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Early Hebrew Printing From Lublin To Safed: The Journeys Of Eliezer Ben Isaac Ashkenazi

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Chapter Summary

Printing, in its first decades, was a peripatetic profession. Eliezer ben Isaac Ashkenazi's career, spanning more than three decades, in cities in distant lands, is an example of the fluidity of contemporary Jewish society and the ability of an eastern European Jew to function in disparate locations. This chapter focuses on the books he published, several, although little known, being of considerable interest, and with his use of ornamentation, copied from well known earlier presses. A Pentateuch with Rashi, Megillot and Haftarot, completed on 24 Heshvan (18 October 1557), printed with partners, was Eliezer's first Lublin imprint. Eliezer would, after the Pentateuch, print a variety of titles, among them liturgical works and Talmudic treatises. After completing Mekor Baruch, Eliezer and his son Isaac left for Safed, where they founded the first press not only in the Middle East but in all of Asia, excluding Chinese imprints.

Keywords: early Hebrew printing; Eliezer Ben Isaac Ashkenazi; Lublin; Safed



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