The Antwerp Polyglot Bible (1568–1573) has long been recognized as one of the most ambitious typographical enterprises of the sixteenth century. Upon completion, it was the most elaborate Bible ever printed, a library of biblical erudition with editions of the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, and Latin versions together with new scholarly instruments necessary to study and compare them.
Yet powerful contemporaries also perceived it as a threat to the Church. The very idea of a polyglot bible, especially one that included the Hebrew Bible and Aramaic Targums of Jewish tradition, ran counter to the Council of Trent’s decree that the Latin Vulgate was the only authentic version of Christian Scripture. In the middle of the sixteenth century, biblical philology and Catholic orthodoxy turned onto a frightful course of collision, and the pages of the Antwerp Polyglot Bible formed the force field at their crossroads.
The Multiplicity of Scripture is the first book-length study of how the Antwerp Polyglot was made. Combining the history of the book with the history of scholarship and drawing on primary sources from archives and libraries across Europe, it reconstructs the editorial history of Christopher Plantin’s masterpiece from within his printing shop. Set in the contexts of fierce biblical controversies in Tridentine Europe and the fraught afterlife of Jewish traditions in post-expulsion Spain, it tells a story of crisis and craftsmanship, of ink-stained proofs in four different alphabets and the extraordinary team of scholars and printers that made this monument of Renaissance printing and scholarly endeavour
Abbreviations and conventions
A Brief History of Renaissance Biblical Scholarship
Antwerp, Metropolis of the Early Modern World
From Bomberg to Plantin: Printing Hebrew in Sixteenth Century Europe
Preparing a Polyglot
Benito Arias Montano: The Education of a Spanish Humanist
The Design of the Antwerp Polyglot Bible
Defending the Hebrew Text
A treasure whose value no one can measure: Editing Aramaic at Antwerp
Epilogue: The Sieve of Collation