1617 Works of Josephus in alum tawed pigskin binding, elaborately decorated


A beautifully bound 1617 edition of the Works of Josephus. In alum tawed pigskin, with some hardware (clasp) still present, an excellent specimen of this style of binding and with a unique centerpiece stamp. Josephus was a 1st century Jewish-Roman historian, who mentions Jesus in his writing, providing a 1st century non-Christian reference to the man Jesus Christ. Also, Josephus' histories are important references for Jewish 1st century history.

Within the book, at the reference to Jesus you'll find a delightful manicule (hand pointing - a common renaissance era device meant to point out important passages; see the picture I posted).

The Work

All known works (as of the 16th century) are included in this book (see title page):

Jewish Antiquities

The Jewish War

The Life of Josephus

Against Apion

Maccabees, among others

Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish?Roman War, including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66?70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.

About the Physical Book

Bound in alum tawed pigskin over beveled wooden boards, richly decorated. A unique centerpiece, with an arrow up and an arrow down, with a bridge between the two incorporating a cross (representing Jesus coming to earth, dying on the cross, and rising again). A very similar ancient symbol can be found on Pictish rock carvings in Scotland (see the Elgin Cathedral Church Pictish stones).

Size ? 19.5 cm x 13 cm x 5.5 cm

Pages: Free front end-paper, Title page loose (facsimile - see condition), A2-6, 870 pages

Condition of the Book

See pictures. Alum tawed pigskin binding well patinated, with soiling, rubbing at places, several small (1 cm) cracks at front joint, some spine discolouration. One wormhole enters front board. Several spots on rear board. One clasp missing. The front boards receiving hardware are missing the crossing pins.

Binding was loose from the front cords when I received it, so I used binders thread to wove into the bands on text block spine, then stretched across front board. Then I pasted in front endpaper (acid free endpaper from Talas), glue used is water soluble. Repair is amateur but working well. Title page was missing so I printed it on the same acid free paper, but it is only placed in (not glued) for a reference.

Text block out of 90, causing first signature to extend farther than front board. Damage to those sheets. Some foxing throughout with occasional worm holes,toning, edge tears, etc. A handsome book, now complete and functional, despite the wear of four hundred years.

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