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  • Author or Editor: Gad Freudenthal x
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On December 10, 1757 R. David Fränckel (1707–1762), Chief Rabbi of Berlin Jewry, delivered in German a sermon on the occasion of Frederick the Great's victory at Leuthen. Scholarly consensus has ascribed this sermon to Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1796), and it is included in the authoritative edition of Mendelssohn's Complete Works (Jubiläumsausgabe). Drawing on an earlier sermon by Fränckel that has only recently come to light, this paper argues that the "Leuthen Sermon" was in truth authored by Fränckel himself, in Hebrew, and that Mendelssohn only translated it into German. This re-attribution affords a better appreciation of Fränckel's important role in the emergence of the Berlin Haskalah. It is also suggested that Fränckel's thought was closer to Mendelssohn's than hitherto realized, and that Fränckel played a greater role in Mendelssohn's intellectual development than previously thought. The Appendix points out that Fränckel's sermon enjoyed a world-wide success: the German version was reprinted a considerable number of times in Germany; and an English translation was published in London and was reprinted in the New World by both Jews and Christians.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies
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This article presents the history of a printing press that operated at several places near Berlin during the first half of the eighteenth century, culminating in the epoch-making reprinting of Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed in 1742. The press was established in Dessau in 1694 by the court Jew Moses Wulff (1661–1729), and was run by several printers, notably the convert Israel b. Abraham (fl. 1715–1752). Using the trajectory of the Wulff press as a case study, I examine the relations between scholars, patrons of learning (especially court Jews), printers, and book publishing. The inquiry will highlight the considerable role that court Jews played in shaping the Jewish bookshelf, notably by choosing which books (reprints and original) would be funded. Surprisingly perhaps, although court Jews were in continuous contact with the environing culture, they did not usually favor the printing of non-traditional Jewish works that would favor a rapprochement.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies
In: Zutot
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Gershom ben Solomon’s very popular Shaʿar ha-shamayim (The Gate of Heaven), written in the Midi in the last quarter of the 13th century, differs from the two earlier 13th-century Hebrew encyclopedias in that it lays very strong emphasis on the empirical sublunar world (beginning with the elements and especially with the two Aristotelian exhalations), nearly ignoring the theory of the soul and metaphysics. This article argues that the clue to Gershom’s distinctive approach to the study of the world is to be found in Samuel ibn Tibbon’s Maʾamar yiqqawu ha-mayim (A Treatise on ‘Let the Water Gather’) of 1231. With this insight, we also realize that Gershom’s is an ‘encyclopedia’ of a new genre, really a personal philosophical work, whose numerous building blocks are arranged in accordance with a philosophical principle. In this respect, the work is that of a true philosopher-scientist, not of a mere compiler.

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In: Zutot
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Louis Lamm was a famed bookseller and publisher of Judaica in Berlin and Amsterdam during the four decades preceding his assassination in 1943. Yet even Internet fails to provide elementary biographical details about his life and work. The aim of this short paper is to partially fill this lacuna and contribute to the perpetuation of the memory of a dedicated lover of Jewish books.

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In: Zutot