A discussion of interesting books from my current stock A site


Martin Luther

Augsburg Confession 1530

Four Reformation Pamphlets I Like


197J Martin Luther      (1483-1546)

Vrsach vnd antwort. das Junckfrawen. Kloster. Götlich verlassen mügen.

Augsburg : Heinrich von Steiner 1523   $SOLD

Quarto 6 ¾x 5 ½inches. A4,B2 . Bound in 19thcentury boards.

The catalyst for this famous Luther letter was the escape of nine nuns from the cloister of Nimbschen bei Grimma at Easter in the year 1523. Luther supported this with a pamphlet giving the storyof a girl named Florentina, who had been taken into a convent at the age of six. At eleven she was forced to take the veil. When at age fourteen she told her abbess that she felt no calling for a nun’s life, the abbess told the girl that she was a nun for life and must make the best of it. Florentina tried to make her situation known to Martin Luther and later to her relatives, but each time she was caught and punished with severe penances. Eventually she was condemned to lifelong imprisonment in a cell. Later she escaped, and Luther published her story saying that he could tell many others like it.

To leave the cloistered life at that time was a capital offense. In 1522 twelve nuns were smuggled out of a convent in empty beer barrels. They were taken to Wittenberg, and Luther found husbands for eleven of them. When no husband could be found for the twelfth nun, Luther married her himself. The bride’s name was Catherine von Bora.

Luther names the nine, which include a sister of the Catholic theologian Johann von Staupitz (c. 1460–1524), Luther’s father confessor, and Katharina von Bora (1499–1552), who was to become Luther’s wife in 1525.


VD16 L 6882; Benzing. Lutherbibliographie; 1989, 1565; |B|Luther: WA T,; 11, 389; Druck E; |B|Kratzsch: Verzeichnis der Lutherdrucke, Nr.; 453; Kuzynski 3299.

171J Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531)

Qvo pacto ingenvi adolescentes forma[n]di sint, praeceptiones pauculae, Huldricho Zuinglio autore.

IMG_1055Basileae : Apud Joannem Bebelium,1523                    $SOLD

Octavo 6 x 4 inches.[12] f. ; 8° A8, B4. The very rare, First Edition, bound in manuscript vellum with a long tie.

This Book has been referred to by W. Boyd in his History of western Education 1964, as :
“ The first book to be written on education from a Protestant point of: view”
“Whereas critics deem it a loose collection of personal observations about raising teenagers, the treatise in fact contains a clear summary of the biblical principles supporting Christian education. More precisely, it is one of the first treatises to discuss nurture of the young from an explicitly Reformed point of view. And “On the Education of the Youth” makes an eloquent case for the role of education in developing the moral as well as intellectual qualities of the young. Zwingli makes observations about the basis of IMG_1060Reformed instruction, the formation of an upright moral character, and the service to others that should result from proper nurture.” … Zwingli states that the object of learning is the universe and all that it contains. As the created order, the universe is subservient to the Creator. When we study the elements that make up the universe, “we learn that all these things are changing and destructible, but that he who conjoined them … is necessarily unchanging and immutable (104).” Thus the very things studied by humans reveal that there is someone superior to them and their learning, namely God. As human creatures fashioned by the eternal, omnipotent God, mortals should be humbled rather than exalted in their learning. In studying things brought into existence by the word of God, we are “taught that all things are ordained by the providence of God (104).” Wisdom is not to be sought in human philosophies, for they are as mortal and fallible as the people who conceive them. Rather, since all the objects of human enquiry are in the hands of God, “if we desire wisdom or learning, we are taught to ask it of Him alone (105)” and to seek it in His infallible Word. (Huldrych Zwingli on Reformed Instruction – Dr. R. Faber
Taken With permission from Clarion Vol. 48, No. 1 (1999)

Zwingli was during a time of emerging Swiss patriotism and increasing criticism of the Swiss mercenary system, he attended the University of Vienna and the University of Basel, a scholarly center of Renaissance humanism. He continued his studies while he served as a pastor in Glarus and later in Einsiedeln, where he was influenced by the writings of Erasmus.

In 1519, Zwingli became the pastor of the Grossmünster in Zürich where he began to preach ideas on reform of the Catholic Church. In his first public controversy in 1522, he attacked the custom of fasting during Lent. In his publications, he noted corruption in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, promoted clerical marriage, and attacked the use of images in places of worship. In 1525, Zwingli introduced a new communion liturgy to replace the Mass. Zwingli also clashed with the Anabaptists, which resulted in their persecution. Historians have debated whether or not he turned Zürich into a theocracy.

The Reformation spread to other parts of the Swiss Confederation, but several cantons resisted, preferring to remain Catholic. Zwingli formed an alliance of Reformed cantonsIMG_1061 which divided the Confederation along religious lines. In 1529, a war between the two sides was averted at the last moment. Meanwhile, Zwingli’s ideas came to the attention of Martin Luther and other reformers. They met at the Marburg Colloquy and although they agreed on many points of doctrine, they could not reach an accord on the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

In 1531 Zwingli’s alliance applied an unsuccessful food blockade on the Catholic cantons. The cantons responded with an attack at a moment when Zürich was ill-prepared. Zwingli was killed in battle at the age of 47..

An English translation of this Latin treatise appears in G.W. Bromiley, ed., Library of Christian Classics Vol. 24: Zwingli and Bullinger (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1953), 102-118. Quotations derive from this edition.

VD 16, Z-855.


189J    Anonymous; attributed to George Joye (1495-1553)


Our sauiour Iesus Christ hath not ouercharged his chirche with many ceremonies.  


[At Zijrik] [i.e. Antwerp : Widow of C. Ruremond?], M.D.XLIII. in Febru. [1543]                                  $11,000


Octavo, First and only edition A-B8 C6 .   Bound in beautiful red Morocco.

IMG_1064Like Coverdale, Joye was probably also employed in the printing business as proofreader, translator, and author of religious books.

His first, now lost publication was a Primer, the first Protestant devotional book ever published in English Based on contemporary accounts, it probably contained the translation of the seven penitential psalms, “Mattens and Euensong” with the Commendations (Psalm 119). The book was criticized by Thomas More for omitting the Litany of the Saints, the hymns and anthems to the Blessed Virgin, and the Dirge.

After the publication of his Primer, containing perhaps as many as thirty psalms, Joye set out to translate the rest of the Book of Psalms, which appeared in 1530. Joye used Martin Bucer‘s recent Latin translation of the Hebrew text, which was published under the pseudonym Aretius Felinus. In the same year Joye produced a revised version of his earlier primer with the title Ortolus animae. The garden of the soule.

In 1531, Joye’s translation of the Book of Isaiah appeared, which seems to have been intended as a twin volume to Tyndale‘s translation of the Book of Jonah. In 1531 Joye also published a defence countering the charges of heresy put against him by Ashwell in 1527.

By 1532 he married. Butterworth and Chester suggest that Joye published the translations of the Book of Proverbs and of Ecclesiastes in 1533 in Antwerp, of which only later London reprints have survived It is now also believed that Joye is the author of an anonymously published treatise entitled The Souper of the Lorde, which was earlier attributed to Tyndale. In this Joye described his position on the Eucharist, based on that of Zwingli.

Joye’s translation of the Book of Jeremiah, of Lamentations, and a new translation of the Psalter followed (this time from the Latin Psalter of Zwingli, whose Latin commentaries and translations had also served as source texts for Joye’s translations of the other books of the Old Testament). All these translations were the first of these books ever printed in English.

In 1534 Joye undertook the proofreading of Tyndale‘s New Testament edition that had been reprinted three times without any English-speaking corrector by the Flemish printing firm of the family Van Ruremund. Joye, however, not only corrected the typographical errors, but he also changed the term “resurreccion” as found in Tyndale’s text by expressions such as “the lyfe after this” in some twenty occurrences of the word. Joye believed, as he later explained, that the original term in the Bible in those places did not refer to the bodily resurrection but to the intermediate stateof the soul At the same time, Joye retained Tyndale’s original formulation at the some 150 other IMG_1067occurrences of the word, where he agreed with Tyndale that the term did refer to the bodily resurrection. Tyndale reacted by bringing out his own revised version of his New Testament in November 1534, in which he inserted a second foreword attacking Joye and his editorial work. Tyndale accused Joye of promoting the heresy of the denial of the bodily resurrection and causing divisions among Protestants. After an inconclusive attempt to reconcile the parties, Joye published an apology to refute Tyndale’s accusations in February 1535.

STC (2nd ed.), 14556 Copies  N.America

Folger ,Pierpont Morgan  , University of Illinois

Much of this information is from “Charles C. BUTTERWORTH, & Allan G. CHESTER, George Joye (1495?–1553). A Chapter in the History of the English Bible and the English Reformation, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962” and Graham Hardy’s Wiki page on Joye.

187J      Martin  Luther(1483-1546

Ein Brieff D.M. Luther Wider die Sabbather : an einen guten Freund.



Wittemberg , 1538                    $6,000

[Nickel Schirlenz]
Quarto, 6 ¾x 5 inches A4-D4. This copy is bound in limp manscript vellum wrapper. From a 14th century Breviarium, forming a semi wallet.

This treatise was published by Luther in the form of an open letter. This is a responce to Luthers friend Graff Wolfgang Schlick. This Anti-Jewish polemic was to refute those who argued that Christians ought to observe practices of God’s covenant with Israel (the Old Testament, or Judaism) that Christians historically either had set aside or had changed with the coming of Christ, but which the Jewish people had continued to practice. One of these Old Testament practices, to observe the Sabbath on Saturday (rather than on Sunday, as Christians had done historically), gave rise to the name that Luther uses for his opponents: “the Sabbatarians.” In Part One of the work, Luther argues that God’s covenant with Israel, also called the Law of Moses, is not in force for
Christians. Yet he goes on below to say that those parts of the Ten Commandments that are based on the universal moral law remain in force for everyone because that law preceded the Law of Moses.

Benzing 2394




Manuscript Postilla of Nicholas deLyra

635G de Lyra, Nicolas. 1270-1340

Postilla super Actus Apostolorum, Epistolas Canonicales et Apocalypism.

The codex begins

Incipit praefatio sancti Hieronymi pr-bti De corpore epist bean Pauli apopot..

Untitled 6

Folio, 11 3/4 X 7 3/4. Manuscript on Paper 386 leaves, ca 1460 in several hands (see below),      This copy is bound in later full vellum.          $65,000

The Postillae constitute theUntitled 9
first Christian Bible
commentary to be printed.
The literalist approach led
Nicholas to *Rashi, whom he
often cites by name
(Salomo). In this he had been
anticipated by the Victorine
scholars, especially by
*Andrew of Saint Victor
whom he quotes (G.Calandra, De… Andreae Victorini… in Ecclesiasten (1948), 83–85). However, Nicholas, who records his perusal of a controversial tract hebraice scriptus (“written in Hebrew”; see Hailperin in bibl., p. 140), used Rashi directly as well. In addition he read some rabbinic material in Raymond *Martini’s Pugio Fidei. Soon after his death, Nicholas’ Postillae were available in virtually every library in western Christendom. Nicholas had abiding influence (Hailperin, p. 282f.). Wycliffe acknowledged his indebtedness to Nicholas in his (later) English version of the Bible (c. 1388). *Luther was particularly dependent on him, especially on Genesis. In his commentary to Daniel, Abrabanel controverts Nicholas’ christological exegesis.

[A full physical of the hands and decorative initals are available on request]

Thus begins the Pauline epistles :(two columns) fol 6 Romans
fol 19 first Corinthians
fol 31 second Corinthians

fol 39 Galations fol 43 Ephesians fol 47 Philippians fol 50 Colossians

fol 54 Laodocians
fol 53 first Thessalonians DSC_0079 2
fol 56 second Thessalonians
fol 57 first Timothy
fol 60 second Timothy
fol 63 Titus
fol 64 Philemon
fol 65-80 Hebrews
fol 80-97 John revelation( Apokalypse)
fol 98 James Apocalypse
fol 100 first Peter Apocalypse
fol 106 first-third John
fol 109 Jude
fol 111 preface to Acts
fol 113 Acts fol 146 ( new hand / single column)fol 146-170 (at 162 text switches to two columns [ Same hand]Postill (de Lyra?) Sup explanm Romans
fol 170-242 Paul vocatus Apls’- thessalonians
fol 242 Paul Secundum
fol 288 Quatuor
fol 353 Explicit postilla Apocalypum.fol 353 Incipit Postilla of Nicolai de Lyra sup apocalipsum-
fol 383 -Explicit Postilla of Nicolai de Lyra sup apocalipsum (End )

Nicholas was born at Lyra in Normandy 1270 and he died in Paris in 1340. The report that he was of Jewish descent dates only from the fifteenth century. He took the Untitled 8Franciscan habit at Verneuil, studied theology, received the doctor’s degree in Paris and was appointed professor at the Sorbonne. In the famous controversy on the Beatific vision he took sides withe the professors against John XXII. He laboured very successfully both in preaching and writing, for the conversion fo the Jews. He is the author of numerous theological works, some of which are yet unpublished. It was to exegesis that Nicholas of Lyra devoted his best years. In his second prologue to his monumental work “Postilla perpetu in universam S. Scripturam” after stating that the literal sense of Sacred Scriptureis the foundation of all mystical expositions, and that it alone has demonstrative force, as St. Augustine teaches, he deplores the state of Biblical studies in his time. The literal sense, he avers, is much obscured, owing partly to the unskilfulness of some of he correctors, and partly also to our own translation (the Vulgate) which not infrequently departs form the original Hebrew. He holds with St. Jerome that the text must be corrected from the Hebrew codices, except of course the prophecies concerning the Divinity of Christ. Another reason for this obscurity, Nicholas goes on to say, is the attachment of scholars to the method of interpretation handed down by others, who, though they have said many things well, have yet touched sparingly on the literal sense, and have so multiplied the mystical senses as nearly to choke it. Moreover, the text has been distorted by a multiplicity of arbitrary divisions and concordances. Hereupon he declares his intention of insisting, in the present work, upon the literal sense and

of interspersing only a few mystical interpretations. Nicholas utilized all available sources, fully mastered the Hebrew and drew copiously from the valuable commentaries of the Jewish exegetes, especially of the celebrated Talmudist Russia (Rashi).
“The Pugio Fidei” of Raymond Martini and the commentaries of St. Thomas Aquinas were also influences. His (Nicholas de Lyra) is lucid and concise; his observations are are judicious and sound, and always original. The Postilla soon became the favourite manual of exegesis. The solid learning of Nicholas commanded the respect of both Jews and Christians.

Untitled 7Luther owes much to Nicholas of Lyra, but how widely the principles of Nicholas differed essentially from Luther’s views is best seen from Nicholas’s own words:

“ I protest that I do not intend to assert or determine anything that has not been manifestly determined by Sacred Scripture or by the authority of the Church.. Wherefore I submit all I have said or shall say to the correction of Holy Mother Church and of all the learned men.’.
(Prol. secund in Postillas…)

Nicholas taught no new doctrine. The early Fathers and the great schoolman had repeatedly laid down the same sound exegetical principles, but owing to adverse tendencies of the

times, their efforts had partly failed. Nicholas carried out these principles effectively, and in this lies his chief merit – one which ranks him among the foremost exegites of all times.╙ (Catholic Encyclopedia , Vol. XI, Thomas Plassman, p. 63)

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

DSC_0143 2

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.

  • 47292_01_545_326

“Donkey dung, introduced by the devil.”

page19image1896907G Johannes de Verdena  (d.1437)

Sermones Dormi secure vel dormi sine cura de t[em]p[or]e.

              [bound with]

Sermones Dormi secure de tempore et de sanctis.

Nuremberg : Anton Koberger, 12 Mar. 1498
Nuremberg : Anton Koberger, 5 Jan. 1494                                     


page18image11432Folio 11 X 8 inches A (-A1)-F8 G6 [bound with] ae8 f6 gk8 I10

The first works lacks title slug. The second work is complete. These two books are rubicated in red and blue throuout. It has a manuscript index on the verso of the final leaf. It is bound in blind stamped original calf over wooden boards,nicely rebacked. With heavy blind stamped ornaments on both boards and a faint title of the front board. The two parts of the famous preaching collection of the Franciscan monk Johannes de Verdana, who, besides Johann von Minden and Heinrich von W erl, belonged to the three best known German preachers of the thirties of the fifteenth century .

The “Sermones Dormi secure” is a command to calm the preacher who can keep his sermons on Sundays and holidays (de tempore et de sanctis) without his having so stay up all night composing your own texts. Compiled by a Franciscan friar, this collection of 71 sermons was intended to provide sample texts for those preachers who could not create their own. The nickname of the collection, “dormi secure” (“sleep soundly”), may have implied jokingly that its users were too ignorant or lazy to compose new sermons on short deadlines.

Although it was a highly successful book, appearing in dozens of editions, Martin Luther dismissed it as:

“Donkey dung, introduced by the devil.”

(oh Luther)

This practical preaching document was particularly popular and was printed between 1476 and 1500 in more than 30 editions in Germany , France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Numerous other editions were printed until the 17th century .



ad1)  De tempore: Goff J468; HC 15977; Walsh 759; Pr 2120; BMC II

ad2)De sanctis: Goff J470; HC 15979 Walsh 736; Pr 2087; BMC

(Goff and ISTC showing only two copies in the US :Harvard  & St Bonaventure Univ)


Augsburg Confession 1530

Augsburg Confession 1530

Augsburg Confession 1530

Saint John Fisher: English Martyr

ON 22 June, 1535   He was declared guilty, and condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn, but the mode of execution was changed, and instead he was beheaded on Tower Hill.

 Erasmus said of John Fisher:

“He is the one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning and for greatness of soul”

Fisher became the confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII. He gained fame in Western Europe for his well-constructed arguments against Martin Luther though he himself was a reforming Humanist. Fisher was a stout defender of the doctrine of the Catholic Church but also believed, like Sir Thomas More, that some areas of day-to-day practice within the Church should be reformed. However, Fisher wanted this reform to come from the Catholic Church itself and condemned the Protestant movement and all it stood for.

When it first became known that Henry VIII was planning ways in which to divorce Catherine of Aragon, Fisher made it clear that he totally opposed such moves. He helped Catherine plan her defence and schooled her in Canon Law. Fisher produced seven publications condemning the impending divorce. He also led those in Convocation who believed that Henry was legally married to Catherine – in direct opposition to those who believed that the marriage was illegal – a ploy Henry was trying to use to justify his call for a divorce. Fisher made his stand very clear in the House of Lords – the marriage was legal and a divorce was illegal and the king had no right to push ahead with it.

Fisher was playing a very dangerous game. He made his position even more dangerous when he secretly contacted Charles V to appeal to the Emperor to use force against Henry.

In April 1534, Fisher refused to take the oath required by the Succession Act. This required Fisher to take an oath that repudiated the Pope, that declared invalid the marriage between Henry and Catherine of Aragon and acknowledged that the children of Henry and Anne Boleyn would be the legal heirs to the throne. Several attempts were made to get Fisher to swear the oath but he refused. Under the newly passed Treason Act, his refusal was construed as treason and Fisher was put on trial charged with a crime that carried the death sentence. It was at this time that Pope Paul III made Fisher a Cardinal – a move that infuriated Henry and almost certainly condemned him to death (if he had not been already).

John Fisher was put on trial on June 17th, 1535, found guilty of treason and executed on June 22nd, 1535, at Tower Hill.

So Today I have two of Fishers books bound together to offer, these two books undoubtedly endangered Fisher.

716G Fisher, John. 1469-1535
Defesio Regie asser=tionis cõ(n)tra Babylonica captiuitate, per Reuerendum patre & D.D. Johanem Roffensem Episcopu. In qua re- spondet pro illustrissimo, eodeq[ue] doctissimo Anglor[um] Rege Henrico .viij. fidei defensore, ad maledicen- tissi-mum Martini Lutheri libellu, in eunde Rege scriptu plusq[uam] im-pudentissime

716G Defesio Regie assertionis cõ(n)tra Babylonica captiuitate
716G Defesio Regie assertionis cõ(n)tra Babylonica captiuitate

         [bound with]
Sacri sacerdotij defensio cõ(n)tra Lutherum, per Reuerendissimu Dominum, dominum Johannem Roffeñ. Episcopum, virum singulari eruditione omnifariam doctissimum, iam primum ab Archetypo euulgata. Cum tabula et repertorio tractatorum.

716G Sacri sacerdotij defensio cõ(n)tra Lutherum
716G Sacri sacerdotij defensio cõ(n)tra Lutherum

[Both books printed] Colonie : In officina honesti ciuis Petri Quentel, 1525                   $6,000

Octavo, 5 3/4 X 4 inches. AdI:A10,A-R8. AdII:A8[B4]a-g8.

These two books are both large copies (many decked edges) and are clean. It is bound in modern full calf in an antique style.
             In 1525, a strange and inaccurate rumor had been circulating in Europe that the English monarch, Henry VIII, was becoming sympathetic to Lutheran ideas. Following Luther’s attack upon the monarch, and the compromise in which the King found himself because protocol denied the right of reply from a monarch to a commoner, Thomas More was asked to write a defence and produced the Renaissance anti-Lutheran polemical work,  “Responsio ad Lutherum.” At around the same time (1525), John Fisher produced a series of theological treatises, both bound together in this volume, that critically examined the basic tenets of Lutheranism: “Defensio regie assertionis contra Babylonicam capituitatem” and the “Sacri sacerdotii defensio contra Lutherum.” The first is a defense of Henry VIII against Luther’s attack that qualifies him, according to Fisher in this work, as a philosophic king in the Platonic tradition. The second work, “Sacri sacerdotii defensio contra Lutherum” is a defense of the priesthood by arguments in favor of tradition against innovation and a divine sanction of the priesthood Luther’s reply to Henry VIII’s “Assertio” was the “Babylonian Captivity” which is perhaps one of the most scurrilous pieces of theological polemic on record.  It was felt that it would be beneath the dignity of the monarch to engage in further debate with the ribald Luther, and so both Fisher and Sir Thomas More were persuaded to come to his rescue.  This resulted in Fisher’s “Defence of the Assertions of the King of England against Luther’s Babylonian Captivity.” (the first work here)

DSC_0003The printing of this work was delayed by reports of a possible reconversion of Luther, but when this proved to be unfounded, the book was finally published in Cologne in 1525. The “Defensio” was a short book and concentrated on Luther’s denial of the Church’s doctrine on the Eucharist. Simultaneously with the “Defensio,” Sir Thomas More was writing his reply to Luther’s diatribe under the pseudonym Gulielmus Rosseus. He had obviously read Fisher’s work before he published his own. In his “Responsio ad Lutherum” he writes:
“The Reverend Father John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a man illustrious not only by the vastness of his erudition, but much more so by the purity of his life, has so opened and so overthrown the assertions of Luther, that if he had any shame he would give a great deal to have burnt his assertions.” Fisher wrote well in defense of the Pope as is evident from the effect his “Confutatio” against Luther had on St. Thomas More. In a letter to Cromwell (1534) More admitted that he had at one time thought the Pope’s supremacy was of merely ecclesiastical and not of divine institution. Yet after reading Fisher’s work he was able to write in his “Responsio”: “As regards the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff, the bishop of Rochester has made the matter so clear from the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and from the whole of the Old Testament, and from the consent of all the holy Fathers, not of the Latins only, but of the Greeks also (of whose opposition Luther is wont to boast), and from the definition of a general council . . . that it would be utterly superfluous for me to write again on the subject.”   “An eminent spiritual figure in the circle around Thomas More, Fisher preceded More to the scaffold; on June 22, 1535, he was executed for refusing to take the oath required of him in the administration of the Act of Succession. [Fisher’s head was on display on London Bridge for two weeks. When it was removed and thrown into the river, it was replaced with More’s own.] On May 19, 1935 Fisher was canonized in Rome with More.” (Contemporaries of Erasmus).

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