Nicolas De Lyra (ca 1270-1340) was a French exegete in the Franciscan order. He was born in Lyne in Normandy and became a Doctor of Theology and teacher at the Sorbonne. He was noted for his extensive commentary on the Bible. Martin Luther is claimed to have stated “Without Lyra we would understand neither the old or new testament.” De Lyra was the first printed biblical commentary. He was a scholar familiar with Hebrew and stressed the need to go to original sources for books of the Bible rather than rely on corrupted Latin versions prepared later. He made use of the Talmud, other Jewish writings of rabbinical scholars, especially Rashi (Solomon Ben Isaac) of the 11th century, in order to understand the Jewish practices. Most of all Nicolas De Lyra always emphasized the literal meaning of the passages in the Bible rather than the mystical or allegorical explanations that had developed.
De Lyra wrote commentary on the books of the Bible. It was studied throughout the Medieval period and during the Renaissance.
Our two leaves have 44 lines of Roman type per page. There is one continuous column of print. The initials (2 line capitals) on one leaf are red on the verso side and blue on the recto side. The other leaf has no initials.
Conrad Swynheim (? – 1477) and Arnold Pannartz (? – 1476) were German printers who worked in Gutenberg’s shop in Mainz but were displaced by local religious wars. They were encourage by an Italian Cardinal, Giovanni Turrecremata, to establish a printing press in the Abbey of Subiaco in 1464. They were the first printers in Italy. In 1467, they moved their business to Rome. It is believed that the first Jewish printers in Rome learned their trade from Swynheim and Pannartz. This pair of printers also developed Greek fonts for printing the classics. Years later the Ashendene Press developed their Subiaco type based on the work of Swynheim and Pannartz.