FREE WILL, PROVIDENCE: THE EARLY FRAMING OF A PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUE

Opera.

Lyon, S. Gryphius, 1539.

Folio, pp. [x], 499, [1]; bound without blank *6; woodcut printer’s device to title and at end, title within elaborate woodcut border signed I.F. illustrating Homer, the Muses and Greek philosophers; a very clean, good copy in eighteenth-century mottled sheep, panelled spine gilt in compartments, gilt lettering-piece, edges painted red; some worming to the spine, extremities rubbed, corners worn, some abrasions to sides; contemporary or near-contemporary monastic inscriptions to title (Augustinian College in Lisbon; a further Augustinian institution); nineteenth-century Louvain clerical library stamp to title; modern bookplate (Dr. E. Vandenbergh) to upper pastedown.

£1000

Approximately:
US $1374€1171

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First edition of the collected works of the Early Christian author Prosper of Aquitaine (390–465), a disciple of St Augustine and the first continuator of Jerome’s Universal Chronicle.

Human freedom is a foremost theme in the whole of Prosper’s work, framed around the Augustinian topics of grace and free will. Although a layman, a notary who from Aquitaine moved to Rome to practice the legal profession at the highest level to become Pope Leo’s adviser, Prosper engaged deeply with the philosophical and theological issues of his day, particularly the coexistence of Providence and freedom of choice. From Augustine and Prosper onwards, Western thinkers have contended with this problem for centuries: a dialectic which has produced an exceptional and lasting philosophical legacy.

Gültlingen (Gryphius) 520; Baudrier VIII, 126; Adams P 2168; Pettegree FB 83993.

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