Encyclopedia of Jewish Book Cultures Online

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Being an encyclopedia on book cultures rather than book contents, this work places textuality and materiality of the book in the center of its investigation. The singularity of the Jewish book can only be understood in full if it is studied in its broader cultural and intercultural context. This encyclopedia does that by focusing on the paleographic features, intended function, cultural significance, readership, acceptance, and design of particular books and genres, as well as the producer-consumer relations involved in the making and circulating of books. It covers more than 2000 years of Jewish book cultures from all corners of the earth.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Book Cultures Online will appear before the print edition and features full-text searchable, richly illustrated articles. The print edition will be released after all online content is complete and will include one introductory volume, dealing with the fundamental research questions in the wide field of Jewish Book History, followed by three alphabetically organized volumes, offering a classic entry-by-entry encyclopedia, with articles of greatly varying length. The online work reflects this framework and presents the introductory essays as a separate, but strongly intertwined, section.

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The Book as an Object: Material and Symbolic Values of Medieval Manuscripts

(17,818 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
As the embodiment of the text, the medieval Hebrew book is presented in this essay as a physical artefact. The books' archaeology, its material features, and visual components are discussed and shown to reflect the technical, economic, and aesthetic context of book production, and how they play a role in the modes of reading, learning, and transmission of knowledge. The book as a tangible object also acquired a symbolic status in Jewish ritual, spirituality, and culture and became a marker of Jewish identity. ⸙IntroductionBooks are indeed tangible, tridimensional objects spati…
Date: 2023-01-31

The Formative Years of Hebrew Printing

(12,187 words)

Author(s): Iakerson, Shimon
This article outlines the history of the emergence, development, and spread of Hebrew printing in the formative first century of its existence, with an emphasis on the incunabula period (c. 1463-1540). It analyses some special bibliographical traits of Hebrew incunabula and post-incunabula in connection with the Hebrew manuscript tradition as well as the Latin early printing tradition. To this end the article concentrates on the major centers of early Hebrew printing: Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey. ⸙IntroductionHebrew printing1 started in the last third of the 15th …
Date: 2023-01-31

The Hebrew Printed Book as Art and Object

(26,289 words)

Author(s): Hill, Brad Sabin
Books in Hebrew have from the dawn of printing shared many features with non-Hebrew books but differed in numerous graphic, aesthetic, material, or external elements apart from typography. This study surveys the art of the book including ornament, illustration, and a range of visual and physical details which are idiosyncratic to this printed corpus. The discussion of the material book also treats of particularities in the relationship and overlap between manuscript and print. ⸙IntroductionSince antiquity the book has been not just a thing of the spirit, an abstract …
Date: 2023-01-31

The Hebrew Printed Book as Artifact

(27,127 words)

Author(s): Hill, Brad Sabin
The products of Hebrew presses over the course of five centuries are documents of cultural and social history as well as relics of the diffusion of a revolutionary technology, typography, within and beyond Europe. The engagement of non-Jewish craftsmen in Hebrew type design was pronounced from the 16th century on. The peculiar position of Hebraica within Western printing history is evident in the use of some non-Hebrew type within many Hebrew books produced by or for Jews, and in the combinatio…
Date: 2023-01-31

The Jewish Book in a Digital World

(5,911 words)

Author(s): Kollatz, Thomas
The digital shift has liberated the text from its material carrier. The loss of materiality and the resulting gradual downfall of previous stakeholders is accompanied, on the positive side, by the possibility of virtual preservation of endangered and reconstruction of lost handwritten and printed works. Digitization also holds the prospect of creating innovative approaches to book culture. ⸙The Digital ShiftThe rapid rise of the World Wide Web (1990)1 has changed most sectors of modern society from scratch. The digital shift has an ongoing impact on all areas o…
Date: 2023-01-31

Tiqun soferim and Tiqun qoreʾim

(1,907 words)

Author(s): Ariel, Chanan
A Tiqun soferim is a precise copy of the Pentateuch which scribes use as a model to produce an accurate Torah scroll including the plene and defective writings and the divisions into open and closed paragraphs (the parašiyot).A Tiqun qoreʾim is a copy of the Pentateuch without the vowels or punctuation/cantillation marks, intended to help a Torah reader prepare to read from a Torah scroll during synagogue services. In many of the editions of Tiqun qoreʾim a column without vowels is matched by the column of the same text with vowels.⸙Evolution of the Term Tiqun SoferimThe first documented …
Date: 2023-11-20