Rabbis with Inky Fingers: Making of an 18th-Century Hebrew Book between North Africa and Amsterdam
Sefer Hatashbeṣ, Shim‘on bar Ṣemaḥ Duran (1361-1445), social history of editing, Hebrew manuscripts, Sephardic literature, Amsterdam
The first edition of Sefer Hatashbeṣ, a collection of responsa printed in Amsterdam in 1739 at the press of Naftali Herz Levi Rofé, is a magnificent example of the fine typography and engraving that contributed to the prominence of 18th-century Dutch Jewish printing. Through an examination of the newly identified manuscript copy which was used in the printing house to typeset this book, I trace the story of the printing of Sefer Hatashbeṣ through the efforts of Meir Crescas of Algiers, and his collaboration with Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Maghrebi, and Italian Jewish communities. I demonstrate how the material facets of book production both relied on and reinforced the various networks – intellectual, financial, religious, communal, familial, social – that linked Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Basin and beyond, across class, nationality, and language.
Sienna, Noam. "Rabbis with Inky Fingers: Making of an 18th-Century Hebrew Book between North Africa and Amsterdam." Studia Rosenthaliana 46, no. 1-2 (2020): 155-89. https://doi.org/10.5117/SR2020.1-2.008.SIEN.