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Bernardinus deBusti, (1540-1513)

Incipit Rosarium sermonum predicabilium per quadragesima[m] & totu[m] anni circulum: editum per vite venerabilis religiosum fratre[s] Bernardinu[m] de Busti ordinis sancti Francisci de obseruantia predicatore[m] doctissimu[m]. Pars prima Rosariu[m] (additions by Illuminatus Novariensis and Samuel Cassinensis)

s-l1600-4Venice : Georgius Arrivabenus, 1498                           $13,000

Editio Princeps. Large 8vo, 22 cm. a-z8, [&]8, [con]8, [rum]8, aa-ff8, gg4 (gg4 is blank) (complete). Some rubricating and a few annotations. In two parts, dated: I) 31 May 1498; II) 16 Aug. 1498
Incipit Rosarium sermonum predicabilium per quadragesima[m] & totu[m] anni circulum: editum per vite venerabilis religiosum fratre[s] Bernardinu[m] de Busti ordinis sancti Francisci de obseruantia predicatore[m] doctissimu[m].

This copy is bound in its original binding of full blind stamped pigskin over wooden s-l1600-6boards with both clasps

 

His 16th sermon is important for the history of witchcraft.
Unlike the Dominican demonologists, de Busti treated witchcraft (for instance in
his 16th sermon) as a form of idolatry and superstition, and as such as a violation of
the first commandment, a kind of improper worship. While being harmful magic it
was not seen as a stereotypical diabolical conspiracy. However Busti described
a woman who practiced magic and renounced the catholic faith as ‘stria’, a species of
female witches that had the credit of getting to the insides of men, and thus
devouring them.  Sermon 16 of Bernardino Busti’s Rosarium Sermonum,  proves a rich source for the developing concept of witchcraft at the close of the fifteenth century.  The sermon elaborates on ways in which it is possible to sin against the proscription of idolatry in the first commandment.  Busti was particularly worried about three elements of idolatry common to depictions of witches: demonic involvement, ritualistic behaviors, and negation of the principles of Christianity.  By describing maleficae et maladictae feminae who renounced the Catholic faith, he contributed to ratification of the stereotype of the striga in the early modern period.

s-l1600-7Benardino Busti and other Franciscan writers arranged the superstitious practices they wrote to oppose.  One of these was outright idolatry. Others included forms of divination, observance of omens, interpretation of dreams, use of amulets, and more elite practices such as necromancy and the ars notoria.  Also included among superstitious practices was maleficium, which could be translated as witchcraft.  Conti  (see below) argues, however, that Busti and other Franciscan writers treated maleficium still mainly as simple harmful magic, not as a practice inevitably linked to news, more terrible stereotypes of diabolical, conspiratorial witchcraft emerging in the fifteenth century. They addressed those notions too, however, and it is to witchcraft address nocturnal travel to a witches’ sabbath, the ludus Dianae, or when they describe witches’ supposed belief in their own ability to transform (or be transformed by demons) into cats.

Grounded firmly in the tradition of the canon Episcopi, observant Franciscans regarded both of these as entirely illusory–merely the deception of demons worked on the feeble minds of foolish women, and sometimes men. They were by no means unaware of other developing theories of witchcraft, however. They incorporated the notion of witches’ traveling to the ludus Dianae on rods anointed with hideous unguents, whereas the canon Episcopi refers only to women riding on animals in the train of the supposed goddess Diana, actually a demon in disguise.  Here they reflected a stereotype developing since the early fifteenth century in regions around the western Alps….they began in some ways to conflate the ludus Dianae tradition with the separate ludus bariloti, that envisioned malefactors magically entering locked houses, to feast, drink from wine barrels, and commit other indecent revelries. This ludus, Franciscan authorities were willing to posit, might reflect real, physical action, but they never allowed that to affect their judgment that travel with Diana was always completely illusory.

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see. F. Conti, Witchcraft, Superstition, and Observant Franciscan Preachers
Pastoral Approach and Intellectual Debate in Renaissance Milan 2015

ch “Preachers and Confessors against “Superstitions”: Bernardino Busti and Sermon 16 of His Rosarium Sermonum” 2011

 

Goff B1336; H 4163*;BM 15th cent.,; V, p. 387 (IA. 22572)