Quaestiones super quatuor libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi.

Lyon, Johannes Trechsel, 5-20 Apr. 1497.


FIRST EDITION. Small folio. 178 unnumbered ff., 8 8 a-n 8 o 10 A 8 B 6 C-H 8 I 10 . Gothic letter, double column. Woodcut printer’s device to last. A little marginal soiling to t-p and last, small clean tear from upper edge of t-p repaired, occasional slight toning, small light water stain to lower or upper blank margin of a handful of ll., smudge to lower blank margin of l 3-4 . A very good copy, on thick paper, in contemporary Flemish calf over wooden boards, rebacked with original spine onlaid, traces of C14 rubricated vellum ms. used as front pastedown, another (with genealogical diagram visible to verso) preserved at rear, quadruple blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind-stamped half-lozenges with grapes and bearded faces to corners, second border with blind-stamped tendrils and fleurons to corners, centre panel cross-hatched in blind with quadruple ruling, fleurons within lozenges and half-lozenges in blind, raised bands, spine blind ruled, corners repaired, couple of minor scratches to upper board. Early symbols to upper and lower margin, C19 bibliographical note, contemporary ex-libris Ghysbertus Konrardi(?) and C16 purchase note ‘Frater Joannes de la Vega emit hunc liber frater (?) cumdi(?), die’ (partly erased) to t-p, the odd C15 marginalia, C15 inscriptions (one with recipe of white wine from berries to treat constipation) and traces of ms. genealogical diagram (arbor consanguinitatis?) to rear pastedown.

In a charming contemporary Flemish binding, with an uncommon tool of blind-stamped bearded faces—probably green men. It bears the same design as Petrus de Palude’s ‘In quattuor sententiarum’ (Venice, 1495), now BMawrCL f.P-502 (Scott Husby Database). The latter comes from the Franciscan monastery of Louvain, though the binding was probably made in the town. ‘The binderies of the university town of Louvain produced some interesting bindings as early as the last quarter of the C15, but owing to the large scale destruction of the Louvain archives in WWI, there will be, unfortunately, no further possibility of identifying bindings from this source’ (Diehl, ‘Bookbinding’, 132). Ghysbertus Konrardi was probably the same recorded as a student from Leiden at Louvain in 1475 (see ‘Matricules – Ancienne Université de Louvain’). The copy was later purchased by the Spanish friar Juan de la Vega, who enrolled as a student in 1549 (Cole, ‘Studentenmobiliteit’, 151). This major work of Scholastic philosophy was the standard theology textbook of the middle ages. The English Dominican Robert Holkot (or Holcot, c.1290-1349) was a renowned philosopher and biblical exegete, professor of theology at Oxford and follower of William of Ockham’s scholasticism. His commentary on Peter Lombard’s (1096-1160) ‘Libri Quattuor Sententiarum’ has survived in a greater number of mss than the commentary by William of Ockham. A collection of statements on the Scriptures by acknowledged authorities, the ‘Sentences’ discussed the Trinity, the Creation, the incarnation of the word, and the doctrine of signs, touching on the sacraments, demons, sin and human will. This first edition was produced, from numerous, often imperfect manuscripts, by the famous scholar and printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462-1535), editor and proofreader for Jean Trechsel in Lyon, in 1492-98.

Goff H287; HC 8763*; BMC VIII 300; GW 12890. E. Diehl, Bookbinding: Its Background and Technique (New York, 1980); T. Cole, Studentenmobiliteit tussen de Nederlanden en het Iberisch Schiereiland (Ghent University, 1996).


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