1519 ERASMUS Annotations To GREEK - LATIN TESTAMENT Bible Reformation BINDING
Item History and Pricing
Printed in Basel by Johann Froben, March 1519.
Text in Latin, with many passages in Greek (and some in Hebrew).
Embellished with fine woodcut borders, head-pieces and initials.
RARE AND BEAUTIFULLY PRINTED SECOND EDITION (i.e. FIRST SEPARATE EDITION) of Erasmus' Annotations to his revolutionary Novum Instrumentum omn...e (Basel, Froben, 1516) which was the first published New Testament in Greek.The influential Second Edition of Erasmus' New Testament was considerably enlarged to include an account of his methodology and editorial process, and corrected numerous errors of the original edition. This edition is of particular importance, since it was used by Martin Luther as the basis for his translation of the New Testament into German, the so-called "September Testament" (1522).The 1519 edition of Erasmus' New Testament was published in two separate volumes: one comprising the Greek text of the N.T. with a new Latin translation made by Erasmus himself, the other one separate volume (offered here) containing (the enlarged version of) Erasmus's entire Annotations on the N.T.
Both volumes of this important and lavishly printed edition are now quite rare, and when they do appear in the antiquarian book market, are almost always found separately.Offered here is a complete and very pleasing example of the 1519 edition of Erasmus' Annotationes volume wide-margined, clean and well-preserved in its original Renaissance binding (blind-stamped calf over wooden boards), and with some partial (but pleasing) contemporary coloring to some woodcut initials and borders."This is the second enlarged and revised edition of Erasmus' New Testament printed by Froben in two separated volumes bearing each its own title page. The printing process started in May 1518 and ended up in March 1519. Printing of the volume with Annotations was finished in August 1518. [...] Print-run in some 2,000 copies. Three copies were printed on parchment. [...] Basilius and Bruno Amerbach, together with Jacobus Nepos helped with proofreading." (V. Sebastiani. Johann Froben: Printer of Basel, p.376).This magnificent folio is embellished with 3 splendid woodcut borders, as well as numerous elegant head-pieces and initials. The elaborate historiated border framing the title-page designed by Ambrosius Holbein (signed with his 'AH' monogram and dated 1517) is of particular interest. Ambrosius Holbein (c. 1494 - c. 1519) was a notable German-Swiss Renaissance artist working in painting, drawing and printmaking. The top panel depicts the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest of 9 AD, in which an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius destroyed three Roman legions led by Quinctilius Varus. Side panels incorporate allegorical female figures of virtues: Love, Temperance, Justice and Fortitude. The bottom panel represents 'The Calumny of Apelles,' recreating a lost painting by the ancient Greek artist Apelles (4th century BC), an allegory of slander, known only from a detailed description by Lucian of Samosata."The decoration, designed by Ambrosius Holbein, the older brother of Hans Holbein, was also used for the separate title pages to the Annotations of 1519 and 1522. Holbein's design, which was inspired by the famous picture of Calumny by Apelles, shows Calumny dragging her victim before a man with large ears and flanked by figures representing Ignorance and Suspicion, an apt image for the reception Erasmus expected to encounter on the publication of his work." (R.D. Sider (ed.), The New Testament Scholarship of Erasmus, p.741.)'When it [the Calumny design] appeared on an edition of Erasmus' translation of the New Testament, it is difficult not to see its presence as a kind of commentary on the contents of the volume and the response this new text was to arouse. The Calumny design occupies the lower panel of the decoration of the title page; the top panel shows the victory of the German Arminius over the Roman forces. [...] Given the jealousies that existed between Italian and northern humanists, this panel too could be seen as allegorical." (David Cast, The Calumny of Apelles, p. 98-9.)The reception of the 1st edition was mixed, but within three years a second was produced. The title of the 1519 second edition used the more familiar term Testamentum instead of Instrumentum. For the second edition Erasmus again used Minuscule 3 (12th century manuscript of the entire NT except Revelation). The text was changed in about 400 places, with most of the typographical errors corrected. In this edition Erasmus replaced the text of Jerome's Vulgate by his own more elegant Latin translation. Erasmus's Latin translation had a good reception. However, after this edition, Erasmus was involved in numerous polemics and controversies. Particularly objectionable were the responses from Cambridge and Oxford universities."'In their original form, the Annotations were predominantly a philological commentary [...]. Material added to the notes in subsequent editions [...] broadened their scope considerably. They became a mixture of textual and literary criticism, theological exegesis, spiritual counsel, and polemical asides." (E. Van Gulik, Erasmus and His Books, p.407)"Erasmus had already in 1516 applied skillfully the technique of turning a philological note into a sharply barbed [...] criticism of his contemporary world. In 1519 remarks of this kind frequently became more intense, more sustained, and more vitriolic. Many of the most memorable attack ecclesiastical practices. [...]"Erasmus links popular superstition to the avarice of clergy: through avarice the clergy deliberately foster superstition among their people. It is for gain that the 'milk of Mary [...] the foreskin of Christ' are everywhere on display. [...] The condemnation of war was by no means new to the annotations in 1519, but in the second edition Erasmus adds force to the complaints of 1516. In the annotation on Matthew 5:11 (omne malum) he points to bishops, theologians, and monks as the fomenters of war, men who 'praise war even in the churches,' and he verifies by his own witness that priestly advocacy of war has borne fruit to clerical ambition: 'I have known some who have risen to the episcopacy by singing the praises of war.' The contradiction between ecclesiastical rules and actual practice in the matter of celibacy receives a bold and vivid expression in the annotation on 1 Timothy 3:2 (unius uxoris virum): when we consider how many people fill roles requiring celibacy and then consider how few of them retain their chastity, in what terrible lusts they indulge, perhaps we will come to the conclusion that for those who cannot maintain a chaste life marriage is far preferable. In 1519 Erasmus darkened even further the description of church music, whose deplorable state he had already exposed in 1516. 'What else do people hear but sounds signifying nothing? ... We bring into the church a kind of operatic and theatrical music such as was never heard, I imagine, even in ancient Greece and Rome ... filthy amorous songs to which prostitutes and mimic actors dance. [see Annotations to 1 Cor 14:19] [...]"In the second edition long notes of nearly a page to several pages were more numerous [than in the 1st] and help to define the edition, particularly because of the extent to which they explore exegetical problems or address with intense concern ecclesiastical issues. Some of the long notes address the issue of the integrity and authority of Scripture, the relation between the Holy Spirit and the human author. Other notes endeavour to defend the theological integrity of Erasmus' interpretation of the biblical text, or of the text itself as printed in 1516, in particular showing that neither interpretation nor text was a menace to the orthodox defence against Arianism. [...]"In [his] long notes Erasmus undertook to find solutions to longstanding and historic exegetical problems. What was the sword that 'passed through Mary?' How could John the Baptist say that he did not know Christ? How could Jesus say that he would rise from the dead 'after three days' when in fact he arose on the third day? What exactly did Jesus reply to the Jews when they asked him who he was? [...]"Two of the long notes of 1519 make an exceptionally sustained and powerful appeal for reform. In the annotation on Matthew 11:30 (iugum meum suave) a single sentence in 1516 had explained the Greek χρηστός as 'easy,' 'agreeable' - 'my yoke is easy.' In 1519 Erasmus turned to a lengthy exposé of contemporary Christianity: the unencumbered teaching of Christ has become cumbersome, perplexing, and gloomy. Theologians define 'articles,' clergy impose regulations - for fasting, for holy days, for vows, for confession – all destructive. As Augustine said of his generation, the Christian is more oppressed with regulations than the Jew. Preachers heed the powerful; bishops, once expected to comfort and console, have become tyrants. Erasmus calls for a General Council, but adds that there is no hope unless Christ himself reverses the situation and arouses the hearts of princes and prelates to follow true piety."In what is by far the longest annotation in the 1519 edition (it extends over ten pages) Erasmus argues the case for permitting divorce and remarriage in certain situations, an annotation he himself says amounts to a little book. Erasmus had stated his position briefly in 1516 in an annotation on Matthew 19:8 (ad duriciem cordis). His position was unquestionably controversial, and Erasmus clearly determined to articulate it with much greater force in 1519." (R.D. Sider (ed.), The New Testament Scholarship of Erasmus, p.134-7.)This 1519 edition is also famous for sparking controversy over Erasmus' rephrasing of the iconic opening line to the Gospel of John ("In the beginning was the Word"). Here Erasmus suggests that the Latin "sermo" would be a better choice than the "verbum" of Jerome's Vulgate as a translation of "logos" in the Greek original.Also important is Erasmus' annotation on the 1st Epistle of John commenting on the notorious trinitarian Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7-8). Erasmus claimed that the comma did not occur in any of the Greek manuscripts he could find, but that he would add it to future editions if it appeared in a single Greek manuscript. Such a manuscript was subsequently produced by a Franciscan, and Erasmus, true to his word, added the comma to the next 1522 edition.Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, aka Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466 - 1536), was a prominent Dutch Renaissance humanist, classical scholar, social critic, teacher, and theologian. He was a proponent of religious toleration, and has often been called "the Prince of the Humanists". Using humanist techniques of working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. While he was critical of the abuses within the Church and called for reform, Erasmus kept his distance from Luther and Melanchthon and continued to recognize the authority of the pope. Erasmus emphasized a middle way, with a deep respect for traditional faith, piety and grace, and rejected Luther's emphasis on faith alone. Erasmus therefore remained a member of the Catholic Church all his life. In relation to clerical abuses in the Church, Erasmus remained committed to reforming the Church from within.The famous Basel printer and publisher Johann Froben (ca. 1460 - 1527) was friends with Erasmus, who lived in his house when in Basel, and not only had his own works printed by him from 1514 on, but superintended Froben's editions of the Church Fathers. Froben's work in Basel made the city the leading center of the Swiss book trade.Bibliographic references:Adams E 887. Sebastiani, Johann Froben: Printer of Basel, p.373-6. Darlow & Moule 4597. VD 16 E 3093. Bezzel 1212. Van der Haeghen II, 57.Physical description:Folio, textblock measures 31 cm x 20½ cm. Bound in fine contemporary (early 16th-century) blind-paneled dark-brown calf over (partially bevelled) wooden boards; spine with prominent raised bands. Pair of brass catch-plates at fore-edge of front cover (clasps perished). All edges dyed teal.
Pagination: , 579,  pages.
Signatures: aa4 a-z8 A-Y6 Z4 aA-bB8.
Collated and COMPLETE.Froben's woodcut printer's mark on title and (a different one) on verso of the final leaf. Three pages (aa1r, aa2r and a1r) printed within full historiated woodcut borders; the elaborate allegorical title-border by Ambrosius Holbein signed with his monogram 'AH' and dated 1517, depicting 'The Calumny of Apelles' in the bottom panel and victory of Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the top panel. Many woodcut decorative headpieces of various styles (with putti, dolphins, grotesques, interlaced strap-work, etc). Numerous fine historiated and ornamental woodcut initials of various sizes.A few figures and other elements of the title-border and parts of printer's device on title with contemporary coloring in red (somewhat faded); two other woodcut borders with a few minor elements and the shield at bottom of border on aa2r colored in yellow wash; many woodcut initials also gently highlighted in yellow wash or in red.Main text printed in single columns in elegant roman, Greek and (occasionally) Hebrew types, with printed marginal notes.Typographical ornamentation by way of tapering of lines on final pages of some chapters.Includes Erasmus' preface 'In Annotationes novi testamenti praefatio / Des. Erasmus Roterodamus pio lectori S. D.' dated 1515 (leaves aa2r-4v).
Also includes 'Index rerum ac vocabulorum in Annotationes Novi Testamenti' at the end of the volume (leaves (aA1r-bB6v), followed by an epistle by Johannes Oecolampadius' postfatory letter to the reader ('Quamquam Erasmus noster') (on Ff7r,v); list of errata (on Ff7v) and register of quires (on Ff8r) with Froben's woodcut device and colophon on verso.Provenance:An (undeciphered) early possession note to title-page (dated ?1612).The blank shield within the woodcut border on aa2r inscribed (by an early hand) with a simple armorial and letters "S P Q M", probably standing for "Senatus PopulusQue Melphictensis", i.e. Senate and People of Molfetta (a town in Apulia, southern Italy).Condition:Very Good antiquarian condition. Complete. Binding somewhat rubbed, some edge-wear; spine very sympathetically and professionally rebacked (almost unnoticeably). Original clasps gone, but retaining a pair of brass catch-plates. Without free endpapers at both front and rear; retaining original pastedowns (soiled and somewhat worn). Title-page with an early ownership signature, and very neatly laid-down on its blank verso (repairing a few old tears and abrasions). Three borders and many initials with gentle (somewhat faded) partial hand-coloring. Occasional moderate water-staining, more noticeable in quires G and M. A few minor marginal notes or pen-marks in an early hand. A few small ink-smudges. In all, a nice, wide-margined, bright and solid example of this beautiful and very important edition, preserved in an attractive original Renaissance binding.
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