Davar Antiquarian Books
Davar Antiquarian Books displays a constellation of interests in the early modern humanities, with an emphasis on Biblical Studies and Hebraica, Semitic Language Manuals and Lexicons, as well as early modern Historia Literaria. My focus on often obscure savants and arcane works of critical and historical scholarship from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment is both a reflection of my early Hebrew studies, and tribute to an inspiring apprenticeship with William Dailey. I have been fortunate to receive generous counsel from members of the trade, notably Bob de Graaf, after making his acquaintance at the first antiquarian book fair I attended in 2003. As DAVAR is Hebrew for WORD, our emblem is borrowed from a dictionary: it appears as the printer’s device on the title-page of David Cohen de Lara’s Ir David, De convenientia vocabulorum rabbinicorum (Amsterdam, 1638) and depicts the familiar biblical tale of Elijah being fed by a raven. This polyglot lexicon of 1500 Greek and Latin loan words which occur throughout rabbinic literature was printed by Nicholaas van Ravestein, who, along with his brother Johannes, operated a book shop catering to those curious about new ideas in politics, philosophy and biblical criticism. De Lara was a Jew of Portuguese ancestry, recently arrived in Amsterdam from Hamburg. His little word book was intended for a Christian scholarly readership, and is emblematic of an array of tensions in the Western tradition which increasingly inspire writers in many departments throughout the early modern era, and which inform my antiquarian enterprise: Old and New Testament; Athens and Jerusalem; the Ancients and the Moderns.