Conat, Abraham ben Solomon

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CONAT, ABRAHAM BEN SOLOMON (15th century), Italian physician and one of the earliest printers of Hebrew books. Conat was probably of Ashkenazi origin. He lived in Mantua, where he may have been active as early as 1475. In 1476 he printed Jacob b. Asher's Tur Oraḥ Ḥayyim and began to print Yoreh De'ah as well; however, this was completed in Ferrara by *Abraham b. Ḥayyim of Pesaro, which suggests that Conat died about 1477. Other works printed by him (all apparently in Mantua, 1475–77) are Sefer Eldad ha-Dani; Jedaiah Bedersi's Beḥinat Olam; Mordecai Finzi's Luḥot, astronomical tables; Judah Messer Leon's Nofet Ẓufim; Levi b. Gershom's Pentateuch commentary; and Sefer Josippon, the pseudo-Josephus. Conat's work is particularly beautiful, and his type has been imitated in modern luxury editions. Abraham's wife, estellina conat, was equally active in the printing of these books and is the first woman who is named as an editor in a printing house. Beḥinat Olam was both arranged and printed by Estellina Conat. She is called the kotevet and in a colophon at the back of the book, she wrote: "I, Estellina Conat, the wife of my lord, my husband, the honored Master Abraham Conat … wrote this pamphlet, Beḥinat Olam, with the help of the youth Jacob Levi of Provence, of Tarascon, may he live, Amen." In the early days of printing, no Hebrew word yet existed for the process and Abraham Conat explained that his books were "written with many pens, without the aid of a miracle."


D. de Guenzburg, in: Recueil des travaux rédigés en mémoire du jubilé scientifique de D. Chwolson (1899), 57–66; D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 30–34; A. Freimann (ed.), Thesaurus Typographiae Hebraicae (1924), A 4–10; A.M. Habermann, Ha-Sefer ha-Ivri be-Hitpatteḥuto (1968), 81–84, 86, 172; B. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Italyah (1934), 10–11, 17, 31. add. bibliography: A.M. Habermann, Nashim Ivri'ot be-Tor Madpisot, Mesadrot, Motzi'ot le-Or ve-Tomekhot be-Meḥabrim (1932–33), 7.

[Umberto (Moses David) Cassuto /

Emily Taitz (2nd ed.)]