Rabbinic Bible

The third edition of the Rabbinic Bible. Edited by Cornelius Adelkind. Printed by Daneil Bomberg at Venice, 1547/8

Provenance: Thomas Phillips, 1837

rabbinic bible

The Hebrew Bible had been published at Soncino in Lombardy in1488. In 1516/7 Daniel Bomberg and Felix Pretensis printed the first edition of the Rabbinical Bible (i.e. the text with the Targum and standard rabbinical commentaries), after obtaining a licence from Pope Leo X forbidding any other printer from doing likewise for ten years.

The second edition appeared at Venice 1524/5 incorporating the work of the Tunisian refugee, Jacob b. Chayim, on the Massorah. This edition settled the standard form of the Massoretic text for future scholarship. The third edition, shown here, incorporated some changes in the commentaries, but not in the text itself.

Its printer Daniel Bomberg (d. 1549), a Christian, born in Antwerp, was primarily active in Venice between 1516 and 1549. Bomberg found a ready audience among the Jews of Italy, whose numbers had been swelled by exiles from Spain and Portugal. Bomberg's presses eventually produced some 230 Hebrew books, and his innovations in Hebrew typography set the standard for later printers.