BRENZ, Johannes

Catechismus, pia et utili explicatione illustratus

[Frankfurt, Peter Braubach], 1555.


8vo, pp. [16] 778 [22], aa8 a-z8 A-Z8 Aa-Dd8. Italic letter, some Roman, sporadic Greek. Historiated initials, lacking title-page in black and red with woodcut border. Occasional early marginalia, ms. date “1789” next to colophon (Cc5v). Wormhole to lower gutter throughout, not affecting text. Light soiling and dampstaining to margins. Bookplate of Hungarian lawyer Joannes Sza’sz on aa2v and of notary public Carolus Susich on verso of last leaf. Bound in contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over boards with rolls of personified virtues (faith, hope and justice) framing central panels on covers: on front, Christ on the cross, Moses, John the Baptist and a verse from John’s Gospel underneath (1:29): “Ecce agnus dei qui tollit peccata mundi” (compare with EBDB p002865 on Einbandatenbank), plus owner’s initials “P. A. B.” and date “1560” stamped in black. On the back, Christ resurrected and triumphant defeats Satan represented as a snake, or a dragon symbolising Evil, and a biblical verse (Hosea, 13:14): “ero mors tua o mors” (see EBDB p001637). Re-hinged using remains of a German Gothic bible as pastedowns, paper repairs to upper corner of first two initial leaves, last leaf laid on endpaper. A beautiful binding.

Johannes Brenz (1499-1570) was a “leading church administrator in the first generation of the Protestant Reformation who was responsible for the start of reform in numerous German lands. He became a leading defender of Lutheran Eucharistic doctrine against the Swiss, especially through 11 his articulation of the doctrine of the ubiquity of Christ, an advocate for religious toleration, and a supporter of secular authority over religious matters. His most lasting contribution was a church order that would influence church polity in Germany until the twentieth century […] he also wrote one of the first Lutheran catechisms, which he published in 1527 and saw reprinted in over 500 edition” (see

One copy in the British Library. Adams (only 1551 edition in 4to format – B2751). Not in Brunet and Graesse. USTC 620390; VD16 B 7566.

WIGAND, Johannes


WIGAND, Johannes [with] SEINECKER, Nikolaus. De sacramentarijsmo, dogmata et argumenta ex quatuor patriarchis sacramentariorum, carlstadio, zvvinglio, oecolampadio, Calvino item: de schismate sacramentario, quasi in unum corpus redacta per D. Johannem vvigandum episcopum pomezaniensem. Additus geminus index, prior locorum scripturae passim ab autore hoc opere explanatorum. Alter rerum atque verborum…

Leipzig, Georgius Defnerus imprimebat (colophon: Apud Georgium Defnerum, Impensis Henningi Gross.), 1585


4to, ff. 16, 582, α-β8 A-3F8 3G6 3H-4D8 (Ggg6 blank). Mainly Italic letter, some Roman, sporadic Greek and Hebrew words. Large decorated initials, head and tailpieces. Oval vignette within a floral border of a female figure holding a sceptre flanked by a lion, architectural view in the background, on title page with motto “virtute, labore et constantia”. Second t-p marked with old metal clip on margin (Hhh1): “Exegesis colloquiorum aliquot, cum sacramentariis habitorum”, imprint dated “1584”. Verso of final leaf with large elaborate woodcut of Christopher bearing Jesus with inscribed biblical verse (“Fortitudo mea et laus mea Jehoua et factus est mihi in salutem Exodi 15”) and repeated imprint. Two library stamps on t-p of Christ College and the theological library of Aberdeen University, occasionally repeated throughout. “Of the Jesuit College of Munich” in early Latin handwriting on t-p and earlier shelf mark on front endpaper, plus another later label with library no. Bound in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, remains of ties and gilt stamped coat of arms of Johannes Georg von Werdenstein (1542-1608) at centre of both covers. Ink title to spine. Evenly though lightly browned throughout. A fine copy with a prestigious provenance.

Johann Wigand (1523-87) was a German Lutheran cleric and theologian. He served as Bishop of Pomesania and took part in the long sacramental disputes of the Reformation, which focused on the issue of the Lord’s Supper. The participants of these disputes were important theologians: the Lutherans, such as Johannes Brenz, Niels Hemming, Nikolaus Amsdorf and Tilemann Hesshusen opposed by the leading representative of the Reformed confessions, such as John Calvin, Heinrich Bullinger, Theodore de Beze, Pier Martire Vermigli, Jan Laski and Valerand Poullain. In this work Wigand illustrates and discusses the positions of Karlstadt, Zwingli, Oecolampadius and Calvin. “The Lutheran orthodox affirmed Christ’s bodily presence in the Lord’s Supper and supported this claim christologically, claiming that Christ’s body participates in the divine attribute of multi-presence. For the Lutherans, Christ’s body (that’s the finite thing) does and therefore can bear the divine attribute of multi-presence (that’s the infinite thing). The Reformed orthodox rejected this, arguing that Christ’s human body is not capable of multi-presence – the finite is not capable of the infinite…Sacramental dispute about whether Christ is present in the bread and wine of the Lord’s supper. But the sacramental dispute finds its technical extension in Christology, the question of how the divine and human natures and their attributes relate in the person of Christ” (Bonhoeffer’s Reception of Luther, Michael P. DeJonge). The owner of this book was Johann Georg von Werdenstein (1542–1608), canon of Augsburg and Eichstätt, who collected a very substantial library consisting of tens of thousands of books. Werdenstein came from an aristocratic family and entered the Catholic Church, becoming a canon of Augsburg Cathedral in 1563, and adding a further canonry at Eichstatt in 1567. Around 9,000 volumes from his library including many musical items were purchased in 1592 for 6,000 florins by the Duke of Bavaria, for the Ducal Library in Munich, now the Bavarian State Library.

 Adams W1578.


BIBLE. Biblia sacra, quae praeter antiquae latinae versionis necessaria emendationem, & difficiliorum locorum succinctam explicationem, (ut plurimum ex beatae recordationis viri, D. D. Lucae Osiandri, &c. Andreae Parentis, Commentariis Biblicis depromptam)…

Frankfurt am Main, Typis Matthiae Beckeri…, 1611.


Folio, ff. (vi = title page, portrait and preface), 286 (Old Testament), 110 (Prophets), 101 (New Testament), (xxv = indexes), ):(6 a-4a4 4b6 a-3G4 3H6. Roman and Italic letter. Decorated initials, tailpieces, pages ruled in black, central double-column text, each column with two side narrower rows of gloss and references, diagrams and chronological and genealogical tables. Beautiful title in compartments, within portico, with Moses and Aaron, the four Evangelists to the corners, a scene of Adam, Eve and God in the Garden of Eden, to the top, and the Nativity at foot. The following leaf, the portrait of Frederick Duke of Württemberg-Teck by Jacob Heyden, within an architectural border with personification of Justice and Prudence, his coat of arms to the top, declamatory verses at foot. The very occasional early ink underlining, some light soiling and a few marginal wormholes. In a contemporary German Protestant pigskin binding with original red morocco label and gilt lettering to spine with raised bands. In the centre of the front board, a stamped portrait of Luther with an open book in his hands and underneath the Latin sentence “Nosse cupis faciem Lutheri hanc / cerne tabellam si mentem libr / os consule certus eris”, which can loosely be translated as “You want to know the face of Luther, look at this picture; if his mind, be sure to read his books”. Lower corner of the board a little browned. Compartments with blind-tooled motives and stamped profiles of human figures, perhaps saints, alternating with floral elements and shields, or coat of arms, in a grotesque-like style. Central panel on the rear board somewhat worn and difficultly interpretable, but possibly shows four icons of saints. Swirling marbled pastedowns. This fine volume is perfect with the exception of the last few leaves with dampstained margins, a.e.r.

Fourth edition of this famous emended and commented version of the Vulgate, which was first published in 1522 with the revision and corrections of Andreas Osiander (1498-1552); today also known as the Osiander bible. A humanist, reformer, and theologian, Osiander embodied the various circles in which many Protestants ran, but also the complicated relationship between those various circles that led to tensions and divisions within the Reformation. A trained humanist, he mastered Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, he studied the Jewish Kabbalah and composed a harmony of the Gospels. He also became an early supporter of Luther’s reforms. The present copy not only shows Andreas’s commentary and glosses, but these were also enriched and expanded by his son Lucas the Elder (1534-1604). Lucas was a German pastor of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg and a composer of Lutheran church music.

Not in Darlow and Moule.

LUTHER, Martin

LUTHER, Martin. In Esaiam prophetam scholia ex Doctori Martini Lutheri praelectionibus collecta [WITH] Id., Ecclesiastes Solomonis, cum annotationibus Doctori Martini Lutheri

Wittenberg, Excudebat Iohannes Lufft, 1532.


FIRST EDITIONS. 8vo, two works in one volume: 1) ff. (viii) 264, Aa8 a-z8 A-K8; ff. 2) (iv) 126, (no signature)4 A-Q8. Italic and Roman letter. Title page of first commentary within elaborate border; at foot page, coat of arms of the house of Frederick III, called the Wise, Elector of Saxony and protector of Luther. Early autograph on t-p (perhaps a certain “Christoph. Dimberg” from Wiehe in Thuringia); ms. ex libris on front pastedown, unclear, with shelf mark and other notes. Second title within a classical border decorated with head profiles: a laureate imperial portrait to the top and figures in armour to the foot of the page; verso with full-page annotation in German. Handwritten chapter reference number on top outer corner of pages. Marginal browning and dampstaining, occasional thumb marks and ink spotting, and marginalia throughout. Final leaf with outer corners torn, no text loss. In contemporary German blind-stamped and tooled pigskin over boards with figures and floral motives, catches and remains of clasps.

Two rare first editions of Luther in a contemporary anthology. Luther treats Isaiah and his message as one still relevant for modern times, in fact for all time. The lesson is that God in Jesus Christ comes to the rescue of God’s people in God’s own good time, just as God did to the nation and government of the Jews in Isaiah’s time. Meanwhile, God’s people are to await God’s help in complete confidence and not rely on self-help and on alliances with other men. The great danger then and now, however, lies in humankind’s rebellion against God’s way, for humankind is naturally impatient about waiting for God to do all things well. To God’s invitation that humankind finds strength “in quietness and in trust,” humankind is always under temptation to respond: “No, we will speed upon horses!” Luther bids us learn from Isaiah that we are helped and protected by God as the people of Israel were and that we are also chastened like them when this is necessary. In discoursing on the second half of Isaiah, Luther seems especially concerned about students preparing for the ministry. His central theme, from chapter 40, “The Word of our God will stand forever,” reappears again and again in his commentary, like a bell tolling its purpose. Luther probably felt the need to repeat this message first of all for his own comfort. He admits: “If I had known that the world was so puzzlingly evil, I would never have begun the task of preaching and writing.” Concerning Isaiah’s message he says, “These are words of consolation. Just hold tight, even if you are oppressed and persecuted and your thoughts and conscience trouble you.” As his faith strengthens and solidifies, so Luther encourages his students to hold fast to the same by taking up the work of Christ and warning: “Beware that you do not neglect the Word. It indeed stands firm, but it moves and will be given to others…. Therefore let us prayerfully keep busy with the Word.” In the second volume, the commentary on the Ecclesiastes, Luther offers interpretations of three Old Testament texts that are often poorly translated and often misinterpreted. He gives fresh interpretations of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, calling upon readers to view them as “Solomon’s Economics” and “Solomon’s Politics.” He then offers the reader a line- by-line commentary on 1 Samuel 23:1-7 as an example of simple, clear interpretation that keeps as its goal “to recognise our dear Lord and Saviour clearly and distinctly in Scripture.”

1) Benzing 2985; VD 16, B 4985; Not in Knaake and Jackson; 2) Benzing 2980; VD 16, B 3648; Knaake 671; Not in Jackson.

HUTTEN, Ulrich von, et al.


HUTTEN, Ulrich von, et al.. Duo volumina epistolarum obscurorum virorum,…

Rome, s.n. (=Frankfurt am Main, David Zöpfel), 1557.


12mo, ff. [252], A-X12. Two volumes in one. Roman letter. First title within floriated borders, second on K5r with no borders, no imprint (fake place of publication on last) and a short poem exhorting the reader to forget about sadness and grief, and laugh at everything. Two woodcut initials, one for each volume at the beginning of the text. Title page slightly soiled, marginal yellowing. Marbled pastedowns, bookplate of the Harvard College Library (“the Gift of Mary Bryant Brandegee in Memory of William Fletcher Weld”) to front pastedown. T-p and first leaf with blind letterpress of the Harvard University Library. In late C19th gilt-ruled calf with embossed diamond-shaped floral decoration at centre, title on red morocco label to gilt spine, inner dentelles, a.e.g.

This is a pocket reprint of the Letters of Obscure Men, a celebrated collection of satirical Neo-Latin letters, which appeared between 1515–1519 in Hagenau, Germany. The collection was soon forbidden by the Catholic Church, since the letter supported the humanist Johann Reuchlin and they mock the doctrines and modes of living of the scholastics and monks, mainly by pretending to be letters from fanatical Christian theologians discussing whether all Jewish books should be burned as un-Christian or not. The work was based upon the real public dispute between Reuchlin and certain Dominican monks, especially a formerly Jewish convert who had obtained Imperial authority to burn all known copies of the Talmud in 1509. The title is a reference to Reuchlin’s 1514 book Letters of Bright Men, a collection of learned letters from eminent scholars such as von Hutten, Johann Crotus, Konrad Mutian, Helius Eobanus Hessus, and others, to show that Reuchlin’s position in the controversy with the monks was approved by very erudite men. The present letters are written in a deliberately bad Latin. Most of these letters are addressed to the German scholar and theologian Ortwin and contain mock accusations against him. The collection was published anonymously, and the authorship has been a fertile subject of controversy, but the main portion of the letters are attributed to the humanists Joahnn Crotus, Ulrich von Hutten, Erasmus, and Reuchlin. The work is credited with hastening the Protestant Reformation.

 Edit 16 CNCE 51186: “Contraffazione tedesca stampata probabilmente a Francoforte da David Zopfel”; VD16 E 1726; Benzing, Hutten 247.


LUTHER, Martin

LUTHER, Martin. Der siebend teil aller buecher und schrifften des thewren seligen mans Gottes D. Martini Lutheri.

Jena, Thomas Rebart, 1562.


Folio. Gothic letter, a little Roman. Historiated initials and capital spaces with elaborated guide-letters, title in red and black with large vignette of Christ on the cross with John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, and Luther kneeling; full-page illustration on recto of second leaf with the portraits of the dedicatees, the Protestant Saxon princes and brothers Johann Frederick II, Johann Wilhelm and Johann Frederick III, and their coats of arms. Lightly age browned, some dampstained blank margins. Copiously and clearly annotated in an early Latin, and sometimes Greek, handwriting with numerous references to the difference between Luther’s view and the doctrine of the “papists” and the other Reformers. In contemporary German alum-tawed pigskin, elaborately blind-tooled with various rolls of palms, Biblical figures and verses, heads in clypei, abundant floral decoration; remains of clasps and catches; minor rubbing, four raised bands to spine, worn at caps and joints.

A finely bound copy of the seventh volume of the Wittemberg and Jena editions of the works of Luther (1483-1546), issued in German. With his prolific activity as a religious writer and polemicist, the initiator of the Reformation was one of the fathers of modern German language. The first comprehensive collection in twelve volumes was made in Wittenberg with Melanchthon’s help and the contribution of other Reformed scholars, thanks to the sponsorship of the Elector of Saxony. The present volume is extremely interesting because its marginalia are written in a very easily readable hand, which reported comparisons with the theology of other contemporary authors, such as Urbanus Regius and Tileman Heshusius, and parallels with ancient sources, becoming insightful with respect to the disputations and spiritual controversies of the Reformation. Many are the references to the “papist abominations and blasphemies”, such as the sale of indulgences, easy excommunications and the avarice of priests, which are interpreted as the work of Satan in the world. There are several mentions of the Catholic prince Henry V of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who long raged war against the Protestant Elector of Saxony, his impunity and ambiguous position towards Protestantism. Luther’s criticisms to the Roman Church are underlined and pointed out on the margins. Christ is defined as “humanissimus salvator”. There is also reference to Luther’s parrheisa as opposed to the deceptive discourses of the Catholics.





VON ZENGG, Dietrich


VON ZENGG, Dietrich (Theodoricus Croata). Ein wunderbarliche weissagung von vergangenen gegenwertigen und zukuenfftigen dingen.

[Nuremberg], Hieronymus Andreae, 1536


4to, a4 (lacking last bank). Gothic letter. Some spotting and soling to margins. In modern olive green morocco binding over boards, inner gilt dentelles.

Bother Dietrich von Zengg, also known as Theodoricus Croata, was believed to be a Franciscan monk who wrote this religious prognostication around the 1460s. First printed in 1503, this prophecy’s aim was the renewal of the Church and the political upheaval of the Empire, predicting frightful wind, and much suffering and death. It depicts the clergy as greedy beasts and it foresees the papacy eventual disgrace: “the Roman priest will fall from the Roman seat on account of the sins of simony and lechery…and the clergy will gnaw and scratch no more.” While most editions were published in the first three decades of the Reformation, others precede the Reformation, and the prophecy enjoyed an active reception as late as the 1620s, another period of crisis in Germany. The prophecy made the leap from manuscript to print at least twice, while some later manuscripts are derived from print sources. The medium of print gave the prophecy its lasting identity as the work of one “Dietrich von Zengg,” supposedly a cleric from Senj in present-day Croatia, a shared authorial attribution that is not found in the fifteenth-century manuscripts. But the medium of print did not stabilize the text or its alleged author. The prophecy was attributed in some editions to an anonymous Carmelite monk of Prague, and “Dietrich von Zengg” evolved from a monk into a bishop in several editions, and was replaced altogether by “Jeremias von Paris” in another.

Only one recorded copy in the UK at Edinburgh University Library.

USTC 647511; VD16 T737; Hohenemser 5149 (lat. Ausg. 5149).