(London: Printed by H. Middleton for George Bishop, 1581). 168 x 110 mm. (6 5/8 x 4 1/4"). 4 p.l., 792 pp.
Contemporary flexible vellum, yapp edges, flat spine with ink titling, front hinge reinforced with paper. Title page with early ink inscription of Richarde Grosvenor; front pastedown with engraved armorial bookplate of Grosvenor's descendant, Hugh, Duke of Westminster (dated 1884); front free endpaper with bookplate of the Fox Pointe Collection. STC 11448; ESTC S112728. Vellum somewhat soiled, small chip to head of rear cover, a little soiling to title page, isolated faint foxing or small rust spots, but an unusually clean and fresh copy internally, in a serviceable binding with antique appeal.
This is an infrequently seen polemical treatise from the English Reformation addressing theological arguments over Purgatory and transubstantiation, one of 21 such works Fulke (1528-89) produced to refute Roman Catholic attacks on the doctrines of the Church of England. According to DNB, "Fulke conceived the project of answering all works of controversy written in English by papists since 1558 and of doing so by the technique of exhaustive rebuttal, answering every point, large and small, made in the writings of his opponents. . . . Fulke was well equipped for this role by his vast erudition, especially in patristic literature, and his command of biblical and classical languages, as well as his painstaking concern for accurate detail and the rules of logical argument." During the last decade of Fulke's life, "no year passed without the appearance of one or more books [by him] in defence of Protestantism, and in confutation of the church of Rome. His language was unmeasured, and even in that age, he was conspicuous for the virulence of his invective against his opponents. His learning was, however, extensive and sound, and he was an able master of controversy." Our copy resided in the Grosvenor family library at Eaton Hall for more than 200 years, and later passed into the Fox Pointe Collection of Howard Knohl, who in the 1980s began collecting English language first editions from before 1700, amassing a library of more than 4,000 titles, one of the largest privately owned collections in this subject area. This is a rare book: ABPC and RBH find no other copies at auction since 1975; ESTC and OCLC locate just two copies in North American libraries. (ST15633)