The first printing of Maseches Bechoros!
Volume from the first complete set of Talmud Bavli!
Maseches Bechoros with Rashi’s and Tosfos’ commentaries. This is a complete volume from the original first printed set of Shas by the famed Italian printer Daniel Bomberg Piskei Tosfos and Piskei HaRosh are printed in the back of the Gemara.
This was the first printed volume of Maseches Bechoros. This masechta wasn’t printed throughout the entire incunabula or post-incunabula period; financial constraints prevented printers from printing masechtos that were not regularly learned in the framework of European yeshivos. (See preface of the printer Gershon Soncino in Michlol Kushta, 1533.)
Beautiful volume of Gemara printed with dark ink on thick, high-quality paper.
Venice, 1522. Daniel Bomberg Press. Page Count: 69 leaves. Page Size: 34 cm. Condition: Minor restoration on title page margin, and light repairs on margins of first 17 leaves. Light water stains. New leather binding.
The leaves of the Gemara include notes and references in the Gemara and Tosfos. Similar markings were added for the first time into the Giustiniani Press Shas (Venice, 1551), yet the present markings seem to have been inserted beforehand.
Bibliography: Stefansky, Sifrei Yesod #41
The Bomberg Shas
The first complete set of Talmud Bavli was printed by Daniel Bomberg in his famed printing house in Venice between the years 1520-1523. The complete set was a masterpiece, with attractive, clear type and practically free of censorship. It likewise contained new additions that were printed for the first time based on handwritten manuscripts.
Commonly regarded as the prototype for all future editions, the Venice Shas established the famous tzuras hadaf which fixed the number of pages in each tractate and served as the basis for all future printings of the Gemara. Until this very day, anyone who cites a source in Shas references the daf as established in Bomberg’s Venice Shas.
Rabbi Refael Nosson Nutta Rabinowitz, an expert on the printings of Talmud, wrote in reference to this project, “The structure and appearance of this Talmud is perfect in its magnificence and splendor. The paper is fine and the letters are black and luminous… No subsequent printings are as beautiful” (Maamar al Hadpasas Hatalmud p. 41).
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