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VITA PAULI HEREMITAE. [and] DIALOGI CONTRA PELAGIUM. [and] ALTERCATIO LUCIFERIANI ET ORTHODOXI
Italy, ca 1440 - 241 x 165 mm (9 1/2 x 6 1/2"). [44] leaves (two folios wanting from end of volume). Single column, 39 lines per page in multiple neat humanistic hands. Three works bound in one volume. Modern quarter vellum over paper boards, flat spine. With four four-line initials in red with iridescent yellow infill and TWO LARGE 12-LINE INITIALS IN RED, BLUE, AND YELLOW, both with scrolling banners around an inner staff (the first initial with a geometric pattern similar to eighth- and early ninth-century Insular initials, the second with ascender flourishes like those on romanesque initials). Bergendal Collection Catalogue: "One Hundred and Twenty-Five Manuscripts," no. 38. One leaf with tiny hole (not affecting text), isolated minor smudges, occasional darkening because of the natural variation in the color of the vellum, but A VERY FINE, ESPECIALLY FRESH AND CLEAN SPECIMEN with generous margins (and in an unworn binding). This beautifully preserved humanistic manuscript contains three of Saint Jerome's lesser-known--and most interesting--writings. The first work, "Life of Paul the Hermit" (fol. 1r-3v), was one of his early texts, written when Jerome (ca. 347-420) was about 30. According to J. N. D. Kelly, author of "Jerome: His Life, Writings, and Controversies," this book "introduced an entirely new genre into Latin literature and proved one of the most popular of his writings," being translated into Greek, Coptic, Syriac, and Ethiopic soon after its initial appearance. Based on Egyptian monastic traditions, it tells the story of Paul of Thebes, who took refuge in the desert during the persecutions of Decius and Valerian. His ascetic life inspired Saint Anthony, the earliest of the Desert Fathers, who became the aged hermit's first visitor when Paul was 113, and who buried him, with the help of two lions, when Paul died at age 115. As Kelly says, this "is not really a biography, . . . but rather a romantic idealisation of monastic withdrawal, as full of wonders and fabulous creatures as a fairy-tale." The second work, "Dialogues Against Pelagius," was one of Jerome's last, a response to the heresies of his contemporary, Pelagius (ca. 354-420/40), who denied the concept of original sin. To counter what he sees as such an extreme stance, Jerome maintains the universality of sin, even taking the position of claiming that Christ himself had flaws. While typically bellicose in his controversial writings, Jerome is less blustering and intemperate than usual in this work, but he does not confine himself to logic and evidenced persuasion; in fact, he does not refrain in the course of his arguments from referring to such things as his opponent's notable corpulence and the self-deceived notions of that antagonist's supposed success with women. Beginning on folio 37, the final text, one of the earliest of Jerome's polemical works, is another refutation of a heretic, this time an adherent of Lucifer Calaritanus, a bishop who refused to be reconciled with those who had once been Arian-Christians (those who define the Son as separate from, and subordinate to, God the Father). The text is presented as a debate between Helladius the Luciferian and the wise Orthodoxus, who with citations of Scripture and ruthless logic demonstrates that believers who have renounced the Arian heresy must be considered as Christians in the eyes of the Church. Kelly describes it as "an instructive witness to Jerome's understanding of the nature of the Church, his respect for tradition as an independent authority, his conviction of the duty of abiding in the Church founded by the Apostles, [and] his horror of sects and schisms." The humanistic hands here are small, employing slender, elegant, closely spaced letters, allowing these three works to be contained in a relatively small book. Although the initials are not numerous, they are striking when they appear, and the vellum is uniformly fresh. In sum, this is a most appealing manuscript Sammelband of texts by one of the g [Attributes: Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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