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Mikraot Gedolot

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Mikraot Gedolot (מקראות גדולות), often called the "Rabbinic Bible" in English, is an edition of Tanakh (in Hebrew) that generally includes four distinct elements:

  • The Biblical text according to the mesorah in its letters, vocalization, and cantillation marks.
  • Masoretic notes on the Biblical text.
  • Aramaic Targum.
  • Biblical commentaries (most common and prominent are medieval commentaries in the peshat tradition).

Numerous editions of the Mikraot Gedolot have been and continue to be published.

Mikraot Gedolot

A page of a modern Mikraot Gedolot Chumash

Commentaries

In addition to Targum Onkelos and Rashi's commentary – the standard Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Bible – the Mikraot Gedolot typically includes the commentaries of:

The Ben Hayyim edition

First published in 1524–25 by Daniel Bomberg in Venice, the Mikraot Gedolot was edited by the masoretic scholar Yaakov ben Hayyim. All of its elements - text, mesorah, Targum, and commentaries were based upon the manuscripts that Ben Hayyim had at hand (although he did not always have access to the best ones according to some, Ginsburg and some others argued that it was a good representation of the Ben Asher text).

The Mikraot Gedolot of Ben Hayyim, though hailed as an extraordinary achievement, was riddled with thousands of technical errors. Also, the very first printing of the Mikra'ot Gedolot was edited by Felix Pratensis, an apostate Jew. Furthermore, Bomberg, a Christian, had requested an imprimatur from the Pope. Such facts were not compatible with the supposed Jewish nature of the work; Bomberg had to produce a brand new edition under the direction of proper Jewish editors. Nevertheless, this first edition served as the textual model for nearly all later editions until modern times. With regard to the Biblical text, many of Ben Hayyim's errors were later corrected by Menahem Lonzano and Shlomo Yedidiah Norzi. It is only in the last generation that fresh editions of the Mikraot Gedolot based directly on manuscript evidence have been published. Mikraot Gedolot haKeter, edited by Mena`hem Cohen under the auspices of Bar Ilan University, is the first printed edition which reclaims its Jewish authorship; it is based on the Keter Aram Tzova, the manuscript of the Tanakh kept by the Jews of Aleppo.

The Mikraot Gedolot of Ben Hayyim served as the textus receptus for the King James Version of the Bible in 1611.

Later editions

Most editions are based more or less on the Ben Hayyim edition described above.

Three modern editions based on the Aleppo Codex, with improved texts of the commentaries based on ancient manuscripts, are:

  • the Bar Ilan Mikraot Gedolot ha-Keter (so far only ten volumes have been published)
  • Torat Hayim, published by Mosad ha-Rav Kook (Torah only).
  • Chorev Mikraot Gedolot by Hotzaat Chorev (Torah only).

Sources

Menachem Cohen, "Introduction to the Haketer edition," in Mikra'ot Gedolot Haketer: A revised and augmented scientific edition of "Mikra'ot Gedolot" based on the Aleppo Codex and Early Medieval MSS (Bar-Ilan University Press, 1992).

External links

Wikimedia project

Wikisource's Mikraot Gedolot is available in Hebrew (has the most content) and English.

Published editions

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