Small 4to., 63 leaves, without the final blank; roman letter, capital spaces with guide-letters; woodcut printer’s device on title; the word ‘pape’ after Gregory’s name on title and final two leaves erased by an early hand, light water-stain to some upper margins, professional paper repair to inner margin of first quire, closed tear in title and following leaf (repaired), without loss; one early marginal annotation; a sound, unwashed copy in new red morocco-backed boards.
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The Regula Pastoralis is Gregory’s set of instructions on the office and duties of the bishop, whom he regarded as a shepherd of souls. It is the key to Gregory’s life as pope, for what he preached he also practised. ‘In all likelihood he intended his Regula to be for the secular clergy what the Regula of Benedict was for the monastic’ (W. G. Rusch). It circulated throughout the whole of western Europe and was translated into English by King Alfred.
This is one of the last incunables from the press of Ulrich Gering, proto-typographer of France. A native of Constance who had studied at the Sorbonne, Gering and four others (Guillaume Fichet, Johann Heynlin, Michael Friburger and Martin Crantz) established France’s first printing press, in Paris, producing their first book in 1470. In 1494, Gering, who by that time had set up on his own, was joined by Berthold Rembolt. The resulting partnership produced at least 40 editions, the majority of them religious texts.
HC *7989; BMC VIII 30; GW 11449; Goff G-443; Bod- inc. G-230.
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