The Cover Page of the 1560 Cremona Book of the Zohar

This page describes the cover page of the Zohar printed in Cremona, Italy in 1560 by the Christian publisher Vincenzo Conti. More about Cremona and Conti A high resolution image of this page is available here. This excellent translation was made by a friend of mine.


on the Torah, from the man of God, holy and most awesome, the Tana Rabbi Simon ben Yohai Z"L (of blessed memory),

with many new features, including Sitrei Torah (Secrets of the Torah), Midrash HaNeelam (The Hidden Midrash), and Tosefta (Addenda) on some of the chapters. (These are subsections of the Zohar.)

We also added the following items not found in the other (edition of the Zohar published in Mantua 1558): the entire Raya Mehemna including the portions on Genesis, the Bahir Commentary, the Midrash on Ruth (known as) the Midrash Hazita, the treatise (beginning with the Aramaic words) Ta-Chazi (come and see), (the treatise known as) the Hechalot (the Palaces), and Biblical notes (indicating the chapter and verse of the Biblical quotations).

At the end of the book, can be found a table of the Biblical verses, that begin each section of the Zohar, as well as an index of all the verses that are discussed, one or more times in the Zohar. (I could not find this.)

Printed with great care in CREMONA

the city of the Great King (Psalms 48:2) our Lord King Filippo
may his glory be exalted, Amen.  
In the year "For the LORD will not
FORSAKE [Heb: Yud(10)+Tet(9)+Shin(300) = 319, i.e. 5319]
his people (Psalms 94:19)
and completed in the year 5320 (1560),

by permission of the Vicar and the Inquisitor General,
as indicated at the end of the book.

(see colophon)


The picture at the top shows the Binding of Issac, or the Akedah of Genesis chapter 22. Abraham has built an altar to slay Issac. An angel stays his hand. There is a ram caught in a thicket. At the foot of the hill Abraham's two servants waits where they were left. The Biblical inscription below says "The Zohar - 'like the very heaven for clearness'" from Exodus 24:10.

The 1560 Cremona Zohar. The twisty decorations going up both sides of the rich elaborate Renaissance-style frame are perhaps supposed to suggest Solomonic Columns.

Click here for a high resolution image of this cover.

Colophon of the 1560 Cremona Zohar being the approval and sanction (given in 1558) to print by the vicar and the Inquisitor General of Mantua.

Woodcut from Berashit section. See also woodcuts from The Pitts Theological Library at Emory University in Atlanta (
Cover page   Berashit woodcut   Vayyikra woodcut

Sefer Ha-Zohar – The Battle For Editio Princeps Jan Doktór & Magdalena Bendowska

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