([Basel]: Nicolaus Kesler, 1492). 318 x 229 mm. (12 1/2 x 9"). Complete.  leaves, the last blank. Double column, 66 lines and headline in gothic type. FIRST EDITION.
Early, perhaps contemporary, calf over wooden boards, covers simply ruled in blind, brass catches and clasps (with remnants of apparently original thongs), rebacked with modern calf, raised bands, new (not unsuitable) endpapers. Printer's device in colophon. Capitals struck with red, and hundreds of attractive three- to 11-line initials hand painted in red. Occasional early ink marginalia; original pigskin sectional tabs on three leaves. Goff T-329; BMC III, 770; ISTC it00329000. Original sides slightly crackled, scuffed, and abraded, corners and edges a little worn, but the binding solid, retaining some of its period feeling, and entirely serviceable. One opening with small areas of staining in lower margin and extending slightly into the text, a few leaves with very faint browning (where painted initials have been sealed with fixative?), one of these with a bit of a splash, very trivial marginal worming in final four leaves, otherwise a really excellent copy internally, the text fresh, clean, mostly bright, and printed within very comfortable margins.
Written by a student of Thomas Aquinas, this is the first and only printing of an excessively rare commentary on the famous "Sentences" of Peter Lombard, and it represents one of the earliest examples of Thomistic writing done by a follower. Born in Rome as the nephew of Cardinal Richard (1239-74), Hannibaldus de Hannibaldis (d. 1272) entered the Dominican Order at Santa Sabina in his home city. Subsequently, he went to Paris, where he became the first official theology student of Aquinas. While in Paris, he lectured on Lombard's "Sentences" and then assumed the position of master in the chair for foreign Dominicans when Aquinas relinquished it after leaving Paris in 1259. Although he maintained a friendship with Aquinas until his own death, Hannibaldus' commentary here (which also contains excerpts from Pope Innocent V and Saint Bonaventure) departs in significant ways from early Thomistic positions. Our author also eventually left Paris to return to Italy, where he became a cardinal and died in Orvieto.
Peter Lombard's "Sentences" is the most important theological work of the 12th century. Topically arranged, the work summarizes past learning about Christian doctrine by quoting authorities (these are the "sentences" that give the book its name) and attempting to resolve textual disagreement by dialectical analysis. As a source collection that continued to spark discussion, the "Sentences" enjoyed great success as a theological textbook until the 17th century and inspired numerous commentaries like the present one, as well, of course, as those of Aquinas and Luther. Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1227-74), who is considered, with Augustine, the most influential theologian in the history of the Western Church, sought always to demonstrate that reason and revelation are compatible sources of truth, and his books are no less important to philosophy than to theology. Our printer Nicolaus Kesler studied at the University of Basel and worked for Bernhard Richel before setting up shop for himself. Between 1486 and 1510 he published theological works, including a Bible of 1487 with innovative chapter summaries. The numerous meticulously formed initials here, with their sharply contrasting thick and thin lines, are a reflection of the care and importance felt to be appropriate both for the text and for the physical object used to convey it. This is an extremely rare book on the market: just three copies have sold at auction since 1975, according to ABPC and RBH, the most recent copy selling for £11,000 ($14,527) hammer in 2018. (ST12562)