Early Editions of The Hebrew Bible - First Edition of The Pentateuch

First Edition of The Pentateuch

The first edition of the Pentateuch appeared at Bologna on January 26, 1482, with vowel-signs and accents. The rafe sign is liberally employed in the first folios, but later on is discarded. The Targum (along the side) and the commentary of Rashi (at the top and the bottom of the page) are printed with the text. The cost of publication was borne by Joseph ben Abraham Caravita. The publisher was Maestro Abraham ben Hayyim dei Tintori (Dei Pinti) of Pesaro; the corrector, Joseph Hayyim ben Aaron Strassburg, a Frenchman. According to De Rossi, the editor made use of a Spanish manuscript; but Ginsburg believes that German and Franco-German manuscripts were used. A facsimile is given by Simonsen. About the same time, and at Bologna, there appeared an edition of the Five Scrolls, with Rashi above and below the text and with the commentary of Ibn Ezra on Esther. This was followed on October 15, 1485, by an edition of the Former Prophets (without vowels), together with Kimhi's commentary, brought out at Soncino in the duchy of Milan by Joshua Solomon ben Israel Nathan Soncino. That this edition was very carefully printed is attested upon the fly-leaf. The Divine Name is printed יהוה and אלהים‎. In the following year the Latter Prophets appeared at the same place; though neither date nor printing-office is mentioned in the book itself. The passages in Kimhi dealing with Christianity are not omitted, as is the case in later editions. It was this same printing-house that brought out on February 23, 1488, the first complete edition of the Bible, the text provided with vowels and accents, in two columns to the page. The Pentateuch in this edition is followed by the Five Scrolls. Soncino was aided in the printing by Abraham ben Hayyim dei Tintori, mentioned above. According to De Rossi, German codices were at the basis of this edition.

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