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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 10Jews in Early Modern Poland$
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Gershon David Hundert

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774310

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774310.001.0001

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The Ashkenazi Élite at the Beginning of the Modern Era: Manuscript versus Printed Book

The Ashkenazi Élite at the Beginning of the Modern Era: Manuscript versus Printed Book

Chapter:
(p.85) The Ashkenazi Élite at the Beginning of the Modern Era: Manuscript versus Printed Book
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 10
Author(s):

Elchanan Reiner

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774310.003.0004

This chapter evaluates the effect of printing on the Ashkenazi cultural élite. The shift from script to print in the sixteenth century heralded a reshaping of Ashkenazi literary models. The chapter traces some reactions amongst Ashkenazi intellectuals to this shift, which are indicative of their general attitude to the structural changes in patterns of the transmission of knowledge during the period. It focuses on certain developments within intellectual circles, primarily in connection with changes in the way halakhic literature — the core of the Ashkenazi literary canon — was written and transmitted. While the impact of the making of books and printing has long been a central issue in the history of European culture in general, it is genuinely surprising that Jewish culture, which is so profoundly literary, has not been examined in this light up to now.

Keywords:   book printing, Ashkenazi cultural élite, Ashkenazi literary models, Ashkenazi intellectuals, knowledge transmission, halakhic literature, Ashkenazi literary canon, Jewish culture

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