Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

Pentateuch – The Law of G-d – English Translation by Isaac Leeser – Philadelphia, 1845-1846 – First Translation of the Bible into English by a Jew

Opening: $7,000
Sold for: $8,750
Including buyer's premium
The Law of G-d. Printed by C. Sherman, Philadelphia, 1845-1846. Hebrew and English, page facing page.
Pentateuch and Haftarot, translated into English by Isaac Leeser. Five volumes. Title pages in Hebrew and English. At the end of the Book of Leviticus: Esther Scroll; at the end of the Book of Exodus: the manner of writing Shirat HaYam and instruction for reading the Ten Commandments, at the end of the Book of Exodus: manner of liturgies (Hebrew), and rules of reading the Torah (English).
This is the first translation of the Pentateuch into English done by a Jew. Previous translations were based on the King James version (English translation of the Bible for the Church of England, completed in 1611 – the authorized version of the translation).
Isaac Leeser (1806-1868), leader of American Jewry, a philosopher and writer; literary editor who translated the holy scriptures into English and composed numerous essays and sermons.
Leeser worked diligently on this translation all by himself, with no assistance, for about seven years. In the introduction opening the first volume, Leeser writes about the importance of the Pentateuch being translated into English by a Jew: “I speak of my Jewish friends in particular, for however much a revised translation may be desired by all believers in the Word of G-d, there is no probability that the gentiles will encourage any publication of this nature, emanating from a Jewish writer. My intention was to furnish a book for the service of the synagogue, both German and Portuguese”.
X, 175 leaves; 168 leaves; 153 leaves; 149 leaves; 135 leaves, 136-147 pages. Five volumes 19.5 cm. Good condition. Minor spots.
In all volumes: An Ex-Libris label of Rabbi Julius Josef Nodel on the volumes (Rabbi Nodel served as a rabbi in Portland, in Missouri and some other places) and small labels with owners’ name (Mrs. Ludwig Hirsch). Fine leather bindings. Title embossed on the spines. Minor damages to bindings and spines.
Singerman 88, Goldman 7.
Category
Rare and Important Items