Description

    A Textbook to "Christian Perfection"

    Thomas á Kempis and Johannes Gerson. Imitatio Christi. [bound with:] Bernardus (Pseudonym). Meditationes de interiori homine. Paris [Jean Maurand? for] Denis Roce, [No date, circa 1505] [and:] Paris: Gaspard Philippe for Jean Petit, circa 1500-1501. Small octavo. Two works in one volume. a-m8. A5 [lacks A1(title page),2,8], B-I8, K4. 96ff. 73 [of 76] ff. 18th century calf, spine banded and gilt decorated, head of spine chipped off, top of front hinge split, speckled edges; old signatures of previous owner on endpapers; title page soiled and backed with some loss in center of large printer's mark; trimmed close at top with loss to a few head-lines; colophon leaf soiled; else very good copies of two rare books. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    Thomas á Kempis, author of the Imitation of Christ, born at Kempen in the Diocese of Cologne, in 1379 or 1380; died 25 July, 1471. The Imitation of Christ is a work of spiritual devotion, also sometimes called the "Following of Christ". Its purpose is to instruct the soul in Christian perfection with Christ as the Divine Model. It consists of a series of counsels of perfection written in Latin in a familiar and even colloquial style... With the exception of the Bible, it is perhaps the most widely read spiritual book in the world. " [CE]

    The publication date of this book is still unresolved because of the reading of the colophon. "Ano domini Millesimo quingentissimo pri(m)o die vero xxiiii Aprilis. or Òpridie vero..." which can either mean April 24, 1501 or April 23, 1500. GW takes the date as 1500; Moreau and Adams as 1501. Bernardus, Meditationes de interiori homine are popular meditations on the human condition and are probably not by Bernard but the early editions and manuscripts ascribe it to him. Add: De conscientia aedificanda; Epistola de gubernatione rei familiaris; Orationes devotissimae; De ordine vitae et morum institutione; Speculum de honestate vitae; Octo puncta perfectionis assequendae. The true author of De gubernatione rei familiaris is Bernardus Silvestris (Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche. 2 Aufl. (Freiburg 1957-67) Band 2 col.248). The Meditationes are also attributed to Hugo de Sancto Victore, De conscientia to an anonymous Cistercian of the 12th century, De ordine vitae to Johannes Homo Dei (cf Hillard). The Bernardus volume has no date and is listed in several incunable sources but the current guess puts the date at approximately 1505.

    Thomas á Kempis: GW M46790. Adams K18. Moreau I:1501:61. Bernard: ISTC ib00409800. GW III Sp. 722a. Peligry 158. Polain (B) 592. Borm 407. Index Aurel. 117.457. Pellechet 2127.



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    August, 2015
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