Prince of the Press How One Collector Built History’s Most Enduring and Remarkable Jewish Library Joshua Teplitsky

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
26 Feb 2019
ISBN:
9780300234909
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
336 pages: 235 x 156 x 29mm
Illustrations:
34 b-w illus.

The story of one of the largest collections of Jewish books, and the man who used his collection to cultivate power, prestige, and political influence

David Oppenheim (1664–1736), chief rabbi of Prague in the early eighteenth century, built an unparalleled collection of Jewish books, all of which have survived and are housed in the Bodleian Library of Oxford. His remarkable collection testifies to the myriad connections Jews maintained with each other across political borders. Oppenheim’s world reached the great courts of European nobility, and his family ties brought him into networks of power, prestige, and opportunity that extended from Amsterdam to the Ottoman Empire. His impressive library functioned as a unique source of personal authority that gained him fame throughout Jewish society and beyond. His story brings together culture, commerce, and politics, all filtered through this extraordinary collection. Based on the careful reconstruction of an archive that is still visited by scholars today, Joshua Teplitsky’s book offers a window into the social life of books in early modern Europe.

Joshua Teplitsky is assistant professor of history at Stony Brook University. He specializes in the history of the Jews in Europe in the early modern period and in the study of books and media. He lives in New York City.

“David Oppenheim was a great rabbi and a greater information master. This riveting book shows how he built a treasury of Jewish learning and life—and used it, working with both scribes and printers, to underpin his reputation and authority.”—Anthony Grafton, Princeton University
 


“Teplitsky’s masterful, learned, and beautifully written guide to a dazzling empire of books provides an intellectual feast for historians and an indispensable treasure for book lovers of all kinds.”—Elisheva Carlebach, Columbia University


“In this innovative and groundbreaking book, Joshua Teplitsky uses his unparalleled familiarity with the Oppenheim collection--whose story and significance has remained untold--to open up a world of power and politics in the Jewish communities of Central Europe. This will be an important book that will be read and enjoyed for years to come.”—Debra Kaplan, Bar-Ilan University


“Joshua Teplitsky vividly presents the story of David Oppenheim through the lens of his famous book collection. This is an important, elegant book about the value and power of libraries in politics and culture.”—Magda Teter, Fordham University
 


“Teplitsky’s biography of David Oppenheim combines the newest insights in Jewish intellectual and book history with an exciting and innovative interpretation of all relevant primary sources. Prince of the Press is a great achievement in the modern study of the Jewish book.”—Emile Schrijver, Jewish Cultural Quarter