The Hebrew University Magnes Press - Since 1929
When, in 1929, at the beginning of the academic year, the first President of the Hebrew University J. L. Magnes announced the establishment of a university press, there were only 200 students at the University.
This step called for daring and vision. The Land of Israel, said Dr. Magnes, is in many respects far from being in vital touch with the great world of scholarship, and it is therefore essential for scholars of the University to maintain through their works, contact with their colleagues throughout the world. Furthermore, through these scholarly contributions the University will be able to win a respected position among scholarly institutions.
As a tribute to Dr. Magnes, following his death in 1949, the university press was named after him.
It is not fortuitous that a primary concern of the University trustees, including the poet Haim Nachman Bialik, was the establishment of a university press; they knew and realized that a publishing house with a high academic standard, both Jewish and university oriented, was an integral part of the whole university concept.
The Magnes Press has mirrored the stages of the University`s growth and achievement in all areas.
Just as the University was a necessity for a renewed existence in the Land of Israel, so too, a university press was a desideratum for the creation and fostering of texts and learning materials for lecturers and students.
Four goals were envisaged by the creators of the Magnes Press:
Provision for the teaching, research and scholarly needs of the university, expansion of available resources of scholarship in the Hebrew language on Jewish and general topics, Publication of works by university scholars and Publication of works beneficial to scholarship and mankind, and specifically research in Judaism.
To a great extent the Magnes Press has fulfilled the goals envisaged by its founder and directors.
About 3,000 titles published in Hebrew and various other languages in numerous areas of research:
Bible and the Dead Sea scrolls, Jewish scholarship, Jewish history, The Land of Israel, Literature, Music and folklore, Archaeology, Linguistics and dictionaries, Psychology, Education and sociology, Law, Economics and political science, Jewish and general philosophy, Classical studies, Philosophical classics, Agriculture and nutrition, Mathematics and natural sciences, Bibliography and librarianship
Special emphasis is put on Jewish studies.
The Hebrew University Magnes Press publishes several outstanding periodic journals.
Among these are Tarbiz, the oldest and most important journal in the field of Jewish Stadies; The Israel Journal of Mathematics and Journal d`Analyse Mathematique, two of the most important journals in the field of Mathematics that have world wide circulation; Partial Answers journal of literature and the history of ideas; Perspectives: Litterature, Arts, Histoire, Sciences du Langage Series and many others.
It is essential that scholarly works are translated into Hebrew, since the average student, in his first year of study, finds it difficult to read in a foreign language.
Moreover, the University cannot confine itself to Hebrew but must create links with the outside world.
Therefore, the Magnes Press has published a growing array of books by Israel scholars in cooperation with academic publishers abroad. These works have achieved high repute among scholars throughout the world.
Several of the prominent publications of the Magnes Press are:
The facsimile of the Aleppo Codex, the oldest manuscript of the Bible, the holy treasure of the Aleppo congregation that was saved by a miracle from a mob in Syria.
Moreshet Sepharad: The Sephardi Legacy, edited by Professor Haim Beinart. This has been published not only in English, but in Spanish and Hebrew. A copy of the Spanish version was presented to the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, during the 500th Anniversary Ceremony held in Madrid in 1992.
Among the prominent authors whose works have been published by the Magnes Press are:
Umberto Cassuto, Menachem Elon, Shmuel Eisenstadt, David Flusser, Nathan Rotenstreich and Ephraim E. Urbach.
In recent years the Magnes Press, now an independent private firm owned by The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has surged ahead as the press not only of the Hebrew University but the largest academic publishing house in Israel.
Magnes Press is a privately owned commercial firm.
At any given time some 200 titles are in the process of being published and we publish 60-80 new titles annually.
The Press maintains high standards so that its book will serve as a model and challenge in their aesthetic form, clear print, scholarly standard and language. The Magnes Press endeavors to be daring and take initiative; adopt new methods and face new challenges.