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Bidding Information
Lot #    12733
Auction End Date    12/20/2005 1:11:00 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    R. Sabbathai Bassista und sein Prozess
Title (Hebrew)    Nach gedruckten und ungedruckten Quellen.
Author    [Only Ed.] Dr. Ludwig Oelsner
City    Leipzig
Publisher    Oskar Leiner
Publication Date    1858
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 44 pp., 202:130 mm., nice margins, usual age staining. A good copy bound in the original title paper wrappers, rubbed.
   Dr. Ludwig Oelsner (1831-1910), a teacher for the Jewish community in Geliwitz, has here recorded the story of Shaabetai Bassista and the accusation that one of the books that he had printed (Sha'are Zion by Nathan Nata Hannover) contained material which defamed the Christian church." Bass would have fared ill had not the censor Pohl, who had been commissioned to examine the contents of the books, been both faithful and competent. In consequence of his decision, Bass was released after ten weeks' imprisonment, at first on bail, and then absolutely."

Shaabetai b. Joseph Bass (or Bassista), (16411718), the first Jewish bibliographer. Bass's parents were killed in a pogrom in Kalisz (Poland) by the Cossacks in 1655, but he and his elder brother were saved and fled to Prague. Possessing a pleasant voice, Bass was engaged as an assistant singer (hence his nickname Bass) to the cantor Loeb at the Altneu synagogue (Altneuschul) in Prague. In Prague he acquired a thorough knowledge of the Talmud, and also a general education which included Latin. His love of books and a critical spirit drew him to publication and printing. In 1669 in Prague he printed a revised edition of the Yiddish commentary on the Pentateuch and the Five Scrolls by Moses Saertels, Be'er Moshe, with an appendix on "grammatical rules." As there was no complete list in Hebrew of Jewish literature, he undertook to compile one. Between 1674 and 1679 Bass visited libraries in Poland, Germany, and Holland. In Amsterdam he studied the art of printing and proofreading, and published: Massekhet Derekh Erez, a guide book for travelers (1680); the Pentateuch with a super-commentary on Rashi, Siftei Hakhamim (1680), a popular commentary often reprinted; and Siftei Yeshenim (1680), a list in Hebrew of some 2,200 Hebraica and Judaica. This was the first Jewish bibliography in Hebrew giving, apart from the names of the books, the name of the author, content, format, place and year of printing, and sometimes also where it could be found. He also listed manuscripts. In some copies a prayerbook was appended to the list. In 1688 Bass obtained a permit to set up a Hebrew printing press at Auras, and this was shortly afterward transferred to Dyhernfurth. The first book printed by Bass was Samuel b. Uri Shraga's commentary Beit Shemu'el (1689), on Shulhan Arukh Even ha-Ezer. He also successfully engaged in bookselling. When the Jesuits accused Bass of spreading hatred against the Christians and the government, he at first succeeded in refuting the accusations; but in 1712 the Jesuits repeated the accusations and he was arrested. In the trial he succeeded in proving the ignorance of his accusers, and was released. His sons and grandsons continued to print books at Dyhernfurth up to the second half of the 18th century.

   JE; EJ
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
History:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    German
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica