The Complutensian Polyglot
Bible is the name given to the first
printed polyglot of the entire Bible, initiated and financed by
Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros
Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436–1517) and published by
Complutense University of Madrid. It includes the first printed
editions of the Greek New Testament, the complete Septuagint, and the
Targum Onkelos. Of the 600 six-volume sets which were printed, only
123 are known to have survived to date.
3 See also
5 Further reading
6 External links
With the rise of the printing press in the 1450s, the
Bible could be
distributed much more efficiently. At great personal expense, Cardinal
Cisneros acquired many manuscripts and invited the top religious
scholars of the day, including Hernán Núñez, to work on the
ambitious task of compiling a massive and complete polyglot "to revive
the languishing study of the Sacred Scriptures". The scholars met in
the city of Complutum (Latin, referred to as Alcalá de Henares), a
city near Madrid, at Complutense University. Work on the project began
in 1502 under the direction of Diego Lopez de Zúñiga, and continued
there for fifteen years. Zúñiga's team of editors included for
Demetrius Ducas "of Crete" and his students
Hernán Núñez and
Juan de Vergara, for Hebrew the conversos
Alfonso de Zamora
Alfonso de Zamora and Pablo
New Testament was completed and printed in 1514, but its
publication was delayed while work on the
Old Testament continued, so
they could be published together as a complete work. In the
meantime, word of the Complutensian project reached Desiderius Erasmus
in Rotterdam, who produced his own printed edition of the Greek New
Testament. Erasmus obtained an exclusive four-year publishing
privilege from Emperor Maximilian and
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X in 1516. Theodore
Beza's Greek NT Text was used primarily, along with Erasmus' Greek NT
Text and with various readings from the Complutensian Greek NT Text to
Textus Receptus published by the Elzevir Brothers in 1633,
and Erasmus' later editions were a secondary source for the King James
Version of the New Testament. The Complutensian Polyglot
Bible was a
tertiary source for the 1611 King James Version.
Old Testament was completed in 1517. Because of
Erasmus' exclusive privilege, publication of the Polyglot was delayed
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X could sanction it in 1520. It is believed to have not
been distributed widely before 1522. Cardinal Cisneros died in July
1517, five months after the Polyglot's completion, and never saw its
Beginning of Matthew recto page. Left to right: Greek, Latin Vulgate,
cross-references in the margin.
The Complutensian Polyglot
Bible was published as a six-volume set.
The first four volumes contain the Old Testament. Each page consists
of three parallel columns of text: Hebrew on the outside, the Latin
Vulgate in the middle (corrected by Antonio de Nebrija), and the Greek
Septuagint on the inside. On each page of the Pentateuch, the Aramaic
text (the Targum Onkelos) and its own Latin translation are added at
the bottom. The fifth volume, the New Testament, consists of parallel
columns of Greek and the Latin Vulgate. The sixth volume contains
various Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek dictionaries and study aids. For
the Greek text, the minuscules 140, 234, and 432 were probably used.
Jerome's Latin version of the
Old Testament was placed between the
Greek and Hebrew versions, symbolizing the Roman Church of Christ
being surrounded and crucified by the Greek Church and the Jews.
A full size (folio) facsimile edition was published in Valencia
1984–87, reproducing the
Bible text (volumes 1-5) from the copy in
the Library of the Jesuit Society at Rome, and the rarer sixth volume
of dictionaries from the copy in the
Complutense University Library.
The typeface devised for the Complutensian by Arnaldo Guillén de
Brocar has been regarded by typographers such as Robert Proctor as the
apex of Greek typographical development in early printing, before
Aldus Manutius' manuscript-based typefaces took over the market for
the next two centuries. Proctor based his 1903 Otter Greek typeface on
the Polyglot; the Greek Font Society's GFS Complutensian Greek is
likewise based on the Polyglot.
Novum Instrumentum omne
Codex Complutensis I
^ The new Cambridge modern history, page 124, R. B. (Richard Bruce)
Wernham (1906-): "... he and his fellow convert, Pablo de Coronel,
were also engaged on the Hebrew and Aramaic sections of the
Complutensian Polyglot Bible."
^ a b c
Bart D. Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (2005). Misquoting Jesus. San Francisco:
HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-073817-4.
^ Ehrman, 76
Lyell, James P. R. (1917), Cardinal Ximenes, Statesman, Ecclesiastic,
Soldier, and Man of Letters: with an Account of the Complutensian
Polyglot Bible. London: Coptic House, 1917.
Rummel, Erika. Jiménez de Cisneros, On the Threshold of Spain’s
Golden Age. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and
Renaissance Studies, 1999.
Catholic Encyclopedia: Editions of the Bible
Catholic Encyclopedia "Polyglot Bibles"
GFS Complutensian Greek
Robert Proctor's announcement of his Otter Greek font: A New Fount of
Greek Type, Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 2, No. 6 (Aug.,
1903), pp. 358-360
Blog entry on Complutensian typography