For the first time ever ...
... the Hungarian rare book dealers invite colleagues and collectors from across the world to Budapest. The 42nd ILAB Congress and 26th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair from 21 to 25 September 2016 will present Budapest as one of the most beautiful cities and one of the most fascinating book capitals in Europe.
Before the First International ILAB Congress and Fair in Budapest in September, we would like you to have a glimpse into its programme. First of all, we have prepared a brief series on the most prestigious libraries of Budapest.
Dávid Kaufmann and his collection of Medieval Hebrew manuscripts in the Oriential Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
The Hebrew manuscript collection of the former professor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Dávid Kaufmann (1852–1899) is internationally acclaimed. Kaufmann was a passionate collector of manuscripts and books, for which the necessary material background was provided by his wife and her family. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Róza Gomperz donated his collection to the Academy after his and his wife’s death in 1905. Family tradition has it that the choice fell upon the Academy because they wanted to see the priceless collection in the most prestigious scholarly institution, though it could have also been left to the Jewish Theological Seminary. In any case, maybe it was this choice which saved the collection for future generations: soon after the German occupation of Hungary in March 1944 Adolf Eichmann paid a visit to the Seminary and removed a few thousand books. It is beyond doubt that he would have included this famous collection in his selection if it had been there.
Before Mrs Kaufmann died, she asked Max (Miksa) Weisz (1872-1931), one of Kaufmann's favourite students and an intimate friend of the family, to prepare a catalogue raisonné meeting scholarly demands. The catalogue was written in German.
The Kaufmann Collection consists of 594 manuscript items and 1,092 printed books. In view of its volume the Kaufmann Collection is one of the fifteen largest collections in the world although it cannot compete with collections like those in Oxford (over three thousand Hebrew and Samaritan manuscripts) or Saint Petersburg (over three thousand manuscripts and several thousand choice Genizah fragments). It is very rich in unique and rare items and so, considering its quality, it is reckoned among the foremost collections of its kind in the world.
The manuscript collection contains Biblical texts with commentaries, linguistic and massoretic texts, halakhic and haggadistic pieces, works on Talmudic methodology, kabbalistic writings, works in the fields of theology, philosophy and religious polemics, history, homiletics and poetry, in addition to prayer books, works on the local history of Italian towns and communities, samples of letters, and works on mathematics and medicine. The collection is particularly rich in responses of Italian Rabbis. These are important not only from the point of view of religious law but are also first class historical sources on everyday life, customs and habits, and are described in detail in the otherwise succinct Weisz catalogue (p. 31-79). A considerable part of the manuscripts comes from Italy – in this context it may be mentioned that in 1895 Kaufmann succeeded in acquiring the complete collection of manuscripts and books of the eminent Mantuan Rabbi Marco Mortara (1815-1894). The precious manuscripts with Yemenite piyyuts were acquired for him in Jerusalem by a certain M. Adelmann, from Jews immigrating from Yemen – Adelmann acquired manuscripts and rare books for Kaufmann in other parts of the Middle East too. Kaufmann also bought a number of items from Rafael N. Rabinowitz in Munich.
42nd ILAB Congress
26th International Antiquarian Book Fair
21 – 25 September 2016
>> To register online and for more information please visit the official website.
>> For any further questions please contact the organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Pictures: ILAB, Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of Hungary, MAE, Wikipedia)