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    A Manuscript Fair Copy of an Apparently
    Unpublished Book on Jewish History

    Mlle Guerin. [Claudine Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin?]. Extrait Du Livre Des Juifs. France: 1738. Fine manuscript in French in a good clear hand; seventeen lines per page. Quarto. Approximately 9.25 x 7 inches. [4], 318 [2, blank] pages. Title-page in red and black. Contemporary full French calf, triple blind rules on covers, spine banded and extra gilt with title gilt on red morocco label, edges red, marbled endpapers. Spine ends chipped, some wear to binding, two red spots on front board, hinges starting, very minor foxing. Still, a handsome manuscript. A historical survey of the Biblical and historical Jews from Adam to Simon, the last of the Asmoneens. It seems to be based on the Bible and Flavius Josephus. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    At the end are appended two apocryphal  documents relating to Jesus. The first (in three pages),'Tresor admirable. de la entence de condamation prononcee contre Nontre (sic) Seigneur Jesus christ,' our manuscript tells us, was discovered in a house in Aquila in the Kingdom of Naples in 1548 and purports to be the sentence of condemnation against Jesus. [A text of this is found in Fabricius' Codex Apocrapha, Novi Testamenti III, 489 fol. and a translation is found in Ward's Ancient Lowly]. There were editions of this apocryphal document published in 1581, 1621, and in 1839. It has received some notice along with a shorter version, also 'found' in Aquila in 1820. There are numerous divergences about the discovery of this document, when it was discovered, what it was written on, etc. But it seems obvious it is a forgery.


    The second addition is a letter supposedly by Petrus [Publius] Lentulus proconsul in Jerusalem and is also three pages. The letter of Lentulus first appeared in print in 1474 in an edition of Ludolph the Carthusian. It is thought to be of Greek origin and was translated into Latin in the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries.


    We have not been able to definitely identify Mlle Guerin but it is tempting to look at Claudine Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin (27 April 1682 - 4 December 1749), French courtesan and author. "Hers was the first of the Parisian literary salons to which distinguished foreigners were admitted, and among her English guests were Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke and Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. By the good sense with which she conducted what she called her menagerie, she almost succeeded in effacing the record of her early disgrace.

    "She was a novelist of considerable merit. Her novels have been highly praised for their simplicity and charm..." [Wikipedia]


    This work seems never to have been published.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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