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JACOB BEN ḤAYYIM BEN ISAAC IBN ADONIJAH:

Masorite and printer; born about 1470 at Tunis (hence sometimes called Tunisi); died before 1538. He left his native country in consequence of the persecutions that broke out there at the beginning of the sixteenth century. After residing at Rome and Florence he settled at Venice, where he was engaged as corrector of the Hebrew press of Daniel Bomberg. Late in life he embraced Christianity. Jacob's name is known chiefly in connection with his edition of the Rabbinical Bible (1524-25), which he supplied with Masoretic notes and an introduction which treats of the Masorah, of "ḳere" and "ketib," and of the discrepancies between the Talmudists and the Masorah. The value of his activity as a Masorite was recognized even by Elijah Levita, who, however, often finds fault with his selections (second introduction to "Massoret ha-Massoret," ed. Ginsburg).

Jacob's introduction to the Rabbinical Bible was translated into Latin by Claude Capellus ("De Mari Rabbinico Infido," vol. ii., ch. 4, Paris, 1667), and into English by Christian D. Ginsburg (Longham, 1865). Jacob also wrote a dissertation on the Targum, prefixed to the 1527 and 1543-44 editions of the Pentateuch, and published extracts from Moses ha-Naḳdan's "Darke ha-Niḳḳud weha-Neginot," a work on the accents. He revised the "editio princeps" of the Jerusalem Talmud (1523), of Maimonides' "Yad," and of many other works from Bomberg's press.

Bibliography:
  • De Rossi, Dizionario, p. 322;
  • Nepi-Ghirondi, Toledot Gedole Yisrael, p. 197;
  • Christian D. Ginsburg, Massoret ha-Massoret, pp. 33-34, London, 1867;
  • Oẓar Neḥmad, iii. 112;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 1205;
  • Fürst, Bibl. Jud. iii. 451.
J. I. Br.
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