The uniqueness of Lunzer’s collection is that all books are written in Hebrew or printed using Hebrew script. According to a news report, “many of them rare or even unique. Most come from the earliest centuries of Hebrew printing in their places of origins and thus map out a history of the flourishing of Jewish communities around the world.”
According to the news report published by The New York Times, some of the books in this collection are very special:
There are extraordinary items on display here, including a Hebrew Bible handwritten in England in 1189 - the only dated Hebrew text from England before King Edward I expelled the Jews in 1290. In 1190, the Jewish community of York was massacred and its property, including many books and manuscripts, was looted and sold abroad, where this volume was discovered.
There is also an exquisitely preserved edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1519-23) made by the Christian printer Daniel Bomberg in Venice, an edition created with the advice of a panel of scholars that codified many aspects of how the Talmud is displayed and printed.
There is also a 12th-century scroll of the Hebrew Pentateuch that came from the Samaritans, a Jewish sect that still exists in Nablus on the West Bank, their ancient Hebrew script resembling inscriptions on archaeological finds rather than the letters that came to define mainstream Hebrew.
This is a unique collection that deserves to be preserved. The collection reflects Mr. Lunzer’s love for books: “Every one of these books I have held in my hands. They’re my friends. I’ll be happy if they are well kept and respected. Every one of these books is crying its own tears.”
The words of a bibliophile.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
Tags: Bibliophile, Hebrew Texts, Jack Lunzer