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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 20

    ST THOMAS AQUINAS O.P. (1225-1274), Summa theologica, secunda secundae, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

    Price Realised  


    ST THOMAS AQUINAS O.P. (1225-1274), Summa theologica, secunda secundae, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
    [southern France, c.1300]
    366 x 260mm. iii paper + 204 + iii paper leaves: 111(of 12, lacking i), 2-612, 710, 8-1612, 178, 187(of 8, viii cancelled blank), catchwords in lower margins of final versos, 60 lines written in brown ink in a gothic bookhand in two columns between four verticals, outer verticals double ruled, and 61 horizontals ruled in grey, justification: 250 x 82-13-81mm, additional double ruled horizontals in upper margin, for headings, and lower margin, additional double ruled verticals in outer margin, pricking for horizontals on some leaves, marginal headings, later maniculae, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, paragraph marks alternately in red and blue, two-line initials alternately in red and blue flourished with the contrasting colour, headings in red and blue (lacking first leaf, worming to first 13 and final eight folios, some irregular leaves, some original repairs now undone, wear to margins extending into text on a few leaves). 18th-century Italian half sheep and patterned paper over pasteboards, the spine lettered in gilt 'I D. THOMAE SEC. SEC. MS.' (scuffed).


    1. From its design and parchment, the manuscript appears to have originated in southern France, perhaps within a Dominican convent, possibly associated with the Dominican schools in the university towns of Toulouse and Montpellier. A date c.1300 is supported by the erasure of fratris before Aquinas's name on ff.199v and 204 and its replacement by sancti in a later hand on f.199v: Thomas Aquinas was canonised in 1323.

    2. Perhaps from the Dominican convent of San Domenico, Gaeta (see lot 16); bound uniformly with the manuscript from Gaeta (lot 22) and eleven others and similarly inscribed: 'S. Thomas De fide spe charitate usque ad questiones 190' (f.1) and 'D.L.' (ff.1, 31, 106, 150) and 'Foglie 202 Segnato N. A P', with here an additional note 'anno 921 v. fine' (verso of first paper leaf); similar brief 19th-century description in French loosely inserted.

    3. HSA B2719; Faulhaber, pp.110-11.


    St Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, secunda secundae, lacking the opening leaf and beginning in Quaestio 1, art. 5, ...sed in quantum per lumen fidei videntur esse credenda, ending ...qui est super omnia deus benedictus in secula. Amen. Explicit summa secunda sancti thome de aquino ordinis fratrum predicatorum: deo gratia:, ff.1-199v; table of contents, opening Incipiunt tituli questionum super dicta summa. Questio prima de fide quantum ad eius obiectum. Utrum obiectum fidei sit... and ending Expliciunt tituli questionum super summa secunde partis [erased] thome de aquino ordine predicatorum, ff.199v-204.

    For St Thomas Aquinas and his magnum opus the Summa theologica, see lot 19. Its second part deals with how man achieves, or loses, his goal of the possession of God. It was itself divided in two, so that the secunda secundae, completed in Paris in 1271-1272, returns to matters briefly discussed in the prima secundae: the virtues with their corresponding vices and how virtue should be pursued through different manners of life. Questions 1-46 deal with the three Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity; Questions 47-170 with the four Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance; Questions 171-189 with the gifts of prophecy, speech and miracles and with different modes of life, ending with the contemplative. As a treatise on the virtues and vices, the Secunda secundae achieved a circulation independent of the complete Summa: it was the first part to be printed, in 1467 by Schöffer in Mainz.

    Only one copy of the Summa theologica, secunda secundae has been recorded at auction since 1975, sold in these rooms, 9 July 2001, lot 17, a later copy of 1443 made from a defective exemplar. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a fundamental work of Christian thought and medieval scholarship.

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