London: Robert Barker, 1611. First Edition. Folio. Single leaf (K6r-K6v). Contents: 11 Levitius 43 - 13 Leviticus 34. There is non-sequential MS numbering in margins in an early hand (10, 11, 12, 16, 17) but the text is quite correct. Margins frayed, upper corner torn away affecting two letters of headlines (SEE IMAGES), age toning. With faults, and priced accordingly. Good. Item #3606
CHILDBIRTH AS A SOURCE OF UNCLEANLINESS AND SIN.
12 Leviticus is one of the most problematic chapters in the Old Testament, as it associates childbirth with sin that must be "purified." The text states that God told Moses to inform the Israelites that when a woman at childbirth bore a boy, she was to be unclean 7 days and then remain in a state of blood purification for 33 days, while if she bore a girl, she was to be unclean 14 days and then remain in a state of blood purification for 66 days. Upon completing her period of purification, she was to bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a pigeon or a turtle dove for a sin offering, and the priest was to offer them as sacrifices to make expiation on her behalf. If she could not afford a sheep, she was to take two turtle doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering.
While Leviticus 12:6-8 required a new mother to bring a burnt-offering and a sin-offering, by contrast Leviticus 26:9, Deuteronomy 28:11, and Psalms 127:3-5 make clear that having children is a blessing from God. Elsewhere, Childlessness is described as a misfortune (Genesis 15:2 and 1 Samuel 1:5-11) while Leviticus 20:20 and Deuteronomy 28:18 threaten childlessness as a punishment.
13 Leviticus presents instructions on identifying infectious skin diseases; the word used here as "Leprosy" is in fact erroneous. The disease(s) described may actually be dermatophytoses, Tinea barbae or Tinea faciei, Tinea capitis, and or Tinea corporis.
COMMENT: The translation into English of the King James, or "Authorized" Version of the Bible is widely considered a towering achievement in English literature, a rare combination of textual beauty and painstaking scholarship, created by the most unlikely of all sources, namely: a committee. The KJV itself has been called "the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language," "the most important book in English religion and culture", and "the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world."
CATALOGUER'S NOTE: The bibliographic complexities of the Great "He" Bible and the Great "She" Bible are legendary. David Norton, in his unsurpassed "Textual History of the King James Bible" (Cambridge University Press, 2004), makes no mention of textual or compositorial changes made to 11-13 Leviticus: see especially Appendix 2 in which all the distinguishing points are clearly enumerated, and rendering all previous scholarship obsolete and irrelevant. Our leaf is from the TRUE FIRST edition of 1611, "He Bible" variant as per UPenn copy (see below), not the later editions that are ubiquitous on the market and are invariably wrongly described.
Our leaf belongs to the exact same setting of type as the 1611 King James Bible ("Editio Princeps" / "He Bible Variant") preserved at the Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library (BS185 1611 .L65) at UPenn, accessible through the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image portal (select fols. K6r and K6v).
Provenance: Dorothy Sloan Collection of Books About Women.