Jena, Donat Richtzenhan et Thomas Rebart (vols 1, 3) and Christian Rödinger & heirs (vols 2, 4), 1557-1579.

£3,750

In 4 vols. Folio: 1): ff. [12], 540, [4]; 2): ff. [6], 603, [1]; 3) ff. [4], 540, [2]; 4): ff. [4], 822, [2]. Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic and Greek; large historiated initials, titles within elaborate border with the symbols of the Evangelists, Christ on the cross with John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and Luther kneeling, background landscape and castle and their coats of arms; in vols 2-4, full-page portratis of the dedicatees, the Protestant Saxon princes and brothers Johann Frederick II, Johann Wilhelm and Johann Frederick III, continuous chronological diagram on many leaves of vol. 4; lightly age browned, small dampstains occasionally to blank margins, a few leaves lightly foxed. A fine set in contemporary German alum-tawed bevelled pigskin, elaborately blind-tooled with various rolls of palms, Biblical figures and scenes, personifications of virtues, medallion portraits of Roman emperors, floral decoration, central plate with Jael killing Sisera in vol. 1 (Einbanddatenbank, p003434); remains of the eight original clasps, three functioning; minor rubbing and a few small stains; title and shelfmark inked on spine by contemporary and later hands; late seventeenth-century ex libris of Johann Theodor Eckhart ‘Volkholfheimensis p.’ on front pastedown of vol. 1; armorial bookplate of Johann Georg Sigward (1554-1618) on front pastedown of 2 and, dated 1607, on title verso of 3, along with his portrait by Lukas Kilian, dated 1614, on front pastedown; inscription of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Senones dated 174[0] on titles of 1, 3 and 4 and related shelfmark on verso of front endpaper of all four vols; contemporary German marginalia in De servo arbitrio in vol. 3 and by later hand in commentary on Psalm 127 in 4.

A finely bound complete set of the Latin works by the initiator of the Reformation. With his prolific activity as a religious writer and polemicist, Luther (1483-1546) was one of the fathers of modern German language, but his extensive output in Latin was equally important and influential. This mixed set is formed by the two contemporary Jena editions, published from 1557 onwards. The first comprehensive collection was made in Wittenberg with Melanchthon’ and other Reformed scholars’ contributions and the sponsorship of the Elector of Saxony; yet, the Jean imprints, particularly those of Rödinger and heirs, are considered of better philological quality (Graesse, IV, 300).

The set has an interesting provenance. It first belonged to Johann Georg Sigward (1554-1618), prominent Evangelic theologian and professor in Tubingen, who penned several Latin religious treatises elucidating Lutheran articles of faith, including predestination. Later, it went into the hands of Johann Theodor Eckhart, apparently a pastor in Hofheim, in the area of Frankfurt. In 1740, it was catalogued in the vast Benedictine library of Saint-Pierre de Senones, which was being enlarged by the erudite abbot and Biblical exegete Antoine Augustin Calmet (1672-1757). It may have served for his studies, which won him the esteem of many Protestant theologians and, despite later attacks, of Voltaire, who was a guest in the Senones monastery in the early 1750s.

Not in BM STC Ger. Adams, L1738 (vol. 1), L1747 (vol. 3); Brunet, III, 1240; Graesse, IV, 300 (vols 2 and 4); VD16 ZV 10105, L3424, L3435, L3427.

L2042

LATIN

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