NATIVE AMERICAN AND ORIENTAL LANGUAGES COMPARED

Dissertationum miscellaneaorum pars prima [–tertia].

Utrecht, Willem Broedelet, 1706-1708.

£2,500

FIRST EDITION. Three volumes, 8vo. 1) pp. (8), 232, (24); 2) pp. (8), 324, (48), without final blank; 3) (8), 250, (30). Predominantly Roman letter, some Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic and other Oriental scripts; engraved printer’s device on title, foliated initials and head- and tail- pieces, a few engraved illustrations in text, engraved tables of Singhalese, Malabar, Sinitic and Java alphabets as well as detailed fold-out map of Ceylon; occasional marginal water stain, lightly age browned. A good copy in contemporary vellum, title inked on spines, all edges sprinkled red; early price note to rear pastedown of volume III.

First edition of ground-breaking linguistic, ethnographical and geographical essays of the late Dutch Golden Age. Professor of Oriental languages and ecclesiastical antiquities at the University of Utrecht, Aadrian Reland (1676 – 1718) was a respected scholar, cartographer and philologist, regarded as the father of Palestinian and Biblical archaeology. He was also a pioneer in the field of Jewish and Arabic studies. His impressive linguistic knowledge spanned from native American idioms to Singhalese and Korean, embracing almost all Indo-European languages, but especially those of the Near and Middle East.

The dissertations in this collection include De veteri lingua indica, De reliquiis veteris linguae persicae, De persicis vocabulis Talmudis, De linguis insularum quarundam orientalium, De gemmis arabicis and De iure militari Mahommedanorum, which, alongside his De religione Mahommedica, is the first systematic and objective description of Islamic belief and practice. The most curious of all, however, is the essay dedicated to the idioms spoken by native Americans, which Reland tried to compare with the European and Asian languages to retrace their common origins. The last four pages of volume III contain the Lord’s Prayer in fourteen Slavic languages, including Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Croatian and Czech.

Rare. Not in JFB. No recorded copy in the US.

Brunet, IV, 1203 (‘Ces trois parties … l’on trouve difficilement réunies’); Graesse, VI, 75.

L2020

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