Bible. Latin. Vulgate.

Bible. Latin. Vulgate. 1555. Biblia sacra ex postremis doctorum omnium vigiliis ad Hebraicam veritatem & probatissimorum exemplarium fidem. Salamanca: Andrea de Portonariis, 1555. Purchased on the Henry S. Morgan Fund, 2011.

The scholar-printer Andrea de Portonariis believed that some passages in the Latin Bible could be corrected on the basis of recent research by a professor of Hebrew in Paris. Attempts to go back to the Hebrew sources were viewed with suspicion by the authorities after a Paris printer had used the professor’s emendations in Bible editions with notes betraying Protestant sympathies. Portonariis appears not to have adopted very many of the disputed readings, but he realized he was in for trouble and took evasive action. He disguised the suspect origins of his edition by announcing that it had been overseen by a Salamanca theologian, who bridled at that subterfuge and complained to the Inquisition. Spanish censors placed the Portonariis edition on the Index of Prohibited Books and seized whatever copies were still available. Piled up with other banned books, they filled five rooms in the cardinal’s palace in Toledo. At first it was decided to burn them, but then they were allowed to rot in storage. Only four copies are known to have survived, this one, formerly in a private collection of Spanish Judaica, and three copies in libraries in Portugal.

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