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Obj. ID: 38440
Jewish printed books
  Yosifon, Frankfurt am Main, 1707

© Gross Family Collection, Photographer: Unknown,

This text was prepared by William Gross:

This is the third printed edition of this book in Frankfurt a.m. But the set of illustrations is particularly finely drawn and cut into woodcuts. While most of the Hebrew and Yiddish editions seemed to follow the same pattern of illustrations, many of the woodcuts here are original and finely rendered. The book is printed in Yiddish and was probably printed for the market of Jewish women readers in the same way that the Yiddish bible story book, the "Tzeena u-Reena" was printed many times. The book is in the original blind tooled leather binding with clasps.
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.
Seligman b. Hertz Reiss was a book dealer from a distinguished Frankfurt a.M. family. He learned the printing trade in Amsterdam and operated a Hebrew press in Homburg (one of the feeding-presses for Frankfurt, from 1711 to 1750) beginning in c.1714. He subsequently relocated to Offenbach, founding, together with his son Hertz, the first Hebrew press in that city.

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Name/Title
Yosifon | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Unknown
Date
1707
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Unknown |
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Material/Technique
Paper, Ink, Letterpress, Woodcut, Signature
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
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Measurements
Height
17.5 cm
Length
Width
11 cm
Depth
6.5 cm
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Unknown |
Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
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Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
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Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
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Number of Lines
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Catchwords
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Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
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Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
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Colophon
Scribal Notes
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Group
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Group
Group
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Negative/Photo. No.