137
137
Hebrew Bible, Paris: Robertus Stephanus, 1539-1543
Estimate
4,0006,000
LOT SOLD. 8,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT
137
Hebrew Bible, Paris: Robertus Stephanus, 1539-1543
Estimate
4,0006,000
LOT SOLD. 8,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Judaica

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New York

Hebrew Bible, Paris: Robertus Stephanus, 1539-1543
23 of 24 parts in 4 volumes (approx. 10 x 6 5/8 in.; 253 x 170 mm): Vol. 1: 579 pages; Vol. 2: 681 pages; Vol. 3: 544 pages; Vol. 4: 586 pages. Complete Tiberian vocalization and accentuation throughout, except on 1:377-383 (the repeating parts of Parashat naso); mostly single-column text (except biblical songs and other special sections) of twenty lines to a page; Psalms laid out with special poetic spacing; headers throughout; catchwords throughout; marginal chapter (though not verse) numeration (in Psalms, each new psalm is preceded by its number in the body of the text); kerei usually noted in margins; marginal Masorah parva present in Daniel and Ezra-Nehemiah only (Daniel also features a masoretic tally of verses at its close); commentary of Radak (with marginal biblical citations) limited to Twelve Minor Prophets only; copious nineteenth-century Latin and Hebrew marginalia and Arabic numeral verse numeration in pen on pp. 3-11 of Job. Twenty-three separate title pages (see Contents), each featuring printer's woodcut device; ten woodcut initial word panels at the start of each book of the Pentateuch (1:3, 145, 265, 353, 477) and the Former Prophets (2:3, 77, 148, 321), as well as Chronicles (p. 3); tapering text at the end of many books; most books separated from each other by two or three blanks; in Pentateuch, parashiyyot end with three pes and start with enlarged incipits; biblical songs on 1:185-186 (Song of the Sea), 1:572-575 (Song of Moses), 2:89-93 (Song of Deborah), 2:311-314 (Song of David) and special layout on 2:39 (Josh. 12:9-24). Episodic staining; light dampstaining in upper margins of vols. 2, 4; small worm tracks in outer margins of 1:573-579 and at foot of 2:1-330; minor tears in outer edges of 1:215-218; small burn with loss of a few words on 3:49-54. Seventeenth-century mottled calf, worn around edges and on spine; covers with border of two gilt fillets and a central blind-roll panel; spine in six compartments with raised bands; gilt title, printer's name, volume number, and floral designs on spine, rubbed; red paper edges; decorated turn-ins; front and rear flyleaves of vol. 3 loose.
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Catalogue Note

Robert I Estienne (also known in Latin as Robertus Stephanus; 1503-1559), scion of the famous family of French printers, was an important sixteenth-century publisher of Latin and Hebrew texts. Having been appointed King François I’s (1494-1547) official Printer in Hebrew and Latin on June 24, 1539, Estienne would immediately proceed to produce the present deluxe wide-margined quarto edition of the Hebrew Bible, which bears the distinction of being the first-ever complete edition of the Hebrew Scriptures printed in France (Armstrong [1954]). The initial volume, Hosea, appeared that same month, June 1539, and the last installments, the Pentateuch and Chronicles, were issued by the end of August 1543 (Vervliet [2008]; though see the title page of the Former Prophets, which is dated to the Hebrew year [5]303 but the non-corresponding secular year MDXLIIII). His edition of the Twelve Minor Prophets, published in 1539-1540, was augmented by the introduction and comprehensive commentary of Rabbi David Kimhi (ca. 1160-ca. 1235), edited by Francis Vatablus (d. 1547), Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Paris.

Each of the title pages in this edition contains both Hebrew (square and Rashi type) and Latin text, as well as Estienne’s device, an olive tree with a man standing to the right. Between them is the phrase Noli altum sapere (“Be not high-minded;” Rom. 11:20). This device is one of several employed by Robert I and other members of the Estienne printing dynasty.

Lacking only the Five Scrolls, the present lot is otherwise complete, and is remarkable not only for its excellent state of preservation, but for the copious nineteenth-century Latin and Hebrew marginalia added to the opening pages of the Book of Job.

Contents

Vol. 1: Pentateuch: 579 pages.

Vol. 2: Former Prophets: 501 pages; Chronicles: 180 pages.

Vol. 3: Isaiah: 124 pages; Jeremiah: 163 pages; Ezekiel: 139 pages; Daniel: 47 pages; Ezra-Nehemiah: 71 pages.

Vol. 4: Psalms: 151 pages; Proverbs: 53 pages; Job: 59 pages; Hosea: 66 pages; Joel: 20 pages; Amos: 44 pages; Jonah: 14 pages; Obadiah: 8 pages; Micah: 32 pages; Nahum: 15 pages; Habakkuk: 19 pages; Zephaniah: 16 pages; Haggai: 12 pages; Zachariah: 59 pages; Malachi: 18 pages.

Literature

Elizabeth Armstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer: An Historical Study of the Elder Stephanus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954), 51, 119-121.

Hendrik D. L. Vervliet, The Palaeotypography of the French Renaissance: Selected Papers on Sixteenth-Century Typefaces, vol. 1 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2008), 136-144.

Vinograd, Paris 16

Important Judaica

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