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Bidding Information
Lot #    5472
Auction End Date    9/16/2003 10:14:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
          
Title Information
Title (English)    Talmud Bavli, Tractates Ketanoth: Meilah, ...
Title (Hebrew)    ,
Author    [First Editions]
City    Venice
Publisher    Daniel Bomberg
Publication Date    1523
          
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
          
Description Information
Physical
Description
   First editions, 45 of 47 ff., folio, 336:233 mm., lacking ff. 46-47, ff. 41-45 with tears in the center of the page affecting several sentences, light damp staining, overall a nice clean copy. A good copy bound in modern black cloth.
          
Detailed
Description
   The tractates Meilah (Sacrilege), Kinnim (Birds Nest), Middot (Measures), Tamid (Daily Offering), Semahot (Joys), Kalah (Bride), Soferim (Scribes) are from the Mishnah order of Kodashim (Holy Things). With Rashi, Tosfot and Piskei Tosfot.

Daniel Bomberg, the son of an Antwerp merchant, can be referred to as the father of the printed Babylonian Talmud. Indeed, among his many accomplishments are the first printing of Babylonian Talmud (1520-23) and the Jerusalem Talmud (1522-23, a beautiful copy in this auction), the first Mikraot Gedolot (1515-17), the first Alfas (1522), the first Kariate printed book (1528-29). Why the Christian (Calvinist) Bomberg printed Hebrew books is a subject of many bibliographers articles. He was associated with Felice da Prato, an apostate who subsequently became a friar, who influenced him to print Hebrew books. Israel Mehlman assumes that proselytism played a role in the process, albeit a small one. The activities of Bomberg on behalf of the Jewish community were not limited by printing. The British Jewish historian, Cecil Roth, writes that Bomberg helped Marranos find refuge in Turkey. He is recorded as having fought for and obtained certain rights for his Jewish workers denied other Venetian Jews. For a detailed, in-depth review of the Bomberg Talmud see Printing the Talmud, Prof. Marvin J. Heller, Im Hasefer, Brooklyn, 1992, pages 135-182. For all his righteousness Bomberg nevertheless appears to have plagiarized much of the text for his Talmud from the Gershom Soncino tractates. Soncino complains in his Mikhlol that the Venetian printers copied his editions (Heller p. 145). Support for his complaint can be found in the errors Bomberg duplicated from Soncino tractates.

Ephraim Dienard best describes the rarity of the tractates in the late 19th and early 20th century (Atikos Yehudah p. 42): I doubt the existence of greater than three complete sets in the world. The tractates utilized in yeshivas were torn and lost. Especially rare to find are complete volumes of the following tractates: Berakhot, Bezah, Sabbath, Chagigah, Gittin, Kiddushin, Ketubbot, the three Bavaos. The majority of tractates in Jewish Theological Seminary (New York), Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati), University of California in San Francisco, Library of Congress are of my doing, complete ones not to be found. Needless to say conditions have not improved in the 21st century, the Holocaust and Jewish perils have only added to the scarcity of these volumes.

          
Reference
Description
   Vinograd, Venice 79; Habermann, Bomberg 31, 44.1, 64, 65
        
Associated Images
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Listing Classification
Period
16th Century:    Checked
  
Location
Italy:    Checked
  
Subject
Other:    Talmud
  
Characteristic
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
  
Manuscript Type
  
Kind of Judaica