Abraham ben Ḥayyim, the Dyer

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ABRAHAM BEN ḤAYYIM, THE DYER (Dei Tintori ; 15th century), Italian pioneer of Hebrew printing from Pesaro. Though Abraham may have been active in Hebrew typecasting and printing by 1473, his name as a printer appeared for the first time in two books printed in *Ferrara in 1477 – Levi b. Gershom's commentary of Job and Jacob b. Asher's Tur (Yoreh De'ah), using the first 40 pages which Abraham *Conat had printed in *Mantua in 1476.

Five years later (1482) at *Bologna, Abraham printed a Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Rashi's commentary, probably the first printed book with vocalization and cantillation. In the colophon, the proofreader Joseph Ḥayyim praises Abraham as "unequaled in the realm of Hebrew printing and celebrated everywhere."

Israel Nathan *Soncino and his son Joshua Solomon secured Abraham's services for the work on the first printed Hebrew Bible – with vocalization and cantillation – which left the press at Soncino in February 1488. The edition of the Psalms, with R. David Kimḥi's commentary of 1477, and the Five Scrolls, with Rashi and with Abraham Ibn Ezra's commentary on Esther (1482–83?), may also have been printed by Abraham (see *Incunabula).


D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), index; M. Steinschneider and D. Cassel, Juedische Typographie (19382), 14–15; H.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri bi-Medinot Italyah… (19562), index. add. bibliography: P. Tishbi, in: Kiryat Sefer, 60 (1986), 908–18.

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Abraham ben Ḥayyim, the Dyer