Arguably the greatest single achievement of Jewish book production: Biblia Rabbinica, Amsterdam, Moses Frankfurter, 1724-27.

The first Rabbinic Bible to be produced & printed solely by Jews, and by far the most elaborate & technically superior version of the Rabbinic Bible. 1/3
This was the single most ambitious production of the Amsterdam Hebrew press. Published in 4 huge folio volumes, the Sefer Kehiloth Moshe [ ספר קהלות משה] of 1724-27, was the seventh Biblia Rabbinica overall, but the first to be edited, produced and printed solely by Jews. 2/3
In addition to the Biblical text, it includes 36 separate commentaries, 16 of them previously unpublished. The multiple prefaces & afterwords detail the process of acquiring new commentaries, and describe the difficulties of bringing such a massive undertaking to fruition. 3/3

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More from @incunabula

19 Dec 20
The only known copy of the world’s first electronic computer manual.

Operating & maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949. Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corp, Philadelphia 1949. Written by Joseph Chapline (1920-2011). 1/5
This is the only known copy of the world’s first electronic computer manual, and the only record of how the BINAC actually operated. It is also the model for the countless numbers of operating manuals for computers that were written in the following decades. 2/5
OCLC records no copies of this work in libraries, and there was no copy in the Origins of Cyberspace collection. As only one BINAC was ever built, it is likely that only a handful of copies of the manual were ever produced. 3/5
Read 10 tweets
17 Dec 20

The runestone shown in the middle foreground in this engraving from Ole Worm's 1643 Danicorum Monumentorum was buried and lost in the 18th century.

Roadworkers just accidentally found and dug it up ON WEDNESDAY MORNING THIS WEEK!… Image
"On Wednesday morning, a sensational archaeological find was made during excavation work outside Ystad. One of the missing Hunnestadsstenarna was found after having been missing since the 18th century."…
"A fantastic fun find, which you did not think would happen. This stone has been gone for so long that we thought it was destroyed", said Magnus Källström, runologist at the Swedish National Heritage Board. Image
Read 6 tweets
27 Sep 20
This extract barely scratches the surface of the misinformation, vested interests, political maneuvering, and even outright duplicity surrounding the claimed looting of the libraries of Timbuktu. The real story of what happened has not yet been written.…
I have some first-hand knowledge about this. When reading about the Timbuktu libraries, bear in mind three things:

1. The news in 2013 was almost pure catnip to NGOs and cultural charities, instantly confirmed the world-view....1/2
of right-leaning ones (ISIS are culture-destroying Islamofascists) AND left leaning ones (Africa is the repository of ancient wisdom). You could hardly, even in theory, conjure up a set of circumstances more likely to engage the interests of NGOs & philanthropic foundations. 2/2
Read 10 tweets
23 Sep 20
Churinga (or tjurunga) are the most important physical evidence of the intellectual heritage & artistic genius of the Aboriginal people.

I strongly believe that the effective prohibition on displaying them in Australian (& most other) museums is massively counterproductive. 1/9
There are no museum exhibitions of churinga. There are no books published in recent decades on them, and almost no scientific papers. They effectively cannot be sold on auction, even outside Australia. All of this is in deference to their status as Aboriginal sacred objects. 2/9
And yet sacred objects from most other religions are freely photographed, displayed, written about, and, where in private hands, bought and sold. By effectively 'disappearing' churingas from view, I believe we deprive the Aboriginal people of their due recognition... 3/9
Read 9 tweets
22 Sep 20
"The question is whether these stories recall this time, for then they might date from as much as 13000 years ago. A more conservative interpretation, based on a sea level 30m lower than today, would place the age of this story at around 10000 years ago."…
The underlying paper in Australian Geographer on which this report is based - "Aboriginal Memories of Inundation of the Australian Coast Dating from More than 7000 Years Ago" - is well worth reading. If you have an institutional login, it can be read here:…
A powerful case can be made that the Dreaming - the Australian Aboriginal religio-cultural worldview - is the most effective way of transmitting stories across deep time yet devised anywhere by mankind.
See this thread for more on deep-time communication:
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep 20
Codex Seraphinianus is not written in a constructed language (which implies a language with a consciously devised grammar & vocabulary). It's written in an imaginary language, or perhaps more accurately in an asemic script with no language, natural or constructed, underlying it.
In a talk at Oxford in 2009, Serafini said that there is no meaning behind the Codex's script; that his experience in writing it was similar to automatic writing; and that what he wanted his alphabet to convey was the sensation children feel with books they cannot yet understand.
The only exception (that we know of) to this is the page-numbering system used by Serafini in the Codex Seraphinianus. This was decoded by Allan C. Wechsler and the Bulgarian linguist Ivan Derzhanski, and is a variation of base 21.
Read 4 tweets

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