De Legibus Hebraeorum Ritualibus et earum Rationibus. Libri Tres. Editio Tertia.
Leipzig: Ioh. Frid. Zeitlerum, 1705. Third edition. Hardcover. Quarto. , 1504, pp. Original full vellum with gold-stamped lettering and borders on spine. All edges red. Marbled endpapers. Ex-libris of Biblioth. Collegii Carol and ex-libris of Ducis Brunsvicensis et Luneburgensis at rear of front board. Illustrated woodcut vignette on title-page. Decorative initials, head- and tailpieces. 2 green ribbon markers. In his chief work, Spencer deserted the time-honoured paths traced by commentators, and 'may justly be said to have laid the foundations of the science of comparative religion. In its special subject, in spite of certain defects, it still remains by far the most important book on the religious antiquities of the Hebrews' (Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 1894, Pref. p. vi). The remarkable nature of Spencer's achievement is enhanced when, it is remembered that oriental studies were then in their infancy, and that he was compelled to derive nearly all his data from classical writers of Greece and Rome, from the Christian fathers, the works of Josephus, or from the Bible itself. Spencer professed that his object was 'to clear the Deity from arbitrary and fantastic humour,' but it was inevitable that his orthodoxy should be questioned. 2 small scratches on front board. Minor age-toning on covers. Spine slightly soiled. Contemporary annotation at back of fly leaf. Some sporadic damp-staining on outer margin of pages (never affecting text). Text in Latin with some Hebrew. Binding in overall very good, interior in very good to near fine condition. vg. Item #24554