Scrutinium scripturarum. PAULUS DE SANCTA MARIA, SALOMON HA-LEVI.
Scrutinium scripturarum.
Scrutinium scripturarum.
Scrutinium scripturarum.
Scrutinium scripturarum.
Scrutinium scripturarum.

Scrutinium scripturarum. [Strassburg: Johann Mentelin, not after May 1470].

Chancery folio (289 x 209 mm). Collation: [a-b10 c12 d-k10 l8 m-r10 s12 sz10 t-v10 x6]. 217 (of 218) leaves, unfoliated, blank leaf g10 removed, blank leaves x5-6 preserved. manuscript quiring largely preserved, in two series, in red ink, possibly by the rubricator, and in brown ink at extreme outer corners of sheets; signed to fifth leaf of each quire. 39 lines. Type 5:92B. Eight-, six-, and three-line initial spaces. Rubricated in red (a few initials with additional strokes in blue): Lombard initials, opening initials with reserved floral or abstract decoration, a few with extensions; paragraph marks, capital strokes and underlinings. Many deckle edges preserved. Pinholes visible at center of upper and lower margins. Watermark: gothic minuscule P topped with four-petalled fleuron (chainlines 39mm., mark 79 x 20 mm.) A few ink impressions of bearer type(?) within initial spaces (e.g., fols. sz9v, t2r).
Condition: several wormholes in first three quires, a few wormholes in last three quires, a few mostly marginal wormholes elsewhere, tiny hole in fol. m3, apparently from a correction on verso, fol. o2 with short closed marginal tear, very occasional light finger-soiling, but a large, fresh, unsophisticated copy. Binding: contemporary blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, covers paneled with parallel fillets, a small, unidentified armorial stamp in each of the four outer compartments (party per chevron, star at upper left), central panel with 5 pairs of intersecting diagonal fillets forming a saltire pattern, the compartments each with a small four-petalled blossom tool, sewn on four double cords, 19th-century paper lettering-pieces on spine, evidence of two fore-edge clasps, plain edges, nine (of thirteen) parchment or leather index tabs preserved, lacking lower pastedown, spine liner from a 15th-century cursive manuscript on vellum. Covers wormed and rubbed, upper hinge split, loss to lower cover exposing boards. Provenance: Trier, Carthusians of Saint-Alban, contemporary inscription on first page, “Iste liber est domus sancti Albani iux[ta] T[re]uerim ord[inis[ Carthusien[sis],” letterpress shelfmark “I 25” mounted on front pastedown, along with a mounted manuscript identification of the volume with same shelfmark number; long note on the text in a different contemporary hand on the first recto of the two blank leaves at end (transcription available on request); a few marginal manuscript corrections in ink or lead, occasional small interlinear corrections (e.g., e3v), 2 or 3 marginal doodles (a fish on fol. f10v, decoration of an initial on k2v); the Saint-Alban library absorbed after secularization by the Stadtbibliothek Trier, their(?) shelfmark 1241 on spine label and front free endpaper; sold by the Stadtbibliothek as a duplicate, along with a number of other books, in 1909, to Ludwig Rosenthal; with Maggs, sold to Maurice Burrus in 1937 (bookplate and purchase label).***

first edition, a fine, unpressed, large copy, of a polemical text against Jews and Judaism by a Castilian converso, printed on the first press of Strassburg.

Paulus de Sancta Maria, or Paul of Burgos (ca. 1352-1435), served in his lifetime as both grand rabbi and Bishop of Burgos. A Talmudic scholar with a profound knowledge of the Hebrew texts, Paul’s knowledge of Latin permitted him to read deeply in Aquinas and other Church fathers, and he became a brilliant polemicist and advocate of Judaism. His readings supposedly convinced him of the validity of both religions, but clearly the persecutions of the Jews in Spain ”facilitated” his decision to convert, in 1391, along with his four sons (but not his wife, who remained Jewish until her death in 1420). Paul obtained a degree in Theology at Paris, where he became a member of the circle of Pedro de Luna, the future pope Benedict XIII, who would later summon him to Avignon. Although he continued to correspond with several Jewish scholars, he became an active proponent of repression against his former coreligionists, for which efforts he was rewarded with the titles of Bishop of Cartagena, Grand Chancellor of Castilia, and finally Bishop of Burgos. At the age of 82 he finished this, his major work. It was an influential but sorry achievement. The text presents in the first part a dialogue between Paul and Saul “contra Judaeos,” and in part 2, between a Magister and his Disciple. Using examples from rabbinical literature to argue against Jewish objections to the Christian faith, Paul urges the conversion of the Jews. He describes Jews as worse than the inhabitants of Sodom, for whom no punishment is too severe, thus justifying the massacres and persecutions of Jews throughout Europe. His goal, actively pursued as well through his participation in the drafting of edicts requiring the segregation of Jews in ghettos and their interdiction from most professions, was to make life so impossible for Jews that they would convert en masse.

A manuscript of the text was brought to the Council of Basel in 1432 by the author’s son. This edition is one of the rare early incunables the source of whose copy-text is known: a copy in the Bavarian State Library, which came from the Benedictine Abbey of Plankstetten, bears an inscription stating that the Abbey’s reformist abbot Ulrich Dürner von Dürn (1461-1494) had ordered that the work be printed (cf. Geldner). Comparable inscriptions testifying to Dürner’s role as a supplier of manuscript “copy-texts” were later found by Ilona Hubay in several incunables at Eichstätt.

Another anti-Semitic text, also by a Castilian author, was published by Mentelin at about the same time, the Fortalitium fidei by the Franciscan Alfonso de Espina (Goff A-539). Mentelin most likely published both of these texts for commercial reasons, knowing that they would be read with interest by his clientele, the clergy of Alsace and South Germany (where a large proportion of copies of these two editions are still located).

Mentelin’s output was largely undated. The date of this edition is gleaned from a copy at the John Carter Brown Library, whose binding is dated 1470. He published another edition of the text ca. 1474, one of four other fifteenth-century editions, all published in the 1470s.

The Charterhouse of St. Alban in Triers, founded in 1331, was destroyed in 1673 and the monks moved to a location near Merzlich. In 1794 the monastery was suppressed (cf. Cottineau, Répertoire topo-bibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, II:3210), and its library was absorbed by the city library of Trier. The simply tooled binding on this copy may have been carried out for the Charterhouse; possibly the small armorial stamp reproduces the coat-of-arms of the Charterhouse prior at the time.

ISTC ip00201000; GW M29971; Goff P-201; BMC I:54; Bod-inc P-045 (5 copies); BSB-Ink P-45 (6 copies); CIBN P-70 (2 copies); Schorbach, Der Strassburger Frühdrucker Johann Mentelin (Mainz 1932) 19; Jean-Luc Kahn, “Deux écrits castillans imprimés par Mentelin en 1470,” in Le Livre, la photographie, l’image et la lettre. Essays in honor of André Jammes, Paris 2015, pp. 37-45. Cf. Ferdinand Geldner, “Handschriftliche Einträge in Wiegendrucken und ihre druckgeschichtliche Bedeutung,” in Festschrift für Josef Benzing (Wiesbaden, 1964, 127-131); Hubay, Incunabula Eichstätter Bibliotheken (Wiesbaden, 1968), xii; Cf. Reiner Nolden, Die Inkunabeln der Wissenschaftlichen Stadtbibliothek Trier (Wiesbaden, 2015), p. 1254. Item #2897

Price: $57,500.00