THE FIRST CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL COMMENTARIES

Homiliae [with] Expositio in Evangelium Sancti Ioannis [and] Explanatio in Epistola Pauli ad Romanos.

Venice, Aldus Manutius, 1503 [with] Simone da Lovere for Alessandro Calcedonio, 1508 [and] Simone da Lovere, 1506.

£15,000

Three works in one volume, folio. 1): FIRST EDITION. ff. (6), 182; 2): ff. (12), 147, (1); 3): FIRST EDITION, ff. 73, (1). Roman letter, double column and large Aldine device on final recto in 1); Gothic letter, double column and typographical initials in 2) and 3), printer’s device and monogram on respective final printed versos; tiny, mainly marginal wormholes in first and final gatherings, very light damp stains occasionally in margins and at foot of final leaves. A very good, well-margined copy in contemporary alum-tawed German pigskin over wooden boards, blind-tooled panels with rolled foliage decoration, central diaper panel on rear, title lettered on front by contemporary German hand, early manuscript title label on spine, functioning original brass catches and clasps; rubbed, small wormholes to covers; early shelf mark and modern bookplate on front pastedown; contemporary rubrication to ff. 9-10 of 1), sixteenth-century marginalia in first and second works by German hand, earlier annotations crudely obscured in margin of one leaf, contemporary marginalia in 3) by the hand inscribing front cover.

An appealing collection of influential biblical commentaries, including the first editions of Origen’s rare homiletic exegesis on the Pentateuch, the Books of Joshua, and Judges and St Paul’s letter to the Romans, all in the Latin translations of St. Jerome. Origenes Adamantius (c.185 – c.254) was the most prominent textual critic of the Bible of the early Church as well as an authoritative and prolific commentator. He exerted great influence especially over Eusebius and Jerome, though some of his radical ideas (i.e. the final redemption of all creatures and their ultimate reconciliation with God) prevented him from being regarded as a Church Father.

Together with the pioneering edition of the Bible comparing six different versions of the Hebrew and Greek tradition (Hexapla), the numerous homilies Origenes preached in Caesarea represent his most relevant contribution to early Christian Biblical scholarship. The central work bound in this volume is the third edition of Thomas Aquinas’ commentary on St. John’s gospel, first published in Rome in 1470. That this collection was used by contemporary scholars is proved by the numerous annotations of two German hands, reporting mainly biblical references.

The Aldine edition of Origenes marks an important turning point in the history of this famous press. In its anonymous preface to the reader, the role taken by Andrea Torresani, Aldus’s father-in-law and business partner, was finally acknowledged in print: men of letters were said to be indebted equally to Andrea’s generosity as an entrepreneur and to Aldus’s outstanding skill as a humanist printer.

1) BM STC It., 477; Adams, O 291; Brunet, IV, 228 (‘volume rare’); Graesse, V, 48; Renouard, 44:11.

2) Not in BM STC It. or Adams. Brunet, V, 824; Graesse, VII, 136; EDIT16, 31810 (var. A).

3) Not in BM STC It., Adams or Brunet. Graesse, V, 47.

L2156

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