D., W.
"A Cursory, but Free and Candid Examination of the Divine Authority of the Books Contained in the Old-Testament; with some Strictures on the Tenets of Those Called Orthodox-Christians

America: 1773, folio, [5] ff. 163, [5] pp., original manuscript, bound in contemporary vellum, front cover with title inked in early hand; binding darkened, stained, and rubbed, with vellum cracked and peeling over spine. Sewing loosening; a number of leaves separated. Pages age-toned with minor offsetting, edges of first few leaves tattered with the lower portion of title leaf chipped away.

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Apparently unpublished 18th century American manuscript dealing with natural religion, the nature of prophecy and revelation, and the definition of "real Christianity" vs. "Orthodoxy." The author seems to have been at least contemplating publication, as a preliminary advertisement offers the usual disclaimer regarding the work "never intended ... for the Ey of the Public" that might yet "accidentally fall into private Hands of Strangers." That advertisement is signed "W.D." with "America 1773." Supplied below in slightly smaller, finer lettering; text on p. 112 refers in passing to "this 28th Dec.r 1773."

Refrences to "modern" or current events are slim to nonexistent; but Liebnitz appears (unfavorably). The author also cites, more approvingly, Drs. Clarke, Sherlock, and Burnet - along with Machiavel" on the nature of governments. Gil Blas is mentioned as a history that might be viewed as truth by the credulous ages hence; Shaftesbury, Voltaire, and Locke are treated of in the last pages.

The text is reasonably but not excessively erudite (there are occasional forays into Greek and Latin); the work's tone is often combative, with the author's nagative opinions of much Jewish philosophy and doctrine bluntly expressed.