8vo (168 x 110 mm). , 102 ff. Hebrew, roman and italic types. Folding letterpress table (a syllabary). Title within type ornament border, printer’s device of three small woodcut crowns. Contemporary limp vellum, ms. title on upper edges (restored patch on lower cover, a few other small restorations). Provenance: Domenicus Masseus, contemporary signature (ex libris Dominici Massei).***
A native of Brescia, very likely of Jewish origin (Marini was a common Jewish name), Marco Marini entered the Augustinian monastery of San Salvatore at Venice at a young age. His knowledge of Hebrew and skill as a Biblical scholar won him a post as translator for the Republic of Venice, and led to his summons to Rome by Pope Gregory XIII to direct the censorship of Hebrew books. Marini appeared in a 1571 list of clerical experts who assisted the Venetian Holy Office in enforcing the Index of Prohibited Books and was directly involved in the destruction of Hebrew books: In 1568, the Venetian authorities "ordered the destruction or correction of thousands of copies of recent [Hebrew] publications and fined those held responsible. The tribunal began by noting that various Jews of the city, both `foreigners' and `Levantines,' had published Hebrew books `almost all incorrect and unexpurgated. They had done this without a governmental imprimatur… The tribunal further noted that two local priests, experts in Hebrew, Fra Marco [Marini] and Fra Paulo of the Augustinian monastery of San Salvatore, had confirmed that the Hebrew titles had not been expurgated…" (Paul Grendler, "The Destruction of Hebrew Books in Venice, 1568," Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 45(1978), p. 111, noting in footnote 29 that this was "more than likely Fra Marco Marini da Brescia, Hebraist and biblical scholar") . Printers and publishers of the offending books -- including the Giovanni di Gara who printed this edition -- were fined large sums and many books were destroyed – but others were allowed to be shipped to buyers in Poland and Germany (Grendler, p. 114)!
Marini's Hebrew grammar was first published in Basel by Froben in 1580 under the title Grammatica Linguae Sanctae. In 1593 Marini published a Hebrew dictionary (Arca Noe, Thesaurus Linguae sanctae novus, again printed by di Gara), which included all or most of the present text. Both the 1580 edition and the 1593 Arca Noe are very rare, with no copies in the US. Four or five copies of the present edition are held by American libraries.
Adams M-598; BM/STC Italian, p. 418; Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, p. 124; EDIT-16 23085. Item #2189