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Judaism A Jewish Polyglot

Hamishah Humshei Torah [Pentateuch, with translations in Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, and the Commentary of Rashi]. Constantinople: Eliezer Soncino, AM 5306 (1546 CE). NYPL, Dorot Jewish Division.

Unlike other editions, the text in this polyglot Pentateuch is set entirely in Hebrew characters. While Diaspora Jews were generally fluent in the vernaculars of their host nations, they often chose to write those languages using the Hebrew alphabet, with which they were most adept. The original Hebrew text of the Pentateuch is at the center, flanked by the Judeo-Persian and Aramaic versions on the right and left, respectively. The Judeo-Arabic translation appears above, and the commentary of Rashi is below.

Constantinople (Istanbul), as capital of the Ottoman Empire and a refuge for Jews expelled from Western Europe, supported a linguistically diverse Jewish community. Another polyglot edition was printed there the following year, with Judeo-Greek replacing the Judeo-Persian.

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