London: Alexander Hogg, . First book form edition. Hardcover. Folio (14 1/4 x 9 3/4"). iv (i), 704, xii (iv)pp., 60 plates, including frontispiece. Original three-quarter calf over brown pebbled cloth with gilt lettering and tooling on spine; raised bands. Red edges. Burnt Sienna endpapers. Frontispiece engraving.
Modern half calf over marbled paper covered boards, with gold lettering to spine. Raised bands. Modern endpapers and fly leaves. Engraved frontispiece. Originally published in 60 fascicles, William Hurd's brilliant work on comparative religion and obscure religious practices is a translation and abridgment of Bernard Picart's celebrated work "Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde." The author's goal was to record the religious rituals and beliefs of the world in all their diversity as objectively and authentically as possible. Breaking with all the previous models the work presented religions, even those of the “idolatrous peoples” as even-handedly as possible. It argued for religious toleration by showing the ill effects of fanaticism, wherever it could be found, and by praising those religions, such as Islam, that offered toleration to others.
At a time of widespread anti-Semitism, it offered one of the most sympathetic portraits then available of European Jewry. The book is embellished with 60 stricking copper engravings depicting the rites, ceremonies and customs of over 40 world religions, including the ancient and present state of religion amongst the Jews, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Chinese, Japanese, Peruvians, Floridans, Native Americans, Africans, Muslims, Greeks, Christians, etc... The plates have been engraved by the finest artists of the period, such as Robert Pollard (Frontispiece), James Walker, Joseph Collyer, and Charles Taylor.
Contains list of Books in Divinity, printed for and sold by Alexander Hogg, Index, contents and list of subscribers at rear.
Minor shelf wear. Light water-staining at top foredge of a few pages starting at page 237.
The year of publication of the remargined title having been trimmed, it is hard to determine precisely which edition this copy is. However, a note at the end of the list of subscribers stating that "A new edition of the beginning numbers [of the fascicles] being now ready, this day is published, Dr. Hurd's Religious Rites and Ceremonies.... Adorned with sixty elegant copper-plates, and neatly bound in calf and lettered" can be an indication that this copy is indeed the first book form edition. Binding in overall good+ to very good, interior in fair to very good. f to vg. Item #50282