The Alphabet of Creation: An Ancient Legend From the Zohar by Ben Shahn - First Edition Children's Books - Judaica, Jewish Literature


First edition thus of The Alphabet of Creation: An Ancient Legend from the Zohar by Ben Shahn.

Written and illustrated by Ben Shahn. Typography by Joseph Blumenthal. 1984, first edition thus. (Originally published as a limited hardcover edition in 1954 by Pantheon Books.) Schocken Books, New York.

"Twenty-six generations before the creation of the world, the twenty-two letters of the alphabet descended from the crown of God whereon they were engraved with a pen of flaming fire. They gathered around about God and one after another spoke and entreated, each one, that the world be created through him."

This edition of The Alphabet of Creation is a faithful facsimile of the limited edition of 550 lithographic copies originally published in 1954, complete with renowned graphic artist Ben Shahn's original 46 drawings and Joseph Blumenthal's typography.

"The Alphabet of Creation is one of the legends from the Sefer Ha-Zohar, or Book of Splendor, an ancient Gnostic work written in Aramaic by a thirteenth century Spanish scholar named Moses de Leon who presented the work, not as his own, but as mystic knowledge revealed many centuries earlier to the Rabbi Simeon Ben Yohai. The present interpretation has been rather freely adapted by Ben Shahn from the English translation of Maurice Samuel and other sources."

Front flap:

"The legend of how God created the world through the letters of the alphabet fired Shahn's imagination. He used it as a springboard to create a charming story for readers of all ages, an introduction to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet..."

Ben Shahn (1898 - 1969), a lithographer, photographer, graphic artist, and illustrator, and student of Diego Rivera, earned a prominent place in the social realist movement. He's remembered most for the Jersey Homesteads mural and The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti.
Visit for more first edition children's books.

Condition*: Near Fine/Very Good. Dust jacket: Price-clipped; minor scuffing and a surface scratch on front from shelfwear. Green cloth cover boards: minor edgewear near the tail of the spine.

* Based on Guidelines of the Independent Online Booksellers' Association.

Shipping & Policies

Shipping from United States

Processing time

1-3 business days

Estimated shipping times

  • North America : 2 - 7 business days

I'll do my best to meet these shipping estimates, but can't guarantee them. Actual delivery time will depend on the shipping method you choose.

Customs and import taxes

Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.

Payment Options

Secure options
  • Accepts Etsy gift cards

Returns & Exchanges

I gladly accept returns and exchanges

Just contact me within: 7 days of delivery

Ship items back to me within: 14 days of delivery

I don't accept cancellations

But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

Conditions of return

Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.

Privacy policy

"We respect your privacy..." What does it mean to you as a valued customer of The Charmed Bookshop?

* I will not share your personal information acquired in the process of communicating with you or fulfilling your order with third parties.
* I do not maintain a separate customer list outside of Etsy for marketing or other purposes.
* I will contact you only through Etsy and only to answer your questions or communicate information about your order unless you provide explicit permission to contact you via personal email or phone number.


Information I collect about you, what I do with it, and how long I keep it:

1. Etsy hosts our shop and an Etsy-powered Pattern Website - - and facilitates purchases, payments, and shipping. When you order an item from The Charmed Bookshop, Etsy collects your full name, physical/billing address, phone number/s, email address, and payment information. In turn, I acquire your full name, mailing address, and email address in order to fulfill your order. I print a hard copy of your order receipt and a mailing label but I do not use this information for any other purpose or share it with third parties.

2. Etsy retains your payment information, such as PayPal, credit card, or other payment method. I do not have access to this information nor will I ask for it.

3. Etsy collects visitor data which it shares with its sellers. I supplement this information with additional data collected by Google Analytics. This information helps me identify potential problems, manage backend processes, and develop content. However, the data that I view is anonymous and does not contain personal information.

Please review your browser's privacy settings for additional privacy support. Your browser is the program you use to surf the Web, e.g. Chrome, Safari, Edge/Internet Explorer, Firefox.

4. I will keep customer information as required by U.S. federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.


Please contact Etsy to file a Subject Access Request (SAR) and receive a copy of your personal information or to correct information they may have about you.

To protect the privacy and identities of customers of The Charmed Bookshop, I will forward all Subject Access Requests that I receive to Etsy absent any ability to confirm the requester's identity or the legitimacy of the request.

*GDPR compliance is a courtesy to EU customers and should not be construed to supersede the laws of the government of the United States or local and state jurisdictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gift wrapping and packaging

I wrap every book with care and ship it in a padded mailing envelope or USPS box. If you're purchasing a gift, please advise of this when ordering and include a gift message.

Care instructions

1. I lightly clean books, as needed, but I don't attempt repairs or restoration. If you'd like a book restored, you'll find trustworthy, qualified experts in your area through libraries or museums.

I also recommend the following care instructions.

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works -

2. Photos are cropped and resized to Etsy guidelines but are otherwise unedited. Please contact me if you'd like additional photos of book details.

3. Descriptions of condition are based on guidelines from the Independent Online Booksellers' Association.

Order processing time

I'll process and ship your purchase in 1 - 3 business days, and I'll ship anywhere in the world via any mail or delivery service that Etsy offers. (Please refer to the Shipping section for average shipping turn-around times by region.) If I encounter any delays in processing your order, I will advise you in advance.

Legal imprint