Page 190 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
(Venice, 1477) and the
Catena Aurea
(Venice, 1486), a Latin Bible
printed by Anton Koberger (Nuremberg, 1479), several Latin
Bibles printed in Venice, and a “Poor Man’s Bible” printed by
Froben (Basel, 1495). The first edition o f Josephus in Italian
(Florence, 1493), being the library’s oldest printed book in a
European vernacular language, is also held in the collection, as
well as a single leaf from the
editio princeps
o f Homer (Florence,
1488), which is the library’s oldest imprint in Greek. Altogether,
the incunabula in the Lowy collection represent the major part o f
the incunabula holdings o f the National Library.
BIBLE ED IT IONS
The Lowy Collection contains nearly 150 volumes o f the Bible,
including early and rare editions in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Syriac,
Saxon, German, Swedish, Polish, English and other languages.
Aside from the Bibles among the incunabula, the collection also
holds a number o f 16th century editions in Hebrew published in
Paris by the Estiennes and in Antwerp by Plantin; the first five
editions o f the
Biblia Rabbinica\
both issues o f the first edition o f
the King James Version in English, known as the “Great He
Bible” and the “Great She Bible” (London, 1611 and 1613); and
an edition o f Martin Luther’s German translation o f the Bible
(Nuremberg, 1736), which is the largest and heaviest book in the
collection. The last o f the great polyglot Bibles and one o f the
extraordinary achievements in the history o f typography,
“Walton’s London Polyglot” (1654-1657) with texts in nine lan­
guages (Hebrew, Samaritan, Aramaic, Greek, Syriac, Arabic,
Ethiopic, Persian, Latin), together with an accompanying multi­
lingual lexicon, is also held in the collection. Most curious is an
edition o f part o f the Hebrew Bible o f the Chinese Jews, printed
on rice paper in Shanghai in 1851. There is also a group o f Bible
texts in the native Eskimo dialects o f Canada. A 17th century illu­
minated
megillah,
or scroll o f the book o f Esther in Hebrew, writ­
ten in western Europe and preserved in a decorated silver case,
and a Yemenite Pentateuch in Hebrew and Aramaic, with the
Judeo-Arabic
tafsir
and several commentaries, are two o f the
mansucripts that complement the collection o f printed Bibles.
Hundreds o f medieval and later biblical commentaries, printed
during six centuries, are also held in the collection, among them
many editions o f the 11th century commentary o f Rashi o f