Sunday, March 05, 2006

English seforim from the 18th century

Came across a very interesting work by a David Levi called Lingua sacra: in three parts. It was published in London in 1785-88. This excerpt is from the second volume, which is a Hebrew-English dictionary. Very interesting entry on 'gaon.'

The Jewish Encyclopedia has, for David Levi:
Hebraist and author; born in London 1742; died 1801. He was destined by his parents for the rabbinate; but the design was abandoned, and he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. Subsequently he set up in business for himself as a hatter; but, meeting with considerable losses, heabandoned this business and turned his attention to dressing the material for men's hats. Meantime he continued to pursue his studies in Hebrew, especially in the Prophets.

Levi also wrote a book called Rites and Ceremonies of the Jews, published in 1783. Here is an illustration from the book:

and an excerpt from his chapter on Torah she-be-'al peh:

And on it continues. Very interesting example of 18th century Jewish writing in English (pre-Artscroll).

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