Hebrew expurgations

[Book of Psalms in Hebrew]. Sefer Tehillim.
Commentary by David ben Joseph Kimhi, corrected by Jacob Baruch ben Judah Landau.
Naples: Joseph ben Jacob Ashkenazi Gunzenhauser, 4 Nisan 5247 (28 March 1487). (07017)

Hebrew books suffered extensive expurgation beginning in 1555 with the papacy of Paul IV. Although there were no printed indexes for censors of Hebrew books during the sixteenth century, four manuscripts of the Sefer Hazikuk (“Book of Expurgations”) compiled by the converted rabbi Domenico Irosolomitano (c. 1552–1621) survive. The papal censors, primarily Jewish converts to Christianity, used the Sefer Hazikuk to expurgate thousands of passages from the Talmud and other Hebrew texts and commentaries.

In the exhibited fifteenth-century edition of the Hebrew Psalms, the texts of the Psalms, printed in large letters, are accompanied by the often anti-Christian commentary by Rabbi David Kimhi (1160–1235) in smaller type. Several words of the commentary on Psalm 73 were inked out by a censor who added his “correct” readings in the margins. Extensive glue stains indicate that a later censor covered the entire passage with paper, but this more intrusive censorship was removed by a subsequent owner.

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The Index of Expurgations
Hebrew expurgations