APRIL 1490 THE FIRST SYSTEMATIZATION OF CHRISTIAN THOUGHT
LACTANTIUS, LUCIUS COELIUS FIRMIANUS.Opera. [WITH:] ONORIO VENAN-ZIO. De Resurrectione Christi carmen. Venice: Teodoro Ragazzoni da Asola, 21 April 1390 [i. e. 1490].
2° (311 x 212), later stiff vellum, ff. . Text in Latin (some words in Greek), Roman and Greek types, 45 lines.
A LATER ILLUMINATED LEAF WITH A LARGE INITIAL M REPRESENTING A MONK AND A DELICATE FLORAL BORDER WITH A TONDO CONTAINING AN ANGEL. ENTIRELY RUBRICATED IN IN RED AND BLUE.
SECOND VENETIAN EDITION OF LACTANTIUS COLLECTED WORKS, EDITED BY GIOVANNI ANDREA BUSSI, BISHOP OF ALERIA: THE FIRST WORK THAT SYSTEMATIZES FOR THE FIRST TIME THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN THOUGHT, ALSO DEFENDING THE NEWBORN CHRISTIANITY BY PAGANS.
The importance of demonstrating the rational value of the Christian religion is a constant of Lactantius' production, probably coming from his classical education in rhetoric and philosophy.
He was one of the first printed Christian thinkers for his unquestioned talent in «the sweetness of expression, in the grace and elegance of style», as Fletcher states in the introduction of his translation in English: his skill as rhetor, that gained him the post as tutor of the emperor Constantine's son, was fully recognized by the major intellectuals of the Italian Renaissance as Pico della Mirandola and Angelo Poliziano, who nicknamed him the "Christian Cicero".
CONDITION: Light water-stains and minor traces of use, but a fine copy.
PROVENANCE: The Latin phrase Sapie(n)tis e(st) mutare propositu(m) («It is for the wise person to change his mind») at recto of first blank leaf a.
REFERENCES: BMC V 477; BSB-Ink L-9; GW M16563; Goff L10; HC 9815; Pellechet Ms 6993 (6945); CIBN L-10; Arnoult 945; Fernillot 362; Parguez 642; Péligry 497; Zehnacker 1392; Polain (B) 4510; IGI 5627; IBP 3341; Sajò-Soltéz 2020; IDL 2870; SI 2369; Gspan-Badalic 405; IBE 3419; Coll (U) 934; Madsen 2433; Martìn Abad L-8; Voull(B) 4317; Guntt (L) 3580; Kind (Gottingen) 2317; Walsh 2410, 2411; Bod-inc L-011; Sheppard 4340; Proctor 5262. ISTC il00010000. W. FLETCHER, The works of Lactantius, 1871.