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Lincoln College

Midrash Tehilim

Midrash Tehilim (Venice, 1546).

Midrash Tehilim comprises an aggadic midrash (collection of homiletic stories by early rabbies to explain passages in the Bible) on the Psalms. This midrash was quoted already by Natan ben Yehiel of Rome (ca. 1035-1106) and  is also known as Aggadat Tehilim or Shoher Tov. In this edition, Midrash Tehilim is followed by Midrash Shemu’el (a midrash on the book of Samuel) and Midrash Mishle (a midrash on the Proverbs).

The first edition of Midrash Tehilim was printed in Constantinople in 1512. Here we have a Venice edition of 1546-1547 that was printed in the workshop of Daniel Bomberg by Cornelius Adelkind who completed his job in February-March 1547. Cornelius, son of Baruch Adelkind was an Italian Jewish printer and publisher in the 16th century who worked in Venice for Daniel Bomberg, Giovanni di Gara, as well as Giustiniani and in Sabbionetta for Tobias Foa.

The decorated title page of the book has been signed by Thomas Marshall (1621-1685) – the notable 17th century English churchman, Orientalist and linguist, Rector of Lincoln College in Oxford and Dean of Gloucester.


Typically to many early Italian prints, Midrash Tehilim includes several censorship deletions. Curiously enough, most of these have been later restored on the margins, possibly by Thomas Marshall himself. Actually, the censor who left his signature in the book - "Corretto d[e] mi Vittorio Eliano ex ordine de Ch. Almi Sri. Essecutori contra la biastema" – is known as a Jewish convert to Christianity. Vittorio Eliano, a priest and canon who lived in Italy in the sixteenth century was a  grandson of Elijah Levita (important Italian Jewish grammarian, masorete and poet). Well versed in Hebrew literature, Eliano was appointed as a censor of Hebrew books, first at Cremona, afterwards (1567) at Venice. Later, Eliano was active in the denunciation of the Talmud, which was publicly burned in April 17, 1559.

See the SOLO record for this book.