ALMANZI, JOSEPH (1801–1860), Italian Hebrew author and poet. He was born in Padua and received his instruction in Jewish studies mainly from R. Israel conegliano , who remained his teacher for 20 years. He also acquired a knowledge of Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic, Latin, Italian, French, and German. Almanzi never married and devoted his time (when not engaged in trade) to Hebrew literary works and the expansion of his library. This contained thousands of Hebrew books, among them rare and valuable prints and manuscripts, several coming from the collection of Ḥayyim Joseph david azulai . Almanzi's collection became widely known among Jewish scholars and many of them turned to him for their literary research; he responded willingly and thereby became friendly with the greatest scholars of his generation, such as S.D. Luzzatto, Zunz, Fuerst, and Steinschneider. Toward the end of his life he moved from Padua to Trieste. Most of his poems, which bear the signature "Yoel," are sonnets of moraldidactic content. He also wrote: Me'il Kinah (a lament on the death of his teacher, R. Israel Conegliano (Reggio, 1824); Toledot R. Moshe Ḥayyim Luzzatto (first published in Kerem Ḥemed and several times thereafter as a preface to the books of R. Moses Ḥayyim Luzzatto ), a detailed and accurate biography of M. Ḥ. Luzzatto; Higgayon be-Khinnor, original and translated poems (Vienna, 1839); Kinnim va-Hegeh va-Hi on the death of Jacob Ḥay Vita Pardo, published in S.D. Luzzatto's work Avnei Zikkaron (Prague, 1841); and Nezem Zahav (97 sonnets, Padua, 1858; new edition, Tel Aviv, 1950). In addition Almanzi published poems in various periodicals; these included a translated fragment from Horace's "On the Art of Poetry" (in Bikkurei ha-Ittim ha-Ḥadashim, Vienna, 1845). After his death, his heirs published a catalogue of books of Jewish interest found in his library; the catalogue was edited by S.D. Luzzatto and entitled Yad Yosef (Padua, 1864). It lists also Almanzi's published works. Almanzi's manuscripts were described by S.D. Luzzatto in Steinschneider's Hebraeische Bibliographie, 4–6 (1861–68). In 1865 the British Museum bought Almanzi's manuscript collection for a thousand pounds; the collection served as the foundation for the large Hebrew manuscript department of that institution. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Zeitlin, Bibliotheca, 4. (Gedalyah Elkoshi)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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