Arba’ Anajil Yasu’ al-Masih. Sacrosancta Quatuor Jesu Christi D. N. Evangelia Arabicé scripta, Latiné reddita, figurisq. Ornata. [Four Bibles of Jesus Christ].

Biblia Arabic & Latina

Book ID: 14269


Folio. [4], 462 pp., [1], title in red and black, woodcut illustrations, Arabic & Latin text within borders, modern vellum, new endpapers, gilt lettering on spine, old & faint inscription on first and last page, copy clean & in very good condition, Typographia Medicea, Rome, 1619.


Rare 1619 reissue or Titelauflage of the original 1591 stock of the Arabic-Latin Medicean Gospels, with preliminary leaves to make up for the never published first eight pages of the original edition. After the title page, the editor J. A. Rodolus in a dedication to Cardinal Madrutius quite brazenly declares the work with corrections. A third leaf bears the portrait of the Cardinal, and leaf 4 repeats the impressum of 1591, also printed at the end of the work. The Arabic text is printed with Granjon’s famous large font, the catchwords are in the small arabic (Avicenna Arabic). The text lines are almost identical with those of the Arabic issue, but now have an interlinear Latin version added, which was prepared by Antonius Sionita. As in the Arabic version, the pagination is in Arabic numerals on top, and European at the bottom, but the running titles (head-lines) with the names of the Evangelists are in typeset Arabic, with Latin underneath, whereas in the Arabic issue these names featured in woodcut.
Between 1590 and 1595 seven Arabic texts were published for the first time by Typographia Medicea in Rome under the direction of Giovani Battista Raimondi (c. 1536-1614). The first publication in 1590 and 1591 was the Gospels in an unidentified Arabic version with the woodcut illustrations of the life of Christ designed by the Florentine painter Antonio Tempesta in two different editions, the first Arabic alone, and the second with an interlinear Latin version made by a team of translators working for the press.
Bibliographic references: Darlow & Moule, 1637 & 1643; Brunet II, 1122-23; Graesse II, 531; for 1590 edition see: Schnürrer 318; Smitskamp 374; Le Livre et Le Liban, p. 239.

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