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Judæo-Arabic Printing in North Africa, 1850–1950

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Chapter Summary

Judaeo-Arabic (JA) refers to the Arabic language with Hebrew characters, as was customary among Arabic speakers in Jewish communities of old, a custom already prevalent in pre-Islamic Arabia. The penetration of European powers into North Africa (NA), in particular by France, which took control of Algeria in 1830, brought about social and cultural changes, as well as innovative ideas affecting the lifestyle of peoples in the region. Many of these ideas were directly influenced by the French and industrial revolutions. One of the most significant results of this process was the establishment of Hebrew printing presses in every NA country. The establishment of these Hebrew printing presses was closely related to the proliferation of JA literature in NA. Most of the printed materials published by these NA Jewish publishers were in JA script, the vast majority being small books and booklets, and even leaflets.

Keywords: Arabic language; European culture; Hebrew printing presses; Judaeo-Arabic printing; North Africa



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