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Rare first Deventer edition of an immensely popular confessional handbook for priests in the Low Countries

[GARLANDIA, Johannes de, or Petrus BLESENSIS].
Libellus de modo confitendi et penitendi. [= Modus poenitendi = Poeniteas cito].
[colophon:] Deventer, [Richard Pafraet], 20 December 1488. 4to. The text opens with a 6-line blue lombardic initial supplied in manuscript. Text set in one column in a rotunda gothic type with the headings in a larger textura gothic. 19th-century marbled paper over boards, blue paper spine label lettered in gold, preserved in a 20th-century orange cloth box from the St. Matthias' Abbey in Trier. [25] ll.
€ 15,000
First Deventer edition of the popular work on confession and penitence, often attributed to the medieval philologist and university teacher Johannes de Garlandia (also known as John of Garland, ca 1190-ca. 1270) or to the French cleric, theologian, poet and diplomat Petrus Blesensis (also known as Peter of Blois, ca. 1130-ca. 1211). The Libellus de modo confitendi et penitendi (or poenitendi as usually written) is a confessional handbook in verse for the priests who took confession and prescribed penance, offering prayers, questions and lists of sins that could be used as guidelines during the confession. Because texts on the Sacrament of Confession became very popular in the 15th-century medieval societies, the work appealed to a wider audience than just priests: it must also have been read by laymen for its moralistic function, for example by listing the seven heavenly and the seven deadly sins. A work like this reflects the ritual of the Sacrament of Confession in the 15th century, but also mirrors the Christian morality of virtue. The present first Deventer edition, by Richard Pafraet, is quite rare: the ISTC records only 14 copies.
Many Deventer editions followed the present first one: Pafraet published three more editions between 1490 and 1496 and another not printed before 24 March 1500, moreover Jacobus de Breda published 8 different editions between 1489 and 1498. This shows the immense popularity of this work, which ran through more than 20 editions in the Low Countries alone before 1500.
With a contemporary owner's inscription at the head of the title-page: "Codex mo[na]sterij sancti mathie a[posto]li extra muros Trenen[sis]". Below the title the same hand wrote an index of 16 works formerly bound with the present work, indicating the present copy of Libellus de modo confitendi et poenitendi was part of a convolute. The work was formerly part of the library of the St. Matthiass Abbey in Trier, as the orange cloth box confirms, in any case in the 20th century when the box probably was made. Another contemporary hand complemented the title "Libellus de modo confitendi et penitendi" with the word "Primo" before the title and another also contemporary hand wrote "Metricus cum commento" after the title. Binding slightly worn, especially around the edges. Some staining and foxing, especially on the first and last leaves and in the margins, with some small repairs at the head of some leaves and in the gutter margin (especially on the first leaves), lacking the final blank, but still in good condition. Rare first Deventer edition, by Pafraet (1488), of a popular work on confession and penitence. BMC IX, p. 50; Goff M768; GW M13789; HC 11499; IDL 3277; ILC 1616; ISTC im00768000; Oates 3468; Proctor 8980; cf. Troelstra, De toestand der catechese in Nederland gedurende de vóór-reformatische eeuw, pp. 91-92.
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Early printing & manuscripts  >  15th Century | Religion & Devotion
Religion & devotion  >  Bibles, Liturgy & Devotional Works