Abraham, Ben-chayim

Abraham, Ben-Chayim, a Jew-of Bologna, deserves our attention because he printed the first complete Hebrew Bible, which appeared at Soncino in 1488. This edition is now very rare; only nine copies are known to be extant — viz. one at Exeter College, Oxford, two at Rome, two at Florence, two at Parma, one at Vienas, and one in the Baden-Durlach Library. The Pentateuch is followed by the five Megilloth in the same order as they stand in Van der Hooght's edition; Nehemiah and Ezra form one book, and Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles are not divided into two books. Each page has two columns, and the Psalms are divided into five books. The text has no Masoretic signs, no majusculai and minuscular letters. The text is, according to, Bruns (Dissertt. General. in V. Test. p. 442 sq.), full of blunders, and Kennicott asserts that it contains more than twelve thousand variations. How carelessly the printing was executed may be seen, from the fact that ver. 16 of Psalm 74 was interpolated after ver. 12 of Psalm 89. (B. P.)

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