Harvard College, School Textbook, 17th Century: Greek Septuagint with Signatures. Vetus Testamentum Graecum ex Versione Septuaginta Interpretum, Juxta Exemplar Vaticanum Romae editum, Accuratissime & ad amussim recusum, London: for Roger Daniel by Martin & Allestrye, 1653, octavo, engraved vignette on title, title printed in red and black, signatures of Harvard graduates Daniel Russell (A.B. 1669); Samuel Willard (1640-1707; A.B. 1659); Stephen Williams (1693-1782; A.B. 1713); and Thomas Graves (1638-1697; A.B. 1656); [and] Thomas Thacher (1620-1678), Pastor of the Old South Church, Boston, an expert in Eastern languages; text in Greek in two columns per page throughout, contemporary boards, rebacked, old bookseller's description pasted inside; 7 x 4 1/4 in.
N.B. Arthur O. Norton wrote an article entitled Harvard Text-Books and Reference Books of the Seventeenth Century, for the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, April, 1933 (a copy of this publication is included with the lot). In the article Norton describes his efforts to resurrect the Harvard College curriculum in its earliest incarnation. He records other Harvard text-books signed by Russell, Willard, and Graves, and other members of the Williams family. The Williams children were abducted by Native American Indians during the raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1704, were later returned, and several attended Harvard College. Proficient reading of ancient Biblical languages was a requirement at the time and Norton lists two other copies of this same 1653 London edition of the Greek Septuagint held at the Harvard College Library and American Antiquarian Society. Perhaps the most distinguished 17th century colonial divine to leave his name in this book is Samuel Willard, author of A Compleat Body of Divinity and Harvard College President from 1701 until his death in 1707. The book itself is the first British imprint of the Septuagint, the earliest translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek; the text was edited by the Unitarian controversialist John Biddle (1615-1662); the Scholia section is present.
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