[HAIMO OF AUXERRE]. In divi Pauli espistolas omneis interpretatio

[Cologne, Eucharius Cervicornus], 1528


8vo. ff. (viii) 463 (i). Roman letter, little Gothic, occasional Greek. Woodcut t-p vignette of St Paul, another of St Jerome to verso of last, decorated initials. T-p minimally dusty, small old repair at lower fore-edge of t-p, slight age yellowing, light oil stain at foot of final gatherings, a handful slightly browned, a few little marginal ink marks. A very good, tall copy in contemporary Bolognese calf, two of four ties, triple gilt ruled, outer border with stamped gilt rosettes, second with roll of interlacing circles in blind, centre panel with arabesque cornerpieces in blind, title (upper cover) and Fortuna holding sail (lower) gilt, within frame of gilt interlacing leaves, surrounded by gilt pointillé and blind-stamped fleurons, raised bands, a.e.g. (oxidised), joints cracked but firm, corners minimally worn, spine very neatly repaired, later eps (but not modern), early shelfmark inked to spine, occasional contemporary annotations, a.e. blue.

An attractive copy in a handsome contemporary Bolognese binding. Fortune, the frame with leaves and the cornerpieces are a more skilfully executed and refined version of those on two bindings at the Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio, Bologna (4.Q.V.27, 16.i.III.7). These are attributed to the ‘Pflug & Ebeleben binder’ (fl.1535-70) (from the names of two major clients), frequently employed by German university students. Fortune and the frame with leaves reprise motifs used previously by the second Achille Bocchi and the ‘Vignette’ binders. The unusual pointillé was probably inspired by Pflug and Ebeleben’s visit to Paris, which influenced the workshop’s production of the 1540s. The frame with leaves, mainly found on bindings of theological and devotional works (as here), was, unlike here, usually accompanied by religious plaquettes (e.g., Christ on the cross or the Virgin and Child). Fortune was a common theme on northern Italian bindings for university student, symbolising the possibility of improvement (Hobson, 13-14, 19-20, 25). This work was probably bound for a wealthy student in the 1540s.

 This commentary on St Paul’s Epistles, often attributed to Haimo, Bishop of Halberstadt and here in the scarce second edition, was written by the Benedictine Haimo of Auxerre (d.866), whose numerous exegetical works have survived in over 100 mss. Dense and beautifully written, it is divided into 13 parts, one per letter; each comprises as many subsections as the number of ‘chapters’. Master at the renowned school of the Abbey of Saint-Germain de Auxerre, where Thomas Becket also studied, Haimo was ‘an astute commentator on the Pauline Epistles whose work had a lasting effect on the medieval exegetical tradition, […] most notably in the C12 “Glossa Ordinaria”. […] [The commentary is] a fine example of public exposition (lectio) in the 9th century’ and provides ‘a glimpse into the inception of the scholastic method’ (Levy, 101). The student who annotated several sections in a clear handwriting was interested in passages on the nature of caritas in Corinthians and Christ’s nature as son of God in Romans (‘genitus’, not ‘factus’; ‘predestinatus’; ‘per adoptionem’), the subject, this last, of debates on Trinitarianism and Adoptionism in Haymo’s lifetime.

Only Stanford and SMU copies recorded in the US. VD16 B 4993; Graesse III, 222 (1519 ed.); BM STC Ger., p. (1519 ed.). I.C. Levy, ‘Trinity and Christology in H. of Auxerre’s Pauline Commentaries’, in The Multiple Meaning of Scripture, ed. I. Van ’t Spijker et al. (2008), 101-24; A. Hobson, ‘La legatura a Bologna’, in Legature bolognesi del Rinascimento (1998), 9-30.
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