A very early witness to Gutenberg’s experimental studies with moveable types
33 I. Thomas de Aquino. Summa de articulis fidei[Mainz: Printer of the Catholicon, before 1460? – or rather: Mainz: Peter Schöffer? reuse of the set of stereotypes of c. 1460 from the printing press of the Catholicon, c. 1469]. – Second print of first edition. preceded by:
II. Matthaeus de Cracovia. Dialogus rationis et conscientiae de frequenti usu Communionis. [Mainz: see above, c. 1469]. – Second print of first edition. preceded by:
III.Antoninus Florentinus. Confessionale: Defecerunt. His manual for confessors is followed by Johannes Chrysostomus’s Se-r-mo de poenitentia. [Cologne: Ulrich Zell, c. 1470]. – Third edition.
4°, 210 x 142 mm. – I. 13 instead of 14 leaves (without final blank): I8, II4+1 (last leaf belonged to a separate quire (III2) that had been wrapped around both preceding quires to protect the print, but had been removed by the bookbinder).Watermarks: four variants of a bull’s head: Gerardy I, 1946 Z7, 1946 Z5 resp. A5, and 1946 Z3. – II. 22 leaves, complete; I10, II12.Watermarks: four variants of a bull’s head: Gerardy I, 1946 Z5, 1880 A 1946 Z3 and 1946 A4. – III. 143 leaves (instead of 144, final blank missing): I-XVII8, XVIII8-1. Bull’s head, similar to Piccard IX, 315 (1466-1474). Leaf 7a with erasure. – Lombards in ink, some underlining and contemporary marginalia. Each quire strengthened with a strip of used parchment in the middle. – Contemporary Austrian (Mauerbacher?) binding, blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards. Frame decorated with small rosettes, scissors and circle segments, the centre is divided in rhombs with lamb, bull’s head, rosette, and a banderole with barely decipherable inscription: “maria” or “maver” (Mauerbach?). Only the front cover originally preserved, back cover renewed in the 20th century, spine damaged, bosses and clasps missing. Flyleaves consisting of two vellum documents of the 15th century.
PROVENANCE: 1. One of the manuscript flyleaves points to the Carthusian monastery of Mauerbach near Vienna (cf. Arnim 1984, no 13). 2. Front flyleaf:“Magister Sebastian Kehl legavit BL 1547.” 3. Leaf 1a (III): “Hunc librum dono accepit a ... Domino Jodoco Höpffnero SS. Theologiae Doctore, Decano Laurecense ... Joannes Godefredus Jylzeder pro tempore Parochus in Stainbach, Augusti 1650”. Laureacense refers to Lorch/Upper Austria, Stainbach is a place nearby. 4. Gilhofer & Ranschburg, Lucerne, exh. cat. 1955, p. 11. 5.W. H. Schab, New York, sold 1959 to 6. Collection Otto Schäfer, Schweinfurt, OS 117.
TEXT: Compilation of three early incunabula.Types resp. type-setting of I and II possibly by Johannes Gutenberg. I. The Summa de articulis fidei et ecclesie sacramentis (Treatise on the Articles of Faith and the Sacraments) is one of the shortest writings by St Thomas Aquinas. It discusses the fundamental issues of the Christian doctrine and sharply condemns later additions, “mistakes” accrued in the course of the first millennium (Hellinga 1993, p. 397f.).
II. Matthaeus de Cracovia (1335/40-1410), one of the most important reformist preachers of his time, taught theology in Prague, Krakow and Heidelberg before becoming bishop of Worms in 1405.
III.The Dominican Antoninus Florentinus (1389-1459),was Archbishop of Florence from 1446 and was canonized in 1523. His manual for confessors is followed by Johannes Chrysostomus’s Se-r-mo de poenitentia.
PRINTS: I. Second print of the first edition, printed with the Catholicon-type.Type-setting almost identical to that of the first printing, c. 1460, possibly by Gutenberg. There is a difference only in the number of lines, in the present case 34 instead of 36, amounting to one additional leaf. All scholarly discussion agrees that this small treatise must have been printed before Johannes Balbus’s 1460 Catholicon (GW 3182; cf. no. 34 in this catalogue).This date, however, is highly contentious, while it is of course important for the printing history of Thomas’s De articulis fidei. Two opposing hypotheses dominate the scholarly field: Needham supposes that the Catholicon-type was used for the first time for the treatise, which thus should be regarded as a test print for a new technique.The type-setting shows a conspicuous two-line structure throughout, implying the use of two-line stereotypes, which could be preserved for later printings. The use of this time-saving technique explains the identical layout of this edition and its reprints. Lotte Hellinga, on the other hand claims, that the Mainz edition cannot have been the first edition, and Johannes Gutenberg cannot have been the printer as he died in 1468.
II. Second print of the first edition, likewise using the Catholicon-type and printed in the same technique. The question of date is closely linked to the dating of Thomas Aquinas’s treatise. As it partly uses the same paper as the preceding edition of De articulis fidei, we are probably dealing with a second edition (see: Needham 1982).
III.Third edition by Zell (according to GW).The first edition, likewise printed in the Zell press, is dated “not after 1469” in the GW. There are, however, copies with earlier dates of the rubricators: 24.6.1468 (Schab Cat. 23, No. 7) and 29.8.1468 (Christie’s New York, 8 April 1981, No. 44). Ulrich Zell was born in Hanau and learned the art of printing in Mainz at Fust and Schöffers’ workshop. In 1464 he settled in Cologne, establishing the city’s first press.
RARITY: Three rare texts. Frequently found in great public collections, yet only 7-11 copies in the US.Very rarely in private hands. In the past decades only II has appeared on the international market, III once in Germany.
LITERATURE:I. Hain/Copinger 1895, 1425; BMC I, p. 40; Goff 1964, T-273; Needham 1982; Arnim 1984, no. 329; Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte 13, 1988; Hellinga 1993; Schneider, C. 2000, pp. 201ff; GW M46416; ISTC it00273000.
II. Hain 1826, 5803; BMC I, p. 40; Goff 1964, M-367; Arnim 1984, no. 227; BSB-Ink M-267; GW M21753; ISTC im00367000.
III. Hain/Copinger 1895, 1162; BMC I, p. 183; Goff 1964, A-788; Arnim 1984, no. 13; GW 2082; ISTC ia00788000.