The Emancipation & Education of the Jews in Europe;

“A Turning Point”

Ueber die bürgerliche verbesserung der Juden [with]: Zweyter Theil.

4 p.l., [3]-200 pp.; 2 p.l., [3]-376 pp. Small 8vo, cont. cat’s paw sheep, contrasting leather lettering pieces on spine, spine gilt; Vol. II has a contrasting green leather lettering piece on spine, spine gilt. Berlin & Stettin: F. Nicolai, 1781-83.

[bound with]:

[FRIEDLÄNDER, David]. Lesebuch für jüdische Kinder. One folding engraved plate. 1 p.l., 46 pp. Small 8vo. Prague: J.F. Edlen von Schönfeld, 1781.

[bound with]:

ANON. Die Christen (in Ansehung der Juden) wie sie sind: und wie sie seyn sollen. 32 pp. Small 8vo. Vienna: Gerold, 1781. $17,500.00

A most attractive sammelband with three works concerned with the position, emancipation, and education of the Jews in 18th-century Europe.

I. First editions. Dohm (1751-1820), German historian and political writer, was a friend of Moses Mendelssohn. “Dohm, who was deeply moved by the humanitarian ideals of the era of enlightenment, wrote a work in two volumes on Jewish emancipation in 1781. He did this at the suggestion of Mendelssohn, to whom the Alsatian Jews had appealed for aid, but who thought that such a work would produce a better effect if written by a Christian. Dohm’s work dealt not only with French Jews, but with the condition of the Jews in the different stages of their history, and argued for their political equality on grounds of humanity and justice. The work appeared at Berlin under the title “Ueber die Bürgerliche Verbesserung der Juden,” and passed rapidly through two editions. Dohm demanded that the Jews be treated as human beings, and declared that his work was no apology for them. Their religious convictions would not prevent their performance of the duties of citizenship. His book aroused wide interest, and he was even accused of standing in Jewish pay. He was fêted by the Jews, and the communities of Berlin, Halberstadt, and Surinam passed votes of thanks.”–Jewish Encyclopedia (online).

II. Second edition (1st ed.: 1779); our edition is very rare. Friedländer (1750-1834), the intellectual successor of Moses Mendelssohn, was one of the founders of a Jewish free school in Berlin, and also wrote textbooks including the present one. “Friedländer’s ‘Lesebuch für Jüdische Kinder’ can be regarded as the first modern book for Jewish children. It was published in Berlin in 1779 for the use of the pupils of the Jüdische Freischule in Berlin. Its publication is something of a turning point in the history of books for Jewish children, primarily because it was the first to call itself a Lesebuch in the modern sense of the word and secondly, because it gave expression to a process that dramatically changed the nature of Jewish education in Germany.”–Z. Shavit, “From Friedländer’s Lesebuch to the Jewish Campe” in Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute, Vol. 33 (1988), pp. 385-415.

III. Very rare. WorldCat locates only one copy, at the British Library.

Fine copies.

Price: $17,500.00

Item ID: 5175

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