SURGANT, JOHANN ULRICH (ed.). Homiliarius doctorum de tempore et de sanctis a Paulo Diacono collectus.

Basel: Nicolaus Kesler, 30 September 1493.

£ 6,000

FIRST EDITION. Super-chancery folio (304 x 212mm); 248 leaves, a-z8, aa-ee8, A-M6. Full-page woodcut depicting Doctors of the Church on title page, printer’s device at end. Gothic type; initials and paragraph marks alternating in red and blue. Initial letter P on a2 with 17th-century penwork decoration with a winged putto and vegetable ornamentation; a few ms. guide-letters; occasional contemporary manuscript notes and manicules in margins (f2, f3). Three small punctures in first few quires, not affecting the text. Light browning, title page faintly soiled in bottom right corner; torn bottom right corner on l4 and M5; few words deleted by a contemporary hand on dd2, small internal tear in ee8 repaired on verso, small stains on B6; mis-numbered leaves throughout. 17th or 18th-century vellum; spine lettered in manuscript, neat repair at head of spine. Contemporary inscription erased from foot of second leaf; modern bookplate of Aldobrandino Malvezzi de Medici (1881-1961) on top pastedown.



This is the first illustrated edition and the first edition edited by Johann Urlich Surgant (c. 1450 – 1503) from a manuscript he had recently found in the Basel Cathedral Library. It is the fourth edition overall of a collection of homilies by Saints Gregory the Great, Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Bede and others compiled by Paul the Deacon. The work provides readings for the night office of the liturgy, and it served as a manual of preaching for parish priests.



The woodcut on the title page is divided in three sections. The inner section represents the Church Militant; while in the two outer sections are represented figures of the four greater and of eight lesser Doctors of the Church, including Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Origen, Alcuin, John Chrysostom and Bede.


Kesler’s device at the end of the book is the only he ever used, which first appeared in the 1485 Missale Basiliense. The arms probably represent kettle-hooks, alluding to Kesler’s name.



ISTC ih00317000; GW 12929; Schreiber 4898; BMC III, 770; BSB-Ink H-325; Goff H-317.