Rabbinic Bible - Mikraot Gedolot

Mikraot Gedolot, often called the "Rabbinic Bible" in English, is an edition of Tanakh (in Hebrew) that generally includes four distinct elements:

  • The biblical text according to the masorah in its letters, vocalization, and cantillation marks.
  • Masoretic notes on the biblical text.
  • Aramaic Targum.
  • Biblical commentaries (most common and prominent are medieval commentaries in the peshat tradition).

Numerous editions of the Mikraot Gedolot have been and continue to be published.

The Ben Hayyim edition

First published in 1525 by Daniel Bomberg in Vienna, the Mikraot Gedolot was edited by the masoretic scholar Yaakov ben Hayyim. All of its elements - Text, mesorah, targum, and commentaries were based upon the manuscripts that Ben Hayyim had at hand (but he did not always have access to the best ones).

The Mikraot Gedolot of Ben Hayyim, though hailed as an extraordinary achievement, was riddled with thousands of technical errors. It nevertheless served as the textual model for nearly all later editions until modern times. With regard to the biblical text, many of Ben Hayyim's errors were later corrected by Menachem di Lonzano and Shlomo Yedidiah Nortzi. It is only in the last generation that fresh editions of the Mikraot Gedolot based directly on manuscript evidence have been published.

The Mikraot Gedolot of Ben Hayyim served as the textus receptus for the King James Version of the bible in 1611.


Later editions


Menachem Cohen, "Introduction to the Haketer edition," in Mikra'ot Gedolot Haketer: A revised and augmented scientific edition of "Mikra'ot Gedolot" based on the Aleppo Codex and Early Medieval MSS (Bar-Ilan University Press, 1992).

Wikimedia project:

Wiki source's Mikraot Gedolot is available in Hebrew (has the most content) and English.

Published editions


Daniel Bomberg (d. 1549) was an early printer of Hebrew language books. A Christian himself, born in Antwerp, he was primarily active in Venice between 1516 and 1549.

He produced the editio princeps of the Mikraot Gedolot, the Rabbinic Bible, consisting of the Hebrew text plus rabbinical commentaries, between 1516 and 1517, and the first complete Talmud, between 1520 and 1523.

Bomberg found a ready audience among the Jews of Italy, whose numbers had been swelled by exiles from Spain and Portugal. Bomberg's presses eventually produced some 230 Hebrew books, and his innovations in Hebrew typography set the standard for later printers.