bible, vocalized.
Amstelodami, typis Menasseh Ben Israel, sumptibus Joannis Janssonii.
Fin. Sivan 5398 (= juni 1638).
Part I: 112 ff.; part II. 167 ff.; part III. 94 [4] ff.
8.

Shevet Yehudah
Chronicle on the persecutions of the Jews by Solomon Ibn Verga.
Amsterdam, Menasseh Ben Israel 5398 (= 1638).
62 ff. 8.


Hamishah Humshey Torah
Pentateuch including three Targumim.
Requested by Salomoh ben Jacob and Jacob ben Jehudah Noach ha-Cohen from Naarden.
2 parts. Amsterdam: Menasseh Ben Israel, 5398-5400 (= 1638-40).
Part I: 166 ff., part II: 291 ff. 4.

Tseror hahayim. De termino vitae: libri tres
By Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam. Typis et sumptibus authoris, 1639.
Dedicated to the managing directors of the West India Company, dated 25 June 1639.
312 pp. 12.

Menasse Ben Israels vvelkomst
Menasse Ben Israels VVelkomst, uyt sijns Volcks naem, aen de Hoogh-gebooren, Prince van Oranjen Frederic Henric, als hy met de Doorluchtigste Koningin Henriette Maria, Gemalin des Hoogh-gebiedende Karolvs, Koninghs van Engelandt, Vrankrijck ende Yrlandt, onse Synagoge besocht. Wt het Latijn overgeset, t'Amsterdam, voor Roelof Ioosten Boeckbinder in de Baefjes-steegh, Anno 1642.
This 'Welcome' has been bound together with other printed items and a manuscript.
[6][62] pp. 4

De la fragilidad humana, y inclinacion del hombre al peccado
By Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam. Por industria y despeza del Author. 1642.
Two parts. Part I: [9] 36 pp., part II: [3] 47 pp

Dissertatio de fragilitate humana ex lapsu Adami
By Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amstelodami, [ex off. Menasseh Ben Israel], Sumptibus auctoris, 1642.
Dedicated to Gerebrandus ab Anslo with a preface by the author.

Mishnayot
Unvocalized. 2 parts.
Corrected by Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam, Elijah Aboab, 5403 - 04 (= 1643 -44).

Part I: 207 ff. 24. Bibl. Ros. 20D5.

Part II: 289 ff. 24. Bibl. Ros. 20D6.

Perush Rashi
Rashi's Commentary on the Pentateuch.
Corrected by Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam, Eliau Aboab, 5404 (= 1644).
111 ff. 4.

Thesouro dos Dinim, que o povo de Israel he obrigado saber e observar
By Menasseh Ben Israel.
[Amsterdam], 5405-07 (= 1645-47).
5 parts (1 binding)
857 pp. 8.

Seder ha-ma'amadot
With an explanation by Abraham Saraval and a foreword by Abraham ben Jehudah Leib Saraval, the Commentator.
Amsterdam. Joseph Ben Israel, 5406 (= 1646).
149 ff. 8.

Psalterium Hebraeum
Ex Recensione doctissimi Hebraei R. Menasseh Ben Israel.

Mishnayot
Vocalized.
Amsterdam, Joseph Ben Israel, 5406 (=1646)
Prefaces by Menasseh Ben Israel and Jacob Juda ben Abraham Leon (Templo), who vocalized the text.
2 parts. 247 pp. 8.

Hamishah Humshey Torah
Pentateuch with five scrolls and Haftaroth.
Amsterdam. Joseph Ben Israel, 5406-07 (= 1646 - 47).
Edition includes Targum Onkelos.
440 + 98 pp. (231 ff). 12.

Miqveh Yisra'el. The hope of Israel
By Menasseh Ben Israel. With dedication, preface and list of consulted works.
Amsterdam, Semuel Ben Israel Soeiro, 5410 (= 1650).
[14] 126 pp. 8.
Bibl. Ros. 1895H44.

Machzor de las oraciones del ao
Machzor de las oraciones del ao ..., Dispuesto y reformado por Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam, Samuel Ben Israel Soeyro, 5410 (= 1650).
Part II: 146 ff. 8.
Bibl. Ros. 20H7.
Part III: 232 ff. 8

Sefer Nishmath hayyim
Libri quattuor de immortalitate animae.
On the immortality of the soul. By Menasseh Ben Israel.
Hebrew text, dedication and table of contents in Latin.
Amstelodami, apud aut. fil. Samuel Abarbanel Soeyro, 1651.
176 ff. 4.

Humas o cinco libros de la Ley Divina
Juntas las Aphtarot del ano.
Compuesta por Menasseh Ben Israel y por su orden impresa. Amsterdam, 5415 ( = 1655). Aftarot 5414 ( = 1654).
Part I: 456 pp. 8.
Part II: 132 pp. 8.

'Even yeqarah. Piedra Gloriosa o de la Estatua de Nebuchadnesar
Con muchas y diversas authoridades de la S.S. y antiguos sabios.
By Menasseh Ben Israel.
Amsterdam, 5415 (=1655).
[12] 264 pp. 12.

To his Highnesse The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland
The Humble Adresses of Menasseh Ben Israel ...
[Amsterdam? 1651?].
4 ff. + 26 pp. 4

Bibliography about Manasseh Ben Israel:

The Hope of Israel: The English Translation by Moses Wall, 1652 (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization)

A Life of Menasseh Ben Israel: Rabbi, Printer, and Diplomat

Menasseh ben Israel's mission to Oliver Cromwell: Being a reprint of the pamphlets published by Menasseh ben Israel to promote the re-admission of the Jews to England, 1649-1656;

The Collection Menasseh Ben Israel, CD-ROM

Life of Menasseh Ben Israel (The Modern Jewish experience)

Menasseh Ben Israel and His World (Brill's Studies in Intellectual History)

L'aigle d'amsterdam. menasseh ben Isral (1604-1657)

Esto es Esperanza de Israel.Reimpresion a plana y renglon del libro del Teologo y Filosofo Hebreo... sobre el origen de los americanos publicado en Amsterdam en 5410 (1650)

Justice pour les juifs : Vindiciae Judaeorum

The Hope of Israel

Menasseh ben Israel: Manuel Dias Soeiro, 1604-1657 : a bibliography (Bibliographical series)

The first Hebrew types of Menasseh Ben Israel

Genealogies of M.B. Israel family: Cf--Studia Rosenthaliana

Menasseh Ben Israel as a bookseller in the light of new data / L. and R. Fuks

Menasseh ben Israel and some unpublished pages of American history

Menasseh ben Israel's mission to Queen Christina of Sweden, 1651-1655

Hebrew glosses and notes by Marco Luzzatto occurring in his Italian translation of Menasseh ben Israel's "Conciliator,"

Hebrew glosses and notes by Marco Luzzatto occurring in his Italian translation of Menasseh ben Israel's "Conciliator,"