Babylonian Talmud, Mishnayot Seder Kodshim, Venice 1528 (48863)

תלמוד בבלי, משניות סדר קדשים

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 48863
Title (English): Babylonian Talmud, Mishnayot Seder Kodshim
Title (Hebrew): תלמוד בבלי, משניות סדר קדשים
City: Venice
Publisher: Daniel Bomberg
Publication Date: 1528
Estimated Price: $8,000.00 USD - $12,000.00 USD
Content/listingImages/20200115/b511609a-c392-4e3a-bd98-16df71ea6d30_fullsize.jpg Content/listingImages/20200115/78827791-84c3-4fb4-acfa-62b47265c506_fullsize.jpg


Physical Description

13 ff., folio, 355:245 mm., light age and damp staining, wide margins. A very good copy bound in modern full leather over boards, tooled in blind.


Detail Description

Kodashim is the fifth of the six orders, or major divisions, of the Mishnah, Tosefta and the Talmud, and deals largely with the services within the Temple in Jerusalem, its maintenance and design, the korbanot, or sacrificial offerings that were offered there, and other subjects related to these topics, as well as, notably, the topic of kosher slaughter of animals for non-sacrificial purposes. The topics of this Seder are primarily the sacrifices of animals, birds, and meal offerings, the laws of bringing a sacrifice, such as the sin offering and the guilt offering, and the laws of misappropriation of sacred property. In addition, the order contains a description of the Second Temple (tractate Middot), and a description and rules about the daily sacrifice service in the Temple (tractate Tamid). The order also includes tractate Hullin, which concerns the slaughter of animals for non-sacrificial use, as well as other dietary laws applying to meat and animal products. Although Hullin is about the slaughter of animals for non-sacrificial, and therefore unsanctified purposes, because the rules about the proper slaughter of animals and birds, and their ritual fitness for use were considered to be an integral part of the concept of holiness in Judaism, they were also included in the order regarding “holy things”

Daniel Bomberg, the son of an Antwerp merchant, can be referred to as the father of the printed Babylonian Talmud. Indeed, among his many accomplishments are the first printing of Babylonian Talmud (1520-23) and the Jerusalem Talmud (1522-23, a beautiful copy in this auction), the first Mikra’ot Gedolot (1515-17), the first Alfas (1522), the first Kariate printed book (1528-29). Why the Christian (Calvinist) Bomberg printed Hebrew books is a subject of many bibliographers’ articles. He was associated with Felice da Prato, an apostate who subsequently became a friar, who influenced him to print Hebrew books. Israel Mehlman assumes that proselytism played a role in the process, albeit a small one. The activities of Bomberg on behalf of the Jewish community were not limited by printing. The British Jewish historian, Cecil Roth, writes that Bomberg helped Marranos find refuge in Turkey. He is recorded as having fought for and obtained certain rights for his Jewish workers denied other Venetian Jews. For a detailed, in-depth review of the Bomberg Talmud see Printing the Talmud, Prof. Marvin J. Heller, Im Hasefer, Brooklyn, 1992, pages 135-182. For all his righteousness Bomberg nevertheless appears to have plagiarized much of the text for his Talmud from the Gershom Soncino tractates. Soncino complains in his Mikhlol that the Venetian printers copied his editions (Heller p. 145). Support for his complaint can be found in the errors Bomberg duplicated from Soncino tractates.

Ephraim Dienard best describes the rarity of the tractates in the late 19th and early 20th century (Atikos Yehudah p. 42): “I doubt the existence of greater than three complete sets in the world. The tractates utilized in yeshivot were torn and lost. Especially rare to find are complete volumes of the following tractates: Berakhot, Bezah, Sabbath, Chagigah, Gittin, Kiddushin, Ketubbot, the three Bavaos. The majority of tractates in Jewish Theological Seminary (New York), Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati), University of California in San Francisco, Library of Congress are of my doing, complete ones not to be found.” Needless to say conditions have not improved in the 21st century, the Holocaust and Jewish perils have only added to the scarcity of these volumes.


Hebrew Description



EJ; Heller, Printing the Talmud, p. 241; Vinograd, Venice 122; Habermann, Bomberg 111; Epstein, Isidore, ed. (1948). "Introduction to Seder Kodashim". The Babylonian Talmud. vol. 5.