A Gift from the Convent’s Founder II

Stapleton, Thomas. Thomae Stapletoni, angli, S. Theologiae doctoris, et professoris regii Lovanii, Promptuarium catholicum, Ad instructionem Concionatorum contra h[ae]reticos nostri temporis, Super Omnia Evangelia Totius Anni Tam Dominicalia, Quam De Festis; in quo inveniet concionator, unde ex litera Euangelica, vel plerasque h[ae]reses apteresutet; vel contra h[ae]reticorum hodie fraudes & mendacia, fidem Catholicam pr[ae]textu Euangelij plausibiliter ab illis impugnatam, solide defendat. Hac vltima editione plurimis in locis nouis additionibus ab auctore recens locupletatum. Additus est Index rerum copiosissimus.

❧ Coloniae Agrippinae [Cologne]: In Officina Birckmannica, sumptibus Hermanni Mylij, Anno m.dc. xiii. [1613]. In Latin. 176 × 123 mm (7 × 5 in.). 8vo. [32], 340, [12] pp. Includes blank leaves 2*8 (last leaf of the preliminaries) and Y8 (final leaf). Woodcut initials and tail-pieces. Purple ink stamp on front flyleaf and blue ink stamp on title page, both read: Franziskaner Kloster Dettelbach.” Manuscript inscription on title page: Fratribus Franciscanis de Obseruantia Conventus Dettelbacensis Julius Episcopus Wirzuburg et Fundator Monsaterij Donodedit Ao. m.dcxvii.” Colophon reads: Typis Stephani Hemmerden. Anno Repiratae Salut. humanae. 1614.” Very Good. Bound in full alum-tawed pigskin over beveled wooden boards. Blind stamped on both covers. The top cover has the beginning of John 3:16 in German translation (“Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet das er seinen”) on a banner floating above a scene of the resurrection, with Jesus Christ cradled in the arms of a heavenly figure. The bottom cover, slightly more rubbed than the top, has a scene from the Last Supper, which takes place at a round table, with a passage from Luke 22:15 inscribed beneath it in Latin (“Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum”). Manuscript spine title. Blind stamped on both covers. Brass clasps intact and fully functional. All edges stained blue.

An unrecorded variant of the 1614 edition only with the year 1613 in the imprint (1614 is the year given in the colophon). Another edition is also dated 1613 (vd17 12:110307g) and though the preliminaries appear identical the rest of the text (beginning at page A1v) has been completely reset.

vd17 17:751571y

-Bound With-

Promptuarii Catholici, super evangelia de festis sanctorum totius anni. Pars secunda.

❧ Coloniae Agrippinae: In Officina Birckmannica, sumptibus Hermanni Mylij, Anno MDCXIII [1613]. In Latin. 321, [15] pp. Printer’s device on title page. Page 216 misnumbered 210;’ page 217 misnumbered 117.’

vd17 12:110309x

-Bound With-

Thomae Stapletoni, angli, S. Theologiae doctoris, et professiris regii Lovanii, Promptuarium Catholicum, Ad instructuionem Concionatorum contra nostri temporis haereses, super evangelia ferialia per totam quadragesimam. In hac parte quadragesimali vnius Caluini varia impietas in multis, eisdemq[ue] grauissimis fidei dogmatibus aperitur, & accurate refutatur. Additus est Index rerum copiosissimus.

❧ Coloniae Aggrippinae: In Officina Birckmannica, sumptibus Hermanni Mylij, Anno MDCXIV [1614]. In Latin. [16], 325, [3] pp. With the blank final leaf. Tail-pieces.

vd17 12:110307g

Thomas Stapleton (1535–1598) was a Catholic priest born in Sussex County in southern England. A fellow at New College, Oxford, he left England in 1559 when Elizabeth I ascended to the throne in protest of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. He resettled in Leuven, helped found the English College at Douai, and held a professorship at the Catholic University of Leuven. His theological writings earned the favor of Pope Clement VIII. Stapleton was the first recorded author to use the term controversialist, found in his Fortresse of the faith (Antwerp, 1565).

The Catholic prompts” were instructional works for Catholic preachers to denounce various heresies and espouse correct doctrines. The first work provides a daily guide to religious observances during Lent with special notice paid to the Gospels. The second work explains feast days held throughout the year. The third book is also organized by festival (from Advent to 24 Sundays after Pentecost) but focuses especially on rebuttals and denunciations of Calvinist doctrine.

These three works, published by Hermann Mylius and printed by Officina Birckmannica, are often bound together in a single volume, with works dated 1613 or 1614. Mylius was a publisher active in Mainz who, with Arnold Birckmann’s heirs, issued several editions of Stapleton’s work from 1594 to 1624.

An outstanding copy, with fresh interior text pages and in its contemporary binding with attractive blind stamping. This copy is from the personal collection of the esteemed Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, and received by the (then-newly founded) Franciscan convent at Dettelbach as a gift in 1617, the year of the donor’s death. The Prince-Bishop is remembered for re-establishing the University of Würzburg as a model of Catholic theological education during the Counter-Reformation. He was a leader of implementing the Council of Trent’s reforms in Germany and was committed especially to spiritual warfare against heresy and witchcraft (Dillinger).

Oclc reports only one location for the complete three-part volume in the U.S. (oclc #64379937) with another three in England and one in Scotland. No record of sale for this edition located in Rare Book Hub.


Dillinger, Johannes. The Political Aspects of the German Witch Hunts”. Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft. 4 (1), 2009, pages 62–81.


In stock

Stock Code: 1458A17 Collection: Catalogue:


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