[Basel]: [Michael Wenssler], [not after 1474]. The rare First Edition of Part Three of the Summa Theologicae, Aquinas' great unfinished work. Each part of the Summa has its own separate printing history and bibliography; this third part addresses Christology. Royal folio (390 x 285 mm.). Boards ruled in blind. Boards with chipping and loss of calf. An old sewn repair to calf on front board. Hinges are cracked and loose, but holding. With remnants of brass clasps. Leaves with some occasional toning. Some minor dampstaining along some inner margins and outer corners, not affecting text with the exception of a few letters at the top in the index. Approximately ten leaves with some repairs with some loss of a few letters of text. Some pinhole worming to covers and leaves. Leaf 191 with a corner tear, not affecting text. Previous owner's old ink inscription on top margin of first leaf of text. Fragments of a 12th-century lectionary for the mass used as pastedowns. Previous owner's small bookplate. Overall a very good complete copy collating: [2, blank], , [2, blank] leaves. With numerous rubricated initials, several with infill designs. Provenance: marginalia Rouffach, Alsace, Franciscans of the Strict Observance (inscription) acquired from Georges Heilbrun, Paris, 22 July 1964. This third part of the Summa theologicae is very rare. Other than this present copy, the Rutman (sold twice) and Schoyen copies are the only copies on Rare Book Hub and ABPC in the past 100 years. Contemporary calf over wooden boards.
Thomas Aquinas was the greatest of medieval philosophers and theologians. Like his master Albertus Magnus under whom he studied at Cologne and Paris, he was a Dominican, and throughout his life he was actively engaged in the service of his Order, travelling, lecturing, advising successive Popes in affairs of state; he rejected the preferments that were offered him and ended his days as a professor of Naples. In the midst of all this activity he found time to write an astonishing number of books, of which the Summa is the last and greatest. Aquinas held that knowledge came from two sources: the truths of Christian faith and the truths of human reason. "The Summa is divided into three parts, the first of which treats of the nature, attributes and relations of God, including the physical universe; the subject of the second being man and the chief end of man, in which a definitive code of Christian ethics is laid down; the third part, which was completed to Aquinas's plan after his death, dealt with Christ, God and man" (Printing and the Mind of Man).
PMM 30. (Item #4287)