Dionysius Carthusianus. Insigne Commentariorum opus, in Psalmos omnes Davidicos..., collation: *4, A-Z6, a-z6, aa-ee6, ff4, AA-HH6, woodcut printer's device to title, woodcut initials, some marginal staining and a few wormholes, 18th century calf, rebacked, rubbed, folio (310 x 195 mm.), Cologne, Peter Quentell, March 1531.
⁂ First edition of the earliest work by Dionysius (1402-1471), the phenomenally productive Flemish theologian, Carthusian monk, ecstatic, and associate of Nicolas of Cusa, for whom he composed treatises refuting Muslim belief, superstition, and magical practices. His exegetical writings begin with the present commentary (1434) and go on to treat the entire New and Old Testaments, while his philosophical writings reflect the Christian Platonism of his namesake 'the Areopagite', and the mysticism of John and Hugh of St. Victor, and Saint Bonaventure. He also edited Boethius, Peter Lombard, and ps-Dionysius, simplified the text of Cassian, codified 'rules of Christian living' for churchmen and laymen alike, and agitated for military action against the Turks after the fall of Constantinople. 'He has been called the last of the Schoolmen', observes the Catholic Encyclopaedia', and 'he is so, in the sense that he is the last important Scholastic writer, and that his works may be considered to form a vast encyclopedia of the scholastic teaching of the Middle Ages: this their primary characteristic and chief merit'.
The modern edition of Dionysius' Opera Omnia (ed. M. Leone, 1896-1935) runs to forty-four quarto volumes. The first edition of In Psalmos omnes Davidicos, the first stepping-stone toward that 'vast encyclopedia', is - despite its bulk - uncommon: COPAC lists only a 'Cathedral Libraries' copy, and other editions of 1534, 1539, 1547, 1558, to which may be added those of 1542 and 1548 (WorldCat).
Literature: Adams D557 (three copies); VD 16 1922 (nine copies in Germany; apparently there are none in American institutions.)