De visitatione ecclesiastica.

Jena, Tobias Steinmann, 1593.

4to, ff. [12]; with typographical border and engraved printer’s device on title; some uniform browning to the second and third quires, but a good copy, bound in modern marbled boards.


US $274€234

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First edition, rare, of an early work on the nature, scope, limits and jurisdiction of canonical visitations, the visitationes ecclesiasticae, a key element in the outline of jurisdiction, responsibility and control established by the Catholic Reformation in the last decades of the sixteenth century.

The visitatio, a practice incumbent on patriarchs, primates, metropolitans and bishops, was systematically introduced and given legal and binding substance by the Council of Trent ‘with a view of maintaining faith and discipline, and of correcting abuses by the application of proper remedies’ (Catholic Encyclopedia). The Council determined that ‘“the principal object of all the visitations shall be to lead men to sound and orthodox doctrine by banishing heresies, to maintain good morals, and to correct such as are evil; by admonition and exhortation to animate the people to religion, peace, and innocence, and to put in vogue whatever else may be dictated by the prudence of the visitors for the benefit of the faithful, as time, place and opportunity shall permit”’ (ibid.).

VD16, M 5401. OCLC finds a sole copy in the US, at Harvard Divinity School.

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