Auction 78 Rare and Important Items
May 25, 2021
Israel
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 15:

Masoret HaMasoret, by Rabbi Eliyahu Bachur – Venice, 1538 – First Edition – Copy of Vittorio Eliano, Grandson of ...

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Masoret HaMasoret, by Rabbi Eliyahu Bachur – Venice, 1538 – First Edition – Copy of Vittorio Eliano, Grandson of the Author
Masoret HaMasoret, grammatical and Masoretic composition, by R. Eliyahu Bachur-Ashkenazi. Venice: Daniel Bomberg, [1538]. First edition.
This copy belonged to the author's grandson, the apostate Vittoria Eliano, a famous proofreader in Italian printing firms who assisted his grandfather in proofreading this edition. Ownership inscription at the top of the title page in Italian script: " This book is mine, so says Vittorio, grandson of the grammarian R. Eliyah HaLevi". This is followed by an additional inscription: " Acquired with my money, I, Vittorio, previously named Yosef son of Yitzchak". A further inscription by Vittorio at the foot of the title page.
Additional inscription: "I, Gershon son of R. Moshe HaKohen Rofe". The names in all the inscriptions were crossed out, yet remain legible. Two other inscriptions are deleted in a way that they are no longer legible.
The book contains many inscriptions and emendations (including some which don't appear in the errata). Lengthy handwritten inscriptions on leaf 87 (in Italian script) relating to the final poem. Several glosses in Latin. Glosses by several writers.
Two errata leaves were added at the end of the book. In his introduction to the errata, the author writes that he asked his grandson Yosef to assist him in proofreading the book. The grandson mentioned is the apostate Vittorio, owner of this copy. A handwritten inscription (deleted with ink) appears near the words "my grandson Yosef", and it appears to read: "now named Vittorio… 28th October 1548".
Vittorio Eliano (b. 1528), whose Jewish name was Yosef, was the son of R. Yitzchak son of R. Yechiel Pihem of Bohemia, son-in-law of R. Eliyahu Bachur. Yosef converted to Christianity shortly before the passing of his grandfather, and he was joined several years later by his brother Solomon Romano, who adopted the Christian name Giovanni Battista. Both brothers became Catholic priests, and were largely responsible for the condemnation and burning of the Talmud. Giovanni Battista is recorded as one of the apostates who caused the burning of the Talmud in 1553, while his brother Vittorio was connected to the burning of Jewish books in Cremona (see: Benayahu, HaDfus HaIvri BeCremona, pp. 95-99; Benayahu raises doubt as to Vittorio's involvement in the decree and the exact part he played in it). Concurrently, Vittorio Eliano became a prominent proofreader and censor of Hebrew books. He first worked in Cremona (1557-1560), and later in Venice (1560-1567), and finally in Rome. In the colophons of books he proofread, he would pride himself of his prominent grandfather R. Eliyahu Bachur the grammarian. Vittorio was also one of the proofreaders of the first edition of the Zohar, printed in Cremona in 1559-1560.
In the rhymed preface to this book, R. Eliyahu Bachur refers to the famous proofreader Yaakov son of Chaim son of Adoniyahu, editor of the Bomberg Mikraot Gedolot edition printed in Venice, as "previously named Yaakov". This phrase indicates that this Yaakov converted to Christianity (see enclosed material). One gloss in this copy, in Italian script, relates to this: " It appears from this that the author of the Mikra Gedolah converted, and so I heard from elders".
12, 15-87 pages, [2] leaves (without [1] blank leaf found in some copies between pages 12 and 15). Final leaf, after errata of Masoret HaMasoret, contains errata for the book Tuv Taam (originally printed with this book). Approx. 19 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Worming to upper part of leaves, not affecting text. Inscriptions. New binding.

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