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Dale, Antonius van.  Antonii van Dale M.D. De oraculis ethnicorum dissertationes duae. Amstelaedami: Apud Henricum & viduam Theodori Boom, 1683. 16mo (16.5 cm, 6.5"). Add. engr. t.-p., [30], 510, [16 (index & errata)] pp.; 1 fold. (facs.) plt.

First edition: a skeptical examination of the pagan oracles — emphasizing the fraudulence of their supposed supernatural powers — written by the Dutch Mennonite theologian and physician Anton (a.k.a. Antonius or Anthony) van Dale (1638–1708). Van Dale's scholarship paved the way for much Enlightenment-era thought on divination, including Fontenelle's Histoire des Oracles, as well as much accompanying controversy over the existence of demonic or magical influences.
        The work opens with an elaborate neo-classical frontispiece engraved by Romeyn de Hooghe; an additional folding plate by de Hooghe is here supplied in facsimile. Both offer highly detailed, densely constructed scenes containing multitudes of characters (later editions included additional de Hooghe designs). The text includes extensive quotations in Greek, with a bit of Hebrew and Arabic also making appearances.
        Provenance: Title-page with tiny, neatly inked early ownership inscription of Thomas Reed; most recently in the residue of the stock of the F. Thomas Heller bookselling firm (est. ca. 1928).

BMN 1-151; Landwehr, De Hooghe, 59; Springer-Klassen 4489. Brunet & Caillet give second ed. only. Later brown cloth, spine with stamped bands; an unassuming but not displeasing binding. Title-page and first preface leaf with lower margins trimmed short; folding plate supplied here in facsimile. Pages slightly age-toned, with occasional brief annotations, line-throughs, or corrections (particularly of van Dale's Latin) in Reed's miniscule hand. An excellent copy for a scholar or collector interested primarily in the text.  (39935)   Please RESHELVE This.

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