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Miscellanies: Hebrew Printed Books in the Library of Westminster Abbey

David Goldstein

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Hebrew Printed Books in the Library of Westminster Abbey DAVID GOLDSTEIN The earliest printed list of the Hebraica in the Library of Westminster Abbey appears to be that contained in B. Botfield, Notes on the Cathedral Libraries of England (London 1849) pp.43 3-4.1 He restricted himself, however, to the Bibles, and his descriptions contain a number of inaccuracies and omissions. However, there is also a card index in the Library which proved most rewarding. Each de? scription is followed by the shelf-mark. 1 Bible. [The Complutensian Polyglot], 1514-17. 6 Vols The binding bears the following inscription: 1631/THO MONTFORT S T DR / PRAEBEN DARIUS ET ANO/ SUPRASCRIPT ARCHDIA CONs/ ECCLESIAE S P WESTMONAST/ BIB LIOTHECAE DONA VIT ET/ CONSECRAVIT E.323 2 Bible. B?mberg, Venice, 1517 The first Biblia Rabbinica. At the end the signature of 'John Pimme Israelis verus'.2 Ger? man binding, before 1550. The following inscription is found on the fly? leaf: Ex animo Thomae Louelli canonici subdecanj uelleh, ac epi bathah / &amp; uelleh uicarij generalis Hugo Eglembeus &amp; Zacharias Deiotarus / eius honoru administratores, Reuerendu patre Richardu Berum / abbatem Glaston, uiru omnij uirtutu genera nobilem hoc libro dohatur / Quoru Beri &amp; Louellj tanta fuit uirtutu omni parilitas, mor? aequalitas, / et amoris societas, ut uter alteru superauerit no facile diiudi caueris. / Ille ei? tarn spu quam omnij opere Chrij semp studiossime excoluit. Hie / socius vitae exemplo nihil nisi e?dem demostrauit. Ille omnes benemeritis / &amp; munificentia deuincire, hie omnes liberalitate in sui amore pellicere / studuit. Ille omnibus facilis &amp; civilis, hie comis &amp; afiabilis. Ille lrarorum / alumnus largissimus, hie lraru sacrafu scrutator maximus, alter / alteru usque adeo mutuo amans, ut quasi Daemone &amp; Pythiam, / nobile par amicoru merito censere posses. Obijit Louellus iactura / reipublicae no modica V Nonas Julias Anno a Chro nato 1524 / in aedibus diuij Andreae velliae humatus, cuius epitaphi? hie / subse quitur.3 A.6.10 3 Bible. Biblia Hebraica, Latina planeque nota S. Munsteri tralatione . . .Basle, 1534-5. 2 Vols On the title page of vol. 2 the signature of 'Gulielmus Bilms'.4 A.6.8 4 Bible. R. Stephanus, Paris, 1539-43. 4 Vols 40 The dated portions are: Genesis 1543, Former Prophets 1543, Isaiah 1539, Jeremiah 1540, Ezekiel 1542 (printed MDXL2), Twelve Pro? phets 1539, Joel 1540, Amos 1540, Obadiah 1540, Jonah 1540, Micah 1539, Nahum 1539, Habakkuk 1539, Zephaniah 1539, Hag gai 1539, Zechariah 1540, Malachi 1540, Psalms 1540, Proverbs 1540, Job 1541, Canti? cles 1541, Daniel 1540, Ezra 1541, Chronicles 1543. E.4.1 5 Bible. R. Stephanus, Paris, 1544-6. 7 Vols 160 The dated portions are: Joshua 1545, Isaiah 1544, Jeremiah 1544, Ezekiel 1544, Twelve Prophets 1544, Psalms 1545, Proverbs 1545, Five Megillot 1544, Daniel and Ezra 1545. G.1.11 6 Bible. Biblia Hebraica, Latina . . . S. Munsteri tralatione . . . Basle, 1546. 2 Vols A.6.6 7 Bible. G. di Gara, Venice, 1568. 3 Vols (4 parts) The fourth Biblia Rabbinica. The spine bears the incorrect inscription: 'D. Bomberg Venet. 1549' V.6.2 151</page><page sequence="2">152 David Goldstein 8 Bible. [The Polyglot of B. Arias Montanus], Antwerp, 1569-73. 4 Vols 1.3-5 9 Bible. [Walton's Polyglot], London, 1655-7. 6 Vols. L3.11 10 Bible. Biblia Hebraica accuratissima . . . A Johannes Leusden, Amsterdam, 1667. 40 L.5.7 11 Bible. Biblia Hebraica sine punctis. [Edited by G. Maresius], Amsterdam, 1701. 120 B. 1.63 12 Bible. Biblia Hebraica... /. Leusden... Secundum ultimum editionem, Amsterdam, 1705.4 Vols 8? A.2.60 Another copy at Z.4.4 13 Bible. Biblia Hebraica cum notis . . . Autore C. F. Houbigant, Paris, 1753. 4 Vols C. 3.24 14 Bible. The Old Testament, English and Hebrew, with remarks . . . By Anselm Bayly. London, 1774. 9 Vols Wanting vols 1 and 2. Z.342 15 Bible [Kennicott's Bible], Oxford 1776-80. 2 Vols 1-3-9 16 Bible. Biblia Hebraica . . . Leusden . . . Van der Hooght A Judah d'Allemand, London, 1828. Z.4.12 17 Sefer he-Arukh, by Nathan ben Jehiel. B?mberg, Venice, 1531-2 17th-century binding. At end in MS 'Dictionar ium Chaldaic? Baal Aruc'. Gal. G.2.24 18 Talmud5 [The Babylonian Talmud], D. Bom berg, Venice [1519-39] A complete set, in 9 volumes, formed from the first and second editions, made up as follows (the numbers from Habermann, Ha-Madpis Daniel Bomberg (Safed, 1978), are attached): Vol. 1 i Yoma ii Sukkah iii Bezah iv Rosh Hashanah v Taanith vi Megillah vii Mo'ed Katan viii Hagigah 1531 Hab. 141 1526 Hab. 106 1530 Hab. 134 1521 Hab. 32 (42 leaves. Hab. states 52) 1538 Hab. 156 1538 Hab. 155 1526 Hab. 105 1528 Hab. 116 Vol. 2 i Nazir 1529 Hab. 130 (69 leaves and 1 blank. Hab. states 61) ii Sotah iii Gittin iv Kiddushin Vol. 3 i Zebahim ii Mishnayot Kodashim iii Hullin Vol. 4 i Yebamot ii Ketubot iii Nedarim Vol. 5 i Shabbat ii Erubin iii Shekalim iv Pesahim Vol. 6 i Baba Kamma ii Baba Mezia iii Baba Batra 1520 Hab. 22 1526 Hab. 107 1520 Hab. 21 (Title page is Rivkind, type 2) 1529 Hab. 132 1528 Hab. 120 (47 leaves. Hab. states 45) 1526 Hab. 109 1528 Hab. 117 1527 Hab. 112 (Title page is Rivkind, type 2) 1528 Hab. 122 1530 1528 1527 [1519] Hab. 133 Hab. 115 Hab. in Hab. 17 (Title page is not the Rabinowitz alternative) 1538 Hab. 157 1521 Hab. 39 [1529?] Hab. 131 Vol. 7 i Berakhot 1529 Hab. 128 (87 leaves and 1 blank. Hab. states 94) ii Seder Zeraim 1528 Hab. 1146</page><page sequence="3">Hebrew Printed Books in the Library of Westminster Abbey 153 iii Rabbenu Asher al Hilkhot ketannot iv Seder Tohorot v Niddah Vol. 8 i Menahot ii Bekhorot iii Arakhin iv Temurah v Keritoth vi Me'ilah, etc. Vol. 9 i Sanhedrin ii Shevu'oth iii Eduyoth iv Avodflh Zarafa v Avot vi Horayoth vii Makkoth 1530 Hab. 138 1528 Hab. 121 1530 Hab. 137 1529 Hab. 127 1522 Hab. 57 1528 Hab. 124 1528 Hab. 125 1528 Hab. 126 1528 Hab. 118/119 1520 Hab. 23 [i539-?] Hab. 160 1530 Hab. 1397 1520 Hab. 25 1539 Hab. 158 1539 Hab. 113 1530 Hab. 136 The arrangement of the tractates for binding clearly displays a knowledge of the Jewish tradition, and was probably done in Venice before dispatch. Labelled much later on spine TALMUD BABYLONI CUM. D. B?MBERG.8 The nine volumes of the Talmud, together with the Akedat Yitzhak (see below), were bound in Oxford. A close examination of the bindings was made by Neil R. Ker, and his findings published in his Pastedowns in Oxford Bindings, with a Survey of Oxford Binding, c. 1515-1620 (Oxford Biblio? graphical Society Publications, New Series, V, 1951-2) p.73 nos 788, 788a-f. The roll used bears the initials p.l. which have not been identified. The dates of printing of books on which this particular roll was employed range from 1539 to 1555. (See p.209. The roll is illustrated on Plate V, and is Oldham mw a(3).)9 The ornaments on the bindings are also listed by Ker, and here the binding of Akedat Yitzhak differs slightly from that of the Talmud. All the ten volumes bear the initials rb, which was not noted by Ker. This is undoubtedly a mark of ownership, and among the Hebraists and book-col? lectors of the 16th-century who bear these initials the most likely owner is Richard Bruerne,10 who was appointed Professor of Hebrew in Oxford in 1548, and despite rumours of immorality was elected Provost of Eton College in 1561. He died in 1565 (See DNB). The presence of a similar binding in Eton College (Ker, no. 783) gives added support to this view. One may ask whether the presence of the Akedat Yitzhak in the same binding as the Talmud is purely accidental, or whether there is a connection between the two. I believe that there is a connec? tion, and that the Akedat Yitzhak was acquired first, and the Talmud subsequently. The title page of Akedat Yitzhak announces proudly that the refer? ences to the Talmud that it contains are all detailed, giving 'tractate, chapter, folio and page'. It is clear that no reader could pursue these references unless he had access to a copy of the edition of the Talmud (i.e. the B?mberg edition) to which these references applied. It is not unreason? able to assume, therefore, that Bruerne (if he were the owner), having secured a copy of Akedat Yitzhak, and having seen on opening the book that there were page references to the Talmud, placed an order for the Talmud itself. He may not have realized how weighty that work was, probably never having set eyes on a copy before. The nine volumes arrived and were sent to the same binder, who bound them uniformly with Akedat Yitzhak, with the addition of an extra ornament, as noted by Ker. Since the Talmud contains no tractates of Bom berg's third edition, which was begun in 1548, we might presume that it was dispatched no later than that year. However, since so much of the third edition was destroyed by fire at papal behest, its absence need not preclude a later date of arrival. E.3.22. 19 Akedat Yitzhak, by Isaac Arama. B?mberg, Venice, 1546-7 For the binding see the remarks on the Talmud. Labelled in error: TALMUD BABYLONICUM. D. B?MBERG. E.3.22 ACKNOWLEDGMENT I am extremely grateful to the Librarian at the Abbey, Mr H. M. Nixon, for his courtesy and warm hospitality. NOTES i See also H. M. Rabinowicz, Treasures of Judaica, Ch. 10, 'The Library and Muniment Room of Westminster Abbey',</page><page sequence="4">154 David Goldstein p. I o 1-5. He mentions the presence there of 'an edition of the Minor Prophets with Kimhi's commentary, edited by F. Vatabus [i.e. Vatablus], Paris 15 39-40'. This must be no. 4 in the present list. 2 Presumably John Pym (1584-1643), staunch Parliamentar? ian and one of the chief prosecutors of Strafford. 3 According to this inscription the Bible was bequeathed by Thomas Lovell to Richard Bere. The chronology, however, is confusing. According to the DNB, Thomas Lovell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, died on 25 May 1524, while Richard Bere, Abbot of Glastonbury, died on 20 January of the same year. 4 William Bill (d. 1561). Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 1551, and appointed Dean of Westminster shortly before his death. 5 The Talmud has now been acquired by the Valmadonna Trust. See the press-reports mentioned in n.io and the full discussion of the provenance of this Talmud in the paper previous to this in the present volume. 6 The title page reads: pa*"?a -in rwa iran am / "min -win ?tvd us a'snt -no 'n'aaia Vktt "t *?? rrw ddti ' :V't yvonv van ?rrva Dsn nx-srm / ns / p?m nx vim n'st nmn ! NBimxa This is different from that given (in abbreviated form) by Hab. 7 8 leaves [ n"3?m ?tttd ] plus 9 leaves, btitd db nmy rooo, ?famn, and 1 blank. Hab. does not mention the commentary of Rabad, in either the first or second editions of this Tractate. (See however, Steinschneider, Cat. Bod. Nos 1638-9.) The British Library copies of the first and second editions have the commentary of Rabad. But Rambam's commentary is miss? ing from the second edition. 8 The fact that Botfield describes this set as 'another Impression of the Scripture in the Hebrew tongue, in 10 volumes', leads one to believe that the label was added after 1849, the date of his publication. 9 I should like to thank Dr Mirjam Foot for her advice on the binding. 10 I have benefited greatly from discussions on the question of ownership with Professor Raphael Loewe, and Mr Edgar Samuel. Reports in the Press that this copy of the Talmud once belonged to Henry VIII are without foundation. See The Times, 3 and 4 July 1980, and the correspondence columns of 8 and 10 July, The Jewish Chronicle, 11,18 and 25 July, and 19 September 1980.</page></plain_text>