Page 111 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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91
A b r a m o w i c z —
YIVO
L i b r a r y
several Constantinople and other European imprints of 1513,
1514 and 1516. A cherished possession is the first edition of
Sefer
Hasidim
(Bologna, 1538). The greatest Venetian printer of He-
brew books, Daniel Bomberg, is represented, among others, by
his first and second Bible editions (Venice, 1518 and 1524-26),
and by his Babylonian Talmud (Venice, 1538). Of other great
16th century publishing enterprises, the library has two editions
of Mishnaot (Venice, Carlo Quirini, 1548-49, and Sabbionetta,
Tobia Foa, 1558). The wide range of 16th century books includes
commentaries on the Torah, philosophical treatises on the prin-
ciples of faith, collections of laws, prayer books, grammars and
lexicons, as well as cabbalistic literature. There is an impressive
collection of early responsa published in Venice, Constantinople
and Lublin.
Of special interest to the YIVO library are Yiddish books
of the 16t h18־th centuries. Here belong a series of Bible transla-
tions and adaptations, among them a very rare copy of the
Pentateuch popularly known as
Taytsh-Khumesh
which ap-
peared in Prague, 1610. A literal translation with accompanying
commentaries, it was later replaced in popular usage by
Tsene-
Rene,
where the biblical text was merged with midrashim and
commentaries. The library possesses numerous
Tsene-Rene
edi-
tions starting with the early 18th century, and a very rare copy
of the first edition of
Sefer Hamagid
(Lublin, 1623-27). This
book’s authorship was ascribed to the translator of
Tsene-Rene,
Jacob Ben Isaac of Janow, until a recent close examination of
the YIVO copy led a scholar to a different conclusion.6
Sefer
Hamagid
was reprinted as
Magishe Minha,
of which Judah
A. Jaffe identified 20 editions.7 The YIVO library has portions
of editions identified by Jaffe as numbers 4, 7, and 9.
The opposite trend in Bible translation, namely, the strict
adherence to the original text omitting all interpolations, pro-
duced two new Yiddish translations which were published in
Amsterdam at the end of the 17th century. The YIVO library
possesses the Yekuthiel Blitz translation of 1679 and the second
edition of Joseph Witzenhausen’s translation of 1687. I t has also
a very rare copy of a second edition of the Blitz translation which
appeared in Vienna in 1798 at the printing shop of Anton
Schmidt (the publisher of M. Mendelssohn’s
Biur)
under the
misleading title
Hamagid
.8
Reverting to the “popular”
Tsene
9Ch. Liberman, “Concerning the Sefer Hamagid and its Author,”
Yidishe
Shprakh,
Sept. 1966.
7Judah A. Jaffe, “The Amsterdam Bible Translation
Magishe M inha
of
1755 (?),”
Yivo B le ter ,
v. 14, nos. 3 /4 (March-April 1939).
8Ch. Liberman, “Two Reprints of Blitz from the Vienna Press of Schmidt,”
Yivo B le ter ,
v. 22, no. 1 (Sept.-Oct. 1943).