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    (Augustus Binding, Elector of Saxony) Philipp Melanchthon (Melanth). Loci Praecipui Theologici. Wittenberg: Johannes Crato (Johann Kraff), 1577. 8vo. A-3F8, 3G9 (lacks 3G10, blank). 749, (101)p. Contemporary pigskin binding, bound for (or possibly in honor of) Augustus, Elector of Saxony. The rear cover bears the legend "Augustus Churfurth" i.e. "Elector Augustus" below an armorial panel, incorporating (among other blazons) that of arch-marshal of the Holy Roman Empire (an honor Augustus held) and Augustus's own blazon. The front cover reads "Des Romischen Keistertums Wapen" i.e. "Arms of the Holy Roman Empire" below an armorial panel with double-headed eagle. Spine has five panels, with raised bands, with pattern of repeating volutes. Lacks clasps and hooks. Top of front hinge, starting. Some light damp stains to outer margins, no affect. Title page tipped in. Old ink notes to verso and recto of title page. Portrait on title page. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

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    Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560) first came under the spell of Martin Luther when he himself was professor of Greek at Wittenberg.  He became Luther's right hand man, bringing the humanistic elements into the Reform movement, and as such was present at several significant disputations, including those at Leipzig, Spier, and Marburg, and for a brief time led the Reformation "party" while Luther was in hiding at Wartburg.  As a Reformer, Melanchthon was known for his moderation, conscientiousness, caution, and love of peace, the last of which caused him at times to make concessions to the Catholics (e.g., Erasmus) and Calvinists to the detriment of the Lutheran position.  He was the author of the Augsburg Confession and a prolific writer, Reformer and scholar in his own right.

    Melanchthon finished his "Theological Common-Places or Ground-Thoughts (Loci Communes or Loci Theologici), in April, 1521, and sent the proof-sheets to Luther on the Wartburg. They appeared for the first time before the Close of that year. This book marks an epoch in the history of theology. It grew out of exegetical lectures on the Epistle to the Romans, the Magna Charta of the evangelical system. It is an exposition of the leading doctrines of sin and grace, repentance and salvation. It is clear, fresh, thoroughly biblical, and practical. Its main object is to show that man cannot be saved by works of the law or by his own merits, but only by the free grace of God in Christ as revealed in the gospel. It presents the living soul of divinity, in striking contrast to the dry bones of degenerate scholasticism with its endless theses, antitheses, definitions, divisions, and subdivisions...Under his improving hand, the Loci assumed in subsequent editions the proportions of a full, mature, and well-proportioned system, stated in calm, clear, dignified language, freed from polemics against the Sorbonne and contemptuous flings at the schoolmen and Fathers. He embraced in twenty-four chapters all the usual topics from God and the creation to the resurrection of the body, with a concluding chapter on Christian liberty. He approached the scholastic method, and even ventured, in opposition to the Anti-Trinitarians, on a new speculative proof of the Holy Trinity from psychological analogies. He never forsakes the scriptural basis, but occasionally quotes also the Fathers to show their supposed or real agreement with evangelical doctrines." [Schaff]


    Augustus, Elector of Saxony (1526 - 1586), was Elector of Saxony from 1553 to 1586. He was a devout Lutheran and a note-worthy collector in a wide-ranging variety of fields. VD16: M2854. Knaake 713. OCLC 631810928.Bindseil 100a. Not in STC, Adams or Hartfelder's Melancthon Biblio.

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