Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Sententiarum libri IIII (Four Books of Sentences)

Louvain: Barthélemy de Grave, 1552. Hardcover. Quarto. [dagger-2 dagger]4; a-z4, A-Z4, Aa-Tt4, (= 268 leaves); [16], 494, [25], [1 blank]pp. Hand-colored woodcut printer’s device, woodcut lettrines, printed marginalia; each book with separate indices and caption titles. Contemporary Flemish paneled calf (rubbed, upper joint wearing), tooled in blind, spine with raised bands; covers expertly re-conditioned, endleaves renewed with antique paper. Old entries at title (earliest dated 1616), copious early annotations in Book IV. Text fine, crisp, and amply-margined.

Second Gravius edition, first issue: title dated 1552, colophon dated M. D. LIIi. [1553], with third “I” in lower case. The Italian-born Peter Lombard (ca. 1100-1160) was one of the most influential theologians of the Western Christian tradition. Written around 1150, his Books of Sentences was the first manual of systematized theology to appear in the West, and served as a standard textbook for four centuries. It is arranged in four parts: On the Trinity; Creation and Sin; the Incarnation and the Virtues; the Sacraments and the Four Last Things. “[T]he Sentences shaped the minds of generations of theologians, from Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas to William of Ockham and Gabriel Biel. The young Martin Luther composed glosses on the Book of Sentences, and even John Calvin’s Institutes show its influence” (McKim). The present edition prepared by Parisian professor of theology Jean Aleaume was first published by Barthélemy de Grave in folio format in 1546. In the present quarto edition each book is provided with a list of incipits and a subject index; those for the first book precede the text, while those for the latter three follow. That De Grave considers them a chief merit of Aleaume’s new edition is suggested by the reprinting of the original preface to the reader which makes notable mention of the indices. The place of publication and printer’s name appear in woodcut beneath a hand-colored vignette with the motto: In sole posuit tabernaculu[m] suu[m]. “The most important thing in the book was its crystallization of the doctrine concerning the sacramental system, by the definite assertion of the doctrine of the seven sacraments, and the acceptance of a definition of sacrament, not merely as ‘a sign of the sacred thing,’ but as itself ‘capable of conveying the grace of which it is the sign’” (EB, 13th ed.). It thus comes as no surprise to find often copious early annotations in at least two hands accompanying the discussions of baptism and conversion in the initial sections of Book Four. A rare edition, generally, OCLC locates only three copies, (Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford), all of which are the 1553 issue. COPAC notes but a single copy of the 1552 issue under notice (Oxford). Very Good +. Item #49127

Expanded title and imprint: Petri Lombardi Episcopi Parisiensis Sententiarium libri IIII. Quibus autor ille in divinis scripturis exercitatissimus, universae theologiae summam, ex orthodoxorum Patrum Decretis atque Sente[n]tiis, mirabili co[m]pendio & arte co[m]plexus est: ut iure optimo Magister Sententiarum meruerit cognominari. Per Ioan. Aleaume Parisien. Theologiae professorem, pristino suo nitori nunc primùm verè restituti... In hac secunda aeditione rursus ad vetustissima exemplaria collati, & summa doctorum virorum diligentia (mendis compluribus ablatis) ad primos fontes diligentissimè restituti... Louanij ex officina Bartholomei Gravij AN. 1552.

Provenance: Two monastic entries appear at the title, the earlier is dated 1616; the later is an undated entry of the Discalced Carmelites

References: McKim, Major Biblical Interpreters, p. 830. Pettegree & Walsby, Netherlandish Books, 24136. USTC 400864. Cf. Adams P-908 and Machiels 274 (each citing the 1553 imprint).

Price: $2,500.00

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