[BIBLE HEBRAIQUE] [ESTIENNE] Psalterium (Livre des Psaumes)
Robert Estienne, Paris 1544, in-16 (7x11,5cm), A-V8 [160 f.], relié.
Psalterium [BIBLE IN HEBREW] [ESTIENNE] Robert Estienne, Paris 1544, 16°(7x11,5cm), a volume in brown morocco.
“This little edition, said to be very accurate, is a true typographical jewel, and perhaps the most beautiful one ever printed in the Hebrew language.”
(A. A. Renouard, Annales de l'imprimerie des Estienne)
First 16mo edition in Hebrew by Robert Estienne. Brown morocco slightly later binding (1590-1615), edges rubbed.
Elegant printer's woodcut device on title page with book titles set within woodcut cartouche head-pieces. Only the title page is in Latin-Hebrew. Numerous contemporary Latin marginalia and Humanist manicules, certainly made by a scholar at the time of publication.Exceptional copy belonging to the Books of the Bible in Hebrew in first 16mo edition published by Robert Estienne.
This pocket edition was printed in 17 volumes between 1544 and 1546, after the success of the four-volume quarto edition printed from 1539 to 1544. Based on the Hebrew Soncino princeps published in 1488, it was established by Humanist François Vatable. The text in Hebrew follows the Masoretic tradition and presents diacritics that facilitate its vocalization.
Talented exegete François Vatable (1495-1547), early scholar of Hebrew studies during the French Renaissance was a member of the 'Cénacle de Meaux' founded by Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples and translated for him in 1509 the Hebraicum, one of the five psalters of the Quincuplex Psalterium published by Henri Estienne. After founding the Collège de France in 1530, King Francis I appointed him chair of Hebrew studies. As a Royal lecturer he actively participated ten years later in a Hebrew edition of the Bible with Robert Estienne (1503-1559) – printer to the King in Latin and Hebrew.
This edition is undoubtedly a real typographical feat for a small format text in Hebrew lettering. It was certainly intended for scholarly use by Sorbonne and Collège Royal students, given its pocket size sold in separate individual volumes. The presence of numerous contemporary marginal notes further indicates its educational purpose, as is the numbering of lines of several pages in some of our volumes.
Famed poet Clément Marot had attended Vatable's lessons at the Collège Royal on the Old Testament in Hebrew. Marot's French translation of the Psalms was instrumental in the development of Protestantism in French-speaking countries. “Of all the books of the Bible, the Book of Psalms seems to be the one Marot studied with the most predilection, and it was
[according to Florimond de Rémond] encouraged him to put them in verse.
He explained them to him word for word, making him feel the beauty and the energy of the original expressions, and initiating him into this great poetry which, for so many centuries, according to M. Villemain, 'has sublimely captured the imagination of men” (F. Bovet, Histoire du psautier des églises réformées
). Etienne Pasquier in his Recherches de la France
even attributes to Vatable an important part of this historical translation: “Among his translations, Marot made himself admirable in his fifty Psalms of David, helped by Vatable, Hebrew Professor to the King, and achieved it in such a way that whoever wanted to surpass his Psalter could not equal his genius: it was truly a Venus of Apelles”.A very beautiful and scarce collaborative work by two of the greatest figures of Parisian humanist scholarship – a fine example of the renewed interest in classical texts and their study in the original language.
Provenance: library of Charles John Dimsdale (1801-1872), fifth baron of the Russian Empire, with his bookplate on each pastedown endpaper.
3 800 €
Réf : 82814