A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site

The “Praeparitio” is a gigantic feat of erudition.

945G     Eusebius of Caesarea                  c. 260-c. 340

Eusebius Pa[m]phili de eua[n]gelica preparac[i]o[n]e ex greco in latinu[m] translatus Incipit feliciter.               

DSC_0263 2[ Cologne, Ulrich Zel, not after 1473]                          $18,000

DSC_0005 3Folio 10 ¾  x 7 ¾  inches. [a]12, [b-o]10, [p]8      One of the earliest editions most likely the Second, (editio princeps : Venice 1470)  This copy is bound in a modern binding of half  period exposed quarter sawn beech boards and bound in quarter dark goatskin and tooled in blind.

This copy contains the fifteen books of the “Praeparatio evangelica,” whose purpose is “to justify the Christian in rejecting the religion and philosphy of the Greeks in favor of that of the Hebrews, and then to justify him in not observing the Jewish manner of life […] The following summary of its contents is taken from Mr. Gifford’s introduction to his translation of the “Praeparitio:

“The first three books discuss the threefold system of Pagan Theology: Mythical, DSC_0011 2Allegorical, and Political.  The next three, IV-VI, give an account of the chief oracles, of the worship of demons, and of the various opinions of Greek Philosophers on the doctrines of Fate and Free Will.  Books VII-IX give reasons for preferring the religion of the Hebrews founded chiefly on the testimony of various authors to the excellency of their Scriptures and the truth of their history.  In Books X-XII Eusebius argues that the Greeks had borrowed from the older theology and philosphy of the Hebrews, dwelling especially on the supposed dependence of Plato upon Moses.  In the the last three books, the comparson of Moses with Plato is continued, and the mutual contradictions of other Greek Philosphers, especially the Peripatetics and Stoics, are exposed and criticized.”

The “Praeparitio” is a gigantic feat of erudition, and, according to Harnack (Chronologie, II, p. 120), was, like many of Eusebius’ other works, actually composed during the stress of the persecution.  It ranks, with the Chronicle, second only to the Church History in importance, because of its copious extracts from ancient authors, whose works have perished.” (CE)
In explaining the plan of his treatise Eusebius promises  that his purpose shall be worked out in a way of his own, differing from the methods of the many Christian authors who had preceded him. This promise is further explained   as meaning that his arguments will not depend on his own statements, but will be given in the very words of the most learned and best known advocates of the Pagan religions, that so the evidence alleged may not be suspected of being invented by himself. The cogency of |xvi this mode of argument truthfully and fairly conducted is unquestionable, but it had not in this case such entire novelty as Eusebius seems to claim for it. We shall find as we proceed that many of his arguments are the same as those of the earlier Apologists, Aristides, Justin Martyr, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen; that he constantly borrows long passages from their writings, including the same quotations from Greek authors, reproduced word for word with due acknowledgement. Those earlier authors had in fact adopted the very same method which Eusebius announced as distinctive of his own work. The quotations thus borrowed are however few in comparison with the great multitude gathered by Eusebius himself from all parts of the Greek literature of a thousand years, from works both known and unknown of poets, historians, and philosophers.

The peculiar value of the Praeparatio resulting from this wealth of quotation is universally acknowledged. ‘This book is almost as important to us in the study of ancient Philosophy as the Chronicon is with reference to History, since in it are present specimens of the writings of almost every philosopher of any note whose works are not now extant’ (G. E. L. Cotton, Dict. Gk. and R. Biogr., ‘Eusebius,’ 116b).

‘The Preparation exhibits the same wide range of acquaintance with the classical writers of Greece which the History exhibits in the domain of Christian literature. The list of writers quoted or referred to is astonishing for its length (see Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vii. 346). Some of these are known to us, even by name, only through Eusebius, and of several others he has preserved large portions which are not otherwise extant. . . . It was chiefly the impression produced by this mass of learning which led Scaliger to describe it as “divini commentarii,” and Cave to call it “opus profecto nobilissimum” (H. L. i. p. 178)’ (Lightfoot, Smith and “Wace’s Dict. Chr. Biogr. ii. 331)

It is also very interesting because of its numerous lively fragments from historians and philosophers which are nowhere else preserved, e.g. a summary of the writings of the Phoenician priest Sanchuniathon, or the account from Diodorus Siculus’ sixth book of Euhemerus’ wondrous voyage to the island of Panchaea, and writings of the neo-Platonist philosopher Atticus.

Eusebius (c. 263-339), Greek historian and exegete, Christian polemicist and scholar Biblical canon, became bishop of Cesarea in 314 and is considered as the father of Church History as his writings are very important for the first three centuries of the Christianity.

DSC_0264 3

In Book XI Eusebius proposes to show the agreement of Plato, as the representative of Greek Philosophy, with the Hebrew Scriptures. Adopting the threefold division of Ethics, Dialectic, and Physics, he notices the moral teaching of the sacred writers, their literary methods, accurate reasoning, and correct use of significant names, their knowledge of the natural world, and their contemplation of the ‘true being’ of things unseen (chapters 1-9). He then quotes the comments of Numenius, and his saying, What else is Plato than Moses speaking Attic Greek?, and Plutarch’s treatise on the Ei0 at Delphi (10, 11).

Other points of comparison are the ineffable nature of God, His unity, the Second Cause as contemplated by Philo, Plotinus, Numenius, and Amelius, the Third Divine Power of the Ps.-Platonic Epinomis (chapters 12-30).

The nature of the Good and of the Ideas, as stated by Plato in the Republic and Timaeus, is illustrated by xxiii quotations from Numenius, Philo, and Clement of Alexandria (21-25). The existence of evil powers, the immortality of the soul and the Divine image, as taught in the Alcibiades and Phaedo, and illustrated from Porphyry’s answer to Boethus On the Soul, the creation of the world and of the heavenly bodies, the goodness of God’s works, their changes and dissolution, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgement, are all brought into the comparison, and illustrated from the Timaeus, Republic, Politicus, and Phaedo, and from a fragment of Plutarch On the Soul.

In Book XII the comparison of Plato with the Hebrew Scriptures is continued on the simple instruction of children, the need of faith, the qualifications of rulers as described in the Laws, the Gorgias, and the Republic (chapters 1-9); the picture of the just man and his fate in the Republic; Paradise and the garden of Zeus, and the origin of mankind male and female, in the Symposium; the Deluge, the right foundation of law, religious training, the use of poetry, music, and wine, and the control of the passions, all illustrated from the Laws (chapters 10-28).

Other subjects brought into the comparison are the contrast of true philosophy and spurious wisdom (Theaetetus), the education of women (Republic), and passages of the Laws and Republic corresponding to the Hebrew Proverbs and laws of Moses on ‘the memory of the just,’ riches and poverty, and the honour due to parents, on slaves, landmarks, and thieves (chapters 29-42). Other coincidences are found in the use of certain examples and figures of speech, in the division of a nation into twelve tribes, in the situation of the chief city, and in Plato’s thoughts on faults in education (Republic), on atheism, on God, and Divine providence (Laws).

In Book XIII Eusebius quotes with approval Plato’s opinions on the absurdities of Greek mythology in the Timaeus, Republic, and Eutliyphron (chapters 1-5), on stedfast adherence to truth even unto death in the Crito |xxivand the Apology of Socrates (chapters 6-11), adding the testimonies of Aristobulus and Clement to the agreement of Plato and other Greek philosophers with the Hebrew Scriptures (chapters 12, 13).

The remainder of the book treats of matters in which Plato’s teaching is condemned concerning the belief of the common people (Timaeus and Republic), a multitude of inferior gods and daemons, the nature of the soul (Timaeus) criticized by the Platonist Severus, the worship of the heavenly bodies (Laws and Timaeus), the treatment of women (Laws and Republic), unnatural vice, and the laws of murder.

In Book XIV the consistent truth of Hebrew doctrines adopted by Christians is contrasted with the contradictions and conflicts of Greek philosophers, showing how Plato criticized his predecessors in the Theaetetus and Sophista, and was himself criticized by his followers in the successive Academies, who in their turn are subjected to the keen satire of Numenius (chapters 1-9). The subject is continued in quotations from Porphyry, Xeno-phon, Plato, Plutarch, and especially from Aristocles On Philosophy against the schools of Parmenides who rejected the evidence of the senses, of Aristippus, Metrodorus, and Protagoras who believed them alone, and of the Pyr-rhonists who believed nothing at all. The doctrines of Epicurus are refuted from the writings of Aristocles, Plato, and Dionysius of Alexandria (chapters 21-47).

In Book XV the moral character of Aristotle is defended against the slanders of Epicurus and others by Aristocles; but where he differed from Plato and the Hebrews in regard to virtue and happiness, the ideas of God and His providence, the creation of the world, the fifth corporeal essence, the nature of the heavenly bodies, and the immortality of the soul, his doctrines are severely criticized by Atticus the Platonist (chapters 2-9).

His description of the soul as an enteleceia is further criticized by Plotinus, Porphyry, and Atticus (10-13); |xxv the Stoic philosophy is discussed by Aristocles, Areius Didymus, Porphyry, Longinus, and Plotinus (14-22), and the remainder of the book is occupied with a long extract from Plutarch, De placitis Philosophorum, on the various physical theories of the world, followed by the judgement of Socrates on such questions from the Memorabilia of Xenophon.

The literary value of the Preparation for the Gospel will be most fully appreciated by considering a separate list of the chief fragments of ancient authors for the preservation of which we are indebted to Eusebius in that work.

(a) Fragments of Poetry.

1. An interesting epigram by Callimachus on the simplicity of the primitive statues (99 b): this is contained in a fragment of Plutarch, De Daedalis Plataeensibus.

2. A fragment of Euripides, Melanippe Captiva, on the characters of bad and good women (466 d).

3. Large extracts in iambic verse from the Exodus, a tragedy by the Jewish dramatist Ezekiel (438 c 10-446 d 2), on which see Schürer, Jewish People, ii. 3. 224.

4. Fragments of an epic poem On Jerusalem by a Jew named Philo, 421 c, d, 430 c, 453 a. Cf. Schürer, ibid. 222.

5. Eight extracts from the epic poem of Theodotus On the Jews, describing Sichem, and narrating the story of the sons of Emmor (426 b-429 a). Cf. Schürer, ibid. 224. |xxvi

6. Many of the oracles quoted by Oenomaus in The Detection of Impostors (209 c-234 a).

7. All the oracles contained in the work of Porphyry On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles (123 d-124 b, 145 a-146 b, 168 b, 175 c). These oracles with their contexts are carefully edited by Wolff in his work Porph. De Philos. ex Oraculis haurienda, of which they form the chief substance.

8. Pindar, Fr. Incert. 2 (105), Paean. 10 (33), both in 687 b.

9. The remarkable epigram on the Tetragrammaton and the Name of seven vowels (520 a).

To go no farther, the Greeks would be unable to state the etymologies even of the letters of the alphabet, nor could Plato himself tell the meaning or the reason of the vowels or the consonants.
But the Hebrews would tell us the reason of ‘Alpha,’ which with them is called ‘Al’ph,’ and this signifies ‘learning’:and of ‘Beta,’ which it is their custom to call ‘Beth,’ which name they give to a house; so as to show the meaning, ‘learning of a house,’ or as it might be more plainly expressed, ‘a kind of teaching and learning of household economy.’
‘Gamma’ also is with them called ‘Gimel’: and this is their name for ‘fullness.’ Then since they call tablets ‘Delth,’ they gave this name to the fourth letter, signifying therewith by the two letters, that ‘written learning is a filling of the tablets.’
And any one going over the remaining letters of the alphabet, would find that they have been named among the Hebrews each with some cause and reason. For they say also that the combination of the seven vowels contains the enunciation of one forbidden name, which the Hebrews indicate by four letters and apply to the supreme power of God, having received the tradition from father to son that this is something unutterable and forbidden to the multitude.
And one of the wise Greeks having learned this, I know not whence, hinted it obscurely in verse, saying as follows:

‘Seven vowels tell My Name,—-the Mighty God,
The everlasting Father of mankind:
The immortal lyre am I, that guides the world,
And leads the music of the circling spheres.’  28

You would find also the meanings of the remaining Hebrew letters, by fixing your attention on each; but this we have already established by our former statements, when we were showing that the Greeks have received help in everything from the Barbarians.
And any one diligently studying the Hebrew language would discover great correctness of names current among that people: since the very name which is the appellation of the whole race has been derived from Heber; and this means the man that ‘passes over,’ since both a passage and the one who passes over are called in the Hebrew language ‘Heber.’ 29
For the term teaches us to cross over and pass from the things in this world to things divine, and by no means to stay lingering over the sight of the things that are seen, but to pass from these to the unseen and invisible things of divine knowledge concerning the Maker and Artificer of the world. Thus the first people who were devoted to the one All-ruler and Cause of the Universe, and adhered to Him with a pure and true worship, they called Hebrews, naming men of this character as travellers who had in mind passed over from earthly things.
But why should I spend more time in collecting all the instances of the propriety and correctness of the Hebrew names, when the subject requires a special treatise of its own. However, speaking generally, I think that even by what has been said I have supplied the evidence of the art of reasoning among the Hebrews: if indeed, as Plato said, it is a task for no mean or ordinary men, but for a wise lawgiver and dialectician, to discover the kind of names naturally belonging to things,—-a man such as Moses who has made known to us the Hebrew oracles. So then what follows next after the subject of Dialectics, but to examine what was the condition of the Hebrew people in regard to Physics?

10. Part of the Orphic Hymn to Zeus, of which vv. 19-42 (except two or three) are found first in the fragment of Porphyry Peri Agalmatwn preserved by Eusebius P. E. 100 c 5-101 c 1.

(b) Historical Fragments.

1. In history we have first the long extract from the translation by Philo Byblius of Sanchuniathon’s Phoenician History contained in a fragment of Porphyry’s work Against the Christians preserved by Eusebius (31 a-42 b). If we could fully trust Porphyry’s testimony to the truthfulness of Philo, and to the genuineness and antiquity of the work of Sanchuniathon, the historical value of the extract could hardly be over-estimated: and we cannot wonder that the question of its authenticity has been a most fruitful source of criticism and controversy from the time of Scaliger and Grotius to our own days. ‘Few problems, in fact, in the circle of Semitic studies and of ancient history in general are of more importance than this.’ So writes M. Renan. Memoire sur l’Origine et le Caractere veritable de l’Histoire phenicienne qui porte le nom de Sanchoniathon, p. 6.

2. Diodorus Siculus. In 59 c 2-61 a we have an interesting fragment of the sixth book of the Bibliotheca, confirming his account of the sources of Greek theology from the Ιερα αναγραφη, or Sacred Record of Euemerus,|xxvii and adding the wonderful narrative of Euemerus concerning his voyage to the fabulous island of Panchaea in the Indian Ocean.

3. The large fragments of Philo Judaeus first known from Eusebius will be found in 322 d 11 on the Word or Second God, in 336 b Concerning Providence, in 355 c-361 b on the Exodus and the Law from a work otherwise unknown, entitled Hypothetica, and in 379 a-400 a a very long and important passage from the Apology for the Jews.

These fragments will be found placed together at the end of the sixth volume of Richter’s edition of the Greek text of Philo.

4. Among the most important of the historical fragments preserved for us by Eusebius are the long extracts from the work of Alexander Polyhistor Concerning the Jews, which occupy the larger part of Book IX, and have been very carefully edited in a special monograph by Dr. J. Freudenthal. The value of these extracts is much increased by quotations from lost works of authors otherwise unknown, Eupolemus, Artapanus, Molon, a certain Philo, and Demetrius, who all wrote on the history of the Jews. On the importance of the fragments see Schürer, ibid. ii. 3. 197.

5. The extract from the Chronicon of Julius Africanus (487 d-491 b) was edited from Eusebius by Dr. Routh in Rell. Sacr. ii. 269-78, who enlarged the text from Georgius Syncellus and added copious notes (423-37).

6. From the lost work of Abydenus On Assyrian History we have most interesting notices of the Flood of Sisithrus, i. e. Noah (414 d), of the Tower of Babel (416 b), of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness and of his fortification of Babylon (456 d).

(g) Philosophical Fragments.

It is in the region of Greek Philosophy that the wealth of quotation is most remarkable.

1. Among the Neo-Platonists we find Atticus, whose commentary on the Timaeus is sharply criticized by |xxviii Proclus, but of whose own writings there remain only the important fragments preserved by Eusebius; the first of which describes the threefold division of Philosophy into Ethics, Physics, and Logic, and eulogizes Plato as ‘a man from nature’s mysteries new-inspired,’ and ‘in very truth sent down from the gods, in order that Philosophy might be seen in its full proportions,’ (509 b-510 a). Also in the long and important extracts contained in Book XV, chapters 4-9, 12, 13, Atticus appears as a passionate defender of Plato against Aristotle.

2. From the Epitome of Areius Didymus we have a short extract on the Platonic Ideas (545 b), and several passages on the Stoic doctrines in Book XV, chapters 15, 20.

3. Numenius the Neo-Pythagorean is known almost exclusively from the long and numerous extracts preserved by Eusebius. From the contemplation of true ‘Being’ with Plato (525 c-527 a) he passes on to the nature of ‘the First and Second God’ (537 a), and to ‘the only Good’ transcending all essence, which can be contemplated only apart from sense ‘in a certain, immense, ineffable, and absolutely Divine solitude’ (543 d). In 650 d we find him defending Plato for ‘preserving both life and truth’ by withdrawing from Athens; and in 727 b-739 he describes The revolt of the Academics against Plato, under the leaders of the three, or more, Academies.

4. The fragments of Aristocles the Peripatetic contain an interesting criticism of Socrates and Plato, and of the divergent Socratic Schools (510 b-511 c), a defence of the veracity of the senses against the Eleatics Xenophanes and Parmenides (756 b-757 d), a long refutation of the Sceptics Pyrrho and Timon (758 c-763 d), strong and able censures of the Sophists, Cyrenaics, and Epicureans (764 c-768 d), and lastly a defence of the moral character of Aristotle against the slanderous |xxix  attacks of Epicurus, Timaeus of Tauromenium, Alexinus the Eristic, Eubulides, Demochares, Cephisodorus, and Lycon (791 a-793 c).

5. Of the three known fragments of Euemerus, the most important is contained in a fragment of the sixth book of Diodorus Siculus, itself preserved by Eusebius (Diod. Sic. iv. 179, Dindorf).

6. On the falsehood of oracles we have first a valuable fragment of Diogenianus directed against the fatalism of Chrysippus (136 d 3); then the vigorous and amusing invective of Oenomaus occupying no less than eighteen chapters of Book V (209 b-234 c); and the long series of extracts from the work of Porphyry On the Philosophy to be derived from Oracles, mentioned above (p. xxvi).

7. Of other works of Porphyry Eusebius has preserved many fragments of the Epistle to Anebo (92 a, 197 c, 740 d), on which see Parthey’s edition of Iamblichus De Mysteriis; a large part of the treatise De Statuis (97 d 2 note); several fragments of a work On the Soul, against Boethus; three long extracts from the Philological Lecture; fragments of the famous treatise Against the Christians (31 a, 179 d, 485 b).

8. A fragment attributed to Plotinus on the Entelecheia of Aristotle, which is inserted by Creuzer after Ennead. iv. 2.

9. From Plutarch’s treatise on the Daedala, or primitive wooden statues at Plataeae, and the worship connected with them Eusebius has preserved two very interesting fragments (83 c, 99 b); and though the long extracts from the Stromateis (22 b-25 b) and the De placitis Philosophorum (836 a-852 c) are not the work of Plutarch, but a compilation by some unknown writer from the Epitome of Aetius, this very ancient error in the title does not detract from their value. We are equally indebted for their preservation to Eusebius, to whose accuracy and fidelity Diels (Proleg. 5-10) pays an emphatic and even enthusiastic testimony. |xxx


Goff E119; BMC I 194

(United States of America: Boston Public Library
Indiana Univ., The Lilly Library (- 2 ff.)



[PLUTARCH] ‘THALES of Miletus, one of the seven sages, declared water to be the first principle of all things. This man is thought to have been the founder of philosophy, and from him the Ionic sect derived its name; for it had many successions. After studying philosophy in Egypt he came as an elderly man to Miletus. He says that all things come from water, and are all resolved into water. And he forms his conjecture first from the fact that seed, which is watery, is the first principle of all animal life; thus it is probable that all things have their origin from moisture. His second argument is that all plants derive nourishment and fruitfulness from moisture, and when deprived of it wither away. And the third, that the very fire of the sun, and of the stars, and the world itself are nourished by the evaporations of the waters. For this reason Homer also suggests this notion concerning water,

“Ocean, which is the origin of all.” 34

This is what Thales says.

‘But Anaximander of Miletus says that the first principle of all things is the infinite, for from this all are produced, and into this all pass away; for which reason also infinite worlds are generated, and pass away again into that from which they spring. So he says the reason why the infinite exists is that the subsisting creation may not be deficient in any point. But he also is at fault in not saying what the infinite is, whether it is air, or water, or earth, or any other corporeal elements; he is wrong therefore in declaring the matter while excluding the efficient cause. For the infinite is nothing else than matter, and matter cannot have an actual existence, unless the efficient cause underlie it.

‘Anaximenes of Miletus declared that the air is the first principle of all things, for from this all are produced, and into it they are resolved again. For example, our soul, he says, is air, for it holds us together; and the whole world too is encompassed by air and breath, and air and breath are used as synonyms. But he too is wrong in thinking that living beings consist of simple homogeneous air and breath; for it is impossible that the matter can exist as sole principle of things, but we must assume the efficient cause also. As for instance silver suffices not for the production of the drinking-cup, unless there be the efficient cause, that is the silversmith; the case is similar with copper and various kinds of wood, and all other matter.

‘Heracleitus and Hippasus of Metapontum say that fire is the principle of all things: for from fire, they say, all things are produced and all end in fire: and all things in the world are created as it gradually cools down. For first the coarsest part of it is pressed together and becomes earth; then the earth being resolved by the natural force of the fire is turned into water, and being vaporised becomes air. And again the world and all the bodies in it are consumed in a conflagration by fire. Fire therefore is the first principle, because all things come from it, and the end, inasmuch as they are all resolved into it.

‘Democritus, who was followed long after by Epicurus, said that the first principles of all things are bodies indivisible, but conceivable by reason, with no admixture of vacuum, uncreated, imperishable, not capable of being broken, nor of receiving shape from their parts, nor of being altered in quality, but perceptible by reason only; that they move, however, in the vacuum, and through the vacuum, and that both the vacuum itself is infinite and the bodies infinite. And the bodies possess these three properties, shape, magnitude, and weight. Democritus, however, said two, magnitude and shape; but Epicurus added to them a third, namely weight. For he said the bodies must be moved by the impulse of the weight, since otherwise they will not be moved at all. The shapes of the atoms are limitable, not infinite: for there are none either hook-shaped, nor trident-shaped, nor ring-shaped. For these shapes are easily broken, whereas the atoms are impassive and cannot be broken; but they have their proper shapes, which are conceivable by reason. And the “atom” is so called, not because it is extremely small, but because it cannot be divided, being impassive, and free from admixture of vacuum: so that if a man says “atom” he means unbreakable, impassive, unmixed with vacuum. And that the atom exists is manifest: for there are also elements (στοιχεῖα), and living beings that are empty, and there is the Monad.

‘Empedocles, son of Meton, of Agrigentum, says that there are four elements, fire, air, water, earth, and, two original forces, love and hate, of which the one tends to unite, and the other to separate. And this is how he speaks:

“Learn first four roots of all things that exist:
Bright Zeus, life-giving Hera, and the god
Of realms unseen, and Nestis, who with tears
Bedews the fountain-head of mortal life.”  35

For by “Zeus” he means the seething heat and the ether; and by “life-giving Hera,” the air; the earth by Aidoneus, and by Nestis and “the fountain-head of mortal life,” the seed, as it were, and the water.’

So great is the dissonance of the first physical philosophers: such too is their opinion concerning first principles, assuming, as they did, no god, no maker, no artificer, nor any cause of the universe, nor yet gods, nor incorporeal powers, no intelligent natures, no rational essences, nor anything at all beyond the reach of the senses, in their first principles.

In fact Anaxagoras alone is mentioned as the first of the Greeks who declared in his discourses about first principles that mind is the cause of all things. They say at least that this philosopher had a great admiration for natural science beyond all who were before him: for the sake of it certainly he left his own district a mere sheepwalk, and was the first of the Greeks who stated clearly the doctrine of first principles. For he not only pronounced, like those before him, on the essence of all things, but also on the cause which set it in motion.

‘”For in the beginning,” he said, “all things were mingled together in confusion: but mind came in, and brought them out of confusion into order.'”

One cannot but wonder how this man, having been the first among Greeks who taught concerning God in this fashion, was thought by the Athenians to be an atheist, because he regarded not the sun but the Maker of the sun as God, and barely escaped being stoned to death.

But it is said that even he did not keep the doctrine safe and sound: for though he made mind preside over all things, he did not go on to render his physical system concerning the existing world accordant with mind and reason. …


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“Truth consists of an adequation between the intellect and a thing”

930G Thomas Aquinas 1225-1274. editor Theodoricus de Susteren.

Summa de veritate celeberrimi doctoris s[an]cti Thome Aquinatis. que olim … me[n]dis scatebat. Nouissime iam per … magistru[m] nostru[m] Theodericum de Susteren co[n]uentus Coloniens[is] fratru[m] predicatoru[m] regentem … laboriose reuisa … feliciter incipit.


930G Thomas Aquinas 1225-1274

Summa de veritate celeberrimi doctoris s[an]cti Thome Aquinatis. que olim … me[n]dis scatebat. Nouissime iam per … magistru[m] nostru[m] Theodericum de Susteren co[n]uentus Coloniens[is] fratru[m] predicatoru[m] regentem … laboriose reuisa … feliciter incipit.

Cologne : Heinrich Quentell, 7 Mar. 1499                                        $11,500

Folio 10 1/2 X 8 inches 2°: A-Z6,Aa-Gg6; {signature Dd signed De)   Third Edition/The final 15th century edition.

Blind-tooled front and back covers (including some blind-tooled letters), full calf on DSC_0122thick boards. Clasps missing, catchplates present. Foxing throughout, with some red and green ink dots along edges. Front pastedown shows slight signs of water damage. Occasional small red stains on text block (e.g. E3v and Q5), likely from the books’ rubricator, but otherwise a clean text block. “Summa de veritate celeberrimi doctoris sancti Thome Aquinatis…”First written around 1256, Thomas Aquinas’ “Disputed Questions on Truth” defends “the view that truth consists of an adequation between the intellect and a thing… Most importantly, he develops a notion of truth of being (what might be called “ontological truth”) along with truth of the intellect (what might be called “logical truth”)” (Wippel, 295)

DSC_0126Sections include: Truth; God’s Knowledge; Ideas; The Divine Word; Providence; Predestination; The Book of Life; The Knowledge of Angels; The Communication of Angelic Knowledge; The Mind; The Teacher; Prophecy; Rapture; Faith; Higher and Lower Reason; Synderesis; Conscience; The Knowledge of the First Man in the State of Innocence; Knowledge of the Soul After Death; The Knowledge of Christ; Good; The Tendency to Good and the Will; God’s Will; Free Choice; Sensuality; The Passions of the Soul; Grace; The Justification of Sinners; and The Grace of Christ.

For each topic, Aquinas reviews the topic’s Difficulties, and then responses with ‘To the Contrary’ and ‘Reply’. Aquinas concludes each topic with an “Answers to Difficulties” section, demonstrating his typical insightful worldview and readable literary style.“Everything is a being essentially. But a creature is good not essentially but by participation. Good, therefore, really adds something to being (“Good” [U1v]

translation from


Goff T181;(Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary;HEHL; LC ;Massachusetts Historical Society;YUL)  ;  BMC I, 289/90; Only one Copy in The British Isles (BL)


Impressa Agrippine. opera atq[ue] impe[n]sis p[ro]uidi viri Henrici Quentell. ciuis eiusdem. Anno salutis humane nonagesimonono supra millesimumquadringentesimu[m] Ipso die celebritatis autoris cursu felici ad finem vsq[ue] perducta.


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Murder and suicide and the Rye House plot.


Essex’s innocency and honour vindicated: or, Murther, subornation, perjury, and oppression, justly charg’d on the murtherers of that noble lord and true patriot, Arthur (late) Earl of Essex. As proved before the Right Honourable (late) committee of Lords, or ready to be deposed. In a letter to a friend. Written by Lawrence Braddon (of the Middle-Temple) Gent. who was upwards of five years prosecuted or imprisoned, for endeavouring to discover this murther the third day after the same was committed.



207J.  Braddon, Laurence, d-1724.

London : printed for the author; and sold by most booksellers, 1690.  $2,700.                   This copy is bound in half speckled calf.






A principal contemporary source of the still mysterious death of Essex while imprisoned in the Tower, leading to Braddon’s own trial and imprisonment which lasted untill the landing of William III in 1688. 

The Rye House Plot, (1683), alleged Whig conspiracy to assassinate or mount an insurrection against Charles II of England because of his pro-Roman Catholic policies. The plot drew its name from Rye House at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, near which ran a narrow road where Charles was supposed to be killed as he traveled from a horse meet at Newmarket. By chance, according to the official narrative, the king’s unexpectedly early departure in March foiled the plot. Ten weeks later, on June 1, an informer’s allegations prompted a government investigation.

The facts remain cloudy, but the named figures in the plot included James Scott, Duke of Monmouth; Arthur Capel, Earl of Essex; Lord William Russell; Algernon Sidney; Sir Thomas Armstrong; Robert Ferguson; and Lord William Howard. All had allegedly met at the house of one Sheppard, a London wine merchant, and at their own houses and discussed various means of ridding the country of Charles II or denying the succession to his openly Roman Catholic brother, the future James II. The Rye House assassination was but one of the schemes discussed. After the plot’s exposure, Essex was arrested and died in the Tower of London, probably a suicide; Russell, Sidney, and Armstrong were tried, convicted of treason, and beheaded; the other figures escaped punishment.

Wing (2nd ed., 1994), B4101


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Richard Archdekin 1618-1693 (alias McGillacuddy)

833G Richard Archdekin 1618-1693 ,

THEOLOGIA QUADRIPARTITA :POLEMICA, Praecipuas Fidei Controversias, ad brevem, ac facilem Metrodum redactas, PRACTICA, Resolutiones Theologicas, ac omnia prope SACERDOTIS munia accommodatas, SACRA, Apparatum alphabeticum, cum Praxi et Conceptibus Contionum pro singulis anni Dominicis; CATECHETICA, Summam Doctrinae Christianae, selectissimis exemplis, et brevi explicatione illustratam complectens.

Pragæ : Typis Universitatis Carolo- Ferdinandae in Collegio Societ. Jesu ad S. Clementem,1678                              $2,800 
DSC_0038Octavo 6 1/2 X 4 inches π1,)(6, )o(8,A-Z8, Aa-Pp8,Qq4. {[XXVIII], 582, [XXXI]}(Ee6 is a medial blank)

First and only edition. This copy is bound in the original Vellum binding, two brass clasps, manuscript title on spine.It is printed on (bad) iron rich paper with quite a bit of natural browning. OCLC only lists one other copy Czech Republic STATE RES LIBR, OLOMOUC which is also uniformly brown.DSC_0037
The ‘ Controversias Fidei’ had a wonderful success. A few copies of the work which found their way to the university of Prague were received with such enthusiasm that some transcripts of the whole were made for the use of the students; and in 1678 the book was reprinted, without the knowledge of the author, at the University

Press.ARCHDEKIN, or ARSDEKIN, RICHARD an Irish Jesuit, who has adopted both forms of his name on his own title-pages, and is also known as Mac Cuddy, was the son of Nicholas Archdekin and his wife Ann Sherlock, and was born at Kilkenny 16 March 1618. He went through a course of classical studies, and for two years applied himself to philosophy before he entered the Jesuit order; and he studied theology for four years at Louvain. Entering the Society of Jesus at Mechlin 28 Sept. 1642, he was in due time enrolled among the professed fathers of the order. He was teaching humanities in 1650; he studied under the Jesuits at Antwerp and Lille; and arrived at the Professed House at DSC_0036Antwerp 26 March 1653. For six years he taught humanities, and he was professor of philosophy, moral theology, and Holy Scripture for a long period, chiefly at Louvain and Ant werp. His death occurred in the latter city 31 Aug. 1693.Father Archdekin, who was proficient in the Latin, Irish, English, and Flemish languages, composed the following works:— 1. ‘A Treatise of Miracles, together with New Miracles, and Benefits obtained by the sacred reliques of S. Francis Xaverius exposed in the Church of the Society of Jesus at Mechlin,’ Louvain, 1667, 8vo, in English and Irish. This very scarce book is supposed to be the first ever printed in the two languages in conjunction. 2. ‘Precipure Controversiie Fidei ad facilem methodum redactae; ac Resolutiones Theologicoe ad omnia Sacerdotis munia, pnesertim in Missionibus, accommodatse,’ Louvain, 1671, 8vo. At the end of this volume, which is a summary of theology, is usually found: 3. ‘ Vitie et Miraculorum Sancti Patricii Hiberniie Apostoli Epitome, cum brevi notitia Hibernioe et Prophetia S. Malachise’ (Louvain, 1671,8vo), a life of St. Patrick, with a short notice of Ireland, and the prophecy of St. Malachi respecting the succession of the popes. The ‘ Controversias Fidei’ had a wonderful success. A few copies of the work which found their way to the university of Prague were received with such enthusiasm that some transcripts of the whole were made for the use of the students; and in 1678 the book was reprinted, without the knowledge of the author, at the University Press. The third edition, which was printed at Antwerp with the author’s corrections and additions, was followed by a fourth and fifth at Cologne and Ingolstadt; and the sixth, again at Antwerp, by a seventh again at Cologne. These particulars are gathered from the prefaces to the eighth edition, which appeared at Antwerp in 1686 and where the title, the bulk, and the arrangement of the work are so altered that it would hardly be recognised as the same. 4The ‘ Controversioe Fidei’ of 1671 is a small octavo of 500pages. In the edition of 1686 the title is ‘Theologia Tripartita Universal and the three volumes quarto, of which it consists, comprise in all about 1,100 pages closely printed in double columns, containing about five times the matter of the ‘Controversial’ The work includes a life of Oliver Plunket, the catholic archbishop of Armagh, who was executed at London in 1681r and a life of Peter Talbot, the catholic archbishop of Dublin, who died in imprisonment at Dublin in 1680. In addition to these Archdekin’s work contains a number of anecdotes connected with the history of Ireland, introduced as examples in support of his theological doctrines. Archdekin’s work displays much order, knowledge, and precision, but some of his decisions in cases of conscience have been controverted by higher authority in the catholic church. In 1700 it was prohibited until correction should be made by the Congregation of the Index. The first edition published with the necessary corrections appears to have been also the last. It appeared at Antwerp in 1718, and was the thirteenth of the whole. (DNB)

In spite of its numerous editions, beginning with the year 1671, it was put on the Index in 1700, donec corrigatur. Although at least the Antwerp edition of 1718 was corrected, especially as regards the peccatum philosophicum, and the Cologne edition of 1730 was “revised and corrected”, yet in the Index of 1900 he is still referred to as an author previously condemned. He left in manuscript a “Theologia Apostolica”. Hurter speaks of him as auctor gravis et probabilista. Webb in his “Compendium of Irish Biography” (Dublin, 1878) declares of the treatise on miracles that “it is said to have been the first book printed in English and Irish conjointly.” (CE)

HURTER, Nomenclator, II, 399; SOMMERVOGEL, Bibliothèque de la c. de J. I, 515, WARE-HARRIS, Writers and Antiquities of Ireland (Dublin, 1764)Foley’s Records, vii. 15; Oliver’s Collectanea S. J., 231; O’Reilly’s Irish Writers, 198 ; Ware’s Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris, 203; Thomas Watts, in Biog. Diet. Soc. D. U. K.; Ribadeneira, Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu,,ed. Southwell, 718; Backer, Bibliotheque des Ecrivains de la Compagnie do Jesus (1869), 267; Foppens.Bibl. Belgica, 1066.] T. C. Sweeney? see DeBacker Sommervogel vol I col 515-521

A more complete list of his books:
1. Theses Sacrae in Epist. Pauli Ad Romanos et Primum Ad Corinthianos (Louvain, 1668).

2. Theses Sacrae in Sancta Jesu Christi Evangelia, (Louvain, 1669), Quarto.

3. Praecipuae Controversiae Fidei Ad Facilem Methodum Redactae (Louvain, 1671), Octavo.

4. Theses Sacrae de Verbo Dei et Creatione Mundi (Louvain, 1671), Quarto.

5. Vitae et Miraculorum Sancti Patricii Hiberniae, Apostoli Epitome Cum Brevi Notitia Hiberniae et Prophetia S Malachiae (Louvain, 1671), Octavo.

6. Theses Theologicae de Deo Uno et Triuno ([Antwerp], [1676]), Quarto.

7. Apparatus Materiae et Formae Pro Doctrina Sacra in Quavis Dictione Facile Methodo Paranda, et Pro Catechesi Cum Exemplis Illustranda. Cum Praxi Varia Assistendi Aegris Ac Moribundis, et Alias Functiones Sacras Rite Obeundi, (Antwerp, 1678), Octavo.

8. Theologia Quadripartita (Prague, 1678). {His Theologia Quadripartita, a guide to essential Catholic teachings and controversies with Protestants, was extremely popular, quickly selling out, and he produced an expanded form of the work in the same year, the Theologia Tripartita. The work received censure from the Inquisition and was thus emended at various points during the production of subsequent editons. Brussels MS 7299, f.71r-75v contains a summary of things to be emended by Archdekin. }

9. Theologia Tripartita Universa, Complectens Nunc Bibliothecam Perfectam Viri Ecclesiastici, Ordine Sequenti, (Antwerp, 1678), Octavo.


INDEX TITULORUM of Theologia Quadripartita


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The Discovery of Two Murders by an Apparition 1721

167J  John Aubrey  1626-1697

Miscellanies, Viz. I. Day-Fatality. II. Local-Fatality. III. Ostenta. IV. Omens. V. Dreams. VI. Apparitions. VII. Voices. VIII. Impulses. IX. Knockings. X. Blows invisible. XI. Prophesies. XII. Marvels. XIII. Magick. XIV. Transportation in the Air. XV. Visions in a Beril, or glass. XVI. Converse with Angels and Spirits. XVII. Corps-candles in Wales. XVIII. Oracles. XIX. Exstasie. XX. Glances of {Love. Envy. XXI. Second-Sighted-Persons. XXII. The Discovery of Two Murders by an Apparition. 


London: Printed for A. Bettesworth, and J. Battley in Pater-Noster-Row, J. Pemberton in Fleetstreet, and E. Curll in the Strand. 1721                               $3,800
Octavo 7 3/4 X 41/4 inches 2],x,[6],236p.  Second edition enlarged.
This is a Lovely copy ! This copy is bound in contemporary blind ruled calf, professionally and very neatly rebacked with original gilt embellished spine laid over, and original boards, corners 58277sympathetically renewed, gilt titled spine label. Light overall rubbing and wear to boards, armorial bookplate and private library plate on front pastedown, endpapers browned and a bit foxed, a little scattered browning and light foxing, a few lightly creased corners, text pages fairly bright and unmarked. Overall a tight, clean copy.
Aubrey had a particular fascination for the supernatural although best known for his biographical Brief Lives. 
‘”In 1696 Aubrey issued the only book he ever printed himself, the ‘Miscellanies,’ a highly entertaining collection of ghost stories and other anecdotes of the supernatural” (DNB). A work of ‘Hermetic Philosophy’, and one of the broadest of the early English examinations of the subject. As the lengthy subtitle suggests, this work contains many esoteric account including, in the final chapter ‘The Discovery of Two Murders by an Apparition’.  These  two murders  were tried on 16 September 1690 before ‘the Honorable Sir John Powel, Knight, one of their Majesties Justices, at the Assizes holden at York’: ‘One committed by William Barwick upon his Wife being with Child, near Cawood in Yorkshire’, and the other ‘by Edward Mangall, upon Elizabeth Johnson, alias Ringrose, and her Bastard Child’ ‘Introductory Title’ which appears on page one: ‘A Collection of Hermetick Philosophy.’  ‘Miscellanies’ is a broad-ranging study, with sections on auspicious and inauspicious dates, omens, communications with angels, and magick, as well as a study of ‘second sight’ (the ability to foresee future events through divine inspiration) that is reputed to be the first treatment of the subject to appear in print. The chapter on “Magick” includes a few short references to witches and witchcraft: notably “Vervain and dill, Hinders witches from their will”, and several stories recounting methods used to hinder witchcraft. The book was first published in 1696. 

John Walrond ? His Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius his accesserunt Corn. Galli fragmenta 1531 With early English notes.

170J Catullus (ca. 84-54BC),Tibullus (55-19BC), Propertius

Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius his accesserunt Corn. Galli fragmenta

Lugduni ,apud Seb. Gryphium anno :1531                               $SOLD

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Octavo,6 x  4inches . a-x8 y4 (last leaf blank of printing but with manuscript index+ 2 more leaves with manuscript index ) This copy is bound in eighteenth century english calf .

Arron Pratt  has Identified this! 

“the inscription says “Iohn walro[n]d”—so, John Walrond. At least I’m reading the tilde above the “o” as an indicating an abbreviation rather than simple decoration. In any event, the first letter is definitely a “w,” and Walrond is a very old English name with Germanic origins. The hand strikes me as more 17th- than 16th-century, but it can be very hard to date scripts that mix secretary and italic letterforms. I’d say a late 16th-c to mid-17th date is most likely.

And, so—apparently, a John Walrond from Devon matriculated at Oxford in 1600 at the age of 18. He then died in 1602. There’s actually a printed donor bookplate that was commissioned in memory of John Walrond that’s in the collection of Christ Church, Oxford: Might this be your guy? 

Record 1 out of 1 No Previous Record   No Next Record
ESTC System No.            006208005
ESTC Citation No.         S126663
Author – personal Link            Walrond, John, 1581 or 1582-1602.
Title LinkHunc librum studiosis ædis Christi, in memoriam … filij, & hæredis J. Walrondi, qui … obijt, Junij 25. 1602. J. Walrondus de Bovy Devon. armiger dedit Aprilis 27. 1603.
Variant title LinkHunc librum studiosis ædis Christi, in memoriam adolescentis summæ spei, dilectissimi filij, & hæredis Iohannis VValrondi, qui in hac æde per biennium cum singulari omnium amore operam literis dedit, & ibidem incredibili omnium dolore supremum diem obijt, Iunij 25. 1602. Iohannes Walrondus de Bovy Devon. armiger dedit Aprilis 27. 1603
LinkHunc librum studiosis ædis Christi, in memoriam adolescentis summæ spei, dilectissimi filij, & hæredis Johannis Walrondi, qui in hac æde per biennium cum singulari omnium amore operam literis dedit, & ibidem incredibili omnium dolore supremum diem obijt, Junij 25. 1602. Johannes Walrondus de Bovy Devon. armiger dedit Aprilis 27. 1603
Publisher/year     Link[Oxford : s.n., 1603?]
Physical desc.  r.       1 sheet ([1] p.)
General note A gift-plate (to Christ Church, Oxford)
Imprint from STC.
Lee gives transcription of title as: Hunc librum studiosis ædis Christi, in memoriam adolescentis summæ spei, dilectissimi filij, & hæredis Iohannis VValrondi, qui in hac æde per biennium cum singulari omnium amore operam literis dedit, & ibidem incredibili omnium dolore supremum diem obijt, Iunij 25. 1602. Iohannes Walrondus de Bovy Devon. armiger dedit Aprilis 27. 1603.
Uncontrolled note              Catalogued from STC and Lee.
Citation/references STC         (2nd ed.), 3368.5
Lee. B.N. Early printed book labels, 33
Subject LinkBook-plates, English — Early works to 1800.
Copies – Brit.Isles              Oxford University Christ Church 

” This copy has the sixteenth century signature of “John Malrod?” I have gone through many iterations with of the name, Mahod,Malwod, Malvod, Mawod…on and come up with nothing close. The nature of the notes  makes me feel he must have had some schooling?  and I searched in :

Search  |  Browse  |  History

Early Bookowners in Britain

British provenances from 1450 to 1550  still no results?


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“John Malrod”?

On original fly leaf,

Here is a list of  all the annotations. (67 pages!)


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p46& 47) c7v & c8r

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DSC_0010 2

p52 & 53) d2v & d3r

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p54 &55) d3v & d4r

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P56&57) d4v & d5r

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p58 & 59) d5v &d6r

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p60 & 61) d6v & d7r

DSC_0015 2

p61) d7r

DSC_0016 2

p62 &63) d7v & d8r

DSC_0017 3


p 64 & 65) d8v & e1r

DSC_0018 2

p94 & 95) f7v & f8r

DSC_0020 3

p96 & 97) f8v & g1r

DSC_0021 2

p99) g2v

DSC_0008 3

p100 & 101) g2v & g3r

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p 102 & 103) g3v & g4r

DSC_0010 4

P104 & 105)g4v & g5r

DSC_0011 4

P106 & 107) g5v & g6r

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P108 &109) g6v & g7v

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P150 & 151) k3v & k4r

DSC_0014 4

P 152 & 153) k4v & k5r

DSC_0016 5

P154 & 155) k5v & k6r

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P 156 & 157) k6v & k7r

DSC_0018 4

P 267) r6r

DSC_0019 3

P317) u7r

DSC_0020 4

P318 & 319 u7v & u8r

DSC_0021 3

P320 & 321 u8v & x1r


P322 & 323) x1v & x2r


P 234 & 235) x2v & x3r


326 & 327x3v & x4r


P328 & 329) x4v & x5r


P330) x5v

DSC_0027 2

P333) x7r

DSC_0028 2

P334 &  335) x7v & x8r

DSC_0030 3

P336 & 337) x8v & y1r

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P 338 & 339) y1v & y2r

DSC_0032 3

P340 & 341) y2v &y3r

DSC_0033 2

P342)Y3v & y4r

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ii &iii) y4v-& *1r

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iv & v) *1v & *2r

DSC_0036 2

vi) *2v.

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Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius his accesserunt Corn. Galli fragmenta 1531 With early English notes.

170J Catullus (ca. 84-54BC),Tibullus (55-19BC), Propertius

Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius his accesserunt Corn. Galli fragmenta

Lugduni ,apud Seb. Gryphium anno :1531                            Sold

Octavo,6 x  4inches . a-x8 y4 (last leaf blank of printing but with manuscript index+ 2 more leaves with manuscript index ) This copy is bound in eighteenth century english calf .    This copy has the sixteenth century signature of “John Malrod?”

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“John Malrod”?

This work contains neoteric and elegiac works on the topic of love by the Roman poets Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius.  The poetical work of Catullus is illustrative of a revolution in Roman literary tastes and ethics that took place at the end of the Republic. Catullus was, in fact, at the very center of a social movement that was abandoning traditional Roman values of obligation to the state and civitas, adopting instead the individualism of Hellenistic Greece. The result was a shift from the epic and tragedy to idiosyncratic, lyric poetry. Catullus’ own poetry concerning the emotions emanating from his partnership with a promiscuous woman are representaive of this self-reflexive DSC_0021style. His success in capturing the imaginations of the cultivated Latin readership is mirrored in the influence his work had on the later Augustan poets. Tibbullus’ is best known as a love poet. His poetry has been described as possessing “a certain light, singable quality” (Gian Biago Conte’s Latin Literature: A History). Quintilian, too, indicates his esteem for Tibbullus, who he holds as both “refined and elegant” (10.1.93). The chief characteristic of Tibbullus’ work lies in its elegance, clarity, and expressive force which he conveyed through an economical use of words. It is further distinguished by its lack of mythological content and its emphasis on the bucolic, both of which ran contrary to his contemporaries. Propertius, like Tibbullus, is best remembered for his poetry on the topic of love. Propertius’ poetry, despite sharing a concern on the topic of love, is in many ways the polar extreme of Tibbullus’. In addition to employing a great deal of mythology as an examplar of how love should be, Propertius’ poetry is highly idiosyncratic, to the point of obscurity, and is characterized DSC_0022by its complex, even convoluted, structure. The obfuscation is, in part, due to a corrupted manuscript tradition. Despite its difficulty, Propertius’ work is not without its fascination, particularly, as regards its psychological intricacies (Gian Biago Conte’s Latin Literature: A History). 34

Baudrier, H.L. Bib. lyonnaise,; VIII, p. 58 (not in Adams) Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius his accesserunt Corn. Galli fragmenta 200








Images of some of the pages with notes

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A most satisfying book: Boethius ,a Consolation of Philosophy

Boethius 1501
Boethius 1501

Boetius de philosophico consolatu, siue, De consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e

Edward Gibbon  in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire  stated that  A consolation of Philosophy  is  “A golden volume not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully.” And C. S. Lewis, in “The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 1964, rightly tells us “To acquire a taste for it is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages.”. The Consolation of Philosophy was the most copied and circulated secular text in the European middlDSC_0084e ages, the influence of Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae should not be under-estimated — some four hundred copies survive in manuscript form, making it one of the most widely disseminated pieces of writing during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Even today, this would serve as a good starting point for someone unfamiliar with the history of philosophy, and wanted to take a first plunge in the
company of a great mind from the past.  The Copy I currently have Was Printed in Straßburg Per Iohannem Grüninger, 1501


This Wonderful copy is bound in its original full calf covered wooden boards, it was blind stamped and had clasps to hold it safely closed, these are now  long gone but their presence can be  traced by the indentations carved in the boards and the remaining brass brads.

Rear Cover
Rear Cover
Front board
Front board

This Edition is illustrated with woodcuts,many of which were colored at the time of printing, making this a visual treat on every page. The type faces and the layout of the pages themselves are exotic to the modern eye and transport us back to a tradition of textual exegesis whix=ch is all but forgotten.DSC_0096 (1)


667G Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius  a.d.480-525

Boetius de Philosophico consolatu siue de consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e: cu[m] figur ornatissimis nouit expoli

Straßbourg: J. Gruninger, 8 September 1501.                         $Sold

Small folio 11 ¼ x 7 inches. [ ]6, A4, B-X6,Y8. First illustrated edition. In this copy many of the seventy eight woodcuts  have very nice original color, it is bound in full blind stamped calf over wooden boards. It is also rubicated throughout. There are two library stamps and a release Endorsement ‘Dupl. ” Wiener K.K. Theres. It is a large and lovely copy of an important and beautiful book.DSC_0089 (1)

“Boethius is known as author of the Consolation of Philosophy and of several theological treatises. From them no theory of knowledge emerges clearly, for the concern is not primarily there with knowing, although distinctions and differentiations relevant to it are frequent.  The Consolation of Philosophy is committed (by way of Proclus’ commentary on the Timaeus, it has been suggested) to a platonic doctrine of ideas and of reminiscence: the soul is of divine elements on which its knowledge depends; it is in need only of the quickening power of sense perception to arouse it to a knowledge of ideas at rest within it. The developments of that notion bring echoes, one after the other, of pythagoreanism, neoplatonism, stoicism, and augustinism. Yet, as if these came too near to a dereliction from aristotelian principles, Boethius expounds the Trinity, in the work which shows most clearly the augustinian influence, by applying the ten categories to the persons and their relations. At the bottom of these diversified philosophic affiliations is the conviction, often explicit, that there was a single philosophy of the Greeks, to be grasped best in the reconciliation of Plato and Aristotle. That, however, was a lesson Boethius had learned from pagan roman philosophers; even before the coming of Christianity a change in the attitude toward philosophy had instituted a metaphysical conservatism. The distinctions by which the greeks thought to have divided themselves into opposed schools are needless subtleties when abstract thought is to be invoked (as it is in the very title of four works of Seneca and one work of Boethius) for refuge, or salvation, or relief, or consolation” (quoted from Selections from Medieval Philosophers I, by Richard McKeon, page 68-69).

The”Consolation of Philosophie” was written while Boethius was in prison and deprived of the use of his library, on false charges of treason against Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, then ruler of Rome. “Within a year he was a solitary prisoner at Pavia, stripped of honours, wealth, and friends, with death hanging over him, and a terror worse than death, in the fear lest those dearest to him should be involved in the worst results of his downfall. It is in this situation that the opening of the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’ brings Boethius before us. He represents himself as seated in his prison distraught with grief, indignant at the injustice of his misfortunes, and seeking relief for his melancholy in writing verses descriptive of his condition. Suddenly there appears to him the Divine figure of Philosophy, in the guise of a woman of superhuman dignity and beauty, who by a succession of discourses convinces him of the vanity of regret for the lost gifts of fortune, raises his mind once more to the contemplation of the true good, and makes clear to him the mystery of the world’s moral government.”(H.R. JAMES, M.A.,

  1. CH. OXFORD 1897.)


In this prosimetrical apocalyptic dialogue, Boethius our narrator encounters Lady-Philosophy , who appears in his time of need, the muse of poetry has in short failed him.  Philosophy  dresses  among great protest Boethius’ bad interpretations and misunderstandings of fate and free will…. One thousand five hundred years later It is still fair to ask, the same questions which Boethius asks..DSC_0100



And  Philosophy answers:“The judgment of most people is based not on the merits of a case but on the fortune of its outcome; they think that only things which turn out happily are good.”

“You have merely discovered the two-faced nature of this blind goddess [Fortune] … For now she has deserted you, and no man can ever be secure until he has been deserted by Fortune.”

“I [Fortune] spin my wheel and find pleasure in raising the low to a high place and lowering those who were on top. Go up, if you like, but only on condition that you will not feel abused when my sport requires your fall.”DSC_0092 (1)


Proctor 9886; Schmidt vol. I, 57; Chrisman C1.1.4,2; Adams B-2283; VD16 B6404; Hind, History of the Woodcut II,339-340; Redgrave Bibliographica II, 53; Not in OCLC. See also Chadwick: ‘Boethius’ 1981 Oxford, and Pelikan, The Reformation of the Bible 1996, p 88, I.8.


How Blest Is He

How blest is he who could discern

The bright source of the good,

How blest, for he could slip the chains

Of earth, which weigh men down!


— Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (3:12)


It is not that often that a book of medieval philosophy has so much direct connection to contemporary situations, yet remains so strange, alas there is a golden chain of being (scala naturae) to be found in this most satisfying book.


More for Paupers “Dictionarius pauperum 1511

“the heart of a fool is like a broken vessel, no wisdom at all shall it hold.”

960G     Nicolaus de Byard (13th century)

Dictionarius pauperum omnibus pr[a]edicatoribus verbi diuini pernecessarius : in quo multu[m] succinte contine[n]tur materi[a]e singulis festiuitatibus totius anni tam de tempore q[uam] de sanctis accommodand[a]e, vt in tabula huius operis facile & lucide cognoscetur.

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Parisiis : Ambrosij Girault: 1511                            $3,500


Octavo  6 ¼ x 4 inches. a-r8.(lacking r8 blank)  This copy is bound in modern full vellum DSC_0007 4with ties, the text is clean throughout, a nice copy.

As far as I can tell this is the first dated book by  Ambrosij Girault. {[WorldCat Identities] lists him active from 1520 to1546} .


A popular collection of distinctions,an alphabetical collection of topics used by preachers. It has only recently been attributed to the late fifteenth-century German Augustinian Nicolaus de Byard (fl. 1300?), a theologian, was, according to Bale,Bayard was a Dominican theologian at Oxford, where he obtained his doctor’s degree. Pits’s account tends in the same direction, and both biographers praise their author for his knowledge of pontifical law. Bale adds that he was very skilled for his age in Aristotelian studies, but accuses him of distorting the Scriptures by ‘allegorical inventions and leisurely quibbles.’ His principal work appears to have been entitled ‘Distinctiones Theologiæ,’ and, according to the last-mentioned authority, this book was largely calculated to corrupt the simplicity of the true faith, as it consisted, like Abelard’s ‘Sic et Non,’ of an assortment of theological opinions opposed to one another. A manuscript of this work is still preserved in Merton College library (cclii.), and Tanner gives a list of other writings of this author that are to be found in English libraries. Byard’s sermons constantly occurred in company with those of William of Auvergne, bishop of Paris (1228–48), and other great characters of Louis IX’s reign. More conclusive as to the date is Quétif’s assertion that in the ‘Liber Rectoris Universitatis Parisiensis’ Bayard’s great work is mentioned as being for sale in Paris before the year 1303; that several other discourses of Bayard were for sale in Paris at the same time; and that his ‘Sermones Dominicales’ formed part of a parchment folio in the Sorbonne library, containing Robert de Sorbonne’s ‘Liber de Conscientiâ’ (d. 1274). Lastly, as regards the order to which Bayard belonged, Quétif observes that there is no certain evidence whether he was a Franciscan or a Dominican. In all the manuscripts excepting one he appears to be called simply Frater Nicholas de Bayard, and in the only one which is more precise he is called a Minorite. Only one of Bayard’s works seems to have been printed, and that one of somewhat doubtful authenticity, the ‘Summa de Abstinentia,’ which was published under the title of ‘Dictionarius Pauperum’ by John Knoblouch at Cologne in 1518, and again at Paris in 1530. (DNB)

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Dictionarius pauperum  is an encyclopedia of Christian philosophy, for the use of preachers, arranged alphabetically from “De abstinentia” to “De vita eterna.” The attribution to de Byart is tentative.   In the thirteenth century Dictionarius pauperum compiled by Nicolas de Byard, we find the admonition that just as robbers easily have the treasure after they have broken the chest, so the devil has the soul after he has confused a man and stolen his patience, because “the heart of a fool is like a broken vessel, no wisdom at all shall it hold.” known as the Dictionarius pauperum from the 1490s on, was a popular collection of distinctions, an alphabetical collection of topics used by preachers. It has only recently been attributed to the late fifteenth-century German Augustinian Nicolaus de Byard (cf. Bloomfield, et al., Incipits of Latin works on the virtues and vices, no. 1841).


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Biblia pauperum 1477

 946G Bonaventura (fromerly attributed to)   but  Nicolaus de Hanapis (1225-1291)

 Incipit preclarum opus quod Biblia pauperum appellatur, a domino Bonaventura, Ordinis minorum, perutile omnibus predicatoribus.    


Venice: Explicit opus preclarum domini Bonaventure Biblia pauperum nuncupatum, impressionique Venetiis deditum impensis Johannis de Colonia sociique ejus Johannis Manthen de Gherretzem, anno Domini MCCCCLXXVII.                       $9,500


Quarto 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 Inches ;a-b8, c6, d8 ; This copy is housed in  a highly gilt solander box  with elegant decoration imprinted in gold, with title and date of the DSC_0007 2work on the front .It is bound in Later paper boards and it is Rubricated throughout in both red and blue with capitals stroked in yellow.  Old ownership notetation on the final leaf.

There are also  five pages with very small notes in the bottom margins. (See Below)

This is the second part only of one of several versions of a text going back to the Virtutum vitiorumque exempla of Nicolaus Hanapus, and generally entitled Exempla sacrae scripturae. The title ‘Biblia pauperum’ and the ascription to St. Bonaventure are both incorrect”.  (V. Scholderer in Gb Jb 1936 pp.61-62, reprinted in Fifty Essays (Amsterdam, 1966) pp.140-41: Version E)

Rather than a ‘Pauper’s Bible’ this book is in actuality a ‘Religious exempla’ (cautionary stories used to aid preaching).   

The book presents thousands of examples drawn exclusively from the Bible that enable preachers to illustrate their teaching on virtues and vices and to help the faithful to behave Christianly in public and private life, The moment of death. It was printed for the first time in Venice in 1477 and attributed to St. DSC_0010Bonaventure . It is frequently reissued under various titles. For example, Summa virtutum and viciorum (Cologne 1544, and Paris 1548), Virtutum vitiorumque exempla ex universo divinae scripture promptuario desumta , Flores biblici , Exempla biblica (Augsburg, 1726), or simply as the ‘Bible of the Poor’ , Probably because these narratives were easily understood, and because the publishers had arranged them in alphabetical order


Goff B858; BMC XII 16; Walsh 1701
(US copies :Folger , HEHL (var), HarvCL Indiana Univ., The Lilly Library (Biblia pauperum only)
LC, SMU, Newberry Library, Univ. of Illinois  (-),Vassar College)


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In the work of Nicolaus de Hanapis (or Hanapus): Virtutum vitwrumgvc exempla ex vniverme divinac soripturae promptuario desumpta. The author was  a French Dominican, who became bishop of Acre (1288) and patriarch of Jerusalem, dying at Acre in 1291. For details of his life see Qnetif and Echard, i., p. 422, and HM. Utt. dc la France, xx., pp. 51-78, 785-786. Tho work abounds in MS., and was frequently printed. An elaborate analysis and bibliography of the work may be found in the Hut. Utt. de la France, vol. cit., pp. 64-78. As the title indicates, the work consists of the events of the Scriptures arranged under various headings for convenience of reference. The events are given in the baldest form, and the author seldom adds a remark of his own.

{ Hain registers eight editions before 1500.}DSC_0013

Anton Koberger’s Biblia Germanica, the ninth German Bible to be printed, appeared in 1483, the year that Martin Luther was born.


169J  Diß durchleuchtigist werck der gantzen heyligen geschrifft. genant dy bibel

[Nuremberg] : Gedruckt durch Anthonium Koburger in der löblichen keyserlichen reychstat Nürenberg 1483                                $220,000

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Two large folio volumes bound as one, [a4, b-d8, e6, f-z8, A-O8, P6, Q-Z8, aa-zz8, AA-CC8, DD-FF6]. Bound in original alum tawd pigskin over wooden boards with both clasps.

This Anton Koberger’s  Biblia Germanica , the ninth German Bible to be printed, appeared in 1483, the year that Martin Luther was born This edition is the only one that Koberger issued in German.  Koberger issued it in three states: 1)highly embellished, with finely-painted woodcuts and illuminations on some pages; 2)  hand-painted, with no illumination; 3) and plain black-and-white, as printed. This one of which belongs to the first group. 109 woodcuts (87 in the Old Testament and 12 in the New Testament) from 108 blocks, ALL WITH CONTEMPORARY HAND-COLORING in green, orange, yellow, ochre and maroon, very probably executed in Koberger’s shop,

DSC_0146The first Bible printed in German appeared as early as 1466. The present edition is usually called the ‘ninth German Bible’; the ‘eleventh’, however, would be more correct, if one includes the Low German Cologne Bibles in the chronological sequence of German bibles. Koberger’s edition is regarded as typographically the finest, and is without doubt the best-known and the most influential of the German Bibles before Martin Luther.  For the illustration of this Bible, Koberger used the series of 108 large woodblocks published before in the two Low German Bibles printed in Cologne in 1478-1479.

Imprints from colophon on leaf [FF5] verso, which reads: Gedruckt durch anthonium koburger in der löbichen keyserlichen reychstat Nüremberg. Nach der ge-burt cristi des gesetzs der genaden . vierzehenhundert vnd in dem dreyvndachtzigste[n] iar. Montag nach Invocavit.

DSC_0144This Bible of Koberger’s professes to be, and apparently is, ‘a revision made with great diligence.’ The corrections were possibly derived from the Cologne Low German Bible [of 1480?, Darlow & Moule 4182], with which Koberger’s edition has many illustrations and other details in common .The initial letters are filled in by hand. The book contains over 109 woodcuts, generally measuring about 12 x18.5 cm. The blocks are identical with those in [Darlow & Moule] No. 4182.” (D. & M.).

 Book sequence as follows :

(fol. in Arabic numerals): Hieronymus, [Letter addressed to] Paulinus presbiter, 1r-4r, i.e. [a1]r-[a4]r; Pentateuch, 4r-100, including prologue, 4r-v, i.e. [a4]r-v; Joshua, 100r-111r, i.e. [b1]r-[p5]r, including prologue; Judges, 111r-122v, i.e. [p5]r-[q8]v; Ruth, 123r-124r, i.e. [r1]r-[r2]4; Kings 1-2, 124v-155r, i.e. [r2]v-[x1]r, including prologue, [r2]v-[r3]r; Kings 3-4, 155r-184r, i.e. [x1]r-[A5]r; Chronicles 1-2, 184v-213r, DSC_0142[A5]v-[E3]r, including prologues, [A5]v-[A6]v; Prayer of Manasse, 213v, i.e. [E3]v; Ezra 1-2, 213v-225r, i.e. [E3]v-[F7]r, including prologue, [E3]v-[E4]r; Ezra 3, 225r-231v, i.e. [F7]r-[G5]v; Tobit, 232r-237r, i.e. [G6]r-[H3]r, including prologue; Judith, 237v-243r, i.e. [H3]v-[I1]r, with prologue, 237r, [H3]r; Ester, 243v-249v, i.e. [I1]v-[I7]v, including prologue; Job, 251r-262v, i.e. [K1]r-[L4]v, preceded by 2 prologues, 249v-250v, i.e. [I7]v-[I8]v; Psalms, 263v-295v, i.e. [L5]v-[P5]v, preceded by 2 prologues, 263r-v, i.e. [L5]r-v; Proverbs. 296r-306r, i.e. [Q2]r-[R4]r, including Hieronymus, Epistola, [Q2]r; Ecclesiastes, 306r-310r, i.e. [R4]r-[R8]r, including prologue, 306r-v, i.e. [R4]r-v; Song of Solomon, 310r-311v, i.e. [R8]r-[S1]v; Wisdom of Solomon, 311v-318v, i.e. [S1]v-[S8]v; Ecclesiasticus, 318v-337r, i.e. [S8]v-[X3]r, including prologue, 318v-319r, i.e. [S8]v-[T1]r; Prayer of Iesus Sirach, 337r-v, i.e. [X3]r-v; Prayer of Salomon, 337v, i.e. [X3]v; Isaiah, 337v-360r, i.e. [X3]v-[aa2]r, including prologue, 337v-338r, i.e. [X3]v-[X4]r; Jeremiah, 360r-385r, i.e. [aa2]r-[dd3]r, including 2 prologues, 360r-v, i.e. [aa2]r-v; Lamentations, 385r-387v, i.e. [dd3]r-[dd5]v, including Prayer of Jeremiah, [dd5]r-v; Baruch, 387v-390v, i.e. [dd5]v-[dd8]v, including prologue; Ezechiel, DSC_0138390v-414r, i.e. [dd8]v-[gg8]r, including prologue, 390v-391r, i.e. [dd8]v-[ee1]r; Daniel, 415r-425r, i.e. [hh1]r-[ii3]r, preceded by prologue, 414r-v, i.e. [gg8]r-v; Minor Prophets, 425v-443r, i.e. [ii3]v-[ll5]r, including prologue, 425r, i.e.[ii3]r; Malachia, 443r-444r, i.e. [ll5]r-[ll6]r; Maccabees 1-2, 444v-469r, i.e. [ll6]v-[oo7]r, including prologue; Argumenta in Matheum, 469v-470r, i.e. [oo7]v-[oo8]r; Matthew, 470r-484v, i.e. [oo8]r-[qq6]v; Mark, 485v-493v, i.e. [qq7]v-[rr7]v, preceded by prologue, 484v-485r, i.e. [qq6]v-[qq7]r; Luke, 494v-509v, i.e. [rr8]v-[tt7]v, preceded by prologue, 494r-v, i.e. [rr8]r-v; John, 509v-521r, [tt7]v-[xx3]r, including prologue, 509v-510r, i.e. [tt7]v-[tt8]r; Paul. Epistles, 521v-553v, i.e. [xx3]v-[BB3]v, including preface, prologue and argument, 521v-522v, i.e. [xx3]v-[xx4]v; Acts, 553v-568r [foliated 468], i.e. [BB3]v-[DD2]r, including prologue, 553v-554r, i.e. [BB3]v-[BB4]r; Prologue to the canonical epistles, 568r [foliated 468], i.e. [DD2]r; James. Epistle, 568r [foliated 468]-569v, i.e. [DD2]r-[DD3]v, including prologue; Peter. Epistles 1-2, 569v-572r, i.e. [DD3]v-[DD6]r, including prologues; John. Epistles 1-3, 572r-574v, i.e. [DD6]r-[EE2]v, including prologues; Jude. Epistle, 574v-575r, i.e. [EE2]v-[EE3]r, including prologue; Revelation [or Apocalypse], 575r-583v, i.e. [EE3]r-[FF5]v.

DSC_0141 The most important illustrated book produced in Nuremberg during Dürer’s youth was this two-volume German Bible. The edition was published by Dürer’s godfather, Anton Koberger, who directed one of the most successful printing shops of the fifteenth century. The woodcuts used in this book originally were produced in Cologne for Heinrich Quentell’s German Bible, published c. 1478. 


Purchased for re-use by Koberger in

Nuremberg, these woodblocks contributed much to Dürer’s artistic vocabulary. This set became the standard for German biblical illustration through the 16th century. Koberger (ca. 1445-1513) became one of the most important printers in fifteenth-century Germany. He may have operated as many as twenty-four presses and produced some 250 works between ca. 1471 and 1504. BIBLE, IN GERMAN. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 17 February 1483. 2 volumes in one, royal 2° (375 x 255mm). Collation: [14 2-48 56 6-378 386; 39-728 73-756] (11r St. Jerome’s letter to Paulinus, 1/4r prologue to the Pentateuch, 2/1r Genesis-Psalms, 38/6 blank; 39/1 blank, 39/2r St. Jerome’s letter on Proverbs, Proverbs-Maccabees, New Testament, 75/6 blank). 585 leaves (of 586, without final blank 75/6).

(See H. Wendland, “Eine fünfhundertjährige Inkunabel – Anton Kobergers deutsche Bibel”, <i>Philobiblon</i>, 28, 1984, pp. 30-37). H *3137; GW 4303; BMC II, 424 (C.11.d.4,5); Schreiber 3461; BSB-Ink B-490; Goff B-632.

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