Complutensian Polyglot Bible
Alcalá de Henares.
Spain: Arnaldi Guillelmi de Brocario, 1514-17 [but not published before 1520].
Cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros (1436–1517) assembled scholars at the Complutense University in Alcalá de Henares in order to compile a Bible to be printed in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin. The Old Testament is printed in three parallel columns comprising the original Hebrew, the first printing of the Greek text of the Septuagint, and the Latin of the Vulgate of Saint Jerome. The first five books, or the Pentateuch, include two additional columns at the foot of the page comprising the Aramaic text of Targum Onkelos and its own Latin translation. The New Testament is presented in two parallel columns of the original Greek text and Jerome’s Latin. This publication, a landmark of biblical scholarship and typography, was printed between 1514 and 1517 but its formal publication was delayed due to a four-year exclusive privilege to publish the New Testament which Erasmus had received in 1516. A work of incredible scholarship and typographic design, the Complutensian Polyglot is the first printed multilingual Bible. Only six hundred copies of the Polyglot were printed, of which approximately sixteen percent are known to exist today.