The First Yiddish Book Printed in Amsterdam: Śefer Mismor Lethode

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies
Simon Neuberg Universität Trier—Fb II Jiddistik

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This is a first approach to the text of Mismor-lethode a strophic retelling of parts of the Bible, first printed in Amsterdam 1644 (which has so far only been the object of short bibliographical notices), highlighting some of its specific typographical, literary and linguistic aspects:

• It is a very nice piece of work and inaugurates the renowned tradition of Amsterdam Yiddish typographical works; it is also presented within the output of Amsterdam typesetters whose career is reflected in many later books.

• It is remarkable as a late specimen of biblical strophic poetry that makes no use of midrashic elements (perhaps in keeping with the Sephardic influence prevalent in Amsterdam).

• Linguistically it is an important document—among other idiosyncrasies— for its use of the all-purpose relative pronoun s2o and for the free usage of final unstressed vowels for reasons of euphony, rhythm and rhyme.

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