Zwolle, [Johannes de Vollenhoe] 1479.
Folio (275 x 194 mm.). [ii blank], [xvii], [iii blank], p. Gothic type, double-column. Rubricated initials, paragraphs marked in red, Biblical citations stroked and underlined in red.
Recent pigskin-backed wooden boards, brass clasps and catches, old blue-sprinkled edges.
First Edition, first issue. Though long attributed to Saint Bonaventure, the majority of these two hundred sermons are by his contemporary, Servasanto da Faenza: “One of the most important thirteenth-century Franciscan authors” (Roest). His blend of theology, philosophy and popular themes appealed to lectors, preachers and catechists. The first part offers models for Sundays and high holy days and the second material for the commemoration of saints and martyrs and for special observances, like church dedications.
This edition employed a unique numeric-alphabetic scheme, used only this once, for indicating the order of the leaves in cycles of twenty-four (starting after the index in front). In the first cycle of twenty-four leaves, an “i” occupies the center top of each recto, while the center top of the twenty-four facing versos bear a letter, progressing “a” to “z” plus “&”. The second cycle of twenty-four leaves then begins with “ii” on the rectos facing a second alphabetic sequence “a” to “z” plus “&”, and so on.
AN EARLY READER PREPARED THIS COPY FOR STUDY AND REFERENCE. In this copy, the buyer effaced Vollenhoe’s complex cues and supplanted them with his own manuscript finding aids. He penned headlines on the versos. He numbered the sermons in Arabic in the text, repeated the sermon number in roman in the upper right corner of the rectos and alphabetically lettered the margins (“a” to “k”) to mark internal sermon divisions.
The state of its type places the Sermons among Vollenhoe’s earliest productions, which show “great technical skill” (Hellinga). Sometime in 1480 his types passed into the possession of Peter van Os to whom this edition was previously assigned.
In good condition (inner margin of the first twenty leaves stained, four early corners repaired, four gutters strengthened).
¶Hermans, Zwolse boeken voor een markt zonder grenzen, 1477-1523 ZD 13; Roest, Franciscan Literature of Religious Instruction 35-8 & 323; Distelbrink, Bonaventurae scripta 205 & 209; Hellinga, The Fifteenth-Century Printing Types of the Low Countries I: 40-43; ISTC ib00948000; Goff B-948.