Bound with: THOMAS À KEMPIS. Opera: Sermones, epistolae et alia opuscula. Nuremberg: Caspar Hochfeder [for Peter Dannhauser], 29 November 1494. Two volumes in one, chancery folio (284 x 195 mm). Cassianus: collation: 10 A-B8 C-F6.8 G8; a-b8 c-d6 e-h6.8 i8 k-n6.8 o-t8 v6. 208 leaves, unrubricated. 47 lines and headline, double column (except title verso). Types: 1:185G (title, incipit, headlines). 3:92G (text), 5:106(92)G (headings and colophon). Quarter-page woodcut of the conversion of Paul (b5r). Initial spaces with printed guide letters, rubricated: initials, paraphs, capital strokes in red. Thomas a Kempis: collation: 4 a-b8 c-d6 e-g8 h-l6.8 m-o6 p8 q6 r-z A-B8.6.6 C8. 184 leaves, a1-C8 foliated i-clxxviii (recte 180). 53 lines and headline, double column except prefatory letters ( 2-3). Types: 2:168G (title and headings), 1:83G (text). Initial spaces with guide letters. Rubricated, in a style similar to that of the first work, but in a slightly less neat hand. A few small stains.
Binding: 17th-century alum-tawed pigskin over wooden boards, covers panelled with ornamental roll-tools, at center of both covers the oval stamp of Saint Peter’s Abbey, Salzburg, the date 1665 stamped below it on upper cover, spine overlaid with white reversed pigskin and with two later calf gilt lettering-pieces and one manuscript shelfmark label, pair of brass fore-edge clasps with pin catches, edges red-stained, two index tabs.
Provenance: Thomas Welti of Zurzach, inscription dated 86 on first title, “Vo[n] mir thomas welti vo[n] zurzach 86”; neat contemporary marginal note on fol. i5v of the Cassianus, a few marginal nota bene notes in the Thomas a Kempis; Salzburg, Benedictines of the Abbey of St. Peter’s, 18th-century inscriptions (in different hands) on titles, letterpress shelf-mark label of 1767 or later on front pastedown: “Ex bibliotheca antiquo-nova monasterii ad sanctum Petrum Salisburgi O. S. Benedicti ab anno 1767, in alium ordinem redacta,” with boxes for the Armarium, Classis, and Numerus, accomplished in manuscript; Helmut N. Friedlaender, book-label. ***
Two fundamental religious works from very different periods of Christianity, bound together by the Benedictine monks of Salzburg: the fifth-century hermit Cassian’s treatise on the basic rules of and psychological obstacles to the monastic life; and the first collected edition of the works of Thomas à Kempis to include (and acknowledge as his) the work that personalized religious devotion on the eve of the modern era, sowing the seeds for both the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, the Imitatio Christi.
I: First edition of Cassianus’ De institutis coenobiorum, and second edition of his Collationes patrum. In Books 1-4 of the Institutes, Cassian set out the basic outline of monastic life, covering clothing, prayer, and rules; and in Books 5-12 he tackled the eight vices that impede monks’ achievement of spiritual perfection. These guidelines served as the basis for many monastic orders, including that of St. Benedict. The Collationes, or “Conferences” (previously published by the Brussels Brothers of the Common Life in 1476), relate Cassian’s conversations on the principles of spiritual and ascetic life with the major figures of Eastern monasticism. The Collationes were regularly read aloud in Benedictine monasteries at the time of a light meal, and is the source for the French word collation, denoting a snack.
The woodcut showing Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus appears to be by the same artist who engraved some of the woodcuts of the Spiegel menschlicher Behältnis, printed in Basel by Richel in 1476. ISTC ic00233000; GW 6160; Goff C-233; BMC III 748; Bod-inc C-102; CIBN C-127; BSB-Ink C-165; Schramm XXI, p. 26 & pl. 585; Schreiber 3676.
II: Second collected edition of the works of Thomas à Kempis, who is here explicitly recognized as the author of the Imitatio Christi. The previous edition ([Utrecht : Nicolaus Ketelaer and Gerardus de Leempt, ca. 1473]) did not include the Imitatio, presumably because of the controversy over its authorship. The edition is prefaced by letters between Georg Pickhamer or Pickheimer, prior of the Carthusians at Nuremberg (and cousin of the famous humanist), and Peter Dannhauser. The Imitatio occupies fols. 1-28, and is followed by De meditatione cordis, by Jean Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris, who had defended the Brothers of the Common Life at the Council in Constance; this work became so closely connected to the Imitatio that Dannhauser saw fit to include it here. The edition also includes the Liber vitae of Gerhard Groote, founder of the Devotio moderna, and works by one Dominus Florentius, as well as other anonymous tracts.
The printer Caspar Hochfeder, a native of Heiligbrunn, was in Nuremberg by 1490 at the latest; his first dated book (27 March 1491) was the Opera of St. Anselm, also edited by Peter Dannhauser, a young lawyer and astrologer who had studied in Ingolstadt and Tübingen, and who went on to edit several more texts printed by Hochfeder. The latter moved to Metz in 1498.
ISTC it00352000; GW M46672; Goff T-352; BMC II 475; CIBN T-222; Bod-inc T-090; BSB-Ink T-195; Delaveau & Sordet, Édition et diffusion de "l'Imitation de Jésus-Christ", 1470-1800 (2011), 41. Item #3176