COMMENTARY ON THE PENTATEUCH, RABBI MOSES NAHMANIDES, PESARO: [GERSHOM] SONCINO, 1513-1514
177 folios (10 7/8 x 7 3/8 in.; 277 x 186 mm) (collation: i8, ii-iii6, i-xvii6, xviii8, xix-xxv6, xxvi5 [final blank lacking]) on paper; modern foliation in pencil in Arabic numerals in lower margins. Title within an elaborate woodcut border repeated on f. [3r]; woodcut headpiece on f. 1r; lengthy marginal comment on f. 141r, signed by Rabbi Daniel Franco. Slight scattered staining; some marginal repairs intermittently throughout; some loss of woodcut borders on ff. [1, 3], replaced in facsimile; f.  remargined; f. 7 bound backward. Modern elaborately blind-tooled morocco; spine in six compartments with raised bands; title, place, and date lettered on spine; red edges; modern paper flyleaves and pastedowns.
A rare copy of the fourth edition of this exegetical classic.
The author of the present commentary on the Torah, Rabbi Moses Nahmanides (1194-1270), began working on it while still in his native Spain, although it was completed, or at least emended, during the sage’s later years in the Holy Land, as attested by his firsthand knowledge of the country’s geography. Unlike the running commentary of Rashi, Nahmanides’ exposition constitutes an extensive elucidation of selected passages, evincing little concern for linguistics but much for the themes and lessons of the biblical text. His critical analysis of the aggadic and halakhic interpretations of both Talmudic and midrashic works is lucidly written.
The title and first text page of Genesis in the present edition both have a decorative frame comprised of panels from the Decachordum, a Latin work that Gershom Soncino had previously published. Between them is Nahmanides’ preface and introduction, the initial words of the latter enclosed within a Soncino ornamental border. Although the title page refers to the printers as the “Sons of Soncino,” the text begins with four lines consisting of verses from Psalms which give the name Gershom in an acrostic.
Nahmanides’ Pentateuch commentary is considered by many the most important such work after that of Rashi. The first edition, printed in Rome circa 1470, may well have been the first Hebrew book ever printed, and the commentary’s popularity remained undiminished in subsequent centuries.
Judah ha-Ari of Modena [...] Reggio (f. [1r])
Daniel Franco [rabbi in Tunis, d. 1820] (f. [3r])
A.M. Habermann, Ha-madpisim benei soncino: toledoteihem u-reshimat ha-sefarim ha-ivrim she-nidpesu al yedeihem (Vienna: David Fraenkel, 1933), 38 (no. 15).
Marvin J. Heller, The Sixteenth Century Hebrew Book: An Abridged Thesaurus, vol. 1 (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2004), 62-63.
Chaim and Betzalel Stefansky, Sifrei yesod: sifrei ha-yesod shel ha-sifriyyah ha-yehudit ha-toranit (n.p.: Chaim and Betzalel Stefansky, 2019), 8 (no. 3).
Vinograd, Pesaro 34
Isaac Yudlov and G.J. Ormann, Sefer ginzei yisra’el: sefarim, hoverot, va-alonim me-osef dr. yisra’el mehlman, asher be-beit ha-sefarim ha-le’ummi ve-ha-universita’i (Jerusalem: JNUL, 1984), 114 (no. 673).