Commentaires … sur la Concordance ou Harmonie composée de trois Évangélistes, Item sur S. Jehan

[Geneva], Imprimé par Conrad Badius, 1561.


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. [xvi] 608. ff. 609-960, [xvi] [last blank]. Text in Italic, commentary in Roman, entirely ruled in red. In the first part the text is in triple column, commentary in double and in the second, commentary is in double column, text single. Title page within four-part grotesque woodcut border, with Badius’ woodcut device, floriated woodcut initials and headpieces. Light age yellowing. A very good copy, crisp and clean in C19th vellum, yapp edges, covers bordered with a red rule, title manuscript on spine, a.e.r.

First edition uniting the two commentaries of Calvin on the New Testament in French translation, beautifully printed by Conrad Badius; a typographical chef d’oeuvre. These two works by Calvin profoundly influenced the Reformed Church. It the first part Calvin provides a commentary on the gospels of Mathew, Mark and Luke. “In the commentary on the Synoptics, Calvin discusses the text primarily on the basis of the sequence in Mathew, but within this framework he also deals with Mark and Luke. In doing so he is following in the footsteps of Martin Bucer, who published a commentary on the Synoptic Gospels in 1527. In the introduction to the commentary, Calvin writes that at first glance many will probably not agree with the way he treats the material. But it is clear, he adds, that none of the three Gospels can be interpreted without comparison with the other two. To prevent having to page back and forth, therefore, it seemed to him that it would be helpful to place the three Gospels side by side in a table, as it were, so that one could clearly see where they do and do not agree with each other.” Wulfert Greef. ‘The Writings of John Calvin.’ The second part contains his Commentary on John which incorporates some of Calvin’s most important views.

“Calvin rapidly became a popular author, enabling him to seek out high-quality printer’s. Calvin made his choices of printer’s based on quality issues and ties of friendship. His preference for Robert Estienne and Conrad Badius was due to the high level of intellectual and printing skills displayed by these two famous representatives of Parisian Humanist printing. While Calvin appeared to be less impressed by the efficiency of the small format editions intended for clandestine networks in Catholic countries, he was very attracted to Estienne’s beautiful folio editions. Clearly Calvin was a bibliophile. However, he knew that to spread his ideas on a wider scale, he needed to rely on smaller sized volumes, especially for works intended for Catholic lands.” Jean François Gilmont. John Calvin and the Printed Book. Conrad Bade is justly recognised as a hugely important publisher just for the publication of his friend Calvin’s works but was also a satirical author in his own right. He published his most famous satirical work the ‘Alcoran des Cordeliers’ in 1556 and followed this with another attack on the abuses of the Church with his ‘Satyres Chrestienes de la Cuisine Papale’.

Brunet I 1502. BM STC Fr. C16th.


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