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Manassæ Oratio, Esdræ Lib III & IV
Coloniæ Agrippinæ [Cologne, Germany]: Sumptibus Balthasaris ab Egmond & Sociorum. Very Good+. 1670. Hardcover. 81, [119] pages; Contemporary full polished tan calf, with five raised bands on the spine, there is a red morocco label lettered in gilt "BIBLIA SACR" in the second panel. The central panel directly under the label has gilt tooling directly stamped, reading: "T. 5." (sic, for "6"). The other panels have elaborate gilt floral tooling, the covers are framed with a single rule fin gilt, marbled endpapers, edges decoratively stained red. With a superb engraved armorial bookplate mounted to the front free endpaper -- (a nine-point coronet surmounting a pear-shaped shield which contains a loop of rope surrounded by three stars and a crescent moon at the top. This excellent plate has no name, no date, and no identification of engraver). The binding is entirely consistent with the period of this 1670 book. The fine bookplate is in the Rococo style often denoted Louis XIV, with no straight lines, an elegantly curved pear-form to the heraldic shield, and even the coronet atop the shield is at a slightly jaunty angle. This plate, while unidentified, is worth further study. In all, a wonderful copy beautifullly preserved, of the final volume of a miniature edition of the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate Latin version of the Bible ('Biblia Sacra Vulgatæ Editionis Sixti Quinti Pontificis Maximi iussu recognita atque edita' . This edition resembles, but is slightly larger than, the miniature edition published at Cologne in 1638-1639. Our volume is the final volume in the 1670 miniature set; these three Biblical texts form an appropriate end to the set, as Clement VIII removed 3 and 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses from the Old Testament and placed them as Apocrypha into an appendix following the New Testament -- "ne prorsus interirent" ("lest they utterly perish"). The first text, the "Prayer of Manasses" is brief -- 15 verses of the penitential prayer of king Manasseh of Judah; (occupying page 3 and half of page 4, only). "3 Esdras" -- (called 1 Esdras in the King James Bible) was extensively quoted by early Christian authors and it ws given a place in Origen's Hexapla. While it was not included in early canons of the Western Church, it remains part of the Eastern Orthodox canon. "4 Esdras" is considered one of the gems of Jewish apocalyptic literature. It is canonical only in the Orthodox Slavonic Bible, (and a portion is part of the canon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church). Like 3 Esdras, it is widely cited by early church Fathers, particularly Ambrose of Milan. Its verses provided sources for several liturgical prayers, and may have suggested the text of the Introitus of the traditional Catholic Requiem Mass -- "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them." These three texts, preserved by Clement VIII are followed by an unpaginated index to the Biblical texts ("cum indice Bibliorum triplici" -- specifically, "Index Testimoniorvm a Christo et Apostolis in novo Testamento"; "Hebraicorvm, Chaldæorvm, Græcorvmqve Nominum interpretatio"; and "Index Biblicvs."). See Darlow & Moule, no. 6239. Indeed, the Bible Society copy deposited in Cambridge University is the only complete set I can find recorded of the full six volumes of this 1670 set. The Cambridge/Bible Society set is carefully described by an excellent catalogue entry (available online with a Newton search) which makes clear that our volume VI is the only one of the set not to have an additional, engraved title-page before the text, (running title: "Pentateuchum Moysi"). The other distinction is that this final volume is the only one to omit the Parisian portion of the imprint found in the other volumes ("Parisiis : Væneunt apud Fr. Leonard"). [See OCLC Number: 265388382; Univ. Cambridge, & Catholic Univ. of America (but note that Catholic Univ. has only volume one). There are copies of volume VI (like ours, unaccompanied by others of the set of six) at: Cleveland Public Library; Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen; Biblioteca Diocesana Tridentina "A. Rosmini" [Trento, Italy]; and the Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris. A rare and fascinating appendix to the fine miniature set of the Sixtus-Clementine Vulgate -- which has elegantly encouraged owners for three and a half centuries to fulfill Clement VIII's wish that these books not "utterly perish." .
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Last Found On: 2017-07-18           Check availability:      Biblio    

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