Friday, August 29, 2014

New Book Announcement: Amudim be-Toldot ha-Sefer ha-Ivri (Volume Three)

New Book Announcement: Amudim be-Toldot ha-Sefer ha-Ivri (Volume Three)
By Eliezer Brodt

I am very happy to announce the recent publication of an important work, which will be of great interest to readers of the Seforim blog. The third volume of, Amudim be-Toldot ha-Sefer ha-Ivri by Professor Yaakov Shmuel Spiegel, of Bar-Ilan University’s Talmud department.

As I have written in the past, Professor Spiegel is one of the most prolific writers in the Jewish academic scene, authoring of over 160 articles and 18 books (16 of those are publications for the first time of works which remained in manuscript).  Many suspect he possesses Hashbot Hakulmos (automatic writing).

His articles cover an incredibly wide range of subjects related to many areas of Jewish Studies, including history of Rishonim, piyutim authored by Rishonim, bibliography and minhaghim, to name but a few. His uniqueness lies not only in the topics but also that his work has appeared in all types of publications running the gamut from academic journals such as Kiryat Sefer, Tarbiz, Sidra, Alei Sefer, Assufot, Teudah, Kovetz Al Yad and also in many prominent Charedi rabbinic journals such a Yeshurun, Yerushasenu, Moriah, Sinai and Or Yisroel. It is hard to define his area of expertise, as in every area he writes about he appears to be an expert!

He has edited and printed from manuscript many works of Rishonim and Achronim on Massekhes Avos and the Haggadah Shel Pesach. He is of the opinion, contrary to that of some other academics, that there is nothing non-academic about printing critical editions of important manuscript texts. Although there is a known “belief” in the academic world, “publish or perish,” which some claim is the cause of weak articles and books, at times, Spiegel’s prolific output does nothing to damper the quality of his works. Another point unique to Speigel's writings, besides his familiarity with all the academic sources, he shows great familiarity with all the classic sources from Chazal, Geonim, Rishonim and Achronim, to even the most recent discussions in Charedi literature – this bekius (breadth) was apparent well before the advent of search engines of Hebrew books and Otzar Ha-hochmah. Alongside all this is his penetrating analysis and ability to raise interesting points.

Some of these articles were collected into a volume called Pischei Tefilah u-Mo’ad, which was reviewed a few years back here on the seforim blog. This volume is currently out of print.

One of Professor Spiegel's main areas of interest has been the History of the Jewish Book. He has written numerous articles on the subject and even published two books on this topic in a series called Amudim be-Toldot ha-Sefer ha-Ivri.  Volume one was first printed in 1996 and is called Amudim be-Toldot ha-Sefer ha-Ivri: Haghot u-Maghim. It was reprinted with numerous additions in 2005 (copies are still available). It was reviewed by Dan Rabinowitz and me, a few years back here on the Seforim Blog.

The second volume is called Amudim be-Toldot ha-Sefer ha-Ivri; Kesivah Vehatakah. This volume is currently out of print and will hopeful be the subject of a book review by Dan Rabinowitz and myself in the next few months.

I think that anyone who has an interest in the Jewish Book will enjoy this work immensely.
In the near future I hope to review this work in depth. Next week the blog will feature some sample pages of this new work.

For a short time I will be selling copies of this work for $32. The price includes airmail shipping (to the US UK or Canada). Copies are also available at Biegeleisen. For more information about purchasing this work, feel free to contact me at

To get a sense of what exactly this new book is about, I am posting the Table of Contents here:

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