21 November 2012
CALVIN, John (1509-1564). Defensio Orthodoxae fidei de sacra Trinitate, contra prodigiosos errores Michaelis Serueti. [Geneva:] Robert Estienne, 1554.
8° (191 x 125mm). With the final blank. (Faint dampstain in the bottom margin of the first two gatherings.) Contemporary limp vellum, spine lettered in manuscript, modern half morocco case (some soiling). Provenance: The Folger Shakespeare Library (small release stamp on rear endpaper).
FIRST EDITION. THE FOLGER COPY, IN CONTEMPORARY VELLUM. Calvin here defends the execution of the notable polymath Servetus for his anti-Trinitarian beliefs. Calvin did not appear at the trial, and appealed for decapitation rather than the stake, but was nonetheless adamant about Servetus's blasphemy. The two men had a progressively more heated epistolary debate; Calvin wrote to his friend Farel: 'if he comes [to Geneva], if my authority is worth anything, he will never be allowed to depart alive'. Inexplicably, Servetus did come to Geneva, and is now seen as an early martyr and spiritual father of the Unitarian movement. Adams C-343; Brunet I, 1505; Renouard p.84.
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