Early Editions of The Hebrew Bible - Rabbinic Bibles

Rabbinic Bibles

Another class of Bibles, and these distinctively Jewish, are those that are known as Rabbinic Bibles, or Miḳra'ot Gedolot. The first of these was published at Venice 1517-18; the editor was Felix Pratensis. It contains the Pentateuch with Onḳelos and Rashi, the Former and Later Prophets with Targum Jonathan and Ḳimḥi's comments (the anti-Christian passages omitted); Psalms with Targum and Ḳimḥi; Proverbs with the commentary known as "Ḳaw we-Naḳi"; Job with the commentaries of Naḥmanides and Abraham Farrisol; the Five Scrolls with the commentary of Levi b. Gerson; Ezra and Chronicles with the commentaries of Rashi and Simon ha-Darshan. To these were added the Jerusalem Targum to the Pentateuch; Targum Sheni to Esther; the variant readings of Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali; the thirteen "articles of faith" of Maimonides; the 613 precepts according to Aaron Jacob Ḥasan; and a table of the parashiyot and Hafṭarot according to the Spanish and German rites. This edition is the first in which Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles are divided into two books, and Nehemiah is separated from Ezra. It is the first also to indicate in the margin the numbers of the chapters in Hebrew letters (Ginsburg, "Introduction," p. 26). The ḳeri consonants are also given in the margin.

The edition was not, however, pleasing to the Jews, perhaps because its editor was a convert to Christianity. Elijah Levita, in his "Masoret ha-Masoret," severely criticizes the Masoretic notes. This edition was replaced in 1525 by the second Bomberg text, which was edited by Jacob b. Ḥayyim of Tunis under the title . This text, more than any other, has influenced all later ones; though readings from the Complutensian and from the Soncino edition of 1488 have occasionally found their way in. It is peculiar as being the first to insert the letters פ and ס for the purpose of indicating the open and closed sections, and to designate the ḳeri by the letter ק. Here also the first attempt is made, though incompletely, to collect the Masorah, both "Magna" and "Parva." As in the best manuscripts, the larger Masorah is printed above and below the text (Hebrew and Targum in parallel columns); while the lesser Masorah is printed between the columns. Besides the elaborate introduction to the Masorah by Jacob b. Ḥayyim himself, an index to the Masorah, Ibn Ezra's introduction to the Pentateuch, Moses ha-Naḳdan's treatise on accents, the variations between the Easterns and the Westerns and between Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, it contains the Pentateuch with Targum, Rashi, and Ibn Ezra; the Former Prophets with Rashi, Ḳimḥi, and Levi b. Gershon; Isaiah with Rashi and Ibn Ezra; Jeremiah and Ezekiel with Rashi and Ḳimḥi; the Minor Prophets with Rashi and Ibn Ezra; Psalms with Rashi and Ibn Ezra; Proverbs with Ibn Ezra, Moses Ḳimḥi, and Levi ben Gershon; Job with Ibn Ezra and Levi ben Gershon; Daniel with Ibn Ezra and Saadia; Ezra with Ibn Ezra, Moses Ḳimḥi, and Rashi; Chronicles with PseudoRashi; and the Five Scrolls with Rashi and Ibn Ezra. This Bible was reprinted, with readings inserted from the edition of Felix Pratensis (Venice, 1525–28).

The third edition of the Bomberg Rabbinic Bible (1546–48) was edited by Cornelius Adelkind. It was practically a reprint of the second, except that the commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah was omitted; while that of Jacob ben Asher on the Pentateuch and that of Isaiah di Trani on Judges and Samuel were inserted. This third Bomberg edition was repeated in the fourth edition by Isaac b. Joseph Salam and Isaac ben Gershon (Treves). Part of the Masorah omitted in the third edition has here been reinserted. The fifth edition was a reprint of De Gara's (Venice, 1617–19, by Pietro Lorenzo Bragadini, and revised by Leo di Modena). It was, however, expurgated by the Inquisition. The sixth edition, by Johannes Buxtorf (Basel, 1618–19, 2 vols.), was a reprint of the 1546-48 copy. To this was added the editor's "Tiberias," a Masoretic work. The seventh Biblia Rabbinica was published at Amsterdam, 1724-28 (4 vols., fol. 1), under the title "Ḳehillot Mosheh." It contains, besides the Hebrew text, the Targum on the whole Bible; Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Levi ben Gershon, Obadiah Sforno, Jacob b. Asher, Ḣizkuni, and 'Imre No'am on the Pentateuch; David Ḳimḥi on the Prophets and the Chronicles; Isaiah di Trani on Judges and Samuel; "Keli Yaḳar" on the Former Prophets, and "Keli-Paz," by Samuel Laniado, on the Later Prophets; Meïr Arama on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Song of Solomon; Jacob Berab on Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and some other Later Prophets; Samuel Almosnino on the Later Prophets; Isaac Gershon on Malachi; "Torat Ḥesed" by Isaac ben Solomon; Ya'bez on Psalms, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles; Joseph ibn Yaḥya on the Hagiographa; "Mizmor le-Todah," by Samuel Arepol, on Psalm cxix.; "Ḳaw we-Naḳi" on Proverbs; Menahem Meïri on Proverbs; Moses Ḳimḥi on Proverbs, Ezra, Nehemiah; Naḥmanides, Farissol, and Simon ben Zemaḥ Duran on Job; Saadia Gaon on Daniel; Yalḳut Shim'oni on Chronicles; Moses of Frankfurt's annotations, entitled "Ḳomaz Minḥah," on the Pentateuch; "Minḥah Ḳeṭannah" on the Former Prophets; "Minḥah Gedolah" on the Later Prophets, "Minḥat 'Ereb" on the Hagiographa; the introduction of Jacob b. Ḥayyim of Tunis; and the tract on the accents by Moses ha-Naḳdan.

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