Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Second Rabbinic Bible

Did you ever want to know about the printing of the Bible? When did it start? Which books were printed first? Were the copies accurate or not? Well, all that information and more can be found in C.D. Ginsburg's Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, specifically pages 779-976. These are the pages you have to read for Dr. Leiman's class specifically.

In any case, today I am going to be excerpting from these pages regarding The Second Rabbinic Bible, mostly because I need to know it for my comps and somewhat because I think that everyone ought to know this. So enjoy.


Second edition of the Rabbinic Bible or the editio princeps of Jacob b. Chayim with the Massorah, Venice 1524-25

Though Bomberg's second edition of the Rabbinic Bible, this is the famous editio princeps of the Rabbinic Bible with the Massorah edited by Jacob b. Chayim Ibn Adonijah. This renowned Massorite became connected with the spirited and enterprising Venice printer about 1516-17, the very time when the edition of Felix Pratensis was published, and there can hardly be any doubt that Jacob the ultra orthodox Rabbinic Jew must often have pointed out to Bomberg the disadvantage of appealing to Jewish communities to purchase a Rabbinic Bible edited by a neophyte Augustinian monk and dedicated to the Pope. However that may be, the enthusiastic Massorite persuaded Bomberg in the course of a few years to undertake the publication of the justly celebrated Bible with the Massorah which finally settled the Massoretic text as it is now exhibited in the present recension of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Jacob b. Chayim's own account of this great enterprise in his elaborate Introduction to the Bible is as follows:
    When I explained to Bomberg the advantage of the Massorah, he did all in his power to send into all the countries in order to search out what may be found of the Massorah, and praised be the Lord we obtained as many of the Massoretic books as could possibly be got. He was not backward, and his hand was not closed, nor did he draw back his right hand from producing gold out of his purse to defray the expenses of the books and the messengers who were engaged to make search for them in the most remote corners and in every place where they might possibly be found.
Having obtained these materials, Jacob b. Chayim at once earnestly set to work to reduce them to order and to distribute the Massoretic corpus on the different pages of the Bible in a manner that it might easily be comprehended by the Biblical student. The enormous labour connected with this task is, modestly described by the learned editor in the following words:
    Behold I have exerted all my might and strength to collate and arrange the Massorah, with all the possible improvements in order that it may remain pure and bright and shew its splendour to the nations and princes; for indeed it is beautiful to look at. This was a labour of love, for the benefit of our brethren, the children of Israel, and for the glory of our holy and perfect Law, as well as to fulfil, as far as possible, the desire of M. Daniel Bomberg, whose expenses in this matter far exceeded my labours. And as regards the Commentaries, I have exerted my powers to the utmost degree to correct in them all the mistakes as far as possible and whatsoever my humble endeavors could accomplish was done for the glory of the Lord, and for the benefit of our people. I would not be deterred by the enormous labour, for which cause I did not suffer my eyelids to be closed long, either in the winter or summer, and did not mind rising in the cold of the night, as my aim and desire were to see this holy work finished. Now praised be the Creator who granted me this privilege to begin and to finish this work.
The results of this unparallelled labour and vast erudition are exhibited in the Massoretico-Rabbinic Bible which was published in four folio volumes by Bomberg, Venice 1524-25. It will be seen that the publication of this Bible almost synchronises with the expiration of the ten years special Licence commencing in 1515 which was granted by Leo X to Felix Pratensis and in which the Supreme Pontiff forbade under pains and penalties the printing of a Rabbinic Bible with the Targums. The following are teh contents of the four volumes.

Volume I. The Pentateuch.- This Volume, which contains the Pentateuch with the Targum of Onkelos, the Commentaries of Rashi and Ibn Ezra and both the Massorahs, Magna and Parva, is without pagination and without catchwords in the Hebrew and Chaldee, but has the catchwords in the Commentaries. It consists of 234 folios and 30 quires with signatures. The first quire has 6 folios and the last has 4 folios, whilst the other 28 quires have respectively 8 folios. The quires are numbered both in Hebrew and Arabic numerals, whilst the sheets composing the quires are marked with Hebrew and Roman numerals.

Every folio has as a rule four columns, the two middle columns give the Hebrew text and the Chaldee of Onkelos both being furnished with the vowel-points and the accents; in the upper and lower margins of these central columns the Massorah Magna is given which generally consists of three lines in the upper margin and which has no definite number of lines in the lower margin: the space between the two central columns is occupied by the Massorah Parva. The two outer columns contain respectively the Commentaries of Rashi and Ibn Ezra. Not unfrequently there is also a narrow column outside these four columns which contains those portions of the Massorah Parva which were too long for the space between the Hebrew and Chaldee columns.

Each book begins with the first wood in large letters which is enclosed in a decorative wood-cut border and this again is contained in a square composed of lines varying in number which comprise Massoretic Rubrics. At the end of each book is the Massoretic Summary which registers the number of verses, the middle verse &c in the book.

The fifty-four annual Pericopes into which the Pentateuch is divided are indicated in a four-fold manner. (a) Each Parasha is separated from the other by a textless space of about four lines (b) With the exception of four instances there is at the end of each Pericope a register of the number of verses in the Pericope with the mnemonic sign (c) This is followed by the word פרשה in large letters which occupies the centre of the column when the Pericope coincides with an Open Section which is normally the case. In the abnormal instances where the Pericope coincides with a Closed Section, three Samechs (ססס) take the place of Parasha, and (d) each Parasha begins with the first word in larger letters. The names of the Pericopes are given in running head-lines throughout the Pentateuch where, however, מקץ is a mistake for ויגש on fol 56a.

In the sectional division of the text, Jacob b. Chayim has not followed the ancient rule which prescribes the form of the Sections, and which is followed in the best Sephardic MSS. He exhibits alike Open and Closed Sections by unfinished lines, indented lines and breaks in the middle of the lines. To indicate, however, the nature of the respective Sections, he inserted into the sectional spaces the letters Pe (פ) and Samech (ס) throughout the Pentateuch. IN this respect, therefore, he has only partially followed the excellent second edition of the entire Hebrew Bible, Naples 1491-93.

The preliminary matter to this Volume consists of (1) a rhythymical eulogy of this stupendous work written by Joseph b. Samuel Zarphati; (2) Jacob b. Chayim's celebrated Introduction to the Bible which I have published with an English translation &c; (3) complete Lists giving the number of the Christian chapters in each book of the Bible with the words wherewith each chapter begins; (4) Lists of the Sedarim throughout the Bible with their respective initial words, and (5) Ibn Ezra's Introduction to the Pentateuch. This preliminary matter occupies a separate quire of 6 folios with a duplicate signature, since this sheet like the following one has the same signature, א=1. It was printed after the whole Bible had left the press.

Volume II. The Former Prophets.- This Volume contains the Former Prophets, i.e. Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. It consists of 26 quires of 8 folios each, with the exception of the last quire which has 9 folios, so that the Volume has altogether 209 folios. The signatures exhibit a continuation of those in the first Volume. Hence the 26 quires are numbered both in Hebrew and Arabic numerals from ל 30 to נה 55.

The names of the respective books are given in running head-lines throughout the Volume where we have for the first time the division of Samuel and Kings into two books each, indicated by 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings. This is a further development on Felix Pratensis who simply marked the division in the text itself or in the margin, but not in the head-lines. Jacob b. Chayim, however, has omitted the remarks of Pratensis in which this division is ascribed to Christians.

The arrangement and contents of the columns are similar to those in the first Volume with the following exceptions. (1) The Chaldee Paraphrase is that of the so-called Jonathan b. Uzziel and though it has the vowel points it is without the accents. (2) The Commentary of David Kimchi takes the place of Ibn Ezra and (3) the Commentary of Ralbag (= R Levi B. Gershom) is added, generally in the lower part of the column occupied by Rashi.

As is the case in the first Volume, each book in this Volume begins with the first word in large letters which is enclosed in a decorative wood-cut border. Outside this border is a large square made up of lines varying in number which contain sundry Massoretic Rubrics. At the end of each book is the Massoretic Summary which registers the number of verses, the middle verse and the Sedarim in the book. But thought Samuel and Kings are severally divided into two books, they are Massoretically treated as constituting one book each, and hence 2 Samuel and 2 Kings do not begin with the first word in larger letters and the Massoretic Summary at the end applies to the undivided Samuel and Kings.

Volume III. The Latter Prophets- The third Volume contains the Latter Prophets in the following order: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Twelve Minor Prophets, which is the sequence exhibited in Column IV of the Table on page 6. It consists of 27 quires of 8 folios each with the exception of the last quire which has only 3 folios. The Volume has, therefore, altogether 211 folios. In this Volume too, the quires exhibit a continuous numeration from the former Volume and the numbers of the 27 quires are in the Hebrew and Arabic from 56 to 82.

The arrangement of the columns with the Hebrew and the Chaldee in the centre, the two commentaries in the two outer columns, the massorah Magna in the upper and lower margins witih the Massorah Parva occupying the space between the two central columns, is exactly the same as in the former Volumes. It is in the two outer columns which exhibit the Commentaries where alternate changes take place. In Isaiah the Commentary of Ibn Ezra takes the place of Kimchi, and in Jeremiah and Ezekiel Kimchi takes the place of Ibn Ezra, whilst in the Minor Prophets Ibn Ezra takes again the place of Kimchi. The Commentary alone uniformly occupies one of the columns throughout the Volume.

Volume IV. The Hagiographa- The fourth Volume contains the Hagiographa in the order exhibited in Column VIII of the Table on page 7. It consists of 37 quires of 8 folios each, with the exception of the last quire which has 10 folios. Accordingly this Volume has 298 folios. Here too the numeration of the quires runs on from the previous Volume and the 37 quires are numbered from 83 to 119.

The changes both in the arrangement and contents of the columns in this Volume are considerable. Up to Daniel the arrangement of the columns is the same and it is only in the contents of the columns which exhibit the two Commentaries where the alternate changes occur. In the Psalms the two columns contain Rashi and Ibn Ezra, in Proverbs and Job, Ralbag takes the place of Rashi, whilst in the Five Megilloth Rashi resumes his place. The Commentary on Proverbs, however, which is described in the heading as Ibn Ezra's, belongs to Moses Kimchi.

From Daniel to the end of Chronicles which is the last book of the Hebrew text, there is a change in the arrangement of the columns. As the last three books, viz .Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles are without the Targum, each page is henceforth divided horizontally into two sections, with two columns in each. The two columns in the upper section contain the text with the Massorah Parva in the intervening space, the Massorah Magna is given in the upper margin and below the text which horizontally divides the two sections, whilst the two columns in the lower section exhibit the two Commentaries.

In Daniel the two columns are respectively occupied by the Commentaries of Saadia and Rashi, in Ezra-Nehemiah Ibn Ezra's is the companion Commentary to Rashi, whilst in Chronicles Rashi is the sole occupant of both columns. Here again the Commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah which is ascribed in the heading to Ibn Ezra, belong to Moses Kimchi as is now established beyond the shadow of a doubt.

At the end of Chronicles or as an Appendix to Volume IV, Jacob b. Chayim gives in 65 folios of four columns each, that part of the Massorah Magna which was too long for the upper and lower margins of the text. As I have reprinted the whole of his recension I need not describe it here. Suffice it to say, that his conscientious and laborious application of the different Rubrics to the sundry pssages of the Bible faithfully exhibits the Hebrew text with all the phenomenal letters, words &c according to the Massorah and that this is the only authorised Massoretic recension. No textual redactor of modern days who professes to edit the Hebrew text according to the Massorah can deviate from it without giving conclusive justification for so doing.

A few of the characteristic features which distinguish this edition from its predecessors will suffice to show its merits.

(I) It is the first edition in which the consonants of the official readings are given in the margin with the express remark ק or Keri. Hitherto the editors have simply affixed the vowel points of the keri to the consonants of the Kethiv without any indication in the margin of the real consonants to which these graphic signs belong. Felix Pratensis, who alone gives the official readings, has mixed them up with the various readings from other Codices, and as he omits to mark the official variant with ק - Keri, it is difficult to distinguish between the two classes of variants.

(2) Jacob b. Chayim is also the first who has given in his edition of the Bible a large number of the important variants which are known by the name Sevirin

(3) He has, moreover, carefully collated a number of Codices and frequently gives their variants in the margin of his edition. The following instances from Genesis will show the nature and extent of the variations which he records (see page 964- I'm not typing it up)

These important glosses are no part of the Massorah, but record the result of Jacob b. Chayim's own collation. They disclose the fact that some of the model Codices and the Massoretic Annotators not unfrequently differed in their readings, and that Jacob b. Chayim had to exercise his own judgment as to which was the better reading. In this respect a modern editor is not bound to abide by Jacob b. Chayim's decision. A striking illustration of this fact we have in the two verses of Joshua XXI viz 36, 37. We have seen that some of the best MSS and all the early editions without exception have these two verses. Jacob b. Chayim, however, decided to omit them in accordance with a certain School of Massorites, but we are perfectly justified in restoring them on the authority which we have adduced.

Moreover Jacob b. Chayim with all his exertions had only been able to obtain a comparatively small portion of the Massorah, and many important Rubrics were entirely unknown to him as may be seen from a comparison of his edition of this Corpus with the Massorah which I published. The distribution and application of the contents of these new Lists among the various passages of the text, which constitute the Rubrics in question, not unfrequently yield new readings. But even here a modern editor has to give explicit data for departing from the Massoretic text as edited by Jacob b. Chayim.

Jacob b. Chayim himself has not unfrequently wrongly deviated from the Massorah which he printed. Hence his own text is occasionally in conflict with the Rubric which accompanies the textual phenomena. Thus on Gen IX 21 where we have one of the instances in which אהל, tent, with the suffix third person singular masculine, exhibits the archaic termination He (ה) instead of the normal Vav (ו), the Massorah Parva states that it is so written in four instances, and the Massorah Magna on this very passage not only mentions the same fact but enumerates the four passages, viz. Gen IX 21; XII 8; XIII 3; XXXV 21. And though the Massorah Parva remarks against each of the instances that it is one of the four exceptions, yet Jacob b. Chayim's text also reads אהלה with He in Gen XXVI 25 contrary to the unfirom Massorah Parva in the four passages. In the Massorah Finalis where he gives the heading of this Rubric he indeed states that there are five such instances, and refers to Gen IX 21 where he says the Massorah enumerates them in full. Bu thtis Massoretic Rubric, as we have seen, expressly states that there are only four and the enumeration coincides with the heading. This conflict between Jacob b. Chayim's textual reading and his Massorah is manifestly due to the fact that some Massoretic Schools had preserved more instances of this archaic form and that Gen XXVI 25 is one of them. Still his reading in Gen XXVI 25 contradicts his Massorah.

A still more striking instance of conflict between Jacob b. Chayim's text and his Massorah is to be seen in Gen XXVII 11 where the unique orthography of שער, hairy, occurs and where the Massorah Parva duly remarks that this defective form does not occur again. In verse 23 of this very chapter שערת hairy, the plural feminine of this adjective occurs which is also defective. Here the Massorah Parva remarks "there are three instances of defective orthography of this expression in the Bible". As usual the Massorah Parva simply gives the number, but does not give the passages. The Massorah Magna, however, on this very pssage not only states that there are four such instances, which contradicts the Massorah Parva, but minutely enumerates them, viz. Gen XXVII 11, 23; Levit XVI 18, 21. Accordingly the other two instances are in Levit XVI 18, 21. On referring, however, to these two passages, it will be seen that they are both plene in Jacob b. Chayim's text which is in conflict with his Massorah. The contradiction is due to the same cause. The plene orthography emanates from one School of textual redactors and the defective spelling was transmitted by another School. AS the majority fo the MSS which he collated exhibited the defective orthography he inserted it into his text, but having also found this Massorah he felt it his conscentious duty to record it. Still his textual readings contradict his Massorah.

In the face of such conscientious proceedings which made Jacob b. Chayim scrupulously to record Massorahs even when they were in direct conflict withthe readings he adopted in the text, it is astonishing to find that some eminent critics have accused him of being a party to a "pious fraud" and that he had falsified the text in the interest of Christianity to please his Christian employer. This accusation is based upon the Massorah Parva on Numb XXIV 9 and Psalm XXII 17, but more especially on his remarks in the Massorah Finalis with reference to teh quadriliteral expression כארי which occurs four times in the Bible, twice with Kametz under the Caph and twice with Pathach.

(1) On Numb XXIV 9, where it first occurs and where it has Pathach, the Masorah Parva simply states that it occurs four times, twice with Kametz and twice with Pathach. As this simply registers the number of times without giving the passages, nothing is to be deduced from t his matter of fact statement. The Massorah Magna, however, on this very passage which notices the two instances where it is with Pathach, gives this as the first and Ps. XXII 17 as the second passage with the important remark that the textual reading or the Kethiv in the latter place is כארו with Vav at the end, which most unquestionably makes it a verb third person plural, the Kethiv in Jacob b. Chayim's text is not only k'ari with Yod at the end, but that the Massorah on this passage makes no mention whatever of the existence of such a variant.

(3) It is the alphabetical Massorah Finalis at the end of the fourth volume where Jacob b. Chayim records and discusses the various readings in Ps. XXII 17. In letter Aleph he gives the Massoretic Rubric withthe four passages in full in which this quadriliteral occurs,a nd appends to the following important note in Rabbinic characters:
    In some correct Codices, I have found כארו as the Kethiv and k'ari as the Keri but I have searched in the List of words which are written with Vav at the end and are read with Yod and did not find it included therein. Neither did I find it noticed among the variations which exist in the Bible between the Easterns and the Westerns. Thus far.
The cause of offence which provoked Hupfeld's charge of falsification against Jacob b. Chayim is in the first place the Massorah Parva on Ps. XXII 17, which as we have seen states that kari with Kametz under the Caph occurs twice in two different senses. As it undoubtedly denotes like a lion in Isa XXXVIII 13, the remark is naturally designed to convey the idea that in Ps. XXII 17, which si the twin passage, it is a verb. For this reason Hupfeld concludes that it is not a genuine Massorah, but a fradulent addition by Jacob b. Chayim.

Nothing short of documentary evidence could justify so serious a charge. As there was no other printed Massorah in Hupfeld's time by which to test the accuracy of Jacob b. Chayim's Massorah he was in duty bound to investiage MS Lists. He would then have found that every important Condex with the Massorah gives the Alphabetical List of words which respectively occur twice in two different senses and that כארי in Isa XXXVIII 13 and PS XXII 17 is an essential constituent of this List. In confirmation of this statement I refer to the Ochlah Ve-Ochlah edited by Frensdorff and to my edition of the Massorah. But what makes this charge inexcusable is the fact that hte MS. of the important recension of the Ochlah ve-Ochlah is in the University Library at Halle where Hupfeld resided and where he was Hebrew Professor. If he had consulted this MS, which was his duty to do, he would have found this list with kaari in it as having two different senses in Isa XXXVIII 13 and Ps XXIII 17.

As to the important note in the Massorah Finalis, Hupfled boldly declares that "Jacob b. Chayim was very much pressed by the Christian printer in whose pay he was to insert the reading כארו into the text "for the glory of God" which he indeed did not do, but to please his employer he was induced to designate the MSS. In which he found this reading as careful or correct Codices contrary to the truth.

Having proved the genuineness of the Massorah Parva on Ps. XXII 17, which according to Hupfeld himself conveys the same sense as the Kethiv mentioned by Jacob b. Chayim in the Massorah Magna and in the note appended to the Rubric in the Massorah Finalis, I might here dismiss the charge with regard to this Kethiv. The existence, however, in ancient times of the reading which Jacob b. Chayim gives as the Kethiv which is beyond the shadow of a doubt, not only vindicates the character of the first editor of the Massorah, but is important to textual criticism.

Leaving out the reading in the Septugint which critics of the Hupfeld School ascribe to a Christian hand, this reading is attested by Aquila who renders it - they have made hateful- which was sufficient evidence even for Graetz that "at the time of the earlier Tanaites in the beginning of the second century the text of some Codices had כארו. The reading כארו as a verb preterite third person plural is, moreover, perserved in the Midrash on the Psalms where it is rendered by הוכרו, they made hateful, or according to others they made happy. There is, therefore, no doubt that the two rival readings were preserved in two different Schools of textual redactors and that by way of compromise one was put into the text and the other in the margin. Indeed from the Chaldee rendering of this passage it would appear that at one time both these readings were in the text which is not at all improbable since it not unfrequently happened that one of pairs which are alike, is dropped out of the text. Accordingly the text in some MSS was כארו כארי ידי ורגלי - like a lion they tore my hands and feet.

Such a paranomasia is of frequent occurence and is regarded as imparting force to Hebrew diction.

As had already been remarked, the text of Jacob b. Chayim's edition exhibits most scrupulously the Massoretic recension. It is therefore of supreme imporatnce to see how far the innovations which have been introduced into some modern editions called Massoretic are in harmony with this Massoretic editio princeps.

There is not only a hiatus in Gen IV 8, but the Massorah Parva on it distinctly remarks that it is one of the twenty-eight instances in which there is a break in the middle of the verse. בשגם in Gen VI 3 is with Kametz under the Gimel. With regard to the orhography of Chedor-laomer which occurs five times the editor is inconsistent, since it is in two words in three instances and in one word in two instances. Beth-el, however, is not only uniformly printed in two words in all the seventy passages in which it occurs in the Hebrew Bible, but is in two separate lines in no fewer than ten instances, Beth being at the end of one line and El at the beginning of the next line. AS has already been stated, this is the first printed edition of the Hebrew Bible in which the two verses are omitted in Josh XXI viz 36, 37 neither has it Neh VIII 68.

It cannot be too much emphasized that this Standard edition of teh Massooretic text is against the innovation of (1) inserting Dagesh into a consonant which follows a guttural with Sheva (2) into the first letter of a word when the preceding word with which it is combined happens to end with the same letter or (3) of changing Sheva into Chateph-Pathach when a consonant with simple Sheva is followed by the same consonant, as will be seen from the following examples (see list yourself on page 974).

As to the relation of this edition to that of Felix Pratensis, though Jacob b. Chayim never refers to it, there is no doubt that he was greatly indebted to it. We have seen that Felix Pratensis was the fist who not only printed the Keri in the margin but also variants from MSS. Jacob b. Chayim does the same, but more regularly and consistently. From the edition of Felix Pratensis, Jacob b. Chayim reprinted the TArgums on the Prophets and the Hagiographa which, however, he did not improve inasmuch as he omitted the Targum of Jonathan on the Pentateuch and the second Targum of Esther, which appeared for the first time in the edition of Felix Pratentis. Moreover, Jacob b. Chayim omitted the Dikduke Ha-Teamim which is also given for the first time by Felix Pratensis, though he promised to give it when mentioning it in the Massorah Finalis under letter Cheth. At the end of Volume IV, however, he etells us that he omitted it because he regarded it as superfluous.

Of this edition I collated two copies, one in the British museum, press mark 1900, 1. 3-6, and the second copy is in my own possession.


I now skip to: All subsequent editions are in so far Massoretic as they follow the Standard edition of Jacob b. Chayim. Every departure from it on the part of editors who call their texts Massoreetic has to be explained and justified on the authority of the Massorah and MSS which exhibit the Massoretic recension of the text.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Thank you for typing all of it up!

Anonymous said...

Read through it quickly and find this all fascinating and informative, but why is this called "Rabbinic" Bible?

Anonymous said...

'Jacob the ultra orthodox Rabbinic Jew must often have pointed out to Bomberg the disadvantage '
Not sure why you call him that. He did convert to christianity see google.

Anonymous said...

It was the first Mikra'os Gedolos. A printed Bible (not manuscript) is called Rabbinic Bible and this was the second Bible ever printed. (The first one was completely unreliable and full of errors.)


S. said...

"Rabbinic Bible" refers to its inclusion of rabbinic commentaries like Rashi and Ibn Ezra.