De indulgentiis, et Iubileo libri duo … et alia …opuscula.

Cologne, Anton Hierat, 1599.


FIRST EDITION, thus. Large 8vo, pp. [8], 373, [3], without final blank, gathering B repeated. Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic; Jesuit device on title, a few floriated initials; lightly age browned, three marginal glue stains on title, light damp stain to pp. 27-32, mainly to margins. A very good copy in contemporary English limp vellum, late seventeenth-century title and shelfmark inked on spine; very lightly scratched and stained to front cover; a few contemporary marginalia and underlining, inscription by contemporary English hand, scribbled over, on fly, others by early Italian hands on rear endpaper and pastedown.

Rare first separate edition of numerous influential essays written by arguably the brightest mind of the early Counter-Reformation, most of which were published the same year in Venice within the collective edition of Bellarmine’s Disputationes. The Jesuit Roberto Bellarmino (1542-1621), cardinal and later saint, was the most prominent Catholic apologist of his time and one of the frontmen of papal cultural policy. An open-minded prelate, he took part in many learned enterprises and disputes, as well as the committees amending the Vulgate and judging the cases of Giordano Bruno and Galileo. Educated at the Collegio Romano and Leuven University, he had an extensive knowledge of Catholicism and heretical movements. With his Disputationes, he wrote the first and most acclaimed compendium of Catholic positions in respect of those of the Reformed theologians, adopting an unbiased, rational and historical point of view. This edition comprises a detailed apology of the value of indulgences against Luther’s charges, especially in connection with the coming jubilee of 1600; a short essay in favour of the freedom of the clergy before secular authorities (a frequently contested point by lay domains, including, most famously, the Republic of Venice) and another showing the many doctrinal differences within the Lutheran camp; two appendices, one to his De summo Pontefice (a book debated even within the Roman Curia for its mild endorsement of the theory of papal supremacy over any other ruler), another to his essay about the legitimate worship of images. The English provenance of this volume, at a time of vigorous persecution of English Catholics, is intriguing.

Uncommon. Only 5 recorded copies in the US (Chicago, Indiana, Stanford, St Meinrad, Washington).

Not in BM STC Ger., Brunet or Graesse. Adams, B  501; Sommervogel, I, 1204:15.



Print This Item Print This Item