Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Sforno's introduction to the Torah in variant copies of the 1724 Mikra'os Gedolos

You never know what arcana you'll come across. Having recently posted about the 1724-28 edition of the Mikra'os Gedolos, the 7th edition, published in Amsterdam by Mosis Francorutensis (or, R. Moshe ben Shimon Frankfurter) I found the following interesting information regarding its printing of the commentary of Sforno, this being the first Mikra Gedolah to print Sforno's commentaries.

Charles Butler, in his 1797 work Horæ Biblicæ* wrote the following:

Text not available

Is this not fascinating? Of course it is. First of all, "Rabbi Abdias Sporno" is, of course, R. Ovadiah Sforno. His treatise de Scopo Legis refers to his כוונת התורה, and it is quite interesting to learn that this short introduction was generally omitted from copies sold to Christians.

Apparently this was well known in scholarly Christian circles, for we find the following from an 1838 book**:

Text not available

Another note, from 1827:

Text not available

Sadly, the trail runs cold and I can't find this reference (undoubtedly to a work of Gerhardus Tyschen [aka Oluf Gerhard Tyschen]) to know whether he noticed or publicized this omission in some editions before Butler or not.

Here is a translation of said introduction by R. Raphael Pelkowitz shlit"a in his edition of Seforno published by Artscroll. I suppose one can see why it was omitted from particular copies:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

*Full title: Horæ Biblicæ, Being a Connected Series of Miscellaneous Notes on the Original Text, Early Versions, and Printed Editions of the Old and New Testament.

**Notes on the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles Illustrations of the Doctrine Principle and Practice of the Church of England by Frederic Martin.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails