As in general bibliography, the development of Hebrew bibliography is characterized by the transition from brief listings to more detailed catalogues. The listing of the books of the Bible which appears in the Talmud (BB 14b, 15a) had as its purpose the fixing of an authoritative order for the biblical books as a guide for the copyists. Lists of books for broader purposes, among them those of the Cairo Genizah, have come down from the 11th century. Sometimes these listings contain only the name of the book; in other cases, the author's name is also included. In some of the later booklists, short annotations also appear. Bibliographical lists within the biographical listings are found in genealogical works of the 16th century, as in Sefer Yuḥasin by Abraham *Zacuto and in Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah by Gedaliah *Ibn Yaḥya. In the early part of the 17th century several important ventures in the field of bibliography were undertaken. Johannes *Buxtorf the elder published De abbreviaturis hebraicis, liber novus et copiosus (Basle, 1613) in which he included a section on rabbinic literature entitled Bibliotheca rabbinica ordine alphabetico disposita. This listing of 324 works, arranged in alphabetical order by titles, is the first bibliographic catalogue of rabbinic literature. *Manasseh Ben Israel, in his listing of sources used by him in the first part of his Conciliador (Frankfurt, 1632), distinguished six categories of Hebrew literature: Talmud and Midrash; commentaries on these; commentaries on the Bible; Kabbalah; posekim and responsa; sermons, grammar, chronology, and legal literature. The first, however, to compile a true bibliography of Hebrew literature was Giulio *Bartolocci in his Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica (4 vols., Rome, 1675–93; repr. 1969). The Christian scholar Carlo Giuseppe Imbonati added a fifth volume, Bibliotheca Latina Hebraica (Rome, 1694). Bartolocci's work is arranged in alphabetical order of authors, supplemented by a list of subjects in Latin and an abridged listing in Hebrew. Leone *Modena assisted the bishop of Lodève, J. Plantavit de la Pause; in his Bibliotheca Rabbinica (appended to his Florilegium Biblicum, 1645) by supplying him with a list of 500 names of rabbis, which he used for his alphabetic dictionary of 780 Hebrew books. The first Jewish bibliographer was Shabbetai *Bass whose Siftei Yeshenim (Amsterdam, 1680) contains a bibliography arranged by title, followed by the name of the author, the date and place of publication, the format, and some indication of content. The approximate number of listings in this bibliography is 2,200, including manuscripts. The third important pioneer bibliographer was another Christian, Johann Christoph *Wolf. He utilized the two previous bibliographies in compiling his own four-volume work, Bibliotheca Hebraea (Hamburg, 1715–33; repr. 1969). He corrected some of the material found in the earlier works, using the library of David b. Abraham *Oppenheim. The genealogical reference work of David *Conforte Kore ha-Dorot (1746, 18462) contains much valuable bibliographic material. It should be noted, also, that Jehiel *Heilperin included in his Seder ha-Dorot (Karlsruhe, 1769) the names of the books which are referred to in Bass' bibliography, though generally he omitted the place and year of publication, even when these were included in the Siftei Yeshenim. Especially valuable from a bibliographical standpoint is the H.J.D. *Azulai's Shem ha-Gedolim (1774–86, 1853, 1876), which contains an alphabetical listing of Hebrew books and manuscripts. Azulai noted every unusual Hebrew book or manuscript, even those in non-Jewish collections, which came to his notice in the course of his extensive travels without, however, always giving the date and place of publication. The major work of the Christian scholar G.B. *de' Rossi, Annales Hebraeo-Typographici Seculi XV (Parma, 1795), dealing with Hebrew incunabula, together with his Annales Hebraeo-Typographici ab anno 1501 ad 1540 (Parma, 1799), and the Dizionario storico degli autori Ebrei e delle loro opere (2 vols., Parma, 1802), as well as assorted lists of Hebrew publications from various Italian cities, serve as a transition to modern bibliography.

With the development of Jewish studies, Hebrew bibliography became a scientific discipline in its own right. L. *Zunz's Zur Geschichte und Literatur (1845) contains a complete section on bibliography (pp. 214–303), including material on the dates found in books; on printers and typography in Mantua from 1476 to 1662; and on Hebrew printing in Prague from 1513 to 1657. This work laid the foundation for modern Hebrew bibliography. In 1849 Julius *Fuerst published the first part of his Bibliotheca Judaica (3 vols., 1849–63). The book is neither all-inclusive nor completely accurate, but it is important in view of its comprehensiveness. It is arranged according to author, commentator, editor, and publisher, with an alphabetical index to the Hebrew works appended to the end of the third volume. The format of each book is noted, and sometimes the number of pages as well. The preceding bibliographies are overshadowed by the works of Moritz *Steinschneider, in particular by his Catalogus Librorum Hebraeorum in Bibliotheca Bodleiana (1852–60) and Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters (1893). These works set the definitive standard for modern Jewish bibliography. Another important bibliography is Isaac *Benjacob's Oẓar ha-Sefarim, (1877–80), listing Jewish books and manuscripts until 1863, and published by the author's son Jacob, together with notes by Steinschneider. By the late 19th century Jewish bibliography, comprising Jewish literature in all languages, had undergone considerable development and today compares favorably with general bibliography. Aaron *Walden, who followed Azulai with the Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash (1864) included a section entitled, "A Catalogue of Books," which includes ḥasidic works absent from earlier listings. However, this listing was not done scientifically. William *Zeitlin, in his Kiryat Sefer, Bibliotheca Hebraica post-Mendelssohniana (1891–95), listed the works of the Haskalah movement to that date (more than 3,500 volumes). Ḥayyim David Lippe published a catalogue called Asaf ha-Mazkir (1881–89), "a complete listing of all the books, treatises, and Hebrew periodicals which appeared during the period 1880–1887." He also issued a follow-up catalogue, Asaf ha-Mazkir he-Ḥadash… (1899), "listing all the books, treatises, and periodicals which appeared during the period 1882–1898." From 1928 to 1931 H.D. *Friedberg published his Beit Eked Sefarim, a bibliographical lexicon covering the general field of Hebrew literature, with particular attention to books written in Hebrew and Yiddish; but also including works written in Italian, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Arabic, Persian, and Samaritan, and printed in Hebrew characters from 1475–1900, with their general content, author, date, place of publication, and number of pages. An expanded edition of this work appeared in 1951–54. Though not truly scientific in its approach, it is still very useful. The many, important studies of Abraham Yaari include Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), containing among its studies in Hebrew booklore a section on the catalogue of Israel. M. *Kasher and Dov Mandelbaum compiled a bibliography of works covering the years 500–1500 called Sarei ha-Elef (1959). Important monographs and articles in the field of Hebrew bibliography have been written by S. *Wiener, I. *Sonne, S. *Seeligmann, D. *Chwolson, A. *Jellinek, A.M. *Habermann, C. *Lieberman, A. *Marx, M. *Roest, G. *Kressel, J. *Zedner, I. *Rivkind, S. Shunami, N. Ben-Menahem, and others. The indispensable handbook today is S. Shunami's Bibliography of Jewish Bibliographies (1936, 19652; repr. 1969, with supplement) which also includes sections on Jewish and Modern Hebrew literature (nos. 1146–1240; 4875–85) as well as on Judeo-German and Yiddish (nos. 1241–1357; 4586–95). In 1960 the Hebrew University, in cooperation with Mosad Bialik and the Ministry of Education and Culture, initiated the Institute for Hebrew Bibliography under the direction of N. Ben-Menahem. Its aim is to compile a definitive bibliographical listing of every Hebrew book which has been published up to 1960 (specimen brochure, 1964).

The first scholar to publish a special periodical devoted to Hebrew and Jewish bibliography was Steinschneider: Ha-Mazkir, Hebraeische Bibliographie, Blaetter fuer neuere und aeltere Literatur des Judenthums (HB, 1858–65, 1869–82). Nehemiah *Bruell continued Steinschneider's project in the bimonthly Centralanzeiger fuer juedische Literatur (1890) but succeeded in publishing it only during one year (6 issues). At the same time M. *Kayserling published his bibliographical dictionary of Spanish and Portuguese works on Judaism and Jews (the Biblioteca española-portugueza judaica, 1890). A few years later the Zeitschrift fuer Hebraeische Bibliographie (ZHB; 1896–1921) appeared. The editor of volumes 1–3 was H. Brody; volumes 4–9 were edited jointly by Brody and A. Freimann; and the remaining volumes appeared under the editorship of Freimann alone. The two great authorities on the bibliography of Anglo-Jewish history are C. Roth's Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica (1937), and R.P. *Lehmann's Nova Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica (1961), the latter dealing with the years 1937–60. The most important contemporary bibliographical journal is Kirjat Sepher (KS), a quarterly published since 1924 under the auspices of the Jewish National and University Library. Editors during the first two years were S.H. Bergmann and H. Pick, and after that I.B. Joel. Since 1953 a new bibliographical magazine, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore (SBB), has been published by the Hebrew Union College Library, Cincinnati. The Jewish Book Annual (JBA; founded in 1942) published in New York also contains useful bibliographical material. Of Jewish bibliographic periodicals whose life-span was limited, the following deserve mention: En Hakore, edited by D.A. Friedman and Z. *Woyslawski, three issues (Berlin, 1923); Soncino-Blaetter, Beitraege zur Kunde des juedischen Buches, edited by H. *Meyer (3 vols., Berlin, 1925–30); and Journal of Jewish Bibliography, a quarterly edited by Joshua *Bloch (New York, 1938–43).

The first bookdealers' catalogue of secondhand Hebrew books was published in Amsterdam around 1640 by Manasseh Ben Israel, but no copy is now extant (cf. Roth in Aresheth, 2, 413–4). In 1652 his son Samuel published Catalogo de los Libros que Semuel ben Israel Soeiro vende, estampados todos na sua Typographia, adjuntos os preços, para que cada qual saibo o que valem. In this catalogue 65 books are noted together with their prices in Dutch currency. The earliest known auction sale catalogues are those of the libraries of two Amsterdam rabbis, Moses Raphael *d'Aguilar (1680) and Isaac *Aboab da Fonseca (1693). The only earlier commercial listings of Hebrew books are in manuscript form, such as some found in the Genizah, or the catalogue of Hebrew books printed in Venice prior to 1542, which came into the possession of Konrad Gesner and appeared in his Pandectarum sive partitionum universalium libri xxi (20 vols., Zurich 1548–49; cf. ZHB, 10 (1906), 38–42). A catalogue of books compiled for business purposes was printed as an appendix to the collection of responsa by Joseph ibn Lev (vol. 4, Fuerth, 1692). Another commercial book listing, called Appiryon Shelomo, was published in 1730 by Solomon Proops, printer and bookdealer of Amsterdam. The advance in the field of Hebrew bibliography resulted in the publication of improved commercial catalogues (see *Booktrade). A number of these newer catalogues are of definite scientific value such as those of M. *Roest, R.N.N. Rabinowitz, L. Schwager and D. Fraenkel, J. Kauffmann, N.W. Bamberger and Wahrmann, Rosenthal (Munich, Oxford), and others. In addition, the detailed catalogues of such libraries as those of Oxford, Amsterdam, Leiden, Leningrad, Frankfurt, the British Museum, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, have proved extremely useful.

[Abraham Meir Habermann]

In 1975 Shunami published a supplement to the second edition of his Bibliography of Jewish Bibliographies (1965). The 500-page supplement contains information on over 2,000 bibliographies published between 1965 and 1975. In his introduction Shunami notes that this number compares with that for the first hundred years of the Wissenchaft des Judentums. He comments on the rapid growth of bibliographies relating to the Holocaust and to the State of Israel. On the other hand, the small number of entries related to Hebrew printing is a reflection of the decline of study of this subject with little extra interest having been aroused by the 500th anniversary of Hebrew printing. There is also a decrease in entries relating to private collections, reflecting a decline in major Jewish book collectors. Shunami also decries the shortage of Jewish bibliographers.


S. Brisman, History and Guide to Judaic Bibliography (1977); C. Roth, in: Jewish Studies in Memory of Israel Abrahams (1927), 384–93; Shunami, Bibl, xiv–xv (Eng.), 7ff.; Urbach, in: KS, 15 (1938/39), 237–9; Assaf, ibid., 18 (1941/42), 272–81; Yaari, ibid., 21 (1944/45), 192–203; Zulay, ibid., 25 (1948/49), 203–5; Sonne, in: SBB, 1 (1953–54), 55–76; Aloni, in: Sefer Assaf (1953), 33–39; idem, in: Aresheth, 1 (1958), 44–60.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.