The Editor’s Place: Samuel Boehm and the Transfer of Italian Print Culture to Cracow

Andrea Schatz, Pavel Sládek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The editor and publisher Samuel Boehm worked for Hebrew presses in Northern Italy before moving to Cracow, where, in 1569, he joined Isaac Prostitz’s newly established press and remained visibly active until 1586. This article analyses in detail the transfer of Italian print culture to East-Central Europe, in which Boehm was highly instrumental. After clarifying a few biographical details, we investigate Boehm’s involvement in the intricately woven networks of publishing in Cremona, Padua and Venice and analyse how he claims visibility for his prominent role, in particular in publishing parts of Joseph Karo’s Bet Yosef. The article then explores the contexts of Boehm’s move to Cracow in a period of Venetian-Ottoman conflict and anti-Jewish hostility that led to a crisis for Venetian Hebrew printing, and it situates the establishment of Prostitz’s press in the wider contexts of Hebrew printing in East-Central Europe. Following Boehm’s work in Cracow, in particular as an editor of Moses Isserles, the article traces the transfer of central elements of Italian print culture to Cracow: material (types and ornaments), the discourse on editing in the paratexts, editorial expertise concerning halakhah, the organisation of the print shop with fluctuating and overlapping roles for various actors, and the commitment to the transregional distribution of varied genres of Jewish knowledge. Finally, turning to Boehm’s editing of Abraham Zacut, we highlight Boehm’s own complex vision of the role of transregional movement and local stability for Jewish cultural productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-519
Number of pages52
JournalJewish Quarterly Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2022


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