Item #3169 Explanatio psalmorum. Aurelius AUGUSTINUS.
Explanatio psalmorum.
Explanatio psalmorum.
Explanatio psalmorum.
Explanatio psalmorum.
Explanatio psalmorum.
From the library of Hilprand Brandenburg

Explanatio psalmorum. Basel: Johann Amerbach [and Johann Petri de Langendorff? not after 8 September] 1489.

3 parts, in 3 volumes, median folio (303 x 204 mm). Collation: a-b8 [tables, bound at end of vol. 1]; a8 b-t8.6 v6 x8; A-K8.6 L8 M-P8.6 Q-R8 S-V6 X8 Y6 Z8 AA-DD6 EE8; 1-188.6 196 208 21-236 248 25-276 288. 549 leaves, of 550, blank leaf a8 preserved, blank b8 removed. Two columns, 54 lines, headlines and printed marginalia. Types: 14:285, titles; 4:165b, headlines (Psalm numbers); 6:108, headings and quotations from Psalms; 15:92B, text and colophons; 9:76 marginalia; and Greek type 95a. Capital spaces with guide letters. Opening initials supplied in blue with red Maiblumen infill and extenders, other initials in blue or red. Volumes 2 and 3 with the title-leaves cut round and mounted and last leaves backed, apparently at time of binding, some worming, 3 leaves in vol. 2 with small patch repairs in margins; otherwise in very fresh condition. Bound in 17th-century German blind roll-tooled alum-tawed pigskin, pairs of brass and leather fore-edge clasps (vol. 3 lacking one clasp), manuscript titles on spines, lettered edges stained green. Provenance: Hilprand Brandenburg, with his hand-colored woodcut armorial bookplates (Warnecke 245) in each volume, part of his donation to the Carthusians at Buxheim, with contemporary ex-dono inscription in the hand of the prior, Jakob Louber, in each volume: Liber Cartusiensium in Buchshaim prope Memmingen proveniens a confratre nostro domino hilprando Brandenburg de Bibraco /  Donato sacerdote / continens primam [secundam / tertiam] Quinguagena Augustini super Psalterio  / Oretur pro eo et pro quibus desideravit, Buxheim library stamps at foot of first text pages and stencilled shelfmark labels on spines; Graf von Otstein; Graf Hugo von Waldbott-Bassenheim, sale, Munich (Carl Förster), 20 September 1883. 

Augustine’s commentary on the Psalms, his most important exegetical work. This edition was the second printed, following an undated edition of ca. 1486-87, from an eponymous probably Netherlandish press (the “Printer of Augustinus, 'Explanatio psalmorum'”).

Augustine’s commentaries on the Psalms were not conceived as a single work; later exegetes collected his sermons and treatises on the subject to form the work as we know it.  “Under the influence of Ambrose, Augustine turned to the Old Testament, which he had rejected earlier as Manichean, to find the authority of faith. Within the framework of the Psalms, expressing the individual’s personal relationship with God, Augustine developed a theological explication which went beyond Biblical exegesis. According to Butler, the Explanatio psalmorum contains Augustine’s most complete description of a mystical experience” (M. Ford, Christ, Plato, Hermes Trismegistus, Catalogue of the incunabula in the Bibliotheca Philosophical Hermetica I:30).

This copy was among the approximately 450 books donated by Hilprand Brandenburg to the library of the Carthusian monastery at Buxheim. The son of a patrician family from Biberach in Swabia, Brandenband studied in Pavia and Basel. After his ordination in 1473 he held a number of ecclesiastical preferments in southern Germany, and in 1506 he became a priest-donate (sacerdos donatus, or oblate) of the Carthusian monastery at Buxheim. He had acquired books since his student years, for himself and for donation to churches. By the end of his life he had given the monastery a total of 450 manuscripts and printed books. All of the known books from Brandenburg’s Buxheim donation bear, as here, the famous woodcut bookplate, one of the earliest printed bookplates, as well as a contemporary monastic inscription recording the donation to the monastery.

While Brandenburg’s collection and his striking bookplate have deservedly received much scholarly attention, somewhat less attention has been paid to the writer of those ex-dono inscriptions, who was none other than the Prior of the Monastery, the brilliant curator-librarian Jakob Louber (d. 1513). Louber had served as Prior and Librarian of the Carthusian Monastery at Basel for twenty years before becoming Prior at Buxheim in 1502, where he remained until 1507. Having built up the library of the Basel Carthusians from scratch, through his energetic and politically astute solicitation of donations, from local notables as well as local printers, Louber carried over the same curatorial practices to Buxheim. It is likely that his influence was a not negligible factor in attracting Hilprand Brandenburg and his book-donation to the Buxheim Charterhouse (cf. Auge, p. 414).  Indeed, Louber may even have had some involvement in the insertion of the Brandenburg bookplates. Victor Scholderer noted that while the style of the bookplate woodblock probably indicates an earlier creation date, the actual impressions of the bookplate seem to date from the turn of the century, at the earliest: Scholderer pointed out that some of the bookplates are printed on the reverse of printer's waste from the shop of Albrecht Kunne at Memmingen, near Buxheim, and that the types used for the unidentified waste text include Kunne's type 7, one of the last types adopted by him before 1501. Scholderer added that “it is impossible to say why the block, which was doubtless made for Brandenburg himself, should not have been used until it became the property of Buxheim” (p. 221).

ISTC ia01272000; Goff A-1272; HC 1971; GW 2909; CIBN A-703; BSB-Ink A-883; BMC III: 751. On Hilprand Brandenburg and Jakob Louber, see, among other articles, Victor Scholderer, “Hilprand Brandenburg and his books,” in Fifty Essays in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Bibliography (Amsterdam 1966), 219-223; Paul Needham, “The Library of Hilprand Brandenburg,” Bibliothek und Wissenschaft 29 (1996), pp. 95-125, and “Thirteen More Books from the library of Hilprand Branbenburg,” Einbandforschung 4 (Feb. 1999), 23-25;  Eric M. White, “Three Books Donated by Adolf Rusch to the Carthusians at Basel,” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 81 (2006), 231-235; Oliver Auge, “Frömmigkeit, Bildung, Bücherliebe − Konstanten im Leben des Buxheimer Kartäusers Hilprand Brandenburg (1442-1514),” in Bücher, Bibliotheken und Schriftkultur der Kartäuser (Tübingen 2002), 399-422.

Item #3169

Price: $37,500.00

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