corner graphic

Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Rabbinic Bibles

Resource Toolbox

also called Mikraoth Gedoloth ( מקראות גדולות ), or Great Bibles, is the name given to the following Hebrew Bibles, which, besides the original text, also contain the commentaries of sundry Jewish rabbins.

1. רב העיון על ידי ארבעה ועשרים חומש עם תרגום אונקלוס דניאל בומבירגי מאנוירשא בויניזיאה ועם פירושרשי נדפסעם, fol. This is the first Rabbinic Bible published by Bomberg, and carried through the press by Felix Pratensis (q.v.) (Venice, 1516-17) ( ראח = 278). It consists of four parts, with a separate title-page to each, and with the following contents:

a. The Pentateuch, with the Chaldee paraphrase of Onkelos (q.v.) and the commentaries of Rashi (q.v.).

b. The Prophets, with the Chaldee of Jonathan ben-Uziel (q.v.) and the commentaries of Kimchi (q.v.).

c. The Hagiographa, viz. the Psalms, with the Tarcum of Joseph bar- Chija (q.v.) and D. Kimchi's (q.v.) commentary; Proverbs, with Joseph's Targum and David Ibn-Jachja's (q.v.) commentary; Job, with Joseph's Targum and the commentaries of Nachmauides (q.v.) and Fart issol (q.v.); the Five Megilloth (i.e. Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther), with Joseph's Targum and Rashi's commentary; Daniel, with Ralbag's (q.v.) commentary; Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles, with Rashi's and Simon Darshan's, or Cain's (q.v.), commenmtary. Appended to the volume are the Targum Jernsalem on the Pentateuch, the second Targum on Esther, the variations between Ben-Asher (q.v.) and Ben-Naphtali, the differences belween the Eastern and Western cod., Alaon heil-Asher's (q.v.) Dissertation on the Accents, Maimonides's (q.v.) thirteen articles of faith, the 613 precepts (q.v.), a table of the Parashioth and Haphtaroth (q.v. ), according to the Spanish and German rituals.

This edition, however, did not prove acceptable to the Jews, since it did not come up to all the requirements of Masoretic rules, as can be seen from the remark Levita makes in his Masoreth ha-Masoreth: "Let me therefore warn and caution every one who reads the folio or quarto editions of the four-and-twenty books published here in Venice in the year 1517 to pay no attention to the false remarks printed in the margin in the form of Keri and Kethib, plene and defective, Milel and Milra, and variations in the vowels and accents, or to any of those things which ought not to have been done, as I have stated above. The author of them did not know how to distinguish between his right hand and his left. Not being a Jew, he knew nothing about the nature of the Masorah, and what he did put down simply arose from the fact that he sometimes found variations in the copies which he had before him, and, as he did not know which reading was the correct one, he put down one in the margin and another in the text. Sometimes it so happened that he put the correct readling into the text and the incorrect one into the margin, and sometimes the reverse is the case; thus he was groping in darkness like a blind man. Hence they are not to be heeded, for they are confusion worse confounded." When Levita states that the editor was no Jew. he is wrong: he was born a Jew, in 1513 embrace Christianity at Rome, and died in 1539. The defectiveness of this first edition induced Bomberg to undertake another edition, for which he employed as editor the celebrated Jacob ben-Chajim (q.v.), and which he published under the title

2... . שער יהוה הקדש . , i.e. Porta Dei Sancta (Venice, 1524-25, 4 vols. fol.). This edition is an improvement upon the former, and its contents are as follows:

a. The first volume, embracing the Pentateuch (תורה ), begins, 1, with the elaborate introduction of the editor, in which he discusses the Masorah, the Keri, and Kethub, the variations between the Talmud and the Masorah, the Tikune Sopherim (תקוני סופרים ), and the order of the larger Masorah; 2, an index of the sections of the whole Old Test. according to the Masorah; and, 3, Aben-Ezra's preface to the Pentateuch. Then follow the five books of Moses in Hebrew, with the Chaldee paraphrases of Onkelos and Jonathan ben-Uziel, and the commentaries of Rashi and Aben-Ezra, the margins being filled up with as much of the Masorah as they would admit.

b. The second volume, comprising the earlier prophets (ראשונים נביאים ), i.e. Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings, has the Hebrew text, the Chaldee paraphraseof Jonathan ben-Uziel, nnd the commentaries of Rashii, Kimchi, and Levi ben-Gershon, and the Masorah in the margin.

c. The third volume, comprising the later prophets (אחרונים נביאים ), i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets, contains the Hebrew text, theChaldee paraphrase of Jonathan ben- Uziel, the comllnlentalries of Rashi, which extend over all the books in this volume, of Aben-Ezra on Isaiah and the minor prophets, and of Kimchi on Jeremiah, and the Masorah in the margin.

d. The fourth volume, comprising the Hagiographa (כתובים ), gives the Hebrew text, the Chaldee paraphrase of Joseph the Blind, the commentaries of Rashi on the Psalms, Ezra, Neheminh, the Five Megilloth. and Chronicles of Aben-Ezra on the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Daniel, the Five Megilloth, Ezra, and Nehemiah; of Levi ben-Gershon on Proverbs and Daniel; of Saadias on Daniel and the second Targum of Esther. But the most valuable part of his labors are the appendices to this volume, which are, "1, the Masorah which could not be got into the margin of the text in alphabetical order, with Jacob ben-Chajiim's directions; 2, the various readings of Ben-Asher and Ben-Naphtali, and the Eastern and Western codd.; and, 3, a treatise upon the points and accents, conutaining the work דרכי הנקוד והנגינות, or כללי הנוקיד, by Moses Nakdan. Jacob ben-Chajiim bestowed the utmost labor in amassing the Masorali and in purifying and arranging those materials which Felix Pratensis published very incorrectly in the first edition of Bomberg's Rabbinic Bible. He was, moreover, the first who, in his elaborate introduction, furnished the Biblical student with a treatise on the Masorah; and his edition of the Bible is of great importance to the criticism of the text, inasmuch as from it most of the Hebrew Bibles are printed. Keniicott published a Latin translation of Jacob ben-Chajim's valuable introduction from an anonymous MS. in the Bodleian Library in an abridged form (comp. Dissertation the Second [Oxford, 1759], p. 229244), and Ginsburg has published an English translation of the whole with explanatory notes in the Journal of Sacred Literature, 1863. In after-life Jacob ben-Chajim embraced Christianity, a circumstance which will account for Elias Levita's vituperations against him (צרורה בצרור נקוב תהי נשמתו, i.e. (Let his soul be bound up in a bag with holes')."

3. A revised and improved edition of the second Bombergian Bible was published at Venice in 1546-48, under the supervision of Cornelius Adelkind. The changes made in this edition consist in omitting Aben-Ezra's commentary on Isaiah and the Minor Prophets, while Jacob ben-Asher's (q.v.) commentary on the Pentateuch and Isaiah di Trani's (q.v.) commentary on Judges and Samuel are inserted.

4. Bomberg's fourth Rabbinic Bible, by Joan. de Gara, carried through the press and corrected by Isaac ben-Joseph סלם and Isaac ben-Gershon Treves (Venice, 1568, 4 vols. fol.). The correctors remark at the end that they have reinserted in this edition the portion of the Masorah which was omitted in the edition of 1546-48. Appended is the so-called Jerusalem Targum on the Pentateuch. Wolf (Bibliotheca lHebr. ii, 372) says: "In catalogo quodam MSS. codicum Hebr. Bibl. Bodlej. observatum vidi, quod haec editio opera Genebrardi passim sit castrata in iis quae contra rem Christianam et praecipue contra Romanos dicuntur;" but Steinschneider (in Catalogus Libr. Hebr.) states, "sed exemplar tale in Bodl. non exstat."

5. גדול שמו בישראל ונודע חמשה חומשי תורה מן העשרים וארבע, published at Venice in 1617-19 (4 vols. fol.) by Pietro and Lorenzo Bragadin, and edited by the celebrated Leon di Modena (q.v.) and Abraham Chaber-Tob ben-Solomon Chajim Sopher. It contains the whole matter of the foregoing edition, and is preceded by a preface written by Leon di Modena. This edition, however, is of less value to the critical student, being castrated by the Inquisition, under whose censorship it was published, as may be seen from the remark of the censor at the end: "Visto per me, Fr. Renato da Mod. a. 1626."

6.! ה תשועתבִאמרתבִכל דור ודור ממשלת . [i.e. God, thy salvation is in thy word, and thy kingdom is from generation to generation], printed at Basle in 1618-19 (2 vols. fol.), and edited by John Buxtorf. This Bible is divided into four parts, the latter of which, consisting of the later prophets and Hagiographa, is dated 1619. The title-page is followed by a Latin preface by Buxtorf, a table of the number of chapters in the Bible, and a poem of Aben-Ezra on the Hebrew language. Besides the Hebrew text and the Chaldee paraphrases, it contains as follows:

1, Rashi on the whole Old Test.;

2, Aben-Ezra on the Pentateuch, Isaiah, the Minor Prophets, Psalms, Job, the Five Megilloth, and Daniel;

3. Moses Kimchi on the Proverbs, Ezra, and Nehemiah;

4, D. Kimchi on Chronicles;

5, Ralbag on the earlier prophets and Proverbs;

6, Saadias on Daniel;

7, Jacob ben-Asher on the Pentateuch;

8, Jachja on Samuel;

9, the Masorah Finalis and Buxtorf's Tiberias, etc.;

10, the various readings of Ben-Asher and Ben-Naphtali;

11, the variations between the Eastern and Western codices;

12, a treatise on the accents.

The whole is formed after Jacob ben-Chajim's second edition (1546-48), with some corrections and alterations by Buxtorf. Buxtorf, in editing this Bible, has erected to himself a lasting monument. Of course, like every human work, it is imperfect; but, in spite of its deficiencies, the student must still thank the editor for this work, and Richard Sinon, in his Histoire Critique du V. T. p. 513, certainly does great injustice when he says: "Bien qu'il pretende que son edition est plus exacte que les autres, les Juifs cependant ne lestiment pas beaucoup, h cause des fautes qui s'y rencontrent, surtout dans les commentaires des rabbins, ofu ii a laisse les erreurs des copistes, qui etoient dans les editions precedentes, et ii y en a ajoute de nouvelles. 11 seroit necessaire d'avoir de bons exemplaires manuscrits de ces commentaires des rabbins, pour les corriger en une infinite d'endroits; et c'est it quoi Buxtorfe devoit plutot s'appliquer, qu'n reformer la punctuation du texte Caldaique."

7. ספר קהילת משה, or the Amsterdam Rabbinic Bible, edited by Moses Frankfurter (Amsterdam, 172427, 4 vols. royal fol.). This is unquestionably the most valuable of all the Rabbinic Bibles. It is founded upon the Bomberg editions, and gives not only their contents, but also those of Buxtorf's, with much additional matter. This is the last Rabbinic Bible which is described in bibliographical works, and for this reason we give here the literature pertaining to the above Bibles: Wolf, Bibliotheca Hebr. ii, 365 sq.; Le Long-Mash, Bibliotheca Sacra, i, 95 sq.; Rosenmuller, Handbuch der bibl. Literatur, i, 249 sq.; Steinschneider, Catalogus Libr. Hebr. in Bibliotheca Bodleiana, col. 6 sq.; Ginsburg, in Kitto, s.v. "Rabbinic Bibles;" Carpzov, Citica Sacra (Lipsiae, 1748), p. 409 sq.; R. Simon, Histoire Critique du Vieux Test. p. 512 sq. (See FRANKFURTER).

a. The first volume, including the Pentateuch, contains:

1, an index of the things explained by R. Abdias Seforno, according to the Parashanyoth;

2, a treatise by the sante author on the Law:

3, approbationis of the synagogues of Amsterdam, Frankfort, and others;

4, an explication by Moses (the author) of the signs used to designate the unithors referred to;

5, ancient prefaces at the head of former editions;

6, an index of the chapters of the books of the Old Test.;

7, the prefaces of R. Chiskuni;

8, the preface of Levi ben-Gershon (Ralbag), writh a revision of the Talmud;

9, the preface of R. Abdias Seforno;

10, the preface of Aben-Ezra. To the sacred text are added the Targums (that of Onkelos in the Pentateuch; in the other volumes, such as exist), the commentaries of Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Baal-Turim, the Greater and the Lesser Masorah, the notes (in this vol.) of Levi beln-Gershon, Chiskuni, Jacob de Letkias, the Imre-Noach (" Precepts of Noah"), and the commentary of R. Abdias Seforno. The Komets Minchah (a collection from various commentaries) is added by the editor. The columns are so disposed that the Hebrew text and the Taergum are in the centre of the page, printed in square type; the Lesser Masorah in the intermediate space, and the Greater Masorah (likewise in square type) at the bottom. At the sides, in large round (Rabbinic) letters, in the inner margin, is the commentary of Rashi; in the outer margin, that of Aben-Ezra and sometimes that of Chiskuni. In the lesser column, in small round type, are placed Baal-Turim, the Home- Noach, and the Komets Minchah; in the lower pait of the page, the commentaries of Ralbag and Seforno, in small round type.

b. The second volume contains the earlier prophets (accompanied by the Targum and Masorah as above), with the commentaries of Rashi, Ralbag, and Esaias, also extracts from the book Keli Jaker by R. Samuel Lafiado, and the Minchah Ketanah (extracts from the commentaries of Moses Alsheich and R. Aaion ben-Chajim; also a commentary called Leb Aharon on the book of Joshua and Judges) of the editor in the margin. The prefaces of Kimchi, Levi ben-Gershon, and R. Sanmuel Lafiado in the Keli Jaker, follow the title of this volume.

c. The third volume contains the later prophets (the text, etc., arranged as before), with the commentaries of Rashi, Radak (R. David Kimchi), Aben- Ezra on Isaiah and Jeremiah, R. Samuel Laniado, 1. Jacob ben-Rab, R. Abdias Seforno, Samuel Almesnires, and R. Isaac Gershon, and the Minchah Gedolah (a series of extracts similar to the above) by the editor.

d. The fourth volumne, containing the Kethubim (in like style), has the piefaces of Aben-Ezra, Aben-Esaias, and Simeon ben-Zemach in the Ohel Mesh'nat and the Mishpat Zedek. There are also various commentaries on the Iagiographa, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Isaac Jabez, Aben-Jechaja; Abdias Seforno on the Psalms, and extracts from the Miozma Lattora of Samnel Arepol; on the Proverbs, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Ralbag, Aben-Jechaja, Menahem Hammeiri, with the commentary Kab Venaki of Solonlon benAbraham; on Job, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Aben-Jechaja, Isaac Jabez, Ramban, Abo, Perizol, Abdias Seforno, and Simeon ben-Zemach; on the Canticles, by Rashi, AbenEzra, Ralbag, Aben-Jechaja, Isaac Jabez, Meri Arama, and Abdias Seforno; on Ruth, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Ralbag, Aben- Jechaja, and Isaac Jabez; on Ecclesiastes, by the same commuentators, with the addition of Abdias Seforno; on Esther, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Ralbag, AbenJechaja; on Daniel, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Saadias, AbenJechaja, Isac Jabez, and Rallag;t on Ezra and Nehemiah, by Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Aben- Jechaja, and Isaac Jabez; on Chronicles, by Rashi, Radak, and Aben- Jechaja. The editor has also added his own commentary throughout this volume of the work, under the title Minchah Ereb. At the end of the work ale placed the Greater Masorah, the variations of the Eastern and Western Recensions (so called), and the treatise on the accents. Each of the assistants in the work is celebrated in Hebrew verse.

According to Wolff, this edition of the Rabbinic Bible is the most. copious and the best. Some interpolations from MSS. have been introduced, in some instances entire, in others by extracts. Verses of Joshua 21:36-37 have been rejected, and this is marked in the margin, which states that they exist in some MSS., but not in the most correct and ancient ones. In some copies designed for the use of Christians, Tyschendorf has remarked that the treatise of R. Abdias Seforno, De Scopa Legis, is wanting.

8. The latest Rabbinic Bible, with thirty-two commentaries, is the מקראות גדולות עם ל ב פירושים, published at Warsaw by Lebenson (1860-68, 12 vols. small fol.). It contains, besides the original Hebrew, the Chaldee of Onkelos and Jerushalmi on the Pentateuch, the Chaldee on the prophets and Hagiogralpha, and the second Targum on Esther. Of commentaries, it contains that of Rashi on the whole Bible; Aaron Pesaro's (q.v.) Toldot Aaron; Asheri's and Norzi's (q.v.) commentary on the Bible; Aben-Ezra on the Pentateuch, the Five Megilloth, the Minor Prophets, the Psalms, Job, and Daniel; Mloses Kirnchi on Proverbs; Nachmanides on the Pentateuch; Obadiah de Seforno (q.v.) on the Pentateuch, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes; El. Wilna (q.v.) on the Pentateuch, Joshua, Isaiah, andu Hezekiah; S. E. Lenczyz and S. Edels on the Pentateuch; J. HI. Altschuler on the prophets and Hagiographa, D. Kimchi on the later prophets; Ralbag on Joshua, Kings, Proverbs, and Job; Is. di Trani on Judges and Samuel; S. Oceda (q.v.) on Ruth and Lamentations; Eliezer ben-Elia Harote on Esther; Saadias on Daniel. It also contains the Masorah Magna and Parva, a treatise on the vowel-points and accents, the various readings between Asher and Naphtali, and the introduction of Jacob ben-Chajim. This edition is recommended by the greatest Jewish authorities in Poland, as Meisels, of Warsaw; Muscat, of Prague; Heilprin, of Bialystock, etc. (B. P.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Rabbinic Bibles'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/r/rabbinic-bibles.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
 or 
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

 
Prev Entry
Rabbim
Next Entry
Rabbinical Dialect
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology