The History of Oracles, and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests. Written in Latin by Mr. Van-Dale. Made English by Mrs. Behn. Anthony van DALE, Aphra Behn, edited etc. by Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle.
The History of Oracles, and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests. Written in Latin by Mr. Van-Dale. Made English by Mrs. Behn.

The History of Oracles, and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests. Written in Latin by Mr. Van-Dale. Made English by Mrs. Behn.

London: Printed by W. O. [William Onley] for Sam. Briscoe, 1699. (Second Edition). Hardcover. Small octavo. [xiv] + 146pp. + (iipp. - advertisements). Late twentieth century half-brown calf, over marbled paper boards, by renowned London book-binder, Bernard C. Middleton. Gilt stamped leather title-label & blind-stamped rules and decorations on spine. The second English language edition (the first was published in two parts in 1688) of Aphra Behn's translation of Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle's "Histoire Des Oracles" (1687), which was itself a French adaptation of a Latin work, the Dutch author Antonius van Dale's (1638 - 1708) "De Oraculis Ethnicorum" (1683). Some idea of the scope of the work can be gathered from it's opening paragraph: "My design is not to give you directly an History of Oracles; I only intend to argue against that common Opinion which attributes 'em to Daemons, and will have 'em to cease at the coming of Jesus Christ. In doing this 'tis necessary that I run through the whole History of Oracles, that I unfold their Originals, their Progress, the different Manners in which they were deliver'd; and lastly their Decay, with the same exactness as if I were in these matters pursuing the Natural and Historical Order." In short, Dale / Fontenelle argued not that the oracles of classical antiquity, were, as the Church had suggested, under Demonic influence, but rather that they were a form of imposture which the priestly classes utilised to manipulate the masses. In seeking to prove the point, the author(s) had to offer a considerable survey of ancient religious practices. From the collection of Dr. M. H. Coleman, with his ex-libris seal blind-stamped on the first front blank page. Page-edges tinted red. Bookplate of one Bethel Solomon on front pastedown, occasional pale foxing, and very faint tide-marks, etc. to pages, although these are otherwise clean and supple. Partially erased pencil annotation in fore-edge margin of page 12. Despite it's minor flaws, still an attractive, clean, better-than-VG copy. Item #49527

Price: $450.00