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Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature$
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Jean Baumgarten and Jerold C. Frakes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.001.0001

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The Printing, Distribution, and Audience of Yiddish Books

The Printing, Distribution, and Audience of Yiddish Books

Chapter:
(p.38) 3 The Printing, Distribution, and Audience of Yiddish Books
Source:
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature
Author(s):

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.003.0003

The rise of Yiddish literature coincides with the development of the Hebrew printing industry in Europe. The invention of printing had important consequences for cultural transmission and communication as it had been conceived up to that time in Jewish society. Despite the relative paucity of precise sources concerning Yiddish books and their readers, it was clear that their production gave concrete expression to developments in cultural communication as they had existed up to the appearance of the printing press. While the corpus of traditional Jewish learning had remained primarily confined to the realm of educated initiates and scholars, that traditional knowledge circulated among new classes of readers trough the existence of books in Yiddish. The gap that had existed between the educated, who had access to the sacred Hebrew texts, and the masses of the faithful, who were often excluded from the religious tradition, diminished.

Keywords:   printing press, Europe, Yiddish books, book publishing, Hebrew texts

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