Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Paraphrases in omnes epistolas Pauli (Paraphrases on All the Pauline Epistles)

Mainz: J. Schöffer, 1522. First Mainz edition. Octavo. 562, [2: colophon, blank]pp. Collation: A-Z8, Mm8, [chi]2 (O4/O5 reversed), complete. Title within historiated woodcut border. Woodcut initials throughout. Text in italics. Printed side-glosses. Errata at final text leaf. Contemporary beveled wooden boards, backed in tooled pigskin; spine with raised bands. Single brass catch at front board (clasp and strap perished). Contemporary manuscript musical scores used as pastedowns at front and back. Seven leather stubbs affixed at front edge as indexes. Vertical hairline crack through one half of upper board. Occasional faint smudging (mostly at margins), else text crisp and fresh. A very good copy, in a well-preserved sixteenth-century binding, with a notable provenance.

Scarce, very early collective edition of the Latin "Paraphrases" of the Pauline Epistles prepared by the celebrated humanist scholar, theologian, and educational writer, Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536). Preceded by the Froben collective editions of 1520 and 1521, this first and only edition of the Pauline Epistle Paraphrases to be printed at Mainz was issued by Schöffer in two parts, each with full title and separate register and pagination; our volume contains the first part only: the Epistles to the Romans; Corinthians (2); Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; and Thessalonians (2).

"In the vast and sustained labour he devoted to the New Testament Erasmus saw the culmination of his commitment to scholarship... and nothing else he wrote, not even the Moriae encomium, was to have so great an influence on posterity. The first edition of the New Testament appeared in 1516 and was followed, in his lifetime, by four more (1518/10, 1522, 1527, 1535), each newly revised. Each consisted of the Greek text, Erasmus' translation thereof, and a copious apparatus of notes [Annotations], published as a separate volume. Beginning in 1517, he also published a Paraphrase of all parts of the New Testament, save Revelation. Written in smooth and comprehensible Latin, it was usually fuller than the original text. If offered his own interpretatiton, but often avoided the provocative statements found in the Annotations. From the outset the translation, the Annotations, and, to a lesser degree, the Paraphrases drew criticism, originally from conservative theologians who found heresies in his humanist philology, but soon also from Lutherans and Catholics who denounced him for departures from their respective doctrines" (Bietenholz). The Paraphrases were composed between May 1517 and January 1524. "Erasmus began with the Pauline Epistles. The paraphrase of Romans was published in quarto by Dirk Martens in Louvain in November 1517 and reprinted by Erasmus's friend Johann Froben in January of the following year; it sold well and was soon reprinted in octavo. Corinthians was published by Martens in February 1519 and reprinted in Basel by Froben in March; Galatians appeared later that year, with editions from both publishers. The remaining Epistles followed in 1520 and 1521, the last to appear being Hebrews. In the autumn of 1521 Erasmus moved from Louvain to Basel, and from that time Froben published the first editions of the remaining Paraphrases" (Mynors).

Our edition was printed by Johann Schöffer, the son of Peter Schöffer who was the principal workman of Johannes Gutenberg. Apart from those of the Pauline Epistles, the only other complete Paraphrase of Erasmus to be published by Schöffer was that on the Gospel of Matthew, also in 1522. He did in 1521, however, issue a series of four brief excerpts from the Paraphrases in German translation, which appear to highlight provocative exegesis by the great scholar of Rotterdam concerning, for example, the hypocracy of the Pharisees (Matthew 23) or the exhortation to "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me" (Matthew 11.29).

Provenance and annotations: Contemporary manuscript entry at the title-page of the Benedictine monastery library at Amorbach; contemporary 50-word manuscript note in Latin at the free endleaf facing the title which discusses the present work. Early manuscript note in German at the final blank endleaf. Early leaves with light rubrication in red ink; about twenty leaves with contemporary annotations throughout. Later stamps of the Leiningen Palace Library at the bottom margin of the title and (very faintly) at the pigskin covers. Bookplate of United Theological Seminary, Dayton Ohio, noting the gift of Dr. Walter N. Roberts, with their vertical entry stamp (Mar 28 1963) at the dedication leaf (lightly over the left-hand edge of the text, but not impairing legibility). Item #53365

Full title and imprint: Paraphrases Eras. Rot. In omnes epistolas Pauli apostoli germanas : et in eam quae est ad Hebraeos incerti autoris, cum ijs quae Canonicae uocantur, diligenter recognitae excusaeq[ue] & ita binos in tomos digestae, ut cuiq[ue] secare in formam enchiridij, siuelit liberum sit.

References: P.G. Bietenholz, Encounters with a Radical Erasmus (Univ. Toronto, 2009), p.13; R.A.B. Mynors, "The Publication of the Latin Paraphrases," in: R.D. Sider (ed.), New Testament Scholarship: Paraphrases on Romans and Galatians (University of Toronto Press, 1984), pp. xx-xxix; USTC 682534; Vander Haeghen, p.145: Paraphrases in omnes epistolas Pauli. Moguntiae, Io. Schoeffer, m. augusto 1522 [octavo]; VD16 E-3379 (Berlin; Halle; Leipzig; Wittenberg; Wolfenbüttel). This first part not in Adams, but cf. E-795 (the second part, 378pp.).

Price: $4,500.00

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