AUCTION 44 | Thursday, June 25th, 2009 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Hebrew Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic & Ceremonial Art

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Lot 79


Judeo-German). Torah Nevi’im Ukethuvim. Translated by Joseph Witzenhausen. Printed in double columns in Aschkenazi cursive type. Dedication by Athias to Elector of Brandenburg on f. 3. Final page bearing table of Readings for Festival Days and corresponding Haphtaroth - not noted by Fuks (who just records a blank) ff. (6), 79, 150. Lightly browned. Contemporary boards, rubbed and chipped. Folio Vinograd, Amsterdam 449; Fuks, 398; Darlow & Moule (noted not listed) following no. 4485

Amsterdam: Immanuel ben Joseph Athias 1679

Est: $1,000 - $1,500
The Best Translation of The old Tanach into Judeo-German. The first endeavor of its kind - a complete translation of the Bible into Judeo-German - carries with it a rather bitter commercial background: Joseph Athias and his son Immanuel, the most highly regarded Hebrew printers in Amsterdam, faced, from the outset of their enterprise, strong competition from the energetic and skilled printing house of Uri Phoebus Halevi. This rivalry reached its zenith when in 1678 Uri Phoebus issued the first Bible translation (accomplished by Yekuthiel b. Isaac Blitz) into Judeo-German (see next Lot); whereupon Athias employed Joseph ben Alexander Witzenhausen to produce a rival- and ultimately a more notable, edition. Although both printers set about their undertakings with equal altruism, the resulting litigation each used to rid himself of his rival caused the financial ruin of them both. See: Fuks, Hebrew Typography in the Northern Netherlands pp. 237-40 and 296-98; A.K. Offenberg, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana-Treasures of Jewish Booklore (1994) pp.46-47 (illustrated)