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Description

Good example of the first obtainable map of the Holy Land with Hebrew lettering.

Bar Yaaqov's map appeared in Moses Wesel's Amsterdam edition of the Passover Haggadah. For many years, it was believed to be the first map of the Holy Land printed in Hebrew until the recent discovery of a 1621 map described by Nebenzahl (plate 40).

Bar Yaaqov bases his map on Christian Van Adrichom's map of the Holy Land. The map traces the route of the Exodus and notes the locations of 41 encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness. Various sacred icons of Judaism are illustrated along the bottom.

By the end of the fifteenth century, Hebrew books were produced using movable type. During the fifteenth century, Hebrew printing was restricted mainly to the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, where some 180 Hebrew titles were issued. While Hebrew printing ceased in Spain and Portugal after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, it quickly spread to the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe.

In 1617, the heads of the Jewish school in Amsterdam voted to establish a printing press. Within the decade, several private Hebrew presses were also set up including that operated by the renowned intellectual Menasseh ben Israel. During its first twenty years, his multilingual press produced more than sixty titles, including Bibles, prayerbooks, and his own original works. Well known among the philosophers, scientists, and theologians of Amsterdam, he gave sermons that attracted flocks of Christians as well as Jews, and would even represent his enterprise at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1634.

By the close of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century, Amsterdam was the center of Hebrew printing for the entire world, supplanting Venice as the most important city for printed works in Hebrew. In addition, most of the religious literature in Spanish and Portuguese intended for the guidance of the Sephardi communities was composed and printed in Amsterdam. The Amsterdam Haggadah map is an example of the confluence of the Dutch tradition of mapmaking and illustrating Bibles with maps and the rise of Hebrew printing in Amsterdam. The influence of Dutch printing and engraving styles on the Hebrew printing and publishing business was profound.

Condition Description
Cleaned and flattened. Several repaired tears and areas of minor restoration. One area of minor loss of text.