A VERY RARE PROTESTANT POSTIL

Postill, Dat is, Uthlegginge der Evangelien so up de Sondage und Göttlike feste in der gemene Gades.

Bremen, Thomas de Villiers, 1617.

4to, pp. [xx], 1308, [2, blank]; title printed in red an black within typographical border, woodcut initials and typographical headpieces throughout; a few quires uniformly browned, one small marginal paper flaw, but a very good copy in contemporary stiff vellum, ink lettering on spine; cover a little soiled.

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Very rare first and only edition of this Reformed Postilla in Low German, translated by Tobias Pezel, the preacher and theologian son of another famous Reformed theologian and promoter of the Confession in Nassau and Bremen, Christoph Pezel.

In the decades between 1550 and 1620, in what has been described as the ‘primacy of postils’ (Frymire), the genre flourished, under the evangelic as well as ‘normative’ impulse of Reformed ministers-officers. Sermons for all feasts of the liturgical year provided the clergy with a model for preaching, as it had been traditional since the homiliaria of the early Christian centuries. With Luther’s and Melanchthon’s Postils, though, the Reformed collections of sermons also became key instruments in codifying a consistent understanding of points of theology, the terms of which were particularly delicate in territories exposed to Catholic and Calvinist influence. Luther’s own Postilla had also enjoyed a translation into Low German.

Not in VD 17. On Pezel, see ADB XXV, 577. On German editions of the Postilla from Luther to 1620, see John M. Frymire, The Primacy of the Postils: Catholics, Protestants, and the dissemination of ideas in Early Modern Germany (2009).

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