Besorat Measfim Hadashim - an Unknown Prospectus Announcing the Renewal of "Ha-Me'asef", the First Hebrew Periodical, in 1808/9

כתב העת "המאסף" בטרם שקיעת ההשכלה בגרמניה: פרוספקט בלתי ידוע על חידוש המאסף בתקס"ט: תמונת מצב של ספרות ההשכלה בתחילת המאה הי"ט


While preparing his book on the Ha-Me'asef Index and monograph Sha'ar la-Haskalah: An Annotated Index to Ha-Me'asef, the First Hebrew Journal, published by The Hebrew University Magnes Press in 2000, the author was looking for a prospectus for the renewal of Ha-Me'asef of 1809, which was alluded to, but has not been recorded in the bibliographical and critical literature. He found the unknown prospectus at the State Library in Berlin, the only library among 25 research libraries, which were searched for copies of Ha-Me'asef. It is published here for the first time with annotations and an introduction. In 1808, Shalom Ha-Cohen, a writer and a poet, disseminated a pamphlet, titled Besorat Me'asfim Hadashim, writing about his plans to renew the publication of the Ha-Me'asef. The periodical which was initially founded in 1783, was folded in 1797 as circulation dwindled resulting from maskilic inner disputes and the change in cultural atmosphere in German Jewry. The 16-page pamphlet was written in Hebrew and in German (in Hebrew characters). It represents a reflection of the state of Hebrew language, culture and literature at the threshold of the 19th century, and a call for the continuous revival of the Hebrew language, as part of the activities of the Hebrew Maskilim in Germany. In the prospect, Ha-Cohen also expounded on his theory of the history of the Hebrew language, and he discusses the causes for the closing of the periodical in 1797. He also discusses the cultural milieu of German Jewry and his editorial plans for the renewed journal.

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Kesher /קשר

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