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And The Work, The Work Of Heaven, Was Performed On Shabbat

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Chapter Summary

In the earliest Hebrew books, the invention of printing is referred to as a holy work, "the work of Heaven". That language is used, for example, by R. Gabriel ben Aaron of Strassbourg, the corrector, in the colophon to the first printed tractate, Berakhot (Soncino, 1483/84). Abraham Yaari quotes from thirty-two books, sixteen printed from 1559 to 1599, with plaints from correctors, who state that they should not be held responsible for errors resulting from work done on late erev Shabbat or on Shabbat. This chapter complements Abraham Yaari's findings for the period 1550 to 1599, addressing a facet of this occurrence not previously remarked upon, namely, that evidence that work was begun or completed on Shabbat can be determined from the dates on the title pages or in the colophons of Hebrew books.

Keywords: Abraham Yaari; Jewish correctors; printing of Hebrew books; Shabbat



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