Amsterdam: Joan and Cornelis Blaeu, 1642. Second edition. Hardcover. Sammelband of two works (jointly issued), the latter in two parts, quarto. , 174, [1, errata], [1, blank]; , 732 (pp. 353-360 repeated), xvii addenda, [19, index], x addenda, [28, index], [1 emendanda], [1 blank]pp. All four addenda and indices to the De theologia gentili bound following the second part. Each work with woodcut printer’s device at title; occasional woodcut lettrines; printed marginalia. De idololatria with Hebrew text and Latin translation in parallel columns, interspersed with Latin notes. Contemporary vellum (lightly soiled), manuscript title at spine, intermittant light dampstain (largely confined to first work), else crisp, clean, and amply margined.
Collation: I. [asterisk]4 2[asterisk]2, A-Y4 (= 94 leaves); II. [asterisk]4 2[asterisk]2, A-2P4, 2Q-4Y4 4Z2, [asterisk]-4[asterisk]4 5[asterisk]2, [cross]-5[cross]4 (= 414 leaves, 2Y-2Y4 repeated).
Re-issue of the first edition (1641) of the first two books (of four) of G. J. Vossius' De theologia gentili, with new preliminaries, including an Elegy written by Caspar Barlaeus on the occasion of the death of Gerhard's son, Dionysius, dated IV Kal. Novembris MDCXXXIII , and a preface by another of Vossius' sons, Isaac; along with an edition of the Hebrew text of Maimonides' treatment of the laws of idolotry in the first book of the Mishneh Torah, with accompanying Latin translation, by Dionysius Vossius.
"The work has a two-fold aim. In the first place it is a Theologia gentilis. Of this the subtitle says that the work treats... the origin and history of heathen mythologies and cult forms. But at the same time the book is a Physiologia christiana, a study 'de naturae mirandis quibus homo adducitur ad Deum', an account, as complete as possible, of the rich diversity of all creation that in the inention of the creator must serve to reveal to man the greatness of God... It is simultaneously an ambitiously arranged textbook of mythology, a summary of what was written about nature in all its manifestations up until Vossius' time, and finally also a first specimen of what would be done profusely in the eighteenth century, a book on the natural knowledge of God" (Rademaker).
Provenance: The manuscript entry “Jan de Wind... 17 april An. 1697...”. Very good. Item #48836
References: J. I. Dienstag, “Christian Translators of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah into Latin”, in: Salo Wittmayer Baron Jubilee Volume, 31 (De idololatria). Fuks/Fuks-Mansfeld 202 (De idololatria, ed. 1641), noting that there exist copies without the Hebrew text. The 1641 ed. contains no preliminaries after the title. Katchen, Christian Hebraists and Dutch Rabbis, esp. pp.24-25. Rademaker, Life and Work of G.J. Vossius (Assen, 1981), no. 24: “In his last large work, the Theologia gentilis... he dared to make full use of Scaliger’s [chronological] innovations” (185). For more detailed commentary see: pp. 306-310. For Dionysius see 163f.