Sep 15, 2014

Rabbinic Bible

Rabbinic Bible or Mikraot Gedolot : These are the "Great Scriptures" of the Jewish religion, published together in a uniform format for the first time in early 16th century. Based on the first edition by Ben Hayyim, published by Bomberg in Venice in 1525, there have been a number of improved or enlarged editions through the ages. The nineteenth century saw one major project from Warsaw, where Yoel Levenzohn produced an edition in 12 Volumes between 1860 and 1866. (Wikipedia)

Our set is uniformly bound in 5 large and very nicely bound volumes. The binding is in excellent condition, somewhat overspecified perhaps, especially when compared with the more humble quality of paper and printing, produced in Poland, under difficult circumstances no doubt. The set proudly displays the arms of Cambridge University to front and spine.

Each volume also has a donation bookplate, which states that the set has been given, more than 100 years ago, to a Cambridge college by the widow of John Sharpe. John Sharpe was a fellow of the college, also Rector of Gissing, a small village in Norfolk, and a contributor to the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Christian Antiquities and the Dictionary of Christian Biography.

Apart from these mild library traces (also a blind-stamp to the endpaper, see below), the work has apparently never been used and is in superb condition.

Below are some views of the varied typography.

Blind-stamp to endpaper

Yes, we are looking for a new home for this set. The international book-trade does not seem to offer this edition at the moment, except for a single odd volume, in a very poor state, priced at £450 / $700. The title is very rare in the trade. Ingrid Oey of Antiquariaat Rashi in Amsterdam wrote to us that she never had this edition in stock. The high quality of our binding is also indicative of the rarity of the title. Because of this rarity, a reprint was published in Jerusalem In 1960. There are no auction records for the original edition, but the single volume currently for sale, with all its faults, offers some guidance. We can find approx 30 copies in US libraries, only one in Germany (StaBi), the Polish National Library only seems to hold a part volume.
Disclaimer: We are not in a position to read Hebrew text or to offer a bibliographical collation for this title. One library catalogue mentions defects like duplicate and missing pages. Our pricing shall try to account for this possibility. Our full listing is here.

The Warsaw Rabbinic Bible
The latest Biblia Rabbinica, with thirty-two commentaries, is that published at Warsaw by Levensohn (1860–68, 12 vols., small fol.). It contains, besides the original Hebrew, the Targums Onḳelos and Yerushalmi on the Pentateuch, the Targum Jonathan on the Prophets, and Targums to the Hagiographa, including the Targum Sheni on Esther. Of commentaries it contains that of Rashi on the whole Bible; Aaron Pesaro's "Toledot Aharon"; Asheri's commentary and Norzi's notes on the Bible; Ibn Ezra on the Pentateuch, the Five Megillot, the Minor Prophets, the Psalms, Job, and Daniel; Moses Ḳimḥi on the Proverbs; Naḥmanides on the Pentateuch; Obadiah Sforno on the Pentateuch, the Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes; Elijah Wilna on the Pentateuch, Joshua, Isaiah, and Ezekiel; S. E. Lenczyz and S. Edels on the Pentateuch; J. H. Altschuler on the Prophets and Hagiographa; David Ḳimḥi on the Later Prophets; Levi ben Gershon on Joshua, Kings, Proverbs, and Job; Isaiah di Trani on Judges and Samuel; S. Oceda on Ruth and Lamentations; Eliezer ben Elijah Ashkenazi on Esther; Saadia on Daniel. It also contains the Masorah Magna and Parva, tracts on the vowels and accents, the various readings of Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, and the introduction of Jacob ben Ḥayyim of Tunis. (Wikipedia)