Gunzenhauser (Ashkenazi), Joseph ben Jacob

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GUNZENHAUSER (Ashkenazi), JOSEPH BEN JACOB (d. 1490) and azriel, his son, pioneers in Hebrew printing. The Gunzenhausers went to Naples from Gunzenhausen in southern Germany and set up a Hebrew press, which from 1487 to 1492 produced an impressive range of books (see *Incunabula), in all about 12 volumes. Among them were the Hagiographa with various rabbinical commentaries (1487); Avicenna's medical Canon, the first and only edition of the work in Hebrew (Ha-Kanon); and the first edition of Abraham Ibn Ezra's Pentateuch commentary (1488). After Joseph Gunzenhauser's death his wife (or daughter) and son continued his work. The Gunzenhausers assembled a team of distinguished typesetters and correctors from Italy. Joshua Solomon Soncino, who began printing at Naples about this time, issued a prayer book of the Spanish rite for Gunzenhauser in May 1490.


D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 63, 66; B. Friedberg, Ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Italyah… (1956), 40ff.; A. Freimann (ed.), Thesaurus Typographiae Hebraicae… (1931), a57, 1ff.