AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,

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Lot 8
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D.
Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,

US$ 100,000 - 150,000
£ 73,000 - 110,000

Fine Books and Manuscripts

11 Dec 2020, 10:00 EST

New York

AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D.
Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime, 310 x 218 mm, probably Italy, mid-12th century, 104 leaves (Confessiones, ff 1- 75v; In Salmonis Ecclesiasten, ff 76r-104), double column, 39-40 lines in brown ink, some medieval corrections, rubrics in red, nineteen large 5-to 9-line ornate red initials with simple penwork tracery and flourishes. Red morocco, spine lettered in gilt, repair to ff 16 and 78, marginal staining to first leaf, trimmed, ff 37 and 83 untrimmed, with edges folded in, occasional stains, occasional holes in margins of leaves.
Provenance: Produced in a monastic scriptorium in Italy, probably Cistercian, in the mid twelfth century, partially erased inscription on 1r, apparently "Venerabilis conventus syon' ..."; Guglielmo Libri (1803-69); his sale, Sothebys, London, March 28, 1859, lot 105, to Henry Stevens of Vermont (1845-86); slipped by Stevens into his sale of the library of Edward A. Crowninshield of Boston, Puttick and Simpson, July 12, 1860, lot 252, to Willis; acquired from Willis, 1861, by Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872, his MS.16066); his sale, Sothebys, London, June 15, 1908, lot 43; Bergendahl Collection MS.31 (bought by Joseph Pope from John Fleming, November, 1982; Bergendal catalogue no 31; Stoneman "Guide" p 179); sold "Western Manuscripts and Miniatures," Sothebys, London, July 5, 2011, lot 40).

"THE INVENTION OF THE INNER SELF" - AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE EARLY MANUSCRIPT OF SAINT AUGUSTINE'S CONFESSIONS, "THE FIRST GREAT AUTOBIOGRAPHY" (PMM 7). Creating a new genre of literature, the Confessions is a philosophic memoir of the highest order, intimately recording Augustine's quest for truth and certainty, and counterposing Plato to the salvational perspective of the New Testament. Acknowledging eternal truth in classical philosophy (and Platonism in particular) as well as in Christianity, Augustine affirms a distinctive New Testament doctrine in the quality of grace and the superior merit of the Christian belief – precipitating his conversion to Christianity.

In wrestling with the notion of the human self and its inner life, Augustine essentially "invented the concept of private inner space" (Cary, Augustine's Invention of the Inner Self, Oxford, 2003, p 3), fundamentally creating the intellectual framework of the modern human psyche. "The product of highly articulate philosophical inquiry", Augustine's "inner space" is "a dimension or level of being belonging specifically to the soul, distinct from the being of God above ... and from the world of bodies outside it" (Cary, pp 3-4). Over the course of the centuries Augustine's notion of the inner self "worked its way deeply into the intellectual heritage of the West and therefore into the experience of Western individuals" (Cary, p 3). Augustine's notion of the "inner self" is actively at work even today, its conception effectively shaping the ground of Heidegger's Being and Time, a foundation of 20th century philosophy.

"Remarkable for what he did and extraordinary for what he wrote" (Britannica), Augustine was famous in his own day, his sermons drawing thousands of auditors, while his writings, estimated at 5 million words, comprise the largest surviving corpus of any ancient author. Hailed as "The Father of Western Theology," Augustine's "distinctive theological style shaped Latin Christianity in a way surpassed only by scripture itself" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition). As the Confessions itself evidences, Augustine's importance extends beyond religion: Augustine's thought – and his Confessions most of all – was the main conduit through which the Platonic philosophy reached medieval Europe, acting as a primary catalyst for the 12th-century rediscovery of ancient Greek science and mathematics.

This notable manuscript is a distinct product of the 12th century Renaissance, an epoch which witnessed the rebirth of science and the founding of the first European universities, igniting the flame that would lead to the wider Renaissance of the 15th century. Following the Confessions in this manuscript are contemporary writings from Hugh of St. Victor. "An Augustinian in theology and a Platonist in philosophy," Hugh was the most important theologian of the time. Possessing a keen Renaissance mind interested in mathematics and technology, Hugh preached the redemptive power of learning and promoted the study of the natural world. In pairing Augustine and Hugh this manuscript superbly epitomizes the intellectual spirit driving the 12th century Renaissance.

All known pre-12th-century exemplars of the Confessions appear to be firmly ensconced in institutional libraries (see Gorman, "The Early Manuscript Tradition of St. Augustine's Confessions"). Predating the first printed edition by more than 300 years, this remarkable manuscript is likely the earliest manuscript of the Confessions remaining in private hands.
Contacts
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
AUGUSTINE, SAINT, BISHOP OF HIPPO. 354-430 A.D. Saint Augustine's Confessiones, decorated medieval manuscript on vellum, with 11 homilies from Hugh of St-Victor's In Salomonis Ecclesiasten, written during his lifetime,
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