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British  Artiques Roadshow Archive:

1946 Douglas T3HISTORIA SCHOLASTICA  BY  PETRUS COMMESTORE   - THE MASTER OF HISTORY

LEZIONI SCRITTURALI' 

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Rare First edition Books & manuscripts

 

HISTORIA  SCHOLASTICA  BY  PETRUS COMMESTORE   - THE MASTER OF HISTORY

 

'LEZIONI SCRITTURALI' 

An Incunabula Published in 1705

LESSONS TO THE MIND AND TO THE HEART"

 


Title: 'LEZIONI SCRITTURALI'

 

ALLA MENTE, ED AL CUORE, SOPRA L'UNO, Image LEZIONI SCRITTURALI

E L'ALTRO TESTAMENTO,

SECONDO LE INTERPRETATZIONI DE CELEBRE PIETRO COMESTORE MAESTRO DEL STORIA SCOLASTICA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The original text of this very rare book was written by Petrus Comestore  known as the "Master of History" (Magister Historiarum) & translated by Pompeo Sarnelli:


It was Published by Antonio Bortoli in Venice in 17
05.

 

 

This first edition work is described as " very rare indeed."

It is a first edition book which is really two complete volumes bound in one".

Originally written in Latin comprising of narratives from the bible.

Definitively, it's a History of the Church from Genesis to the Acts, paraphrasing the Scriptures. It's basically an abbreviated history of the Bible.

 

 

 The book we saw on the Roadshow tour of Canada, is actually a translation of the HISTORIA SCHOLASTICA. Known as an 'incunabula' which literally means cradle and more loosely refers to the infancy, birthplace or origin of something.

The word is most often used in reference to early printed books.   Now it's simply a librarian's term for books published before the year 1500.

 

This very rare first edition book, was written circa 1170 ' by Petrus Comestor, (who's name, interestingly, when literarily translated means, 'Peter the Eater of books)

 

Comestore was an ecclesiatical author, which included sermons and other theological texts but also music treatises. He was born at Troyes, in France in about 1100. It's not exactly clear when, but we do know he died in Paris in 1178.

The book itself, is believed to be originally written sometime between 1169 and 1173.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Petrus Comestor writing

Only one of 2 known images depicting

Petrus Comestor writing at his desk.

It is taken from an ancient illuminated manuscript.

Petrus Comestor

Left: Petrus Comestor presents his book to Archbishop Guillaume of Sens

 

 This 'incunabula', was also translated into French sometime in the late 13th century by Guyart de Moulins and presented with some additional material added from a mid 13th century French translation of the Bible at the time.

Spanning several centuries, the HISTORIA SCHOLASTICA, appears in a great number of elegantly illustrated manuscripts. 800 is the current estimate adjudged by Heckman Scholar, Agneta Sylwan.


Petrus Comestor belonged to the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris and became Chancellor of the University of Paris in 1164. He was the Dean of the 'Cathedral Chapter in Troyes', but relinquished these benefices to become a regular canon of St. Victor at Paris, where he died.

Clearly, Petrus Comestor was one of the most influential theological and orthodox commentators on the Scriptures and writers of the middle ages. This book is so important because it was held as the 'standard' work or reference, written on Biblical History for many hundreds of years. Refered to as a synthesizer, his work diffused rapidly throughout Europe and remained a dominant standard text in the curricula of the rapidly growing universities of Europe during the middle ages.

The book therefore was also published during a very important period of world history.

"Columbus was only 13 years away from making his first voyage to the New World. The Italian artist Michaelangelo was a 4-year old child and Polish astronomer Copernicus was six years old." said Alan Virta, head of special collections at the BSU library.

He considers the work to be, "the most important work of Biblical scholarship of the Middle Ages."

The book begins with "the sacred narrative at the Creation and continues it to the end of the incidents related in the Acts of the Apostles

and is a work in which all the books of the Bible are contained."

This particular book ( illustrated) was completed at the behest of a man called Cardinal Pietro Francesco Orsini (1649-1730.) who was later to become Pope Benedict XIII and is the incredibly difficult and intricate work of the scholar, PETRUS SARNELLI.
Petrus worked on this massive project from 1688-1702.

Graesse lists only six known works written by Sarnelli, the last being this one ,  The 'LEZIONI SCRITTURALI.'

Only one other copy of this title has to date been located.

It's to be found in the Biblioteca San Tommaso d'Aquino del Seminario Vescovile di Bisceglie, in TURIN, Italy.

(Though there may be more)

 

 

 

Pope Benedict XIII

Pope Benedict XIII

 

 

More About the book:

The title page of Volume I is printed in red and black letters and decorated with the illustrated arms of this man:

This is Cardinal Pietro Francesco (Vincenzo Maria) Orsini de Gravina, O.P. †

Latterly known as, Pope Benedict XIII

 

 There are woodcut head and tail pieces, known as "historiated capitals", (adorned with the figures of humans, animals, or birds) and a total of 162 sixteenth century woodcut miniatures throughout.  In all, 89 illustrations in the Old Testament and 73 within the New Testament. 43 bear the monogram "G.R."

Many of the images are believed to be from the studio in Lyon of 'Jean de Tournes' and likely are the work of the engraver Georges Reverdy (better known as Cesare Reverdino) & another sixteenth century Lyonnais woodcut designer called 'Bernard Salomon'.

He rarely signed his work.

 

David Freeman

 

 

Biographical and educational information collected and collated in this expansion and available on the internet:

 

Peter Comestor - Petrus Comestor ("Pierre le Mangeur") - (Pietro Mangiadore)

Theological writer, native of Troyes, date unknown; died Paris about 1178.

 He was first attached to the Church of Notre-Dame at Troyes and habitually signed himself as "Presbyter Trecensis".

Before 1148 he became dean of the chapter and received a benefice in 1148. About 1160 he formed one of the Chapter of Notre-Dame at Paris, and about the same year he replaced Eudes (Odon) as chancellor. At the same time he had charge of the theological school. It was at Paris that Peter Comestor composed and certainly finished his "Historia Scholastica"; he dedicated it to the Bishop of Sens, Guillaume aux Blanches Mains (1169-76). Alexander III ordered Cardinal Peter of St. Chrysogonus to allow the chancellor Peter to exact a small fee on conferring the licence to teach, but this authorization was altogether personal. A short time afterwards the same cardinal mentioned the name of Peter to Alexander III, as among the three most cultured men of France. The surname of "Comestor", given to Peter during his life, also proves the esteem in which his learning was held: he was a great bookworm; he often refers to his surname in his sermons and in the epitaph said to be composed by him: "Petrus eram . . . dictusque comestor, nunc comedor." He afterwards withdrew to the Abbey of St. Victor and made profession of canonical life. He was buried at St. Victor; and the necrology of the canons mentions him as one of themselves (21 October). His works include commentaries on the Gospels, allegories on Holy Scripture and a moral commentary on St. Paul, all of which are as yet unpublished.

 

 

 His "Historia Scholastica" is a kind of sacred history composed by students and at their own request.


  The author begins the sacred narrative at the Creation, and continues it to the end of the incidents related in the Acts of the Apostles; all the books of the Bible are contained therein, except those whose nature is purely didactic, the Book of Wisdom, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Epistles, etc. The discourses are abbreviated. He borrows frequently from profane authors, especially from Flavius Josephus for the beginning of the Gospels, and very often the test is as though paraphrased in a commentary where all data, cosmological and physical, philosophical theological, allegorical, historical, geographical, etc., are found. It is easy to understand, of course, that there are numerous inaccuracies and fables. The work consists of twenty books and often small "additions" supply geographical or etymological appendixes at the end of the chapters. This Biblical history met with great success, as witness the large number of manuscripts, the mention of his name in all the libraries of the Middle Ages, the lists of classical books for the universities and schools, the quotations and the eulogies with which the name of its author is everywhere accompanied (cf. The canonist Huguccio, about 1190) and its numerous translations. In the fifteenth century, the work was still in great demand, as can be seen by the editions made before 1500 of the Latin text, or of the French translation (Strasburg, 1469, 1483, 1485, 1847; Reutlingen, 1473; Lyons, 1478; Basle, 1486; Paris 1487, etc.). Migne (P.L.; CXCVIII, 1053-1844) reproduces the Madrid edition of 1699.

 The sermons of Peter Comestor have been left to us in numerous manuscripts, often under other names, but the complete and continued series has not yet been published. We ought to mention here a series of fifty-one sermons placed wrongly under the name of Peter of Blois and printed among his works (Migne, CCVII, and CCVIII, 1721, etc.); some figure also in the works of Hidebert de Mans (Migne, CLXXI, sermon, 7, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, etc.). The sermon in which the word "transubstantiation" occurs, the 93rd (not 73rd), is not Hildebert's but Peter Comestor's; let us remark, however, that the word is already found in Roland Bandinelli (Alexander II) before 1150. Other collections, like that of the 114 sermons copied at St. Victor before 1186, are still unpublished, more than twelve manuscripts are in the libraries of Paris, and all has not yet been unravelled in this assortment. As a preacher, Peter was subtle and pedantic in his style, in keeping with the taste of his time and of his audience of scholars and professors assembled around the pulpit of the chancellor.

 The sermons attributed to him during his stay at St. Victor are simple in style, instructive, and natural in tone. Also some verses are attributed to Peter Comestor and a collection of maxims entitled "Pancrisis", perhaps that which still exists in a manuscript of Troyes.

 


 

Credits and Erratum Disclaimer

The author of this archival compilation page of educational information, is indebted to the invaluable input of the many scholars and academics throughout the world, who have freely and generously forwarded information, documentation, facts, images and or quotations to us in regard to the subject matters we discuss and expound upon.

We have referred to and collated from many sources. Including what we regarded and measured as, 'reliable and quality providers of information' much of which is available on the internet, in order to accurately compile this page for purely educational and informative purposes and have striven to maintain its accuracy. 

If we have been remiss in neglecting to name them all, we apologise, as we do for any infringement of copyright of which we had no knowledge.

No malintent nor disregard is or was intended, nor any profit sought from its provision.

Should errors or factual misinformation occur within the piece, we would be delighted to receive your corrective comment along with cross references and further information you may have to clarify this additions, as we strive to keep this page factually accurate and updated for everyones purposeful enjoyment.

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Bibliography:

Rolewinck:  Goff R- 275; Hain-Copinger 6915*; IGI 8424;

Polain 3363, Tenschert, Incunabula,  Katalog 24, 1991, 59

Lathrop Harper Cat., 1930,( p. 492).
A.N.L. Munby
H.P. Kraus Catalogue

Boyle, Leonard E. - Genesi

Experts and Scholars working or who have worked in the field:

Prof. Dr. C.H. Kneepkens,

Agneta Sylwan- Göteborg University
JEAN SEZNEC

Erik Ekman

S.R. DALY

James H. Morey,

Peter van Huisstede

Wolfgang Undorf M.A.

   

 

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