Philadelphia: Printed by C. Sherman for the editor, [1845-1846].
First edition thus. Printed in Hebrew and English, with corresponding text on facing pages. 5 vols. 12mo. THE FIRST JEWISH TRANSLATION OF THE PENTATEUCH INTO ENGLISH. Three quarter black morocco, tan cloth sides. Later gift inscription on half-title of vol. II, else internally clean. A fine set. Goldman 7; Hills 1273; Rosenbach 569; Singerman 0884; Lance J. Sussman, "Another Look at Isaac Leeser and the First Jewish Translation of the Bible in the United States", Modern Judavlt/W/2/6ism, Vol. 5, No. 2, Gershom Scholem Memorial I; Wolf and Whiteman, 373. Item #309385
Isaac Leeser (1806-1868) was named hazan (cantor) of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia in 1829. Leeser‘s “contributions to every area of Jewish culture and religion made him a major builder of American Judaism.” The publication of his Pentateuch was the first time that any portion of the Bible was published in America under Jewish auspices. "The translation of the Bible was Leeser's great literary achievement and represented many years of patient labor and devotion to a task which he considered sacred … He made good use of the various German translations by Jews of the collective commentary known as the Biur and of other Jewish exegetic works. As a result his translation though based in style upon the King James version can be considered an independent work for the changes he produced are numerous and great… until the new Jewish Publication Society version was issued in 1917, it was the only source from which many Jews not conversant with Hebrew derived their knowledge of the Bible in accordance with Jewish tradition" (Waxman, History of Jewish Literature, 1090).
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