This text was prepared by William Gross:
This is the second printed edition of this book in Frankfurt a.M., just three years after the first edition. 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, now worn, blind tooled leather binding with remains of 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.