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This BIBLICAL ARCHIVES offer is of ONE original leaf recovered from the first printed Greek New Testament, 1514, DM1412. Although it was printed two years before Erasmus' 1st edition Greek New Testament, 1516, it was not published until 1517. All original leaves come with a Certificate of Historicity. MEASUREMENTS: 14" X 10". Location: 7.2d


NOTE: The scholastic importance of the Complutensian Polyglot lies in particular in the New Testament text. New Testament leaves from the Complutensian Polyglot are extremely rare. One can sometimes obtain Old Testament and Apocrypha leaves for under $1,000.00 but not so for the New Testament leaves.


1514 Complutensian Polyglot Bible Leaf - 2 PETER 3 & 1 JOHN 1-2

  • DM1412


    1517.(Biblia Polyglotta.)

    Iudustria Arnaldi Guillelmi de Brocario :

    Academia Complutensi. 1514-7. f°. 6 vols.


    The earliest of the great Polyglots; known as the Complutensian, the Spanish, or Ximenes’ Polyglot. The languages represented are Hebrew, Chaldee, Greek and Latin: for details see below.


    Produced under the patronage and at the expense of Cardinal Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros (1436-1517), Archbishop of Toledo and Regent of Castile, the famous Spanish statesman and patron of learning, founder of the University of Complutum, i.e. Alcala de Henares, which was removed in 1836 to Madrid. He gathered round him for this task a band of eminent scholars, including Diego Lopez de Zuniga (Stunica), Elio Antonio de Lebrija (Nebrissensis), Fernando Nunez de Guzman (Pincianus), Juan de Vergara and his brother Pedro, Demetrios Ducas of Crete, Alphonso de Zamora, Alphonso de Alcala, and Pablo Coronel: the last three were converts from Judaism. Some ancient Biblical MSS. were purchased by the Cardinal, and many others borrowed, Leo X. lending several treasures from the Vatican.


    THE DATE. The work is said to have been begun in 1502, in honour of the birth of the child who afterwards became the Emperor Charles V. (1500-1558). The earliest part printed was the fifth volume, containing the N. T., the colophon in which is dated 10 Jan, 1514. It was therefore printed, though not published, before Erasmus’ first edition, 1516. Vol. 6, containing the Appendix, was next completed, one colophon giving the date 17 Mar. 1515, and the other 31 May 1515. Vols. 1-4, containing the O. T., were finished last, the colophon in vol. 4 bearing the date 10 July 1517. Cardinal Ximenes died 8 Nov. 1517. The document giving the Papal sanction to publication is dated 22 Mar. 1520 (which, however, possibly: 1521), but apparently the volumes were not circulated till 1522. The presentation copy designed for the Pope, printed on vellum and bound in red velvet, was placed in the Vatican library 5 Dec. 1521.


    It has been suggested that some difficulties would be simplified if the year in Spain, as in some other European countries, was reckoned early in the sixteenth century to begin on 25 March. For example, as Leo X. was elected on 28 Feb. 1513, this allows very few months between his lending the MSS. and the completion of the N. T., unless the colophon-date 10 Jan. 1514 really : 1515. On the other hand, it would certainly be remarkable for the latter part of the Appendix-volume to bear an earlier date (31 May 1515) than the former part (17 Mar. 1515 = 1516); and the available evidence seems to show that at this period the year in Spain was generally reckoned to begin on Christmas Day.


    The puzzling delay in the publication of this Polyglot may partly be explained by the fact that Erasmus had obtained for his Greek-Latin New Testament of 1516 not only the Papal sanction, but also an exclusive privilege for four years, granted by,Maximilian I., and valid throughout the Holy Roman Empire. This double advantage probably proved sufficient to postpone the publication of the work of his Spanish rivals. Cf. the interval between the publication in 1599 of No. 1430, with its privilege for fifteen years, and the first issue in 1614—6 of No. 1437. (The suggestion is due to Dr. Rendel Harris.)


    THE PRICE. The Pope’s letter (see below) states : ‘usque ad sexcenta volumina vel amplius impensa ejusdem Francisci Cardinalis impressa.’ The price was fixed by the Cardinal’s executors at 6½ gold ducats, or a little more (= about 2l. 7s., equivalent to about 30 l. to-day) : ‘non habita impensarum ratione, qum fuerunt propemodum iniinit, sed utilitate quse inde sequeretur ex lectione, taxavimus totum opus ducalium zumzorum izmnerorzmz precio sex cum di-midio aut aligzwmto plzwis, prout distrahendorum librorum ratio exegerit, habita pro vectura impensarum aestimatione.’


    Ximenes’ biographer, Gomez, states that the Cardinal was believed to have lavished a fortune of 50,000 gold ducats on the work, of which 4000 were spent in purchasing seven Hebrew manuscripts. (For further details see his Life, published at Alcala in 1569, a long passage from which is cited in Maseh’s Le Long, Pt. 1, p. 332 f. ; and compare the biographies by Hefele and Ulrich.)


    Compare the preface to the N. T. Two Vatican MSS. of the Greek 0. T. were returned on 9 July 1519. Cardinal Ximenes’ own MSS. are still preserved at Madrid 2 see an important note on these in Tregelles’ Printed Text, pp. 11-18.


    THE ARRANGEMENT. Throughout the O. T. the general arrangement is as follows: the Hebrew is printed in the outside column, with the Hebrew roots in the margin; the Latin Vulgate in the middle; the Greek Septuagint, with an interlinear Latin translation, in the inside column. In the Pentateuch the Chaldee Paraphrase (in Hebrew characters) is added at. the foot of the page, side by side with a Latin translation of it ; the Chaldee roots being also added in the margin. (For the rest of the O. T. the Chaldee Paraphrase was transcribed, and done into Latin; owing, however, to its corrupt text, it was not printed, but the editor’s MS. was placed in the University Library at Alcala.) In the Apocrypha only two texts appear—the Vulgate and the Septuagint (with its interlinear, Latin)—the latter printed in two columns on either side of the Vulgate. The Prayer of Manasses is given only in the Latin Vulgate; the Third Book of Maccabees only in the Greek Septuagint (with its interlinear Latin). In the Psalter the Latin version in common use, known as the ‘ Roman is printed as the interlinear translation of the Septuagint.


    The N. T. is printed in two columns, the Greek on the left, and the Latin Vulgate on the right. References are given in the margins; and special notes are added in five instances: (1) at Matt. vi, on the omission of the Doxology from the Lord’s Prayer, (2) at 1 Cor. xiii 3, (3) at 1 Cor. xv 31, (4) at 1 Cor. xv 51, and (5) at 1 John v, on the inclusion of the passage as to the Three Heavenly Witnesses (the ‘Comma Johanneum’).


    Small reference letters denote the corresponding words in the O. T. Hebrew and Latin texts, and the N. T. Greek and Latin texts. The ordinary Hebrew accents are omitted. The N. T. Greek is printed in beautiful type, without the usual accents and breathings.


    In vol. 5 the book of Acts is placed after the Epistle to the Hebrews.


    The title page in each volume bears the arms of Cardinal Ximenes, above which are printed the verses :

    ‘ Heec tibi pentadecas tetragonon respicit illud

    Hospitium petri et pauli ter quinque dierum.

    Namque instrumentum vetus hebdoas innuit, octo

    Lex nova signatur ; ter quinque receptat utrumque. ‘



  • Some Bible leaves are hard to look at and others look as new as the day they left the press. The condition of a particular Bible  leaf reflects its history and is not an indication of its true value. Perfect leaves are ones that have seen little or no use over the centuries in contrast to those that are scarred by the ravages of time. Unblemished leaves are unloved leaves because they have had little contact with sinners. Imperfect leaves tell a story, some are torn and ripped and warn away by excessive use while other's have burns or worm holes and still others are water stained by flood and sometimes even tears. Each ugly mark or stain is in fact a beautiful witness to the Word of God, which “… liveth and abideth forever.”


    The basis for pricing our Biblical leaves and other artefacts is based on: 1) the age 2) the rarity of the object 3) the popularity of the text and finally 4) the condition.


    We offer a 60 days no questions asked RETURN and REFUND POLICY as long as the leaf/object is returned in the same pre-sale condition. Buyer pays for return shipping. All objects and leaves are photographed prior to being shipped. 

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