Rashi's Commentary on the Pentateuch
Reggio di Calabria: Abraham ben Garton, [18 February1475]
First dated printed Hebrew Book
Close-up, lines 9-11
This is the first printed Hebrew book to bear a date, (10 Adar 235 = 17/18 February1475). These images come from the facsimile of the only known close to complete copy, currently housed at the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma (ed. by J. Joseph Cohen, National and University Library, Jerusalem, ). The Parma copy lacks the first leaves, and fol. [1a] begins with the comment to Genesis 3.4, "Thou shall surely not die.", the serpent's reply to Eve.
Although the first dated printed edition, the work is neither the first edition of Rashi's commentary, nor the first book to be printed in Hebrew. Between 1469 and 1472 three brothers, Obadiah, Menasseh, and Benjamin of Rome, were active as the first Hebrew typographers. Six works are positively known to have come off their press, among which was the first, albeit undated edition of Rashi's commentary. Nonetheless in 1475 edition Abraham Garton created and employed, for the first time, a typeface based on a Sephardic semicursive hand. It was this same style of typeface that a few years later, when commentary and text were incorporated onto one page, would be used to distinguish Rabbinic commentary from the text proper. Ultimately, this typeface would be known as "Rashi script."
In the world, there are only two anastatic pringings of this volume: one in Jerusalem and one in Reggio Calabria.