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The Bath-Sheba/Moses De Medina Salonika Edition Of Berakhot: An Unknown Attempt To Circumvent The Inquisition’s Ban On The Printing Of The Talmud In 16th-Century Italy

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Chapter Summary

The recent discovery of an edition of tractate Berakhot, printed in Salonika by the Bath-Sheba/Moses de Medina press in 1592, confirms what was previously unsubstantiated by either extant tractates or contemporary records: the Bath-Sheba/Moses de Medina press had indeed issued talmudic treatises. An inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the publication of this tractate affords us an occasion to revise our understanding of the Jewish response to the burning of the Talmud in Italy in 1553/54. It is the contention of this chapter that the Bath-Sheba/Moses de Medina Berakhot represents a previously unknown response to the burning of the Talmud and an attempt to circumvent the Church's ban on that work. The Bath-Sheba/Moses de Medina Berakhot is a folio volume (30 cm), printed with Rashi and Tosafot. The title page is adorned with a frame like that used by the Foa press in Sabbioneta on the Moreh Nevukhim (1553).

Keywords: Bath-Sheba printing-house; Italy; Jewish community; Moses de Medina; Salonika; Talmud; tractate Berakhot



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