*At the end of volume one, there are an additional 8 leaves, comprising the Targum Yerushalmi on the Torah; these supplemental leaves are not part of the Second Rabbinic Bible printed by Bomberg in 1524-25. The leaves were taken from a copy of the Fifth Rabbinic Bible printed by Bragadin, 1617-18, and added by a later owner to enhance the value of this set. The additional 8 leaves are NOT recorded in the above collation for vol. I
In 1516 Daniel Bomberg, a wealthy Christian, was granted the privilege of publishing Hebrew books in Venice. Among the first works he printed in 1516–17 was the Mikra'ot Gedolot(Rabbinic Bible), a folio edition of the entire Bible with the leading commentaries. Pope Leo X gave his imprimatur for this book and Felix Pratensis, a monk who had been born a Jew, was the editor. Bomberg published the edition because of growing interest in the Hebrew language and the Bible among learned Christians. An adept businessman, Bomberg quickly perceived that there was also a substantial market for Hebrew texts among the Jews of Italy, whose numbers had been increased by an influx of Spanish and Portuguese Jews exiled from the Iberian Peninsula. The commentaries of Rashi, Nahmanides, and Gersonides attracted the Jewish clientele, but the editorship of an apostate and the blessing of the Pope led many Jews to avoid the 1516-17 edition. Six years later, in 1524, Bomberg's second Rabbinic Bible appeared. No effort was spared to produce the finest Bible possible. It was printed in four volumes, each with its own title-page. The initial word of each book is set within a large decorative woodcut frame surrounded by a square made up of lines, varying in number, comprising the masoretic rubrics. At the end of each book is the masoretic summary. Each page is arranged in four columns, with the inner columns comprising the biblical text and the Aramaic translation, Targum Onkelos. The outer columns contain the commentaries of Rashi and ibn Ezra. Above and below the inner columns is the Masorah Magna and in the space between these two columns is the Masorah Parva. In the narrow outer column are portions of the Masorah Parva that did not fit between the text and Targum.
This time Bomberg emphasized that his printers were pious Jews, as was his scholarly editor, Jacob ben Haim ibn Adonijah. The second Rabbinic Bible became the determinative biblical text, first for Jews and subsequently for the scholarly world as well. All future editions reflect this outstanding edition. Bomberg's press was active until 1549 and in all, more than two hundred Hebrew books were produced in his shop.
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