Obj. ID: 39010
Jewish printed books Sefer Yosifon ba-lashon ashkenaz by Yosef ben Gorion, Amsterdam, 1743
This text was prepared by William Gross:
Keter Kehuna, Josippon, Part 1, in Yiddish, with woodcut illustrations, and Keter Malchut, second part of Josippon named She'erit Yisrael. Amsterdam, .
Well illustrated and in fine condition. There exist in the Gross Family collection an earlier Amsterdam edition and a later one as well from the 18th century.
Yosifon is a chronicle of Jewish history from Adam to the age of Titus believed to have been written by Yosifon or Joseph ben Gorion.
Yosifon was compiled in Hebrew early in the 10th century by a Jewish native of south Italy. The first edition was printed in Mantua in 1476. The book subsequently appeared in many forms, one of the most popular being in Yiddish, with quaint illustrations. Though the chronicle is more legendary than historical, it is not unlikely that ancient sources were used by the first compiler. The book enjoyed great popularity in England. In 1558, Peter Morvyn translated an abbreviated version into English, and edition after edition was called for. Lucien Wolf has shown that the English translations of the Bible aroused so much interest in the Jews that there was a widespread desire to know more about them. This led to the circulation of many editions of Josippon, which thus formed a link in the chain of events which culminated in the readmission of the Jews to England by Oliver Cromwell. The Ethiopic version of Yosifon is recognized as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
The work is ascribed to Joseph ben Gorion (יוסף בן גוריון), a Jew living in southern Italy in either the 9th or the 10th century. As the Muslim writer ibn Hazm (d. 1063) was acquainted with the Arabic translation by a Yemenite Jew, Daniel Chwolson proposes that the author lived at the beginning of the 9th century.
The author professes to be the old Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus, giving to the name "Joseph" the Greek ending "on" ("Josephon," "Joseppon," or "Josippon". His Arabic name "Yusibus" is, according to Wellhausen, identical with "Hegesippus"). A gloss gives the form from the Italian, "Giuseppe." Trieber held
As indicated on the title page, the printers Naftali Hertz Levi Rofe and Kosman ben Yosef were father-in-law and son-in-law. Naftali Hertz ben Alexander Ziskind Levi Rofe of Emden set up his press in Amsterdam in 1726. He complemented his printing equipment with that purchased from the Isaac Templo press after it was closed down. He was a physician by profession, as evidenced by his moniker Rofe. He was granted title of doctor of medicine from the University of Harderwijk in 1716. He pursued his medical practice, as well as printing and bookselling. He tended to publish alone as well as in cooperation with others, but above all with his son-in-law Kosman ben Joseph Baruch, who was also involved in the book trade. Their cooperation lasted from 1742 to 1766, and resulted in many works being jointly published. Kosman eventually ceased printing with his father-in-law, and continued instead with his son.
, 244 leaves;  148