MEARS, Abraham.

The book of religion, ceremonies, and prayers of the Jews,

£3,750

The book of religion, ceremonies, and prayers of the Jews,
as practised in their synagogues and families on all occasions: On their Sabbath and other holy-days throughout the year, to which is added, a preface shewing the intent of the whole. The contents, and an index, with the Hebrew title of each prayer made English; with many remarkable observations and relations of the rabbies: All which are what the modern Jews religiously observe. Translated immediately from the Hebrew, by Gamaliel Ben Pedahzur, Gent.
London, Printed for J. Wilcox, 1738.

In stock

The book of religion, ceremonies, and prayers of the Jews,

Description

The earliest translation to English of the Jewish Prayer-book.

This comprehensive, and occasionally rather critical, study of Jewish life and practices is dominated by the first English translation of any part of the Siddur, the definitive Jewish prayer-book.
Translated by Abraham Mears (under the pseudonym of Gamaleil Ben Pedahzur, according to Roth), an apostate member of the English Ashkenazi community, it was intended as an exposition of Judaism rather than a service book, but in providing phonetic translations of the Hebrew title of each prayer Mears explicitly promotes its use ‘to Beginners in the Hebrew Tongue’ and ‘all Persons that resort to the Synagogues’. The transliterated Hebrew title for each prayer is found in the margins, enabling the curious non-Hebrew reading Christian to attend and follow a synagogue service. The transliteration of the Hebrew characters provides a clue as to how Hebrew was pronounced in the eighteenth-century Ashkenazi community of London.
The book was not intended for liturgical use, but rather for scholarly readership, so it is not in effect a prayer-book. It reflects the growing interest in Judaism on the part of non-Jewish Englishmen of the of the eighteenth century.

Description

First edition. 8vo, (20.5 x 13 cm); xiv, 96; 291, [7] pp. Contemporary polished calf, gilt, contrasting red morocco lettering-piece. Early inked initials letters and shelfmark to front pastedown, nineteenth-century ink inscription to rear pastedown. Slightly rubbed, with a small chip to head of spine and some light scuffing to boards. One or two paper-flaws to page numbers, small hole to I2, barely touching a single character of text. Occasional mark, light damp-staining to rear endpapers, else a very crisp and clean copy.

Bibliography

ESTC T86072; Roth B8:6.

 

Stock ID: 94056