WONDERFUL COLLECTION OF 17TH-CENTURY WRITINGS, INCLUDING THE VERY RARE 1650 ACCOUNT OF JEWISH LIFE, CUSTOMS, AND RITES BY LEON OF MODENA; AN IMPORTANT BIOGRAPHY OF BISHOP MELITO; AND CHARPENTIER'S LAUDITORY WORK ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FRENCH EAST INDIA COMPANY
MODENA, Leon of. History of the Rites, Customes, and Manner of Life of the Present Jews, throughout the World. Written in Italian, by Leo Modena, a Rabbine of Venice. Translated into English by Edmund Chilmead. WITH: PITHOIS, Claude. L'Apocalypse de Meliton. Ou Revelation des Mysteres Cenobitiques par Meliton. WITH: CHARPENTIER, Francois. Discours d'un Fidele Sujet du Roy Touchant L'Establissement d'une Compagnie Francoise. London: Printed for Jo: Martin, and Jo: Ridley, 1650; Saint-Leger: Noel & Jaques Charier, 1665; and Paris: No publisher, 1665. Small octavo, contemporary full speckled brown calf, raised bands. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $6500.
Seventeenth-century sammelband, comprising a 1650 edition in English (published the same year as the first in English) of Leon of Modena's very rare account of Jewish life and customs; a rare first edition of a 1665 biography in French of an important early church figure, Bishop Melito of Sarda; and a 1665 early edition of a work praising Louis XIV's establishment of the French East India Company with a frequently co-bound work on the Articles and Conditions to acquire a merchant grant from the Company.
This sammelband contains three 17th-century publications including an English translation of an important work on Jewish customs; a French biography of Bishop Melito of Sarda; and a speech in French given by Louis XIV on the establishment of the French East India company. Leon of Modena (also known as Leo Modena and Leone Modena, 1571-1648) was an Italian rabbi, scholar, and writer, highly respected and often quoted in the writings of both Christian and Jewish scholars of his day. In 1637, he wrote this account of the world's Jews at the request of the English ambassador to Venice for presentation to King James I. It was first translated into English in 1650, the same year as this printing. Discusses such topics as Jewish houses, marriage rites, sexuality, prayers, utensils, clothing, language, education, laws, holidays, mourning, and teachings on the afterlife. "An excellent work'' (Lowndes, 1580). A fascinating early account of Jewish life; according to Leon's preface, the first of its kind. The second work, the biography, concerns the life of the Bishop of Melito, a major figure in the 2nd century church and one of the most important Asian bishops. Born Jewish in Turkey, Melito adopted Christianity in a time and place where the two religions were less separate and Jewish customs were largely adhered to. He became famous as a prophet and took many steps toward building the Church during a period when doctrine was less established. Notably, he believed and preached supersessionism (the fulfillment of the Old Testament laws through Christ) and promoted the idea of Jesus as both fully human and fully divine—by no means a universally accepted belief at the time. The final work concerns a speech by Louis XIV about the charter of the French East India Company (meant to compete with the English and Dutch versions). It was relatively unsuccessful comparatively, managing to hold a few French ports in India and acquiring a seven-year monopoly on trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope, but the Company's aspiration were ruined when the monopoly was abolished during the French Revolution. Wing 1099A. Armorial bookplate of Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes, the 1st Marquess of Crewe, a British Liberal politician and writer. Owner book labels. Early ink notation. Small ink shelf number on title page.
Two front flyleaves excised, interior generally quite nice, contemporary speckled calf with expert restoration to spine ends, joints and corners.