(Italy(?): mid-13th century). 193 x 142 mm. (7 5/8 x 5 1/2"). Double column, 50 lines, in a gothic pearl script.
Headers in blue and red, two two-line initials in blue or red with contrasting decorative penwork extensions. Early (15th century?) foliation at upper right of recto. Indention at lower outer corner where leather tab was once apparently in place. ◆In very fine condition.
This is an early leaf from a rarely seen text, the "Summa super quattuor libros sententiarum" (or "Summa Aurea," as it is commonly known), the most influential work by William of Auxerre (1140/50 - 1231). Archdeacon of Beauvais and then professor of theology at the University of Paris, William was appointed by Pope Gregory IX to study the natural science writings of Aristotle, offering modifications where necessary in the interest of religious orthodoxy. As a result, William was one the first scholastic theologians to refer in his writings to Aristotle. The text of William's "Summa" is divided into four books, containing commentary on the Trinity and the nature of Christ, Creation, the Last Judgment, the sacraments, and other theological concerns. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the work "is not, as it is sometimes described, a mere compendium of the 'Books of Sentences' by Peter the Lombard. Both in method and in content it shows a considerable amount of originality, although, like all the Summæ of the early thirteenth century, it is influenced by the manner and method of the Lombard. . . . The importance of the 'Summa Aurea' is enhanced by the fact that it was one of the first Summæ composed after the introduction of the metaphysical and physical treatises of Aristotle." The present manuscript was probably penned in the mid-13th century--perhaps some 20 years after the death of the author. RBH shows next to nothing sold in manuscript or printed form of the "Summa." (ST18851-07b)