This an extremely rare book as it was limited to "six hundrea and sventy five numbered copies" and this copy is numbered 272. In addition, the work is illustrated by 40 plates at the end of the text.
The full sub-title is as follows: "AND ITS CONNECTION WITH THE MYSTIC
THEOLOGY OF THE ANCIENTS." In addtion to this work is a second essay entitled "ESSAY ON THE WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS DURING THE MIDDLE AGES OF WESTERN EUROPE." Quoted from the "Preface to This Edition."
"The Worship of Priapus was printed in 1786, for distribution by the Dilettanti Society, with which body the author was aaively identified. This society embraced in its membership some of the most distinguished s cholars in England, among others the Duke of Norfolk, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir William Hamilton, Sir George Beaumont, the Marquis of Abercorn, Lord Charlemont, Lord Dundas, Horace Walpole, and men of equal prominence.
The bold utterances of Mr . Knight on a subject which until that time had been entirely tabooed, or had been treated in a way to hide rather than to difcover the truth, shocked the sensibilities of the higher classes of English society, and the ministers and members of the various denominations of the Christian world. Rather than endure the ftorm of criticism, aroused by the publication, he suppressed during his lifetime all the copies of the book he could recall, confequently it became very scarce, and continued so for nearly a hundred years.
In 1865 the work was reprinted, with an essay added, carrying the investigation further, showing the prevalence during the middle ages of beliefs and practices similar to those described in Knight's essay, only modified by the changed condition of society.
The supplementary essay is now generally conceded to have been the work of the eminent author and antiquarian, Thomas Wright; assisted by John Camden Hotten, the publisher of the 1865 edition. In their work they had the benefit of the vast additions made during this century to the literature of the subject, and of the discoveries of objects of antiquity at Herculaneum and Pompeii, also in France, Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, and in fact in nearly every country in Europe, illustrating the subject they were investigating."