"Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World" – Bernard Picart – Paris, 1807-1810 – Complete French Edition

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Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde [Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World], by Jean Frédéric Bernard. Engravings by Bernard Picart. Paris: L. Prudhomme, 1807-1810. French. 12 parts in 13 volumes.
A French edition of the masterpiece "Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World", edited and written by writer and printer Jean Frédéric Bernard and illustrated by Bernard Picart, of the most important engravers of the 18th century (as Frédéric chose to remain anonymous, the composition was printed under Picart's name only).
This twelve-part composition comprises approximately five thousand pages of text and about 280 engraved plates (including dozens of double-spread plates) documenting in great detail the religious ceremonies and customs of the world's religions and sects. The composition, first published in a seven-volume French edition in 1727-1737, introduced with respect and tolerance both Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the pagan religions of the peoples of India, Africa and America, while emphasizing what was common to all religions. The unbiased depiction of various cultures and peoples greatly contributed to the promotion of religious tolerance throughout Europe. Although the composition was banned by the Catholic Church, multiple editions were published during the 18th and 19th centuries (in French, English, Dutch and German), becoming a central source of information about the world's religions.
The first volume of the composition was dedicated mostly to Jewish customs and its engravings were based on Picart's visits to the synagogue of the Portuguese community and to the houses of Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam. Picart, who was familiar with the Jewish community of Amsterdam (and even executed the engraved title page of the book "Tikkun Sofrim", printed in Amsterdam in 1725), invested a special effort in the engravings depicting Jewish life and culture in 18th century Holland.
The engravings in the first volume depict various Jewish customs, such as the laying of phylacteries, a marriage ceremony, circumcision, a Jewish burial, the celebration of Simchat Torah, sitting in the Sukkah and the feast of the Passover Seder, as well as various religious articles: a Mezuzah, a Shofar, a prayer shawl and more.
The most well-known of the engravings depicts the inauguration of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam. Another engraving depicts Picart himself as a guest during the feast of the Passover Seder at the house of the prominent Curiel family in Amsterdam.
13 volumes, 42.5 cm. Good overall condition. Stains. Quarter leather bindings.
Literature: The Book That Changed Europe: Picart and Bernard's Religious Ceremonies of the World, by Margaret C. Jacob, Lynn Hunt and Wijnand Mijhardt, Camebridge-London, 2010 (enclosed).
Biblical Studies, Jewish History and Customs
Biblical Studies, Jewish History and Customs