TYPE: Book
COMPONENTS: Folio; printed in double columns in Aschkenazi cursive type; dedication on f. 3; final page table of Readings; engraved frontispiece; contemporary boards
CONDITION: rubbed and chipped.
NOTES: See Habermann, Sha’arei Sepharim Ivri’im
pl. 42. ff. (6), 79, 150. See: Fuks, Hebrew Typography in the Northern Netherlands pp. 237-40 and 296-98; A.K. Offenberg, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana-Treasures of Jewish Booklore (1994) pp.46-47 (illustrated). [Vinograd, Amsterdam 449; Fuks, 398; Darlow and Moule (noted not listed) following no.4485]. Amsterdam, Immanuel ben Joseph Athias:1679
ITEM ID: 2492

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Translation Old Testament into Judeo-German

Year: 1679
Decade: 1690s
Century: 17th (1601-1700)

Bible in Judeo-German. Torah Nevi’im Ukethuvim. Translated by Joseph Witzenhausen. Printed in Aschkenazi cursive type with a dedication by Athias to Elector of Brandenburg. It also includes a table of Readings for Festival Days and corresponding Haphtaroth, not noted by Fuks (recording a blank), as well as an engraved frontispiece depicting the escutcheon of King John Sobieski III of Poland flanked by Moses and King David, with scenes of the Giving of the Law above and Joseph reunited with Jacob below. The Best Translation of The old Testament into Judeo-German. The fiirst endeavor of its kind – a complete translation of the Bible into Judeo-German – carries with it a rather bitter commercial background: Joseph Athias and his son Immanuel, the most highly regarded Hebrew printers in Amsterdam, faced, from the outset of their enterprise, strong competition from the energetic and skilled printing house of Uri Phoebus Halevi. This rivalry reached its zenith when in 1678 Uri Phoebus issued the first Bible translation (accomplished by Yekuthiel b. Isaac Blitz) into Judeo-German; whereupon Athias employed Joseph ben Alexander Witzenhausen to produce a rival, and ultimately a more notable, edition. Although both printers set about their undertakings with equal altruism, the resulting litigation each used to rid himself of his rival caused the financial ruin of them both.

Name: Joseph ben Alexander Witzenhausen
Type: Translator