(Paris: Guidonem Caillou, 1678). 228 x 170 mm. (9 x 6 5/8"). 8 p.l., 384 pp.Translated and edited by Ludovicus de Compiegne de Veil.
Contemporary sprinkled calf, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with floral decoration, red morocco label, marbled edges. With three double-page engraved plates by Claude Perrault. Front pastedown with engraved armorial bookplate of Nath[aniel] Cholmley. Short cracks at head of front and tail of rear joint, corners a bit bumped, leather a little pitted from acid treatment, but the binding still solid; occasional thumbing, a few corner creases, otherwise an excellent copy internally, the leaves clean and crisp.
This is an important portion of the magnum opus of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon's "Mishneh Torah" ("Review of the Torah"), one of the great Jewish legal texts, innovative at the time of its composition because of its new system of legal codification, and of enduring influence to the present day because of its scope and clarity. The text here, from the eighth book, concerns the divine service ("Avodah"), specifically the laws of the Temple in Jerusalem, discussing the persons who may enter the Temple, the utensils to be used in rituals there, the procedures for sacrifices and offerings, and the laws of the Yom Kippur service, the most holy observance in the Jewish calendar. Composed between 1170 and 1180, the "Mishneh Torah" establishes a codification of Jewish law into 14 books. It was the chief Medieval reference on Jewish observance, and it is still considered a major work in Judaism. A physician, philosopher, and rabbi, Maimonides (1135-1204) was the leading Jewish scholar of his day. He intended the present work to supplement the writings in the Torah with laws and observance handed down orally, the two works together thus providing a complete guide to Jewish law. The plates here show the plan and construction of the Temple. We could trace only one copy of this work sold at auction since 1984, and it was in extremely poor condition. (CDT1703)
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