Commentaries on the Exhibit’s Works




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A brief commentary prepared by Fred W. Jenkins, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Collections and Operations, University Libraries, on the following work:

Polyglot Bible: Psalter
1516; First edition in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and Arabic


Origen (ca. 184–254) created the first polyglot Bible, called the Hexapla because it was in six columns: Hebrew, a word-by-word Greek transliteration of the Hebrew, and four Greek translations that included the Septuagint as revised by Origen. Only fragments of it survive today.

As the West moved from the monoglot Middle Ages to the new learning of the Renaissance, Greek and Hebrew studies flourished. This, the Reformation, and the advent of printing led to an alliance of philology and theology as scholars parsed scriptural meaning for their doctrinal wars. One aspect of this was appearance of polyglot Bibles, many with Origen’s Hexapla as their model.

The Genoa Psalter on display—possibly the first of its type to be published—contains eight columns: Hebrew, a literal Latin translation, the Latin Vulgate, the Greek Septuagint, Arabic, an Aramaic paraphrase in Hebrew characters, a Latin translation of the Aramaic, and scholia.

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Polyglot Bible: Psalter


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