[SAINT GERMAN, CHRISTOPHER].
THE DIALOGUE IN ENGLISH, BETWEEN A DOCTOR OF DIUINITIE, AND A STUDENT IN THE LAWES OF ENGLAND.(London: Richard Tottill, 1593). 124 x 83 mm (4 7/8 x 3 1/4"). 176,  leaves.
Pleasing contemporary smooth calf, recently and expertly rebacked to style, covers with borders of thick and thin blind rules and central blindstamped oval lozenge in an elaborate strapwork pattern, raised bands flanked by plain blind rules, remnants of ties. In a brown cloth clamshell box with gilt titling on the spine. Title page with contemporary ink note regarding the author (as being identified in Thomas Fuller's "History of the Worthies of England"), manuscript annotations to blank flyleaf and occasionally in margins, all in a neat early hand. Beale T-479; STC 21575. Some wear to extremities, but the binding expertly restored now and very appealing. Title and following leaf a little soiled and browned, other very minor defects, but an excellent copy internally, the text consistently clean and fresh.
According to the DNB, this is "surely the most remarkable book relating to English law published in the Tudor period, and quite unlike any book to have come from the pen of an English lawyer before." Commonly known as "Doctor and Student," these dialogues "explore the relationship between the principles of English law and conscience." The first 24 chapters were initially published in Latin in 1528, and the English translation appeared in 1530 with an additional 13 dialogues between the theologian and the barrister. This later printing included an introduction explaining that the book would be in English, rather than the more erudite Latin or French, "because it was 'specially made' for those without legal knowledge." Christopher Saint German (ca.1460-1540/41) studied law at the Middle Temple and was called to the bar, although he preferred writing about the law to practicing it. In DNB's words, the quiet Saint German was, rather surprisingly, "one of the major intellectual forces behind the English Reformation," taking on the formidable Sir Thomas More and showing a way around the many legal difficulties that, more than theological differences, led to the Anglican break with Rome. "Doctor and Student" became a handbook for legal students, and was the standard text until Blackstone's "Commentaries" appeared in the 18th century. It still remained popular, with some 30 reprints issued by 1886, although 16th century editions are uncommonly seen, especially in agreeable condition. (ST11520)