Writings of a Turkish Christian Hermit

Mark the Hermit. Sancti Patris nostri Marci Eremitæ Opuscula qu[a]edam Theologica, qu[a]e in Bibliotheca regia reperta sunt, græcè scripta: Nunc primùm Latino sermoni tradita, per Ioannem Picum, Classium inquisitoriarum in Senatu Parisiensi Præsidem. Cum aliis quibusdam, quorum elenchum habes pagina Epistolam sequente.

Lutetiae [Paris]: Apud Audoënum Parvum [Oudin Petit], sub intersignio Lilij aurei, via ad divum Iacobum, 1563. 170 x 117 mm (6 ⅝ x 4 ¼ in). Octavo. [32], 542, [2] pp. In Latin.

Bound in full calf stamped in gilt with ecclesiastical arms on both covers: a shield with diagonal bar across it, three acorns in the upper portion and a pair of bird legs in the lower portion, surrounded by an ecclesiastical hat with 12 tassels, all in an oval border. Inscribed on title page: Ex Libris Philippi de La Coste…” Manuscript waste on rear pastedown. 

Binding good; covers worn, professional modern rebacking with red leather title label. Interior very good.  

An early Latin translation of the church fathers. First edition of Jean Picot’s Latin translations of Greek sermons deposited at the Royal Library in Paris. From these Greek manuscripts, Picot reckons ten discrete texts, eight of which he attributes to Mark the Hermit, a 5th century ascetic. Early accounts of the Church Fathers disputed Mark’s identity as there were many religious figures and hermits known by the name Macarius during this era. It is now generally believed that Mark was once a respected theologian, the leader of a monastic settlement at Ancyra (present day Ankara, Turkey), and later resided as a desert hermit around Mar Saba, near present day Bethlehem. He is also known as Marcus the Ascetic and venerated in Eastern Orthodoxy as Saint Marcus Eremita. His feast day is observed on May 20th.

Topics covered by sermons in this book include heaven, spiritual law, penitence, and baptism. Picot includes texts he attributes to three other authors that were together with the documents by Mark. The first is a letter from a priest named Nicholas to Mark the Hermit responding to a previous letter. The next two works are credited to Marc Exercitoris, but these are now attributed to Mark the Hermit. Finally, a two-part work titled Centuria” on a virtuous life free of excess and temptation is credited to Hesychius of Jerusalem. 

An unmediated” encounter with primary sources. Apart from a brief dedicatory epistle and scattered marginal citations to Biblical texts, Picot offers no apparatus for guiding readers through these works. This reflects a Renaissance humanist belief that recovery of and direct engagement with classical sources can heal the present. Picot concludes his dedication to Simon de Maille de Breze (himself a translator of Basil of Caesarea) that reading these sermons may relieve pain brought on by ill health of the individual as well as society in general.  

Bound for a French Bishop. Per Olivier, Hermal, and Roton, vol. I, plate 34, the ecclesiastical arms on both covers are those of Bishop Nicolas Sanguin de Livry (1580–1653). He was the Bishop of Senlis, France for 50 years. Subsequently Abbé Philippe de La Coste was the owner of this book. He signed his name on the title page, and this book was lot 769 in the 1722 estate auction of his books. The proceeds of the sale, according to La Coste’s will, were distributed to the poor”.

Printed by Frederic Morel for Oudin Petit, as indicated in the colophon which differs slightly from the imprint on the title page: Excudebat Aud. Parvo Federicus Morellus, anno m.d.lxiii. Idib. Aug.” Petit held the privilege to produce this book, and an extract is printed on the title page verso. The production of this edition, however, was subcontracted out to Morel.

Seven copies in U.S. libraries per oclc Worldcat (30759999 and 123098662). Scarce in the trade, with no copies for sale at the time of cataloging; last appeared at auction in 1972.


Olivier, Hermal, and Roton’s Manuel de l’amateur de reliures armoriées françaises, Paris: Ch. Bosse, 1924–1938, vol. i, plate 34.

La Coste, Philippe de Catalogus librorum bibliothecae viri clarissimi D. Phil. de la Coste… quorum fiet auctio. Paris: Pierre Simon for Charles Osmont and Gabriel Martin, 7 January 1722.

USTC 153451

Thank you, William S. Cotter of W.S. Cotter Rare Books, abaa for research assistance on this book. 


In stock

Stock Code: 1141B16 Collection: Catalogue:


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