Cheap books produced and read by medieval Jews in the East have been little studied so far. The main source for the study of Hebrew book culture in general and popular and cheap books in particular is the Cairo Geniza. Only a few documents contain explicit information about the books’ costs of production and prices. However, as it is argued in this paper, additional information can be deduced from the extant book fragments themselves. Taking as an example fragments of rotuli or bookrolls from the Cairo Geniza, this paper examines the ways of making cheaper books by reducing the cost of wriitng material and of the scribe’s working time.
This paper is a preliminary presentation of a unique Hebrew-Latin-Old French dictionary written by Christian scholars in 13th century England, to appear shortly in print. The authors of this exceptional work did not follow the patristic tradition of Christian Hebraism and did not focus on anti-Jewish polemics, but rather turned to Jewish Rabbinic and Medieval sources, such as commentaries of Rachi, the lexicon of Solomon ibn Parhon or Alpha Beta de-Ben Sira for their understanding of the Hebrew text of the Bible. Following the grammatical approach of the classical Spanish school of Hebrew grammar, this dictionary is a real 'philological' work. It stems from a Christian tradition of the use of the Hebrew Bible for correcting the Vulgate as represented by the bilingual Hebrew-Latin Bible manuscripts produced and studied in England in the late 12th and 13th centuries.