||Translation of Megillat Antiochus into the Indian language of Marathi. The Title page in English heading, describing it as The History of Antiochus Epiphanes or the Instyitution of the Feast of Dedication by Joseph Ezekiel Rajpurker, teacher in Davidc Sassooon’s Benevolent Institution and Secretary to the Bene-Israel Improvement Society. It is priced at 2 Annas. The entire text, except for the introductory heading in Hebrew, is in Marathi. This copy has its original pink wrappers.
Megillat Antiochus incorporates portions of the Books of Maccabees, commemorating the victory of the Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees over the Greeks and their hellenizing supporters. It is modeled after the Book of Esther, beginning, “And it came to pass in the days of Antiochus, King of Greece,” going on to describe that kings’ power, and the events that occurred. It varies, however, in a number of particulars from similar works celebrating the victory of the Maccabees and the events of Hanukkah. Megillat Antiochus is believed to have been written in Aramaic sometime between the mid-eighth to the mid-ninth centuries. In the middle ages it was publicly read in Italian synagogues on Shabbat Hanukkah and R. Isaiah de Trani discusses whether a blessing should be recited before its reading.
Joseph Ezekiel Rajpurker (1834–1905) was a scholar of the Bene Israel community in Bombay. After studying at the Free Assembly School, he became a teacher in the David Sassoon Benevolent Institution, Bombay, in 1856 and after five years its headmaster, a post which he occupied for 40 years. In 1871 he was appointed Hebrew examiner at the University of Bombay, which elected him a fellow in 1879. A master of Hebrew as well as of Marathi, the vernacular of Bombay, he translated over 20 works of the Hebrew liturgy and many English works of Jewish interest into Marathi. In addition to Megillat Antiochus his translations of Hebrew liturgical works include the Daily Prayer Book (1889, 1924), the mahzor, piyyutim, and selihot. In 1887 he published Kuttonet Yosef - a handbook of Hebrew abbreviations, a Hebrew grammar in Marathi, a Hebrew primer for children, and prayers for various occasions.