Confessionale seu libellus peroptimus.

Paris, Denis Roce, n.d.


8vo. 24 unnumbered leaves (A-C8). Gothic letter, woodcut initials, large version of printer’s device on title page. Early manuscript author note to title page. Light age browning in places, a well margined and clean copy in modern paper over boards.

Extremely rare confession manual by Matthew of Kracow (ca. 1335-1410), mistakenly ascribed by the printers to St. Thomas Aquinas, and on the title page to St. Bonaventura by a C16th century owner. Although the work touches on the appropriate mindset of the confessor and the frequency of confessions, the bulk of the book considers the nature of religious trespasses and prepares confessors for the myriad of sins they are likely to hear, in the style of the typical casuistry manual. Among human faults discussed are vainglory, lust, unintended sins, decisions that lead to sin, “complacency with the memory of sin,” and “idle words.” The work concludes with a broad discussion on the nature of sin and how to identify it. Each part of the manual can be quickly and easily referenced through a practical table of contents.

We have not been able to locate other copies, although this might be a variant of USTC 183882 printed in Paris, Bernard Aubry, 1518 at the Bibliotheque Nationale, as Roce worked with Aubry and the collation is identical.


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