Hebräische Typographie im deutschsprachigen Raum

Cory Rockliff


Well, to kick off the blog, and to answer David Kraemer’s $64,000 question, let me mention one online Judaica resource I came across for the first time this year:

Hebräische Typographie im deutschsprachigen Raum (Hebrew Typography in German-Speaking Regions) “focuses on Hebrew typefaces produced and printed in German-speaking regions from the beginning of the 16th century until 1939”; the database in its present state includes 266 typefaces, the earliest being a rather primitive square face from Konrad Pellikan’s De modo legendi et intelligendi Hebraeum (Strassbourg, 1504),¹ the first manual of Hebrew grammar to be published by a Christian.²

The project is headed by Ittai Joseph Tamari, who has written on modern Hebrew typography: among other things, on ‘Frank-Rühl,’ the near-ubiquitous Hebrew font (the Hebrew equivalent of ‘Times New Roman’) and by Heiner Klocke, a computer scientist.

The interface is built around two main views:

The typografische Übersicht allows side-by-side comparisons of Hebrew letterforms; the typefaces can be sorted by style, year, or place of printing. Clicking Detail reveals as much of the alphabet as is extant for a given face, and indicates editions in which the type appears.

The bibliographische Übersicht shows thumbnails of representative pages from books: the set can be limited by genre, year, printer, or place of publication. The Detail view, predictably, leads to more bibliographic information, and larger images, including some of illustrations or ornament.

While the interface is multilingual, all project data are in German and Hebrew. More on the nature of the project, as well as technical notes on its implementation, can be found on the project website (in German, Hebrew, and French; English links seem to be missing at the moment). An interim report, which I have not seen, was issued in 2001.

1. It appeared, apparently without the author’s permission, in Gregor Reisch’s Margarita Philosophica. Cf. Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 2nd ed., vol. 13 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), 164.

2. Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., s.v. “Pellicanus (Pellikan), Conrad,” and bibliography.


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