First complete edition of the Psalter in Syriac

[Biblia syro-latina]. Liber psalmorum Davidis regis et prophetae. Ex idiomate Syro in Latinum translatus.

Paris, [A. Vitré], 1625.

4to. (24), 315, (12) pp. With two printer's devices in prelims.

(Bound with) II: [Barhebraeus, Gregorius]. Veteris philosophi Syri de sapientia divina. Poema aenigmaticum. Ibid., 1628. 4 ff. (incl. final blank), 35, (1) pp. With printer's device to title-page. Calf binding (ca. 1800), covers and spine gilt, leading edges and inner dentelle gilt.


First complete edition of the Psalter in Syriac. "The text, which includes Ps. CLI, is based on three manuscripts, one of which had been sent to the editor by George, the Maronite Archbishop of Nicosia. The Latin version professes to be as literal a translation as possible of the Syriac text" (Darlow/M.). The present Paris edition and the one published at Leiden in the same year by Erpenius are the first two European editions of the Psalter in the Syriac language. While both are printed in Syriac and Latin, Erpenius's edition omits psalm 151 (cf. Smitskamp 80). Edited by the Maronite Gabriel Sionita (1577-1648), principally involved in the 1645 Paris polyglot Bible, printed with the types of Savary de Brèves.

Bound with the sole edition of Barhebraeus's Syriac poem. "Sionite édita et traduisit ce poème syriaque de Barhebraeus, mais sans en avoir identifié l’auteur. Pour lui c’est un auteur inconnu qui a composé ce poème sur la sagesse divine" (Le livre et le Liban). Even library catalogues frequently fail to identify the author (or cite the editor Sionita).

Catalogue clipping mounted on front endpaper. Psalter title has ms. ownership and several stamps. Title of Barhebraeus stamped; all edges remargined to page dimensions of Psalter. Of the utmost rarity, only a single, incomplete copy at auction within the last decade (Sotheby's, Dec 7, 1993, lot 315, lacking 6 prelim. leaves).


I: Goldsmith B 848. Darlow/Moule 8961.

II: Le livre et le Liban 143.

Stock Code: BN#33417 Tags: , ,