([Venice: Andreas Torresanus, de Asula, about 1495]). 215 x 155 mm. (8 1/2 x 6").  leaves (A2-A6 mis-signed A1-A5). Single column, 35 lines in gothic type.
Contemporary stiff vellum, smooth spine with later gilt lettering and heraldic stamp of Cardinal Girolamo Casanate (see below), and early paper label lettered in ink "sine anno" ["without year"], front turn-ins and pastedown with early inked library information. In a modern tan linen clamshell box. Capitals struck with yellow, paragraph marks in red or blue, eight six- to eight-line puzzle initials in red or blue. Title page with ink library stamp of Biblioteca Casanatense (1981 letter from the library confirming the volume was deaccessioned as a duplicate in the last half of the 18th century laid in at front). With occasional neat marginalia in an early hand. Goff J-281 (formerly J-280); BMC V, 314; ISTC ij00281000. Vellum with mild soiling and little rumpling to edges, lower corners slightly bumped, half a dozen tiny wormholes, front turn-ins lifted, but the unsophisticated binding solid and very pleasing. Final leaf somewhat soiled, final quire sprinkled with wormholes, some affecting a letter or two, minor thumbing and isolated small stains, but an excellent, fresh copy internally.
This is an attractively printed collection of writings and sermons on repentance by three saints, in its contemporary binding and with distinguished provenance. One of the most important Church Fathers, St. John Chrysostom was the Archbishop of Constantinople and the most celebrated orator of the early Christian period (Chrysostomus means "golden-mouthed"). He was a voluminous writer of sermons and homilies, often illustrating his points, not by using abstruse allegorical interpretations, but by referring to the things of contemporary daily life. As a result of this approach, his works continue to be of interest to modern scholars for reasons as much anthropological as theological. Born in Antioch, Chrysostomus (ca. 347-407) was educated by the pagan orator Libanius but embraced Christianity and entered the priesthood. His "On the Compunction of the Heart" and "Repairing Lapses" first appeared in print in 1483.
There were just two early Christian writers whose extant output exceeds that of Chrysostom: Origen and St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), author of another tract here, a sermon on "lectio divina," the spiritual practice of reading and meditating on Scripture. The final sermons in our volume are by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), on supplication for forgiveness and the mercy of God. This is the first separate printing of these sermons by Augustine and Bernard; another edition of these three works was printed in Paris in 1497. A former student of the great Nicolaus Jenson, Andreas de Torresanus de Asula (1451-1529) inherited some of the master's types following his death in 1480. Torresanus' daughter married fellow printer Aldus Manutius in 1500, and Andreas took over operation of the Aldine Press after his son-in-law's death in 1515.
Our copy was once part of the collection in the Biblioteca Casanatense, established by the Dominican Order in Rome in 1700 with the bequest of 25,000 volumes from the personal library of Cardinal Girolamo Casanate, along with the substantial endowment of 80,000 scudi for maintenance and further acquisitions. Trained as a lawyer, Casanate (1620-1700) had capped a distinguished career in the Church by serving as Librarian of the Vatican. A significant resource for theological works, "the Casanatense collection . . . became one of the most active and important libraries in Italy in the 18th century," according to CERL. The lack of a deaccession stamp in the work spurred the former owner to write to the Biblioteca Casanatense in 1981, to make sure the present volume was lawfully removed from the collection. The librarian replied that the book had been removed as duplicate work sometime between 1768 and 1802. This work is uncommon in the marketplace: RBH and ABPC find just two complete copies of this edition at auction in the past 40 years. (ST16379-106)
Add to Cart Price: $8,500.00
PJP Catalog: 78.054