|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