St. Jerome’s biblical commentaries. Incunable leaf, 1498, Venice. Large woodcut initial.

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Large woodcut initial of Jerome writing at his desk.

This Venetian edition of “Commentaria in Bibliam” brings together all of St. Jerome's biblical commentaries dating from the fourth and fifth centuries.  Even though Jerome's works were hugely popular in the 15th century, this leaf is from the only complete edition of the work printed during that period.  It was edited for the de Gregoris brothers by Bernardinus Gadolus.

Recto:   61 lines of text printed in Gothic and Roman type on laid rag paper.   Heading: Prologus Super Ezechielem (Prologue On Ezekiel).   Pilcrows indicate new paragraphs.  A splendid fourteen-line, (57x47 mm.), woodcut initial ‘P’ of Saint Jerome seated at his desk, writing the Commentaries.  A window to his right provides light, his bishop’s mitre is placed on a ledge in front of him and three books are distributed around the scriptorium.

Verso:  As Recto with the heading Liber sextus.c.xviii.  (Book Six, Chapter eighteen).   A “catchword” mee sunt in the bottom margin.

Origin:  Venice, Italy.  Printed by Giovanni and Gregorio de Gregoriis, de Forlivio,

Date:  August 25, 1498.

Content:  The original Vulgate Latin is printed in Gothic type, and Jerome’s commentary in Roman type.  The woodcut initial 'P' begins the commentary:

Putabam quod, medio serpente confosso, non reviviscerent hydrae novella plantaria, et juxta fabulas poetarum, Scylla mortua, nequaquam in me Scyllaei saevirent canes, qui latrare non cessant: et haereticis Dei percussis manu, ne tentarentur, si fieri potest, etiam electi Dei.  Haeresis ipsa non moritur, haereditariis contra nos odiorum suorum catulis derelictis, qui nostra simulantes, genitricis antiquae, et pellacis Ulyssis venena non deserunt: labiaque tantum melle circumlinunt; et juxta eloquia Scripturarum mollierunt verba sua super oleum: ipsi autem sunt jacula, et jacula ignita, quae scuto fidei repellenda simul et exstinguenda sunt.

 (I thought that, pierced by a serpent, the hydra would not revive, and according to the fables of the poets, Scylla being dead, the Scylla's dogs would never cease to bark in me. Chosen of God heresy itself does not die, abandoned by the heirs of their hatred against us, who pretending to be ours, the ancient progenitors, and the hideous Ulysses do not abandon their poisons: they only coat their lips with honey; and according to the words of the Scriptures, they softened their words over oil: but they are darts, and fiery darts, which must be repulsed and extinguished at the same time with the shield of faith.)

Condition:  Apart from some pale brown marks in the top and outer margins, the leaf is in excellent condition, with the woodcut and text sharply printed on quality paper with full margins.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Notes: A catchword is a word which is usually written on the bottom margin of a page that repeats the first word on the following page. It helped the bookbinder make sure that the leaves were bound in the correct order.

Size:  Leaf: approx. 325x215 mm.   Please note that shipping is invoiced separately.

References:  H 8581*; GW 12419; BMC V, 350; IGI 4729; Goff H-160; Essling 1170; Sander 3386. 

Item No.:  PSA207

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