EH 48 C 14


Against Christianity

Livro da Fortificaҫão da fee. Portuguese translation of the Hebrew polemical book Hizzuk ha-Emunah.

Livro/ Da Fortificação da fee, compos/ to na Lingua Sancta pello/ Ecxelentissimo R. Ishak/ Filho de Abraham./ E agora novamente tirado da Hebraica, a lingua/ Portugueza para util dos da nossa Nação com estilo facil/ e intellegível/ per Selomoh Benveniste.

Portuguese translation by Solomon Benveniste of the Hebrew polemical book Hizzuk ha-Emunah (“Faith Strengthened”) by the Karaite Isaac ben Abraham of Troki. Probably Amsterdam, early 18th century. The text continues in EH 48 C 15.


f. [1r]: Title page.

f. 1: Dedication of the translator to Abraham Senior de Mattos with his own signature.

f. 3r-5r: Prologue by Yosef ben Mordekhai of Cracow, Isaac ben Abraham’s disciple who complete the work with this prologue and an index.

f. 5v-9r: Prologue by the author, Isaac ben Abraham of Troki.

f. 9v-10v: Prologue for the reader.

f. 11r-102r: Text with running title: “Da Fortificação da Fé”. At the end: “daqui segue ao 2º Livro cap. 26” (mentioning the continuation of the text in the second book).

Other versions of this text repose in this collection: EH 48 C 6 and EH 48 D 5 (Spanish); EH 47 C 13 (Hebrew); EH 48 C 26 (Dutch); EH 48 C 17, 18 (French).
This is the first Portuguese translation of Hizzuk Emunah, originally written in 1593, at the end of Isaac ben Abraham’s life, and completed with a preface and an index by his disciple Yosef ben Mordekhai of Cracow. In this work, Isaac ben Abraham systematises the results and conclusions of several disputations in which he had been involved with Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Unitarian theologians in Troki, during his youth. The work consists of two parts. The first is a refutation of Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, especially with regard to the passages traditionally used as a proof of Christian dogmas. The second contains commentaries on several New Testament’s texts which refer to the Hebrew Bible.

Hizzuk Emunah became a very popular polemic work in the seventeenth century. It was translated into most European languages and circulated widely in manuscript form. Its first edition was in 1681, by Johann Christoph Wagenseil, who published it with a Latin translation together with other anti-Christian texts, under the title Tela ignea Satanae. This translation, which was reprinted in Amsterdam in 1705, made Hizzuk Emunah accessible to wider Christian circles.

Bequeathed by Rabbi Jacob Ferares of the Hague in 1885.

Stefan Schreiner, “Rabbanite Sources in Isaac of Troki’s Sefer Hizzuq Emunah”, Jewish Studies at the Turn of the 20th Century. Ed. Judit Targarona Borrás and Angel Sáenz-Badillos, vol. II, Leiden, Brill, 1999, pp. 65-72. Golda Akhiezer, “The Karaite Isaac ben Abraham of Troki and His Polemics against the Rabbanites”, Tradition, Heterodoxy and Religious Culture: Judaism and Christianity in the Early Modern Period. Ed. C. Goodblatt and H. Kreisel, Beersheba, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Press, 2007, pp. 437-468.

Portuguese / Paper / 2 vols. / I: 22,1 x 17,7 cm. / II: 21,6 x 17,3 cm. / [1]+188 ff. (first and last ll. blank) / Neat Iberian writing / Title and dedication in calligraphic writing / Title written in well-executed drawn ornamental frame.

Fuks 217. Kaplan 125. Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.