The idea seems to have originated with Origen of Alexandria (c.185-253), who drew up in parallel columns the Hebrew text, its transliteration into Greek, and various other Greek recensions in fifty scrolls or books which were then deposited in the library of Pamphilus at Cæsarea (this Hexapla was preceded by a Tetrapla). The idea was not revived until the 16th century, when the first edition of the Hebrew text by Christians appeared in the Complutensian Polyglot (printed at Alcalá de Henares, 1514-17, 6 vols.). Renouard believes that the plan originated with Aldus Manutius, who, in the preface to the Psalter of 1497, speaks of the probability of his publishing a Hebrew-Greek and Latin Bible in one. Only the first sheet, however, of this was printed. The honor of being first in the field belongs to Cardinal Ximenes; though among those who helped him were the Marranos Alfonso of Zamora and Paul Nuñez Coronel. The three columns on each page contain the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the Vulgate. The Targum of Onkelos is added, of which Alfonso made the Latin translation. Ximenes had to cast his own Hebrew type for this work: ḥaṭefs are sparingly used; of the accents, only athnaḥ and sof-pasuḳ. The Masoretic divisions are discarded; and the text for the first time is arranged after the model of the Vulgate, the chapter-numbering of which is printed in the margin. By means of a letter, reference is made from each Hebrew word to its Latin equivalent; and the Hebrew roots are also placed on the margin.
The Hebrew text of the Complutensian was repeated in the Antwerp Polyglot (1568-72, 8 vols.), the editor of which was Arias Montanus, and the printer Christopher Plantin. For printing the Hebrew text Plantin used among others Daniel Bomberg's Hebrew type, which he had received from Bomberg's nephews. This Bible is known also as the Biblia Regia, because Philip II defrayed the expenses. In addition to the texts in the Complutensian, it contains an additional Targum and a number of tracts on lexicographical and grammatical subjects. Only 500 copies were printed, most of which were lost at sea on their way to Spain. The polyglot of Elijah Hutter (Nuremberg, 1599–1601) contains, besides the older versions, a number in modern European languages; and it is peculiar from the fact that the radical letters of the Hebrew text are printed in full characters, and the servile letters in hollow ones. A decided advance is made in the Paris Polyglot (1629-45, 10 vols.), done at the expense of Michel le Jay. Here the Complutensian and Antwerp polyglots are repeated; but there are added the Syriac and Arabic as well as the Samaritan, Hebrew, and Aramaic versions, and a Latin translation of all the versions. It is also highly prized for its typographical excellence.
Read more about this topic: Early Editions Of The Hebrew Bible
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