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Jewish Rare Book Collections

The Mocatta, Gollancz, Wolf, Solomons and Myers printed collections contain many items dating from the 16th-18th centuries, chiefly liturgies, Bibles, commentaries, editions of the Mishnah, works on the Cabbalah, polemical tracts, sermons, service books, grammars and dictionaries. Of particular note are the many editions of the works of Josephus and the Sefer Yosippon of Joseph ben Gorion.

Among the important collection of tracts on Anglo-Jewish history are Burnet’s The conversion and persecution of Eve Cohan (1680), George Foxe’s A visitation to the Jews (1656), The Jew’s Jubilee (1688), William Penn’s Judas and the Jews combined (1673), and Prynne’s A short demurrer to the Jewes (1656).

Also of note is a service book of the Roman rite, printed in Bologna in 1537, on vellum with gold initials. There is a presentation copy, inscribed by the author of Manassah ben Israel’s Mikveh Yisra’el: hoc est spes Israel (1650) and a Spanish translation of the same work that once belonged to Robert Southey. Finally there is an Old Testament, in Hebrew and English, presented by Mrs. Eliza Davis to Charles Dickens, and bearing the latter’s bookplate.

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