||One thousand, two hundred fifty five responsa from R. Solomon ben Abraham Adret (Rashba, c. 1235–c. 1310). This edition of Rashba’s responsa, known as Part I (the other parts were printed later), encompasses all aspects of Jewish law and life. There are responses to queries on communal issues, use of the ban, converts, informers, marital laws (including polygamy), performance of precepts, education, guardians, financial and property matters, taxation, and relations with the secular authorities. A number of the responsa are discourses on non-halakhic subjects. At the end of the volume is a twelve folio index by subject matter. Rashba’s responsa are among the most important and most comprehensive of any rishon (early rabbinic sage). This comprehensive edition of Rashaba’s responsa is based on the Bologna edition (1539). The first edition (c. Rome, 1469), among the first printed Hebrew books, contains 420 responsa. The second printing (Constantinople, 1516) has 119 responsa, and a supplement, also published that year by Moses ben Samuel Facilino, has seven responsa on aggadah (included in this edition).
R. Solomon b. Abraham ibn Adret (1235-1310) was one of the preeminent talmudists and halakhic authorities in medieval Spain. Born to a distinguished family in Barcelona, Adret was a student of R. Jonah Gerondi (Rabbenu Yonah) and R. Moses ben Nahman (Ramban). He served as rabbi of Barcelona for forty years, achieving such recognition and respect that he was acknowledged as El Rab d’Espana (rabbi of Spain). His yeshivah attracted students from afar; many of whom became prominent rabbis and scholars. Regarded as fair and incorruptible, renowned for his humility, Adret was turned to by all strata of society, from an orphan, for whom he was the guardian, against powerful state officials, to Pedro III of Aragon, who requested Adret adjudicate entangled cases between Jewish communities. In the dispute over studying philosophy, Adret defended Maimonides, but placed serious restrictions on the study of science and philosophy.
Marco Antonio Giustiniani was a Christian printer of Hebrew books in Venice in the 16th century. His master printer Cornelius Adelkind printed a fine edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1546–51). Soon, this very active press faced a formidable competitor in the house of Bragadini which issued Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, with the notes of R. Meir Katzenellenbogen. Giustiniani then printed the full text of that code without R. Meir's notes. The mutual recriminations that the rivals engaged in at the Papal Court ultimately resulted in the confiscation and burning of all Hebrew books (1553).