Pratensis, Felix

views updated


Editor of the first printed edition of the Hebrew Bible; b. Prato, Tuscany, toward the end of the 15th century; d. Venice, Dec. 5, 1558. Felix was born a Jew, the son of a rabbi, and was well versed in Hebrew. In 1506 he was baptized and entered the order of the Hermits of St. Augustine. He taught Hebrew to the famous printer Daniel bomberg of Venice. Bomberg in turn printed the edition of the Hebrew Bible prepared by Pratensis in 1518. This edition contained marginal notes of the rabbis and a Latin dedication to Pope Leo X. Another feature of this edition was the indication, in Hebrew letters, of the Christian division of the Bible into chapters. Felix's work influenced Jacob ben Chayyim in the preparation of his edition of the Hebrew Bible that was printed by Bomberg at Venice in 152526. This work became the principal edition of the Hebrew Bible until 1929, when it was supplanted by the third edition of Kittel's Biblica Hebraica. See C. D. Ginsburg, Introduction to the Masoretic-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible (London 1897) 925974. Felix's writings and sermons were instrumental in attracting many Jewish converts.

Bibliography: d. a. perini, Bibliographia augustiniana 3 (1935) 100102. w. hÜmpfner, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 4:70.

[s. m. polan]