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Biblia Hebraica
Philadelphia: Cura et Impensis Thomae Dobson, 1814. Philadelphia: Cura et Impensis Thomae Dobson, 1814. First edition. Leather_bound. Fine. Secundum ultimam editionem Jos. Athiae, a Johanne Leusden denuo recognitam, recensita variisque notis latinis illustrata ab Everardo Van Der Hooght, V.D.M. Editio prima Americana, sine punctis masorethicis. Philadelphia: Cura et Impensis Thomae Dobson, MDCCCXIV [1814]. Half titles present in each volume. Two volumes, octavo. Modern calf binding, supplied half-title volume 2, some staining, otherwise a fine set.& & Hebrew was held in such high esteem by the founders of the American Republic that a story emerged at the time of the Revolution that Hebrew was being considered as a possible substitute for English as the American language. The reason had as much to do with absolute indifference towards anything having to do with England as it had with America’s symbolic view of equating our rebellion against the British with the struggle of the Israelites against the Egyptian Pharaoh.& Ironically, as Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people, gained acceptance and status among the New World gentiles, less than half of the original states, at the time of the 1814 printing, accepted the political equality of the Jew in America.& The study of the Bible was the cornerstone of learning in Puritan America. Indeed, it was oftentimes the only book the common folk would ever read during their lifetime. Despite a drop off in Biblical interest at the turn of the 18th century (in favor of the new developments in science and technology) a major revival was felt a scant decade and a half later. The prominent Protestant Seminaries, principally Andover, felt strongly that the Bible should be studied in it’s true, sacred, language. All entry-level clerical students were required to have a working knowledge of Hebrew. As pilgrims from America began flocking to the Holy Land, they applied their newly found knowledge of Hebrew and the Bible to understanding the ancient world.& In 1812, Jonathan Horwitz, a Jewish/Dutch printer, appeared in America with a box of type in hand determined to publish a Hebrew Bible based on the text by Everado Van der Hooght (1642-1716). Van der Hooght’s first Hebrew Bible had met with great success upon its publication in Amsterdam in 1705 and became a model for many other editions of the Hebrew Bible. Mr. Horwitz quickly met with both personal and financial difficulties in regards to publishing his Bible and sold his share (as well as the current list of subscribers) to Thomas Dobson, the eventual publisher.& The subscriber’s price of nearly seven dollars per volume was certainly exorbitant for the time, yet the need for an accurate, scholarly rendition of a Hebrew Bible for religious students was acute. Both Harvard Divinity School and Andover ordered 40 copies apiece.& VERY SCARCE. A.S.W. Rosenbach, in his American Jewish Bibliography (1926) cites only three known copies in America. Despite the fact that additional copies have come to light in the past half-century, this set remains scarce on the market today. This is a particularly lovely copy.&
      [Bookseller: Historicana]
Last Found On: 2014-05-31           Check availability:      Biblio    

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