POLYGLOT WITH SYRIAC

JOHN, Saint, DIEU, Lodewijk, ed. Gelyānā dhe-Yūḥannān Ḳaddīshā. Id est, Apocalypsis Sancti Johannis.

Leiden, ex typographia Elzeviriana, 1627.

[with]

[BIBLE]. Epistolae quatuor…

Leiden, Bonaventurae & Abrahami Elzevir, 1630.

£1,350

EDITIONES PRINCIPES. Small 4to. 2 parts in 1, pp. (xx) 211 (i); (x) 66. Syriac, Hebrew, Greek and Roman letter, quadruple column. Title with woodcut architectural border to first, titles in red and black, printer’s device to verso of last leaf of first, woodcut initials and ornaments. Light water stain from upper gutter towards margin, another to lower outer corner in part II, extending to text on last five ll. Very good copies in contemporary vellum, yapp edges, couple of minor scratches to upper board, hinges starting, upper partly detached, one final ep leaf loose, small ms. ‘A/90’ and C18 ms. ‘Ja[me]s Robertson Ellis(?)’ to final eps.

Very good copies of these beautifully printed, polyglot ‘editiones principes’, with Syrian, Greek, Hebrew and Roman types. ‘The Elzevirs had 8 special journeymen and 5 correctors working only for the oriental press. They were all inscribed as students of the university. […] Between 1626 and 1642 they produced 13 well-printed books, most of which were published for the students of Hebrew and oriental languages at the university’ (‘Leiden’, 38-9). The Hebrew types were the same used at the Plantin press under Franciscus Raphelengius, former professor of Hebrew at Leiden; the Syriac came from the matrices used at the press of the great orientalist Thomas Erpenius, which were bought by Isaac Elzevir, together with the Arabic, Ethiopic and Samaritan types (McKitterick, ‘History’, 184). The Apocalypse in Syriac is a ‘very careful, conscientious and scholarly’ edition, still in use (Hall, ‘Syriac Apocalypse’, 134). It was edited by the Dutch minister and orientalist Lodewijk (or Louis) de Dieu (1590-1642) from a ms. bequeathed by Joseph Scaliger to the library of the University of Leiden. The ‘Apocalypse’ did not form part of the Syriac New Testament in any of its versions (Peshitto, Harklensian, Jerusalem or Curetonian). This edition features, in four columns, the Syriac text, the text transliterated into Hebrew (with vocalization), a Latin translation of the Syriac and the customary Greek text (Hall, ‘Syriac Apocalypse’, 134-35). Often bound with ‘Apocalypsis’, ‘Epistolae quatuor’ was produced, with the same four column structure, from a ms. preserved at the Bodleian. It includes the Syriac text of Peter’s second, John’s second and third, and Jude’s epistles—their first appearance in print, as they were not present in the Syriac canon or the European editions of the Syriac New Testament. The editor, Edward Pococke (1604-91), was a theologian and the first professor of Arabic at Oxford. He dedicated the edition to the Dutch classicist Gerard Vossius, whilst Lodewijk Dieu oversaw the practicalities of its publication.

This copy of ‘Epistolae’ bears the reprinted preliminary A2-A3 in the correct position. Due to an initial printing flaw affecting the penultimate line of the dedication, they had to be redone, and are sometimes bound at rear (Willems 334).

I: Willems 289; Copinger 1310; Darlow & Moule 1438.

II: Willems 334; Copinger 3653; Darlow & Moule 1440.

J.H. Rubin, Perishing Heathens (Lincoln, 2017); I.H. Hall, ‘The Syriac Apocalypse’, Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis 2 (1882), 134-51; D. McKitterick, A History of Cambridge University Press: Volume 1 (Cambridge, 1992); ‘Leiden’, in Hebrew Typography in the Northern Netherlands, ed. L. Fuks et al. (Leiden, 1984).

L3472

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