The Pentateuch: First Printed Edition of the Torah in Hebrew

In 2014, a complete copy of a newly discovered first printed edition of the Pentateuch was auctioned at Christie’s in Paris for $2 million—an edition of the Pentateuch considered even more rare than copies of the Gutenberg Bible!

This first edition copy of the first five books of the Bible, the Torah in Hebrew, was printed in Bologna, Italy in 1482 and includes the Targum Onkelos, an Aramaic paraphrase and commentary. It’s also the first Hebrew book printed with cantillation signs and vowel points—special marks that ensure correct pronunciation and guide the ritual chanting of the Hebrew Bible in the synagogue! It is one of only twenty-eight copies known to exist on vellum and considered “the most important book in the history of Hebrew printing and publishing.”

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