Manuale exorcismorum: continens instructiones, & exorcismos ad eiiciendos è corporibus obsessis spiritus malignos.

Antwerp, ex officina Plantiniana, apud Balthasarem Moretum, & viduam Ioannis Moreti, & Io. Meursium, 1626

£1,950

8vo. pp(xvi), 314, (vi). *⁸ A-V⁸. [last two ll. blank] Roman and Italic letter. Title in red and black with Moretus’ small woodcut ‘Labore et Constantia’ compass device, a larger version on verso of last, historiated and floriated woodcut initials. Light age yellowing, some minor mostly marginal spotting, the odd thumb mark and marginal mark or spot. A good clean copy, in contemporary vellum over the reuse of dark calf, as boards, from and early netherlandish binding circa 1510-40, probably from the top edge of a single cover divided in two, these were triple blind ruled with alternate rose and lozenge blind stamps around a central, diaper blind ruled, panel, filled with blind lozenge tools, yapp edges, stubs from an early manuscript. Two C17th ms ex libris on fly, upper mostly torn away.

Rare second edition of this important manual of exorcisms, giving a complete insight into the procedure of exorcism, containing instructions as to how exorcisms should be carried out with a great number of ritual formulae. These include many ‘magic’ recipes, to fight fevers and the plague, love potions, spells cast on food, evil spells placed on marriages, incubus and Succubus, evil spirits that infest houses and other places, etc. The book was finely printed by Balthasar Moretus in Antwerp in his ‘Officina Plantiniana’. Considered a canonical treatise of reference in matters of exorcism, it is the only production of Maximilian d’Eynatten (1574-1631), canon lawyer, scholar and Antwerp’s Keeper of the Seals.

The work is divided into three sections; the first contains general instructions and preparations for exorcisms such as how to determine if a person is suffering from demonic possession and not merely from natural diseases, learning about various symbols and their effects, the proper time and place for an exorcism, and various precautions to take against demons. The second part details the methods and practices used in an exorcism, including many different prayers, invocations, and solemn oaths, with selected prayers and exorcism methods included from a variety of respected authors. Finally, the third part contains methods and practices to expel various kinds of witchcraft or enchantments from both bodies and other objects, including chapters on exorcising dairy products, cereals and other foods (with specific chapters on milk and butter); exorcising a spirit from a home; exorcising witchcraft from your own body and exorcising witchcraft from the bodies of others; remedies against pests, fevers and other natural diseases; and remedies against love potions, amongst others. This is very much like a modern-day field guide, written in a no-nonsense referential manner so that it could be easily used during field work. Cf Michael Foight, ‘Falvey Memorial Library.’

“Despite these official and semi-official efforts to restrict the practise of Catholic exorcisms to the ordained clergy, laymen and unlicensed priests continued to practise exorcisms. In the Netherlands most exorcisms in the seventeenth century continued to be performed by laymen or priests without ecclesiastical permission. These unauthorised exorcisms explain why some Catholic dioceses decided to elaborate and even expand upon the Vatican’s policy in their jurisdictions.” Brian Levack. ‘The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West’

The reuse of calf from an earlier binding, as boards, is most unusual, particularly from what must have been a handsome Flemish binding from the first half of the C16th. A very interesting example of the way binders ‘recycled’ materials from earlier works.

BM STC Neth. C17th Caillet, 3746 (first ed. only) ‘Manuel d’exorcismes rare’. Coumont, Demonology & Witchcraft, E37.2. Graesse, ‘Bibl. Magica et Pneumatica’, p.29. Not in Guaita.

L2565

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