BIBLE, in Hebrew -- HAGIOGRAPHA. Mishle (Proverbs). With commentary by Immanuel ben Solomon ben Jekuthiel of Rome (c. 1261-c. 1330). Edited(?) by Hayyim ben Isaac Halevi Ashkenazi. [Naples: Joseph ben Jacob Ashkenazi Gunzenhauser, between 28 March and 26 September 1487].
Chancery 2o (266 x 196 mm). Collation: [1-108 1110 128 136]. 104 leaves. Unfoliated, irregularly signed to the fold, occasional signatures printed on the rectos in second half of the quire. Irregular use of headlines. Double column, the commentary continuing under the column of text, text in single column up to 43 lines, commentary in 36-45 lines (varying). Types: 1:185 H. (square), unvocalized, for the initial word of Proverbs only; 2:120 H. (square), vocalized for the text, unvocalized for the running titles and keywords in the commentary, 3:90 H. (semi-cursive) for the commentary and the signatures. Line fillers. Initial word on 1/1v within white-vine woodcut border. (Marginal tear to 1/7 just entering text, some mostly light dampstaining in gutters and outer margins, affecting text in last few quires.) Early 19th-century sheep-backed marbled brown paper boards, edges speckled red, paper ms. lettering-pieces on spine, edges red-sprinkled (joints rubbed, head of spine defective).
Provenance: a contemporary or early 16th-century humanist scholar, who supplied, in a clear humanistic cursive hand, marginal Latin translations of several passages up to fol. 2/7 (Proverbs 5:6) (most cropped); Guglielmo Nigeniciensius (16th-century inscription "hic liber est domini guglielmi nigiciensii... et ego simo de borghesius" on final blank verso, with a few later pen trials); early Hebrew inscription on first page; Rev. Aaron Levy Green (1821-1883), of the Bristol Hebrew Congregation and later of the Central Synagogue, honorary secretary of Jews' College, London (inkstamps); Jews' College (inkstamps).
BIBLE, in Hebrew -- HAGIOGRAPHA. Eicha (Lamentations), with commentary by Levi ben Gershom, Solomon ben Isaac and Joseph ben Simeon Kara. Edited(?) by Samuel ben Samuel of Rome. Naples: Joseph ben Jacob Ashkenazi Gunzenhauser, 26 September 1487. Section IV, Lamentations only. Collation: , 4 leaves. Goff Heb-26; H 8346 (II); Offenberg 46.
FIRST EDITION OF THE BOOK OF PROVERBS IN HEBREW, part of a series of volumes of the Hagiographa which are the earliest Hebrew books printed at Naples. The German Jew Joseph Gunzenhauser established a press there in early 1487, completing his first book, the Psalms, on 28 March (Goff Heb-29). This was followed by the present edition, which was almost certainly printed before Job to Chronicles, completed on 26 September 1487 (Goff Heb-26). The three parts, which may have been issued together, were intended to complete the first editions of other parts of the Bible, the Pentateuch, printed in Bologna by Abraham ben Hayyim of Pesaro, 25 January 1482 (Goff Heb-18), and the Soncino edition of the Former and Latter Prophets, 1485-1486 (Goff Heb-22 and 24). The first complete edition of the Hebrew Bible was published in 1488, also by Joshua Solomon Soncino. The wording of the colophon in the present edition leaves unclear the role of Hayyim ben Isaac Halevi Ashkenazi, who was either the editor, corrector, or typesetter.
A FINE COPY, including the complete text of Lamentations from Goff Heb-26. Goff Heb-34; H 8346 (III); Fava & Bresciano 259; Sander 5931; IGI 8108; IBP 2669; IDL 2443; CIBN Heb-14; Ohly-Sack 2421; Walsh Heb-19; Goldstein 50 (noting 16 copies in England, the present included); Oates 2525; Steinschneider 1066; Zedner p. 125; Offenberg Rosenthaliana 12; Offenberg Census 43.