Wallstein Verlag

Bernhard Jensen

A Canon of the Jewish Renaissance

Soncino Society for the Friends of the Jewish Book

228 pages, 14 x 22,2
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3154-9 (2017)


German Version

Jewish bibliophilia in search of tradition in the modern age.

Soncino Society for the Friends of the Jewish Book
Around the turn of the last century, the Jewish renaissance, inspired by Zionism, began to develop a cultural self-awareness beyond religion and assimilation. The Soncino Association, founded in 1924 as an offshoot of this movement, set itself the aim of transferring the impulses of the German book art movement to Jewish book culture. It incorporated orthodox, liberal and Zionist Jews and, boasting 650 members, soon became one of the largest bibliophile associations in the Weimar Republic. By the time it was dissolved in 1937, it had published over one hundred books from all areas of Jewish history and culture, ranging from the Hebrew Bible to modern literature.
Bernhard Jensen investigates the motives behind the selection of texts. The first monograph on the Soncino Society provides an overview of all its publications and analyses exemplary books, regarding it as the canon of an epoch that also signified the end of German Judaism. Vera Bendt explores the tradition and the bibliophile character of the Soncino Society Collection at the Jewish Museum Berlin, which was digitalised in 2016 and is now available online.

Bernhard Jensen, born in 1968, received a doctorate in philosophy in 2001, and has worked as a librarian at the Jewish Museum Berlin since 2004. Publications include: Was heißt sich orientieren? (What is self-orientation?, 2003).

Vera Bendt played a leading role in the founding of the Jewish Museum at the Berlin Museum from 1979 to 1994. Publications include: Ein Synagogen-Vorhang im Domstift Brandenburg (A Synagog Drape at the Cathedral Chapter Brandenburg, 2006); Judaica-Katalog (Judaica Catalogue, 1989).
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