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Prince of the PressHow One Collector Built History's Most Enduring and Remarkable Jewish Library$
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Joshua Teplitsky

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300234909

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300234909.001.0001

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Collecting, Recording, and Practical Knowledge

Collecting, Recording, and Practical Knowledge

(p.93) Three Collecting, Recording, and Practical Knowledge
Prince of the Press

Joshua Teplitsky

Yale University Press

This chapter explores how David Oppenheim's library offered him a means to assert superiority over his rabbinic colleagues on account of his ability to marshal and manage an ever-growing body of documentation and knowledge. Oppenheim's library was a product of the emergent pan-European development and provided him with a vehicle for shaping his place in the religious and social culture of the early modern period. His library-as-archive contributed to administering the autonomous life of early modern Jews in Moravia and Bohemia, across the German lands, and into the Jewish courts of Italy. By amassing, archiving, and mobilizing information, Oppenheim used his collection to interweave personal prestige with institutional practice. Indeed, acquired with family wealth, and symbolic of courtly influence, the library was used by both Oppenheim and a constituency of rabbinic and communal leaders to shape the legal, ritual, and daily lives of an even wider array of ordinary Jews in early modern Europe.

Keywords:   David Oppenheim, documentation, knowledge, pan-European development, Jews, Jewish courts, rabbinic leaders, communal leaders, religious culture, social culture

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