The Collection Menasseh Ben Israel, CD-ROM

Edited by J.J.M de Haas, M.G. Offenberg, and M.G. Ooters

The Collection Menasseh Ben Israel, CD-ROM
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Edited by J.J.M de Haas, M.G. Offenberg, and M.G. Ooters

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

richly illustrated | 5-3/5 x 4-9/10 | © 1998
Multi $33.25 ISBN: 9789053563205 Published June 1998 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
The Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Department of Judaica and Hebraica, Amsterdam University Library, harbours many unique research collections. One of the most prominent consists of the editions printed in the seventeenth century by Menasseh Ben Israel (1604), who established the first Hebrew printing office in Amsterdam in 1626.

Menasseh's press was active for almost 30 years. He was not the sole proprietor of the printing office: from 1643 to 1646 Elia Aboab owned the Office. After him the office came into the possession of Menasseh's son Joseph, who died during a business trip in 1650. The following year another son, Samuel, became the managing director.

Apart from being a printer and publisher, Menasseh was also a bookseller (a combination of professions which was far from uncommon in the 17th and 18th century). To his great dissappointment the city of Amsterdam declined his request to be allowed to open a bookstore.

In total he printed 76 books, of which the greater part is in the collection of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana. This unique collection is of great importance to scholars all over the world.

Roughly speaking, the printings of Menasseh consist of 4 catagories: Bible editions, books of prayer, rabbinical texts and other writings, in Hebrew, Yiddish, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, Dutch and English. This cd-rom contains the texts of 62 original 17th century first editions together with 7 reprints and translations from the 17th and 18th century, as well as a copper engraving of his portrait by Salom Italia., and an etching by Rembrandt. Also four unique autographs of Menasseh, addressed to Isaac Vossius, have been included, as well as a short biography and some articles by the present curator of the collection, dr. A.K. Offenberg.
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