Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First edition of St Augustine's complete works to be auctioned

Sotheby's has announced it is to sell an extremely rare and perfectly conditioned first edition of St Augustine's complete works edited by Erasmus.  The book is extraordinary because it is full of thousands of tiny red-ink corrections, amendments and commentaries, the majority of which have not been studied academically.

The 10-volume edition was annotated from 1532, two years after Henry VIII's break with the Vatican.  For many theological scholars Augustine, the fourth century philosopher born in Roman-controlled Africa was one of the most important figures in the development of western Christianity, and his teachings had a profound influence on Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer.

The identity of the annotator is unknown, but some things are clear: he must have been close to Luther and his inner circle, because he has impressively close knowledge of everything going on in Wittenberg in the 1530s, as well as access to unpublished manuscripts.

The volumes are estimated to fetch between €200,000 and €300,000 (£177,000-£266,000) and will go on sale in Paris on 18 May.

From - Ibookcollector © is published by Rivendale Press Ltd.

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