Quaestiones in quattuor libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi.

Venice, Johannes Herbort, de Seligenstadt for Johannes de Colonia, Nicolaus Jenson et Socii, 1481.


4to. Part 4 of 4. 300 unnumbered ff., a-i8 k10 o-z88 ɔ8 48, A-L8 M10, first and last blank. Large Gothic letter, double column. Printer’s woodcut device in red to recto of M6 and verso of M9, initials heightened in red throughout. Slight mainly marginal spotting, faint ink stain to lower blank margin of t and outer blank margin of ⁊6 andL6-7. An excellent, well-margined copy, on thick paper, in superb contemporary pigskin, later eps, one clasp, triple blind tooled to a panel design, outer border with roll of hearts pierced by arrows within lozenges, centre panel with fleurons and deer within lozenges, raised bands, spine double blind ruled in five compartments, lozenges in blind to each, ink lettered label at head and to upper cover (in vellum with heightened initial), five brass bosses, two brass guides and four brass cornerpieces to covers. Contemporary ms. marginalia, ownership inscription in red ‘Per me f[rat]rem Ioh[ann]em Ulner rubricatus anno du[m] que de t[em]p[or]e studii mei Erforde t[em]po anno de debito’ and in black-brown ‘Hic lib[er] p[ro]cu[r]at[us] est p[er] me fr[atr]em Ioh[ann]em Kriemseer monacensem ab eg[re]gio sac[erdot]e theo[logic]o m[a]g[ist]ro Petro Piscatoride me[o] tempore alme custo[dent]e(?) Custodi mitissimo anno 1493 in diem (?)’ to verso of M8, C19 bookplate to front pastedown.

Superbly bound copy of the second complete Italian edition of this major work. This is the fourth part only of a work made of four parts usually bound and often issued separately. The handsome binding was made probably by Steifer Hirsch in Erfurt (see PrincetonL PR 2083 LF and A-1272) where it was also rubricated by Friar Johann Ulner, who signed his name on the last page and in red a few other times throughout. Johann Kriemseer from Munich, ‘custodian of alms’, obtained this copy in 1493 from the theologian Petrus Piscatoris. This was probably the Franciscan Peter Fischer (1450-97) from Strasbourg, who was at the time ‘Custos Rheni’ (in charge of the Rhine district); he famously owned a substantial library spanning classics, rhetoric and theology (‘Frankfurter Personenlexikon’). Johannes Duns Scotus (1266-1308) was a Scottish philosopher and one of the most influential in the early medieval period, together with Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham. He was trained at the Franciscan ‘studium’ in Oxford. After taking holy orders in England, he moved to Paris where he was lecturing c.1300; he was expelled from France in 1302 for his support of Pope Boniface VIII against Philip IV. His very successful commentary to Peter Lombard’s four books of ‘Sententiae’, a systematic compilation of theological sources, is considered his greatest work. This edition was overseen by Thomas Penketh, English philosopher and professor at Padua in 1474-77. In ‘Quaestiones’, Duns Scotus’s ground-breaking theories including the ‘univocity of being’ (the concept of existence) and ‘haecceicitas’ (the particularity of a thing as opposed to its abstract essence) are applied to broader questions left open by Peter Lombard. The early annotator of this copy, probably Piscatoris, was a very learned reader who corrected an erroneous quotation from the ‘Sententiae’ (‘dulcissimis’ instead of ‘dilectissimis’) and made cross-references to Book 3. He was especially interested in sections on the theological (penance and restitution) and practical (canon law) consequences of adultery. For instance, an adulterous woman should confess her crime to her illegitimate son and encourage him to give up on his inheritance; however, this situation would put her ‘in danger of death’ and her husband ‘in danger of committing uxoricide’. Some underlining is also present in a section on ‘justice in buying and selling’ which touches on usury. A superbly bound witness, of interesting provenance, to late medieval scholarship, in which theology and biblical exegesis meet economics, property and canon law.

Goff D381; BM STC It., p. 229; GW 9075; ISTC id00381000.


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