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Rabbinical Bibles


Printed editions of the Hebrew Scriptures with the Masoretic Text and the Targum in parallel columns surrounded by various rabbinic commentaries, such as those of rashi, Abraham ibn ezra, nah:manides, and David Kimchi, in the margins. Termed miqrā'ôt g e dōlôt (large editions of the Scriptures) in Hebrew, they include also the apparatus of the Masora giving variant readings and other reference data. The several editions of rabbinical Bibles may differ from each other in the numbers and types of commentaries included.

The first rabbinical Bible, published by Daniel bom-berg in Venice in 151617, was edited by Felix pratensis, a Jewish convert to Christianity. This edition is the first to give the q erê and k etîb variants and to establish the division of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books each, as well as to separate Ezra and Nehemiah. Pratensis was meticulous in his attempt to fix the Biblical text insofar as the MSS at his disposal permitted, even citing the minutest variations in vocalic and accentual notation as well as the peculiar sizes and positions of certain letters.

Bomberg's second edition, 152425, was edited by Jacob ben ayyim. It differs from the first in that Ben

ayyim sought to produce the authoritative form of the scriptural text by collating and comparing material from many manuscripts. For this purpose, he included the Masora magna, parva, and finalis. He also indicated the open and closed sections by the initial letters of the Hebrew equivalents for these terms.

His version of the Masoretic text became the standard for all subsequent editions of the Hebrew Bible, critical and otherwise, well into the 20th century. Modern studies, however, have demonstrated that Ben ayyim was eclectic in his selection of variant readings and his sources were neither old nor necessarily accurate.

After Bomberg's third edition, 154648, edited by Cornelius Alkind, there were three subsequent publications of his rabbinical Bible: Treves, Germany (no date); Venice, 161719; and Basel, 161819. The last, by Johannes Buxtorf, the Elder, possesses a hybrid scriptural text derived from both the text of Ben ayyim and that of the Complutensian Polyglot, 151317 (see polyglot bibles).

The seventh rabbinical Bible, called Q ehillôt Mōšeh, was published in Amsterdam by Moses ben Simeon Frankfurter in 172427 in four volumes. The Warsaw Rabbinical Bible issued by Abraham Baer Lebensohn in 186068 is in 12 volumes and contains 32 commentaries.

Bibliography: r. gottheil, The Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. j. singer (New York 190106) 3:158161. p. e. kahle, The Cairo Geniza (2d ed. New York 1960) 120124, 129131.

[r. krinsky]

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