ADRET, Solomon ben Abraham ben (Barcelona, c. 1235-1310). Teshuvot She'elot (Collection of responsa). [Rome: Obadiah, Menasseh and Benjamin of Rome, c. 1469-1473].
Chancery 4o in divided half-sheets (196 x 145 mm). Collation: [1-1510 1612] (1/1: blank; 1/2r - 2/4v: title and table; 2/4v, line 9 - 16/11v: text; 16/11v, lines 12-13: conclusion (line 13 poorly inked); 16/12 blank). 160 leaves (of 162, lacking the first and final blanks). No foliation, signatures, headlines or catchwords. Unvocalized text in one column, 24 lines, 138 x 95 mm. Much spacing in order to reach even line endings. Types: 1:144 H. (square) for initial words and chapter indications; 2:115/6 H. (square) for text. Single paper stock, Crossbow-in-Circle: Piccard, Wasserzeichen Werkzeug und Waffen, 11:2234; beta-radiograph illustrated in P. Tishby A1. (Some light mostly marginal foxing, pale marginal dampstain at front and back, inkstamp on first page partially obscuring heading.) Seventeenth-century dark brown calf, gold-tooled oval leafy wreath centerpiece (rebacked), edges stained blue-green.
PROVENANCE: Some traces of expurgation, signature of censor on leaf 16/11v: 'Revisto p[er] me Pietro Martire' (cf. W. Popper, The Censorship of Hebrew Books, New York 1969, p. 146). Neat manuscript title on 1/2r, probably by Zevi Hirsh ben Aryeh Loeb Levin of Berlin. Official inkstamp on 1/2r of the Amministrazione Israelitica (ASTI; unrelated to the provenance of this copy).
FIRST EDITION, THE SECOND PUBLICATION OF THE FIRST KNOWN HEBREW PRINTING PRESS. Solomon ben Abraham ben Adret, known by his acronym as RaShBA, wrote about one thousand responsa, of which 420 were published in this edition. In the course of time further collections were published (Constantinople 1516 [Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 604, nos. 81 and 82], Bologna 1539 [Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 102, no. 14], Leghorn 1657 and 1778 [Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 379, no. 18, p. 382, no. 152], Salonika 1803 [Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 677, no. 538), and again Leghorn 1825 [Vinograd, Thesaurus, p. 395, no. 735]). A critical edition is still lacking.
The Roman origin of this edition was first established in 1896 by David Simonsen of Copenhagen, in the Festschrift zum 80. Geburtstage Moritz Steinschneider's, p. 166. Simonsen had discovered, in a work by Samuel Venturozzo published at Venice in 1566, a reference to a treatise on divorce found in responsum 396 of Solomon ben Adret, 'in his responses printed at Rome'. This responsum, however, is found with the stated number only in the present first edition of the work. Simonsen concludes with the words (our translation from the German): 'We have thus an ancient witness to the fact that this edition was printed at Rome. Presumably the same is then true of the Nachmanides edition, produced by three Romans [Obadiah, Menasseh and Benjamin], and of the other works printed with the same square type'.
The censor Pietro Martire who examined this copy may in theory have been the Christian Hebraist and author Pietro Martire Vermigli (Florence 1500-1562), but this is unlikely, since Vermigli joined the Reformist movement in the last years of his life, and the earliest dated signature of a censor in a Hebrew printed book is from 1557. The most active period of Christian censorship of Hebrew books was from the late 16th century onward.
REFERENCES: Hain 14245; BAVI Heb-42; Cowley p. 646; De-Rossi II, 14; Freimann 52; Goff Heb-95; Goldstein 6; Iakerson 2-4; IGI E 64; Madsen 4332; Marx 58; Ohly-Sack 2542; Offenberg 55; Proctor 7433; Tamani (Parma) 60; Steinschneider 6891, 24; Thesaurus A 25; Tishby 5; Wachstein 13; Zedner, p. 714.