This is a very rare and interesting book on social norms and social forces at play in the theater of the universe.

It is know by two US Copies and was previously owned by bibliographer Graham Pollard.

530J.  Thomas Beard, -1632.

The theatre of Gods judgements: wherein is represented the admirable justice of God against all notorious sinners, great and small, specially [sic] against the most eminent persons in the world, whose exorbitant power had broke through the barres of divine and humane law. Collected out of sacred, ecclesiasticall, and pagan histories by two most reverend doctors in divinity, Thomas Beard of Huntington, and Tho. Taylor, the famous late preacher of Mary Aldermanbury in London. The incomparable use of this book for ministers and others is largely expressed in the preface.

London: printed by S.I. [i.e. Susan Islip] & M.H. [i.e. Mary Hearne] and are to be sold by Richard Whitaker at the signe of the Kings Armes in St Pauls Churchyard,* MDCXLVIII. [1648].     $5,000

Folio 25 ½ x 20 cm.  Signatures (4) 1-444 Second Part: (2) 1-111 (1)  This is A reissue of the same year (Wing B1565B; ESTC R226560) which has  an imprint reading in part: Printed by Susan Islip, and are to be sold by Mary Heron.  A variant Includes a reissue of Wing T570 (ESTC R23737), with the original title page: The second part of the theatre of Gods iudgments. … by … Dr Thomas Taylor, … London printed by Richard Herne. An. Dom. 1642.   There is  very imperfect internet copy from the defectivein: Bodleian Library./.”/ Imperfect: p. 39-40, 107-108 of 2nd pt., all after p. 110 of 2nd pt. lacking. “Best copy available for photographing.  “ ?      

This copy has a wonderful pedigree, Graham Pollard, Arthuri B Evans and Sebastian Evans, with ownership inscriptions to front free end paper, along with penciled notations. This copy is bound in full contemporary calf recently expertly rebacked.

Beard’s work is an adaptation and partial translation of Jean Chassanion’s ’Histoires memorables des grans et merveilleux jugemens et punitions de Dieu’ Beard, as most biographical notes begin “is best known as Chromwell’s teacher, as an ardent Puritan”, that makes sense to a degree, yet I will argue that it is this book, The theater of Gods Judgment has as much influence, and is due more respect. This book is a Puritan Hammer, exhibiting all the forms of ‘Fire and brimstone” which the Puritan God imposed upon those who digressed from the righteous way.  Perhaps the narrative of Kit Marlowe’s death, which has now been extrapolated and adjectivally escalated to mythic proportions of social commentary is now the most discussed.  Yet Beard’s attack on the theater is not as specific as it might have been, he seems most concerned with Tertullian?.  Aside from this ‘though Beard does bring up quite a many examples of the social forces at play in the theater..’ This is a wonderful book. Possibly based on Chassanion’s Histoires memorables des grans et merveilleux jugemens et punitions de Dieu. Cf. ESTC.

Copies in N.America   

       NYPL & SMU only!

See also

‘The Theatre of Gods Judgements’: Sudden Deaths and Providential Punishments in:

Providence in Early Modern England$.Providence in Early Modern England

Alexandra Walsham

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208877

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208877.001.0001