BIBLE Biblia Sacra

Antwerp, heirs of Arnold Bircmann, 1569-70


4 vols, 24mo. ff. (xviii) 319 (i); 423 (i); 373 (i); 328 (xiv) (i). Text in Roman letter, side notes in Italic, woodcut printer’s device to each t-p. T-ps slightly soiled with partially washed out early autograph ‘Gryphius’, last couple of ll in two vols a bit spotted or browned. Very good, clean copies in particularly handsome C17th crushed red morocco a la Du Seuil, covers with panel and outer border of fine dentelles gilt, fleurons at covers of former, inner dentelles and edges gilt, spine compartments richly decorated with fleurons and tendrils, all gilt, modern bookplate of Carlo de Poorteve(?) on front pastedown, a.e.g. A little wear to upper joint, but a fine, high quality binding, unrestored.

A beautiful and rare small format Bible set comprising (I) Genesis to Ruth, (II) Kings to Job, (III) Prophets to Malachi, (IV) New Testament including Apocalypse. In vol II Esther is followed by Job and Maccabees omitted – the pagination and collation is continuous and correct, and in vol III Malachi is wrongly given the running title ‘Maccabees’. This is essentially a reduced size reprint of the first edition of the Louvain Bible, 1547.

“By an imperial edict all suspected Bibles – in Latin, or French, or Dutch – had been prohibited, and the Theological Faculty of Louvain was commanded to prepare duly authorized editions in these languages. … At the time of the Council of Trent, when the Vulgate was declared ‘authentic’, the Roman Church possessed no duly authorised edition which was accepted as standard. … In 1547, however, there appeared this recension, put forth with the sanction of the Theological Faculty of Louvain, and protected by imperial privilege. This and the second Louvain revision (see No. 6161) were practically accepted as authorized editions until the publication of the Sixtine Bible of 1590. In his reface the editor, Johannes Hentenius, praises the work of R.Stephanus… Yet he complains that csme even of these editions were marred by the unorthodox sentiment which had crept into their prefaces, marginal notes, and index of matters. [Nevertheless] This Louvain edition of the Vulgate is practically a reprint of R. Stephanus’ Bible of 1538-40, with certain modifications of the text and marginal matter, these changes been indicated by special signs.” Darlow & Moule II, 2 p.936

The various parts of this Bible were obviously available for separate sale and perhaps separate composition. Nukat (Polish Research Library Cat.) Aberdeen the Ambrosiana, and the National Library Jerusalem each have vol I and Ambrosiana, Folger, and Bibl. Nacional Madrid, the New Testament, they do not have the others. BM.STC. Dutch apparently claims 2 copies in 5 parts, one imperfect, but they do not appear in either BL online catalogue or Copac; it is logical that a psalms/proverbs value would have been available, but certainly at the time of binding it was not part of this set - or it would have been vol III and the Prophets vol IV. Not in Darlow & Moule.
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