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Religion & Philosophy

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Battle of the Biographers

[SWEDEN / CHARLES XII / VOLTAIRE] FABRICE, Friedrich Ernst von.. Anecdotes du sejour du roi de Suede a Bender, ou, Lettres de Mr. le baron de Fabrice pour servir d’eclaircissement a l’histoire de Charles XII. Hamburg, Christian Herold, 1760.

Rare first French edition (first German: 1759) of this account of Charles XII’s exile in Turkey, published on the request of Voltaire to supplement his biography of the monarch and validate it vis-à-vis the rival biography published by Nordberg.

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GALILEI, Galileo. [‘Letter to Christina’ Manuscript.]. Florence (Palazzo Strozzi), c. 1680.

A manuscript version (containing variants of the text) of Galileo’s celebrated ‘Letter to Christina’ of Lorraine (1565-1637), Grand Duchess of Tuscany, which was written in 1615 but not published until 1636 in Strasbourg. This work circulated widely in manuscript, and it was through manuscript copies such this one that some of Galileo’s most controversial ideas about Copernicanism and the relationship between Scripture and science were disseminated. The ‘Letter’ is a “superb manifesto of the freedom of thought. Its purpose was to silence all theological objections to Copernicus. Its result was the precise opposite: it became the principal cause of the prohibition of Copernicus, and of Galileo’s downfall” (Koestler). The volume carries a stamp of the Strozzi library and was recorded as parts of the Strozzi manuscript collection in a catalogue of 1728.

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GUIGO DE CASTRO / GRAF, Urs / REISCH, Gregor. Statua ordinis cartusiensis. Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1510.

Rare illustrated first edition (1510) of the Statua ordinis cartusiensis, “an exceptional case of a limited printing not available for public sale” (Elie, p. 38), here in an example with its fine woodcuts in excellent contemporary hand-color. These collected statutes and privileges of the Carthusian Order are the result of a remarkable collaboration between the jurist François Dupuy (1450-1521), prior of the Grande Chartreuse, the renowned scholar Gregor Reisch (1467-1525), humanist and author of the famed Margarita philosophica (1503), the Swiss artist Urs Graf (ca. 1485-1528), and the renowned Basel printer Johann Amerbach (c. 1440-1513). The work is preserved in its contemporary binding, rubricated throughout, with several fully illuminated initials and foliate borders, and supplemented with five leaves of manuscript text updating the work through the year 1522.

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The Illustrated Greek Orthodox Church

HEINECCIUS, J.M.. Eigentliche und wahrhafftige Abbildung der alten und neuen Griechischen Kirche, Nach ihrer Historie, Glaubens-Lehren und Kirchen-Gebräuchen. Leipzig, Joh. Friedrich Gleditsch und Sohn, 1711.

Scarce first and only edition of the first fully-fledged study of the Greek Orthodox Church, extensively illustrated, and an important addition to the nascent German tradition of studying the history of religious traditions without partisan intent.

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“A Son Honoreth His Father” (Malachi 1:6)

MATHER, Samuel. The Life of the Very Reverend & Learned Cotton Mather. Boston, for Samuel A. Gerish, 1729.

First edition of this classic of American hagiography, the life of the most celebrated and prolific New England pastor, Cotton Mather, by his son Samuel.

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