Thursday, July 20, 2006

Complutensian Polyglot

Does anyone know of a facsimile (printed or electronic) of the Complutensian Polyglot? I seem unable to obtain it in PDF as Rick Brannan did.


austinjalexander said...

Dr. Williams, at one time that site ( had many bibles in pdf format available free for download. Then after awhile they began taking many of the files off their site (copyright issues?) and started charging for many of their services. Currently, I am unsure why their site is inaccessible (at least it was when I tried). However, I managed to download the Complutensian Polyglot before all the changes and would be happy to email it to you (it is a very large file though) or perhaps it might be better if I posted it on my website for you to access. Regardless, I'll have to wait until later tonight since the file is on my hard drive at home. I will post again at that time. I hope this was helpful to you.

P J Williams said...

Thanks. Do you know what the copyright situation of this PDF is? I assume that, since it is a book from 1522, then it is out of copyright. However, is there an issue of ownership of the PDFs? The Complutensian Polyglot may be out of copyright but what about the images?

Anonymous said...

i second the motion to post the poly on austin's website

please please do!!!

P J Williams said...

I certainly was not suggesting that Austin should not publish it on his website. However, it would be in public interest if we knew full details of the source of the images so that we could refer questions about the images to them. I will try to contact the

slaveofone said...

The PDFs were taken down because Christian organizations, publishers, and a few other individuals were harassing the web site owner and threatening physical harm.

I too downloaded several things from the site...but the Comp Poly was not one of them.

P J Williams said...

'threatening physical harm' does not sound like a good procedure in this case. However, that does not explain (at least not satisfactorily to an inquisitive mind) why PDFs of an out-of-copyright book should be taken down.

Tigran Aivazian said...

The comment by austinjalexander is not true --- I never charged anyone for anything downloaded from Instead of making such false comments I would advise this person to check the facts first --- it is very easy to do so by using cost calculator and derive from the fact that the cost of PDF files is 0.00 and so the royalty on printed versions is also exactly 0.00 (ZERO).

Spreading such lies about me is one of the [many] reasons why I was fed up with this kind of "service" and removed even the tiny part (about 1/1000th of my whole collection!) that was then available.

Those who seek will humble their spirits and shall find me, because for this very purpose I was born --- to bear witness of the truth. And those who are only interested in "scholarly" arguments are not worthy of getting access to these treasures.

So, if you really want to blame someone --- blame the so-called "scholars" who, on the one hand want to enjoy the materials but on the other hand don't have the guts to come to my rescue when the wolves (called "copyright holders" etc) attack me who am weak, yet whose strength is in the Lord.


austinjalexander said...

Tigran, I apologize for making you so upset, but there was a time when I was able to download many bible resources from your site for free.

Now, however, when I go to your site I see a list of resources that do not appear downloadable but rather appear to allow me to purchase materials from you by clicking on the buttons labeled, "buy my book @ Lulu." When I click on those buttons, for example the button next to "Hebrew Bible: Westminster Leningrad Codex v4.5 (PRINTED)," I am directed to a page that appears to want to charge me $19.36.

All I said in my previous post was that at one time resources were on your site for free and that no longer was such a situation the case. I never meant to enrage you are "lie" about you and, in retrospect, I am unconvinced that I did.

However, it is obvious that certain people have made you very upset and I am sorry that you were treated so poorly by them.

On another note, if you feel so inclined, could you help us out with the copyright issue of the Complutensian Polyglot pdf file that was at one time posted on your website? Was this one of the files for which you were hassled?

And, for everyone else, in between studying I have been attempting to track down the source of the file and any other information that I can scrounge up. I will update you all later tonight.

Eric Rowe said...


This is the first time I have ever seen your site. And I'm sure I speak for many when I say thank you for this service.

If, as you suggest, Austin's mistaken belief that you were charging money for some services resulted from his failure to check the Lulu cost calculator, then I'm sure we can agree that his claim was a simple mistake and not a lie.

Also, I'm sure you must also agree that there are people who love and cherish the Truth as you exhort us to, and who are willing to devote their lives to fairly in-depth pursuit of the knowledge of God's Word, to the point of learning several languages and acquainting themselves with the physical data we have concerning the transimission of God's Word to a degree that laypeople are not privileged to do. In so doing, these people are rightly called "scholars," which does not make them enemies of God. In fact, for many saints, scholarship is the very vocation which true discipleship demands of them.

Finally, as I was until now unaware of your service, I was also unaware of your need for scholars to come to your rescue somehow. I am not a scholar. Nevertheless, how exactly would you like scholars to rescue you so that God's Word can be as available as possible to all. Perhaps a specific suggestion in this forum would alert those scholars who are able to do what is needed.

Eric Rowe said...

Also, If any of you guys haven't followed the link to Rick's blog about the Complutensian Polyglot yet. You should check it out. He points out some pretty cool stuff.

Tigran Aivazian said...


I have just realized that I haven't answered the specific question posted here :)

Namely, NO, as far as I know, NONE of the materials I ever made downloadable at were ever copyrighted. So, I repeat, I never violated the copyright laws (or any other laws) with any of the materials made available at at any time.

But because many people in the past were spreading these accusations --- after I made those Bibles available at print-on-demand service at ABSOLUTELY FREE, i.e. people paid directly to strictly the cost of printing (plus Lulu's profits of course! but not mine! I never saw any of their money!) I finally decided to remove most of the materials even though, as I said above, there was NO COPYRIGHT RELATED REASON to do so. Only being bitter about ingratitude of the "scholarly world" and attacks on my person, that's all.

There is no reason why I can't put all of that (and perhaps 100 times more, i.e. at least a small but tangible subset of my entire e-library which is the biggest such e-library in the world btw) back available at, if there is enough sincere desire and no more envyings and "bitings".


Jan Krans said...

I had the impression that some of the files offered by Tigran were identical to those sold on CD by Mark Langley at Sola Scriptura Publishing; for instance Stephanus 1550, Complutensian Polyglot, Beza 1589 and 1598. The reason of this identity is unknown to me.

Tigran Aivazian said...

Complutensian and Bezae yes. Stephanus 1550 --- not. (I actually had 4 different scans of Stephanus 1550 and 1 scan of the _reprint_ of Stephanus 1550 by Scrivener --- of these 5 I have produced 1 (the latter) myself, another one was produced by a friend and remaining three were bought from various sources (one of them being Sola Scriptura).

But, generally, about 80% of my collection was scanned by myself, 5% by my friends and 15% was bought or exchanged from various sources around the globe.

Tigran Aivazian said...

I just saw the comment about Lulu and $19.36 for Westminster Leningrad Codex, so it looks like my explanation was not clear so I'll repeat
(though it seems like a waste of time):

The PRINTED versions of the PDF files are available via and because obviously charges people money for printing and shipping the books to them, it has a nonzero cost. But I do NOT even see any of that money, ever.

The example of Leningrad Codex was a bad example and I can explain why --- because can't print right-to-left PDFs so one has to reverse the pages for them to get the output correct. This means it would be very confusing to provide PDF download of this item on the same URL as the printed version (because it would have reversed pages!) and so I didn't.
(a different issue is why didn't I bother providing a separate URL that would point to a PDF without reversed pages --- simply because I couldn't be bothered, i.e. I didn't realize there is any demand for it. I can put it there now, if you wish).

So, if you had checked some other example (i.e. left-to-right direction), e.g. English KJV or Russian Bible you would have noticed that the PDF is available for FREE and this IMPLIES (yes, it IMPLIES, i.e. there is NO WAY to go around it) that the royalty set on the item is exactly 0.00 (ZERO).

So, your statement "I am unconvinced" should no longer hold, i.e. you should be convinced now that I am not charging anyone any money for these. Correct?

Tigran Aivazian said...

Concerning Complutensian --- I already said that none of the files I made available were ever copyrighted, to the best of my knowledge.

And no, I was never hassled about this file, or about any other file that I made available (except one particular Codex which was a "gray area" and although I still don't think it can be copyrighted I removed it immediately when someone kindly advised that it may be "problematic").

What I was hassled about, however, is the fact that the Bibles we produced were of much higher quality than the "alternatives" and so, out of envy, some organizations were sending provocateurs and spies, not realizing that dealing with the prophet of the Lord God of all Israel implies that he knows what happens "in king's bedchamber". Nevertheless, it caused so much stress to me that I just gave up.

I think the Bible Societies use a very wise approach whereby both editing and typesetting and distribution of the Bibles has a non-personalized manner, whereby it is very hard to "hate" or "envy" someone because you just don't know who is "behind" this or that Bible. Let the Bible Societies do their job (and I applaud their work, especially German Bible Society whose scholarly editions of LXX, Vulgate and BHS I use _constantly_ now) and I'll do mine.


Tigran Aivazian said...

also, in case someone thinks that my statements about "not violating copyright laws" and "suffering from the wolves called copyright holders" seem contradictory --- perhaps I should clarify what I meant by the latter.

Let's say you are making available some item A, which is similar in content (but NOT identical or even derived!) to some copyrighted item B. The holder of copyright for B, seeing that people prefer my A (as higher quality) immediately jumps on my throat claiming that A and B are too similar and so I am cutting their sales of B by providing A. I reply saying "But surely A and B are NOT the same and you know that!" but they, being a powerful publisher say "yes, we know that, but can you challenge us and prove this in the court of law?" And I am not match for them. I am just an individual, earning my daily bread as a software engineer, no millions or even thousands to spend on legal battles. What do I do? Just withdraw A from the website because it is safer, even though there was nothing illegal if I did otherwise.

Tigran Aivazian said...

and lest there remain any doubts in anyone's heart I have just now re-enabled direct download of the pdf files (for free of course) from for those right-to-left items (i.e. those which I didn't make freely downloadable via

Please feel free to check and see for yourself.

austinjalexander said...

Tigran, your explanation about Lulu was clear; I think that we all understand that you don't receive any money.

When I said that I was unconvinced that I "lied" about you I was referring to the fact that, while I have to admit that the details concerning your relationship with Lulu were a bit muddy for me, my comments to Dr. Williams were simply designed to give him the impression that your site is different then it was before (e.g., no longer having the Complutensian Polyglot for free download). Did I have all the details worked out completely? No. It wasn’t a research project, it was a casual conversation. No one on this blog wanted to attack you. We were simply having an informal discussion about a particular pdf file. And, not knowing you personally, I was offering what I knew of a particular website - nothing more, nothing less. Again, I am sorry that I ignited such a fire.

Moving right along, thank you for clarifying some things for us about downloading files from your site. But the main question still remains: will you add the Comp Poly? I believe everyone here would really appreciate it.

T said...

And a big round of applause for what must be the most entertaining conversation yet on this blog. Pete, please put this on the 'best of' side bar

Tigran Aivazian said...

Re: "will you add Comp Poly?" --- I was going to do that recently (together with 2-3G of other stuff, e.g. Ginsburg's Massorah, rare old Slavonic and old Armenian Bible editions etc etc) but I just never had time to do this yet (because uploading so much stuff means my adsl line will be 100% busy for too long and I am always working on it. I'll schedule something to happen overnight, hopefully.

re: "entertaining conversation" --- the Scriptures testify of us, the apostles of Christ (in 1Co4:9), becoming "theatron" to this kosmos, both to angels and to men. So go ahead, have a good laugh at me while you can, because he whom I serve and whose way of return I was chosen to prepare is not yet here to repay everyone according to his deeds.


austinjalexander said...

Tigran, thank you.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

One of the beautiful and frightening things about the internet is that many things never truly disappear.

Go here for files:

Tigran Aivazian said...

that archive URL you posted contains just "metadata" (i.e. html), not the data (pdf) itself.

Tigran Aivazian said...

The pdf file you were asking about is back online. There will be more stuff coming back soon, when/if I have a few spare minutes to make them available.


Didier Fontaine said...

Here is a valid link to the Complutensian Polyglot :
(splitted in 7 files, via Rapidshare)