MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY IN INCUNABLE EDITION

Quaestiones de duodecim quodlibet.

Nuremberg, Johann Sensenschmidt and Andreas Frisner, 15 April 1474.

£19,500

Folio. 136 unnumbered leaves, the first blank (Tabula bound at the beginning as in the BSB copy). Gothic letter, in double columns, 48 lines. Incipit and colophon printed in red, incipit initial with pen work and scrolled tendrils, entirely rubricated with fine capitals occasionally with tendrils, contemporary inscription at head of first blank, another dated 1604 beneath, ‘Prof Weber 1783’ above. First blank and last leaf a little frayed at outer edge, minor light water stain at places in outer margin, occasional very minor marginal dust soiling. A fine, very clean, fresh copy on thick paper with wide margins, in a fine contemporary binding by Ambrosius Keller of pigskin over thick wooden boards, covers with an all over design of single interlacing curved rules in a diapered pattern, blindstamped teardrop shaped tool with winged dragon at centres, circled with a seme of blind stamped floral tools and birdlike stamps, spine with three raised double bands, compartments filled with a seme of blindstamped floral tools, brass catches with remains of clasps, a little rubbed and worn at extremities.

A stunning copy of this most beautifully printed incunable by the first printer at Nurenburg, the third printing of this major work by St. Thomas Aquinas, in its original binding from the Augsburg workshop of Ambrosius Keller, finely rubricated throughout. The binding exhibits many of the characteristics of Augsburg bindings of the period, and is almost certainly from the workshop of Ambrosius Keller (Goldschmidt, Gothic and Renaissance Bookbindings, No. 8). The teardrop shaped tool with a dragon or a basilisk is identified as from his workshop, see einbanddatenbank w000325 and plate VII from Goldschmidt. “Ambrosius Keller is well known as a bookbinder at Augsburg who worked from about 1470 to 1480 or perhaps even longer. He appears also as a printer (or as a publisher only?) in 1479 when two books came out, printed in G Zainer’s type 2..” Goldschmidt. The binding is finely conceived and worked in an unusual, almost modern, all over design. The first edition of this work by Thomas Aquinas was printed at Rome four years earlier, both editions are now rare.

Aquinas (1225 – 74) wrote his “Quaestiones de Duodecim Quodlibet” or “Twelve Questions on Various Subjects” whilst teaching at the university in Paris; it was written over a period of several years probably between 1256 and 1272. Aquinas taught both in Rome and at Paris and this work records his discussions with students, collected over over many years on various theological and philosophical problems. The subjects he deals with include theological discussions on the nature of angels and devils, salvation and sin. The book also discusses more practical issues such as confession and marriage. Saint Thomas Aquinas was a Catholic Priest in the Dominican Order and probably the most important Medieval philosopher and theologian. He was immensely influenced by scholasticism and Aristotle and known for his synthesis of the two aforementioned traditions. He is considered, with Augustine, the most influential theologian in the history of the Western Church, and his deep interest in Aristotle makes his works no less important to the history of philosophy than to theology. A very beautiful copy.

BMC II 406. Goff T184. Polain(B) 3718. BSB-Ink T-250. GW M46333. Kyriss 49.

L1835

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