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The History of the Jews, from Jesus Christ to the Present Time...

Jacques Basnage, sieur de Beauval .Translated into English by Tho. Taylor. London, Printed by T. Bever and B. Lintot [etc.] 1708

Jacques Basnage was a Calvinist minister who served in Rotterdam after his exile from France. He is generally counted as the first non-Jewish historians sympathetic to Jews and their history, depicting them as people who were persecuted and who suffered deeply, but who persevered.  A brief quotation illustrates his approach: "These first Misfortunes were attended with so dismal Calamities, that even those who think it their Duty to hate the Jews, because they are not of the same Religion, cannot unconcernedly read the History of so hard and lasting a Misery."

The History of the Jews covers the post-biblical era: the Herodian rulers, sects of the first century, the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, the rise of the Oral Law and Rabbinic Judaism, medieval persecutions, scholarly contributions of rabbis, contemporary Jewish communities and life, and customs and religious practices.  Basnage collected information from many sources, including rabbinic material, and this work was the authoritative source on Jewish history until the nineteenth century, quoted by other writers and scholars.  There were at least two published Hebrew translations of the work, and a Yiddish history of the Jews used Basnage as its primary source.

Although the pages of this book are worn, the textblock is in reasonably good condition. Conservation work will focus on the binding, stabilizing the leather and reattaching the covers.




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