FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF CALMET’S “MOST VALUABLE,” MONUMENTAL DICTIONARY OF THE HOLY BIBLE, 1732, ILLUSTRATED WITH 160 COPPERPLATE ENGRAVINGS, HANDSOMELY BOUND, THE DUKE OF BEDFORD'S COPY
CALMET, Dom Augustin. An Historical, Critical, Geographical, Chronological, and Etymological Dictionary of the Holy Bible… London: Printed for J.J. and P. Knapton et al., 1732. Three volumes. Folio (10 by 16 inches), period-style full speckled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, red morocco spine labels.
Scarce first edition in English of Augustin Calmet’s impressive biblical dictionary, illustrated with 160 copperplate engravings (over 50 double-page) depicting scriptural places, people and traditions, the Duke of Bedford's copy, very handsomely bound.
A French Benedictine abbot, historian and pioneering biblical exegete, Antoine Augustin Calmet authored several key theological texts as well as this comprehensive dictionary of "all the Proper Names mentioned in the Old or New Testament, whether of Men, Women, Cities, Countries, Rivers, Mountains &c." In large part it collects explanatory essays from Calmet's "epoch-making" 1707 commentary on the Latin Vulgate, "which treat such topics as Hebrew poetry, music, weights and measures, medicine, marriage customs, burial customs, military organization, circumcision, the Sanhedrin and Hebrew schools and sects, and are, for his time, remarkably full and judicious" (Jewish Encyclopedia). "Most valuable… In Volume III is a very extensive Bibliotheca Sacra [a catalogue of editions of the Bible] which… displays great erudition and research" (Lowndes, 350). Illustrated with 160 detailed copperplate engravings, over a third of them double-page; also with engraved vignette headpiece on first text page of each volume. Title pages printed in red and black. First published in French in two folio volumes in 1720; "a supplement (also folio) was added in 1728. An improved and enlarged edition in four folio volumes was published in 1730" (Catholic Encyclopedia). D'Oyly, a parish vicar, and Colson, a mathematician, began their translation prior to 1730, but revised it to take account of Calmet's changes. "The work reveals Colson's interest in arithmetic, calculations, tables and measurement" (DNB). Armorial bookplates of John, seventh Duke of Bedford (1710-71) and John, ninth Duke of Bedford (1766-1839); the volumes hail from the library at Woburn Abbey,
Scattered light foxing, occasional light marginal dampstaining. Minor loss to lower corners of a few leaves. Archival tissue repair to fore-edge of frontispiece, Volume I. Expert paper repairs to the dedication leaf and a few splits to folds on folding plates. An impressive production in excellent condition, most handsomely bound. Scarce.