The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Magnes Press



In recent years the Magnes Press has surged ahead as the press not only of the Hebrew University but the largest academic publishing house in Israel.

Magnes Press is a commercial, independent firm.

At any given time there are more than 200 new titles in the process of being published.  
History of Magnes Press

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 C. N. 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:

a)      provision for the teaching, research and scholarly needs of the university

b)      expansion of available resources of scholarship in the Hebrew language on Jewish and general topics

c)      publication of works by university scholars

d)      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 volumes 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
music and folklore
linguistics and dictionaries
education and sociology
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. 

Since the Magnes Press is the publishing house of the Hebrew University , naturally its publications are mainly in Hebrew.

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. 

It is impossible to translate everything into Hebrew, but the basic works of human culture, at least, must be available to our students in the Hebrew 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 work.


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.

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.


The Magnes Press has ties with publishing houses.  Many of the books in languages other than Hebrew are published jointly with university and academic presses in Europe and the United States , thereby affording the Hebrew University scholars a wider forum and enhancing distribution of Magnes publications overseas.