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The Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean as Suppliers of Books: Colophons Found in Thirteenth — Fifteenth-century Hebrew Manuscripts / היהודים באיי אגן הים התיכון המזרחי כספקי ספרים: ידיעות מתוך קולופונים של כתבי יד עבריים מן המאות ה-13 — ה-16

מיכאל ריגלר and Michael Rigler
Alei Sefer: Studies in Bibliography and in the History of the Printed and the Digital Hebrew Book / עלי ספר: מחקרים בביבליוגרפיה ובתולדות הספר העברי המודפס והדיגיטלי
No. כא‎ (תש"ע / 2010), pp. 75-90
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24159677
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean as Suppliers of Books: Colophons Found in Thirteenth — Fifteenth-century Hebrew Manuscripts / היהודים באיי אגן הים התיכון המזרחי כספקי ספרים: ידיעות מתוך קולופונים של כתבי יד עבריים מן המאות ה-13 — ה-16
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Abstract

This article discusses the production of books (manuscripts) during the Middle Ages on the islands of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean. Information about the copying of books in this area is based on the colophons of the copyists. From these we leam that Hebrew books were produced not only in the large centers of Jewish population, but even in places where the Jewish population was very small. The fact that manuscripts originated from these places is an indication of the love of books, especially books of philosophy, that were copied by professional copyists as well as by members of the Jewish public who knew how to read and write. This survey covers the years 1324—1538, the dates of the surviving manuscripts from the islands close to the shores of Greece and Turkey. Although there are over forty populated islands in this area, the manuscripts derive from only seven of them, indicating the existence there of a Jewish community. The findings documented here are from twenty-nine titles dealing with different aspects of Jewish culture. Some of the manuscripts were copied by Jews who were bom in the area (Byzantine script), and some by Jews who migrated there (Sephardic and Italian script). The locations of the communities, as seen from the place-names, indicate that Jewish communities existed throughout the years on these islands. The colophons thus make an important contribution to the history of the Jewish people in this area during the Middle Ages. In addition, we leam the names of the local copyists and distributors of Jewish books.

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