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De' Rossi, Giovanni Bernardo°


DE' ROSSI, GIOVANNI BERNARDO ° (1742–1831), Italian Christian Hebraist. De' Rossi was born in Villa Castelnuovo, Turin. He became a priest in 1766 and graduated in theology in Turin. He had a profound knowledge of Hebrew language and medieval Jewish literature, and held the chair of Oriental languages at Parma University from 1769 to 1821. De' Rossi's library of Jewish literature, one of the most valuable that has ever been brought together, comprised 1,432 manuscripts (some illuminated), and 1,442 printed books including many incunabula, some unique. It was purchased for 100,000 francs in 1816 by Marie Louise, duchess of Parma, who presented it to the Palatine library at Parma, where it still is. De' Rossi compiled a catalogue of his collection (MSS. codices hebraici bibliothecae I.B. De' Rossi, accurate ab eodem descripti et illustrati, 3 vols., Parma, 1803), and wrote valuable works on Jewish incunabula (Annales hebraeo-typographici saeculi xv, Parma, 1795) and 16th-century typography (Annales hebraeotypographici ab anno 1501 ad 1540, Parma, 1799) as well as on other subjects of Jewish interest, including studies of variant biblical texts and polemical literature. His Dizionario storico degli autori ebrei e delle loro opere (2 vols., Parma, 1802; Ger. ed. Leipzig, 1839) is still of value, especially for the biographical notes on contemporary Jewish scholars.


G.B. De' Rossi, Memorie storiche sugli studi e sulle produzioni del Dottore G.B. De' Rossi (Parma, 1809); A. Vaccari, Scritti di erudizione e di filosofia, 2 (1958), 459–69; Tamani, in: rmi, 32 (1966), 268–70; S.D. Luzzatto, Opere del de' Rossi concernenti l'ebraica letteratura e bibliografia (18682); Shunami, Bibl, index. add. bibliography: G. Busi, Edizioni ebraiche del xvi secolo nelle Biblioteche dell'Emilia Romagna (1987); F. Parente, in: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 39 (1991), 205–14; B. Richler and M. Beit-Arie, Hebrew Manuscripts in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma (2001).

[Ariel Toaff]

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