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Aguilar, Grace.

Spirit of Judaism, The.


Second American Edition:
One Of The Earliest Publications Of The Jewish Publication Society:
With A Special Message
Aguilar, Grace. The Spirit of Judaism. Edited by Isaac Leeser. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 5609 [1849].
12mo.; ex libris stamp to title page; occasional light foxing; brown coated endpapers; a.e.g.; brown cloth elaborately stamped in gilt, edgeworn with chips to extremities. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
Second edition of Aguilar's first book published in the States; No. XIII of the Jewish Miscellany series. This edition, slightly emended from the edition of 1841, published privately in Philadelphia under Leeser's auspices, is distinguished by a two-page message from the Jewish Publication Society of Philadelphia bound-in at the rear. The Society-the chief vehicle for American Jewish publications from the mid-1840s into the 20th century, concludes their note with a call for membership: "The Committee would earnestly urge on all enlightened Israelites the propriety of inducing their friends to become members of our Society, so that through our means much light may be diffused among all classes of our people, in order that no one may be left ignorant of his belief and duties." The note states that there have been a few minor textual emendations made to Aguilar's original text (Leeser edited both editions), and several notes have been appended by the Committee "to apprise the reader of [their] dissent to particular passages." Overall, the message affirms the power and influence of Aguilar's work. In part:
In The Spirit of Judaism, which is now presented in a cheap and a generally accessible form, there will be found much to instruct, and a great deal to elevate the soul of a true believer, and it is confidently hoped that it may be made the instrument of winning many souls to heaven…In selecting this book for our series, the Committee were actuated by the conviction that they could not aid the cause of Judaism better than by furnishing to the many the beautiful thoughts of one who has, though early called from her labours, done so much to make the faith of Israel loved and admired; and sure we are that were she now on earth, she herself would rejoice at finding her labours so appreciated by the community at large, that a new edition is required to be send abroad, and this under the auspices of our Society…

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