The story of one of the largest collections of Jewish books, and the man who used his collection to cultivate power, prestige, and political influence
David Oppenheim (1664–1736), chief rabbi of Prague in the early eighteenth century, built an unparalleled collection of Jewish books, all of which have survived and are housed in the Bodleian Library of Oxford. His remarkable collection testifies to the myriad connections Jews maintained with each other across political borders. Oppenheim’s world reached the great courts of European nobility, and his family ties brought him into networks of power, prestige, and opportunity that extended from Amsterdam to the Ottoman Empire. His impressive library functioned as a unique source of personal authority that gained him fame throughout Jewish society and beyond. His story brings together culture, commerce, and politics, all filtered through this extraordinary collection. Based on the careful reconstruction of an archive that is still visited by scholars today, Joshua Teplitsky’s book offers a window into the social life of books in early modern Europe.
Hear from Joshua Teplitsky on what has been described as "an intellectual feast for historians and an indispensable treasure for book lovers of all kinds."
Supported by the generosity of the Kaye Family
Joshua Teplitsky is assistant professor of history at Stony Brook University. He specializes in the history of the Jews in Europe in the early modern period and in the study of books and media. He lives in New York City.