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Bidding Information
Lot #    12357
Auction End Date    12/20/2005 10:05:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Babylonian Talmud, Tractates Gitin, Nedarim, Nazir
Title (Hebrew)    תלמוד בבלי, מסכת גיטין, נדרים, נזיר
City    Amsterdam
Publisher    Joseph and Jacob ben Solomon Proops
Publication Date    1752
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [2], 2-118; 106; 69 ff., 346:218 mm., nice margins, usual light age and damp staining, each tractate with title. A very good copy bound in the original speckeled calf on wood boards, rubbed.
   Publishers of this large folio edition of the Talmud, printed from 1752 to 1765, were Joseph and Jacob Proops. Their father, Solomon, a book dealer, established the family press in 1704. Solomon Proops began a new edition of the Talmud in 1714, but was forced to discontinue printing after publishing only one tractate. After his death in 1734, his sons, Joseph, Jacob, and Abraham, succeeded him, ultimately referring to themselves as the Orphans of the late Solomon [Katz] Proops. They issued several small format tractates.

In 1751, the brothers began to place their own names on the title pages of their works. The following year work began on this full size Talmud. The tractate title pages have an ingenious mirror-image monogram comprised of all the letters in the names Jacob and Joseph, but most of the letters are not in mirror-image. In the monogram on the title pages of the first tractates the monogram is printed without an ornamental background, as was done elsewhere. On the title pages of the later tractates, the monogram is printed within an ornate rococo framework. Here too, all the letters in Jacob and Joseph's names are employed, but in a new device.

In 1755, and again between 1759 and 1762, the Proops press was inactive. Rabbinovicz attributes the first interruption to the appearance of the first volumes from the Sulzbach Talmud (first edition 1756-1763; second edition 1766-1770), which caused the Proops to lose many German subscribers. According to Rabbinovicz, the second pause in printing stemmed from a disruption of the Proops' primary market in Poland. Haim Liberman argues that the sole cause of the interruption was competition from the Sulzbach Talmud. The money raised from subscribers was sufficient for only half the edition. To complete the second half of their Talmud the Proops doubled the price to subscribers. This placed a financial burden upon the Jews of Poland, which was relieved by contributions and loans from wealthy Polish Jews. The Talmud was completed in three years.

   Marvin J. Heller, "Mirror image Monograms as Printers' Devices on the Title Pages of Hebrew Books Printed in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Printing History 40 (Rochester, N. Y., 2000), pp. 7-8; Haim Liberman, 0hel Rahel, I (Brooklyn, 1980-1984), pp. 377-378; Raphael Nathan N Rabbinovicz, Maamar al Hadpasat ha- Talmud with Additions, ed. A. M. Habermann (Jerusalem, 1952), p. 119; Printing the Talmud, YU Museum, p. 268.
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Listing Classification
18th Century:    Checked
Holland:    Checked
Other:    Talmud
Bindings:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica