[JUDAICA]. [MEARS, ABRAHAM ("Gamaliel ben Pedahzur"). The Book of Religion, Ceremonies, and Prayers; of the Jews, As Practised in their Synagogues and Families on all Occasions: On their Sabbath and other Holy-Days Throughout the Year...Translated immediately from the Hebrew, By Gamaliel Ben Pedahzur, Gent. London: Printed for J. Wilcox, 1738.
8vo. Woodcut capitals, head- and tail-pieces (Small hole in blank margin B8). Eighteenth-century polished calf, edges red, narrow gilt rules on covers, later morocoo spine label (front hinge partly cracked, free endleaf slightly stained). Roth, p.302 (B.8, no.6).
The first translation of any part of the Jewish prayer book into English. In his preface, Abraham Mears writes that he has collected the ceremonies "to instruct the illiterate of their nation, in what they are ignorant of at present"; his translation of the prayers, is "as literal as possible." He apologizes for the few typographical errors for "had I lived in Town to have been nearer the Press, I would have visited the printer oftener..." According to Cecil Roth, Mears was "an apostate member of one of the oldest families of the Ashkenazi community in England," while Mears's "description of Jewish rites and ceremonies...is of considerable interest, giving as it does a graphic, detailed, and at times not unamusing picture of London Jewish life--in particular, it must be accentuated, the life of the community of the Great Synagogue, in which Mears had been brought up--in the first half of the eighteenth century" (C. Roth, History of the Great Synagogue [London]).