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A humanist in strife with the Augustines and Pope Julius II, ca. 1507

Ad Julium. II. Po[n]tifice[m] Max[imum]. Querulosa excusatio Jacobi Wimphelingii ad instantiam fratru[m] Augustine[n]sium ad curiam romana[m] citati: ut propria in persona ibide[m] compareat: proptereaq[ue] scripsit divum Augustinum non fuisse monachum vel fratrem mendicante[m].
[Strasbourg, Jean Prüss the elder, ca. 1507]. 4to (21 x 15 cm). With a large woodcut decorated initial. Set in 2 sizes of roman type with a few words in a large textura gothic type. With the initial coloured brown by an early hand. Boards covered with grey laid paper (1940s?).
€ 3,500
First and only edition of a poem in Latin verse by the Alsatian humanist theologian Jacob Wimpfeling (1450-1528), addressed to Pope Julius II, defending himself against accusations made by the Augustines. He had claimed (in 1504?) that Saint Augustine was not actually a monk and that one could lead a good Christian life without joining an order. This was not taken well and the Pope called him to Rome. The Pope remained unconvinced by Wimpfeling's present defence but did excuse him from the arduous journey to Rome due to his poverty and poor health. His opponents apparently thought him not so dangerous and finally left him in peace. He later returned to controversy: after Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther in 1521 Wimpfeling tried to convince him to lift the excommunication, though he finally deferred to the Church.
With the colouring of the initial offset onto the facing (blank) page, and with a manuscript note in a similarly coloured ink. In very good condition and with large margins. A window into strife in the Catholic Church a decade before the Reformation.
J. Benzing & J. Müller, Bibliographie strasbourgeoise II, 18, no. 55; J. Knepper, Jakob Wimpfeling, pp. xiii, 187-195; Ritter, Livres du XVIe s. ... Strasbourg 2481 ; VD16, W3330.
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Early printing & manuscripts  >  Religion & Devotion
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