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INCUNABLE 1483 Saint AUGUSTINE CONFESSIONS Catholic DIVINATION OF DEMONS Occult


Item History and Pricing
Information:
Year Printed: 1483Subject: Religion & Spirituality
Modified Item: NoOriginal/Facsimile: Original
Country/Region of Manufacture: ItalyLanguage: Latin
Topic: Christianity, BiblesPublisher: Octavianus Scotus
Binding: Fine BindingPlace of Publication: Venice
Region: EuropeSpecial Attributes: Complete, 2nd Edition/1ST EDITION TO INCLUDE 'CONFESSIONS', Rubricated throughout w/ hand-painted initials
Author: Saint Augustine (Aurelius Augustinus)
Original Description:
[Early Printing - Incunabula - Venice] [Roman Catholic Church - Early Fathers] [Christian Theology] [Philosophy]
[Biographical and Autobiographical Literature] [Occult - Demonology, Magic and Divination]

Printed in Venice by Octavianus Scotus, 28 May 1483.Text in the original Latin. First Edition Thus. Rubricated throughout, with numerous painted Lombard initials in red and blue supplied in contemporary hand.This is the 2nd edition of Augustine's Opuscula, but the 1st edition... to include the celebrated autobiographical "Confessions," Saint Augustine's spiritual self-examination, a stirring account of his restless youth and his stormy spiritual voyage. Not so much autobiography as an exploration of the philosophical and emotional development of an individual sou, the Confessions broke entirely fresh ground, and the literary genre of autobiography owes many of its characteristics to Augustine.A much shorter collection (which did not include the Confessions) appeared ca. 1475 in Krakow, and is now virtually unobtainable.In addition to the celebrated Confessions this 1483 Venetian incunable edition contains many other important works by Augustine, which are representative of different phases and facets of his career and his spiritual and intellectual development: his training in philosophy, his battles against heresy and his pastoral concerns as Bishop: De doctrina christiana, De divinatione daemonum, De libero arbitrio voluntatis, Soliloquia, De vera religione; De vita beata; Enchiridion de fide, spe et caritate, etc. Some important pseudo-Augustinian and spurious works, such as Meditationes; De triplici habitaculo; De duodecim abusionum gradibus; De contritione cordis, etc., and some texts by other authors. Aurelius Augustinus, known in English as Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (354 - 430 AD) is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, and perhaps the most influential of the four Fathers of the Latin church. In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. Born in Africa as the eldest son of Saint Monica, he was educated in Africa and baptized in Milan.Augustine's works remained fundamental to Christian teaching and doctrine throughout the Middle Ages. With the Renaissance, there was a renewal of interest in him. Petrarch's devotion is especially well known: he owned manuscripts of several of Augustine's works, admired the Confessions in particular, and famously quoted Augustine in the height of his emotion upon climbing Mont Ventoux.Augustine's enormously influential spiritual autobiography, the Confessions, was probably written after his appointment in 395 as Bishop of Hippo in north Africa. The work is widely seen as the first Western autobiography ever written, and was an influential model for Christian writers throughout the following 1000 years of the Middle Ages.The Confessions gives a moving account of Augustine's sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. It provides an uninterrupted record of Augustine's spiritual and intellectual development. He expresses his regrets for following the Manichaean religion and believing in astrology, and writes about Nebridius's role in helping to persuade him that astrology was not only incorrect but evil, and St. Ambrose's role in his conversion to Christianity.Augustine also shows intense sorrow for the sexual sins of his youth, and writes on the importance of sexual morality. Augustine's curious treatise "On demonic divination" (De divinatione daemonum) was written in 406 in a form of a dialogue that is set between a group of lay brothers. This short, but very influential work formed the doctrinal basis of the demonological paradigm of divination adopted by medieval Christianity. In De divinatione daemonum Augustine "explained how demons through their mental capacities and the swiftness that their aerial bodies afforded them, could study the conditions of the air, the celestial influences on the sublunar regions, and most important of all, the natural inclinations of human beings. Through their superior knowledge they could make adequate forecasts of whatever was about to happen. And in addition to this they could also affect the human imagination and thus deceive man into believing them, though over man's will and reason they had no power." (J. Veenstra, Cataloguing superstitions, in Pre-modern Encyclopaedic Texts (ed. by P. Binkley), p.175). “The unique property possessed by demons is the aerial quality of their bodies. Augustine illustrates the virtues of this superior body over the comparatively sluggish, earthly human figure in his short, but most demonologically focused treatise, ‘On the Divination of Demons’. Therein, he enumerates three characteristics of the demonic body that ground demons' superior talents: the sensitivity of the demonic senses, their swiftness and maneuverability, and their protracted life span. The elemental elegance of the demonic body outshines that of the human and is the font of demonic power and devilish marvels. [ ... ] It is clear that Augustine's understanding of […] demonic deeds is premised on and explained by the particular airy nature of their bodies. […] In On the Divination of Demons, he writes:
‘The nature of demons is such that the sensitivity of their airy bodies easily surpasses that of earthly bodies, and, because of the superior mobility of these airy bodies, they also incomparably outclass in speed not only the most fleet-footed of men or beasts but even the flight of birds.’ {Divin. daemon. 7)“Due to their celerity, demons can appear to foretell impending events when, in fact, they simply fly off to see people and weather coming from afar and swiftly reappear to report as if they were divining the future (see Divin. daemon. 3.7, 4.8, and 5.9).” (B. W. McCraw, R. Arp (eds.) Philosophical Approaches to Demonology, p.48)Augustine's De doctrina Christiana ("On Christian Teaching") is an important theological text consisting of four books that describes how to interpret and teach the Scriptures. The first three of these books were published in 397 and the fourth added in 426. In this influential work St. Augustine set three tasks on Christian teachers and preachers: to discover the truth in the contents of the Scriptures, to teach the truth from the Scriptures, and to defend scriptural truth when it was attacked. Book Four (appended to the work a number of years after its original composition) of De doctrina Christiana, which discusses the relationship between Christian truth and rhetoric, the importance of eloquence, and the role of the preacher, has sparked a debate among scholars with regards to the extent to which Saint Augustine's work has been influenced by the rules and traditions of classical rhetoric, and more specifically the writings of Cicero. In the final chapter, Augustine uses much of Cicero's rhetorical theory as he lays down the foundation for the proper use of rhetoric by Christian teachers.The Soliloquies (Soliloquia) offers a very intimate and immediate view of Augustine at the time of his conversion to Christianity. The fascinatingly introspective book has the form of an "inner dialogue" in which questions are posed, discussions take place and answers are provided, leading to self-knowledge. The first book begins with an inner dialogue which seeks to understand the nature of a human soul, and by the second book soon it becomes clear that the soul Augustine wants to get to know is his own.The Enchiridion (de fide, spe et caritate), i.e. "A Handbook (on Faith, Hope, and Love)", is a short work on Christian piety, written by St Augustine shortly after 420. It is intended as a model for Christian instruction or catechesis. As the title indicates, the work is organized according to the three graces necessary for the Christian worship of God: Faith, Hope and Love. Under Faith, Augustine explains the use of the Apostles' Creed, in teaching Christian doctrine and in refuting heresies. Under Hope, he briefly explains the Lord's Prayer as a model of Christian prayer. The final part is a discourse on Christian love. The treatise De vera religione ("On true religion") was composed in the year 390, and was the final work of Augustine before he became a priest. The work is addressed and dedicated to Romanianus, who was Augustine's principal student during his time of retreat at Cassiciacum immediately before his baptism at Easter 387. The purpose of De vera religione was to persuade Romanianus to follow Augustine's earlier example by moving from Manicheanism to "the true religion." It consists of an introduction, two teaching sections and a conclusion. The first section gives an overview of salvation and a refutation of the Manichean explanation of the problem of evil. It had been the dualism in Manicheanism (i.e., the existence of dual opposing forces, Good and Evil) that had attracted Augustine to become a Manichee auditor ("hearer") when he had been an adolescent in Carthage in 372. The second section is more philosophical and begins with an explanation of the difference between faith and reason, which Augustine later developed at far greater length in his major work, De trinitate ("On the Trinity"). The ascent of the human mind to God is an ascent to beauty and truth itself. Even vice can serve as a prompt to ascent to God. In the conclusion Augustine exhorts the reader to adore the triune God. De vera religione provides first glimpses of some of Augustine's thoughts that later blossomed into his dominant theological themes. It is the last work where he leaned much on the Neoplatonist philosophy, which was the philosophical vehicle that had greatly facilitated his intellectual conversion to Christianity. The De libero arbitrio voluntatis is an early (written in 388 - 395 AD) treatise dealing with the problem of Free Will with a greater reliance on classical philosophical sources.Bibliographic references:Goff A1216; Hain-Copinger 1946*; Proctor 4574; BMC V 277; BSB-Ink A-895; GW 2863; Pellechet 1458; CIBN A-669; Polain(B) 389;  Bod-inc A-505; IGI 1014.Physical description:Quarto; textblock measures 207 mm x 146 mm. Bound in 18th-century brown calf; flat spine tooled in gilt and with a pair of gilt-lettered red and dark-green morocco labels; edges of boards tooled with gilt dentelles. Pink silk ribbon bookmark (detached).274 unnumbered leaves (forming 548 pages). 
Signatures: a-p8 A-I8 K4 L-R8 ST10 V4 [-a1 blank; -V4 blank].
Collated and COMPLETE (without the front and rear blanks a1 and V4, as often).Printed in double columns, 42-44 lines per column, in gothic types (Typ. 9:130G, 10:73G). Rubricated throughout in contemporary hand with numerous hand-painted lombard initials filling capital spaces, and paragraph marks in red and blue; opening 6-line initial 'D' painted in blue against red patterned penwork background with marginal extension.Colophon on leaf T10v; followed by a table of chapters (V1v-2v), registrum (V3r) and a general table of works included and a short address Ad lectures in verse (U3v).Condition:Very Good antiquarian condition. Complete. Binding rubbed, with a few scuffs and wear to edges and ends of spine; head-band broken, two small chips with very minor loss of leather (at bottom of front joint and at fore-edge of rear board). Joints intact, boards firmly attached. Silk ribbon bookmark detached. First two quires of text block with a couple of minuscule wormholes (not affecting legibility at all). Final two quires with some light damp-staining and soiling (mostly marginal). Some occasional offsetting or 'bleed-through' effect from the painted initials. Binding slightly over-opened at a a few places, but still tight and firm. In all, a solid, clean, well-margined volume: with attractive contemporary rubrication.
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