“At the end of the 1520’s and especially in the course of the 1530s, the Italian market offered a wide range of anonymous books in the vernacular that were merely translations, often partial, of Lutheran texts disguised behind seemingly innocent titles… To the complete absence of reaction by controversialists … there had been one significant exception… Giovanni of Fano offered the uneducated reader a Luther skilled in controversy, a violently anti-Roman, systematic theologian and subverter of tradition, presenting, together with a ‘clearer notice’ of the fundamentals of Catholic doctrine, a fully detailed picture of Lutheran errors.”
The first chapter of the work treats the handling of all kinds of heretics. Fano subsequently introduces his lay reader to the usual anti-Lutheran responses found in Latin treatises of the time: on the unity of the Church; St. Peter and the Apostolic Succession; on faith, Confession, the Eucharist, indulgences, Purgatory, idolatry, prayer, and finally on the celibacy of the clergy.
We have located only one other North American institutional holding of this title.
Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a copy of an important and rare early modern title in Catholic theology with an interesting provenance. Jean Garet (d. 1571) wrote a number of works aimed mainly at exposing the doctrinal errors of Protestantism and illustrating the truth of Catholic teachings; his works were highly esteemed during his lifetime and he was read widely throughout the seventeenth century. This work, De sanctorum invocatione liber (S. Manilius, 1570), deals with the efficacy of the intercession of the saints.
This copy is of particular interest as it was owned by the English Benedictine Priory of St. Edmund King and Martyr in Paris during the seventeenth century and is recorded in their library catalogue of 1702. Benedictine monasticism in England effectively ended when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries between 1536 and 1540; however, it lived on through the various colleges and religious houses which were established on the continent. St. Edmund’s priory was founded in 1615 when monks from the English Benedictine priory in Lorraine arrived in Paris to establish a house of studies; in 1619, the community joined the revived English Benedictine Congregation which was formally established that year.
After a number of moves, the community settled in the Rue Saint Jacques (1632) where the monks were to remain until the French Revolution. Their library grew in size and importance from that date, given that the monastery was a house of studies. The first complete catalogue of the library is that of Dom Benet Weldon (1674-1713); it was finished in 1702. The catalogue is important for bibliographical research today because the library of St. Edmund’s priory was dispersed during the French Revolution; this work is recorded in Weldon’s catalogue with shelfmark 7 E 7. The entry is written in Weldon’s hand, indicating that it was present in the library in 1702 and was not a later addition.
Only 117 books—out of a total of approximately 5,800—from the library at St. Edmund’s priory have been traced, and until now all of the identified copies are in institutional libraries in Europe or the United Kingdom. Thus, this is the first book from St. Edmund’s (and the first copy of the work itself) to be held by a North American institution.
For example, chapter one concerns the excommunication of prelates (cardinals, bishops, nuncios, etc.) by the Pope himself; chapter two covers lesser clerics, chapter four, nuns and chapter six, Inquisitors. Chapter seven deals with secular lords and nobility, while chapter eight discusses various professions, including magistrates, university rectors, governors, and scholars. Chapter ten concerns all those who can be excommunicated by a bishop alone.
In addition, manuscript annotations add interest to this particular copy, attesting perhaps to various canon law interpretations prevalent during this period.
We have found no other copies of this title held by other North American libraries.
Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an unusual and extremely rare document in early modern church history, a French-language edition of the bull issued by Pope Paul III to convoke the Council of Trent (1545-1563), La Bulle de nostre sainct Père le Pape Paul troisiesme sur le Concile general qui se celebrera, le quatriesme dimanche de la Caresme prochaine (Lyon, 1544). The Council was originally planned to begin in November 1542, but because of the conflict between King Francis I of France and Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, the convocation was delayed. This Council would prove to be a pivotal event in modern church history, essentially launching the Catholic Reformation across a range of important doctrinal issues.
Paul III, whose pontificate spanned the years 1534-1549, also published Latin-language versions in Cologne, Ingolstadt, Magdeburg, Nurnberg, and Rome, while a German edition was issued in Augsburg. In this edition, the bull is preceded by a letter written by the Pope to the Archbishop of Lyon concerning the Council.
We have located only one other copy of this French version among recorded holdings worldwide, in France’s Bibliotheque Nationale.
Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a fascinating and important early modern work on the story of St. Ursula, a fourth-century British princess who tradition relates was martyred along with her 11,000 female followers by the Huns while on a pilgrimage to Rome. Vita et Martyrium S. Ursulae et Sociarum Undecim Millium Virginum etc. (Coloniae Agrippinae, 1647) by the Jesuit Hermann Crombach is an extensive defense of the legend’s historical veracity, as well as a detailed attempt to identify as many of her virgin companions as possible.
There was a resurgence of St. Ursula’s cult in the seventeenth century that witnessed the publication of a number of titles related to her; this tome “provides the most encyclopedic hagiographic coverage of the cult ever published.” ( Cartwright, The cult of St Ursula and the 11,000 virgins, 2016, p.21-22). This renewal of interest in the saint should probably be seen through the lens of the Catholic Reformation, in which detailed investigations into the authenticity of relics, saints’ legends, etc. were held up as proofs of the church’s reliability in transmitting her traditions.
Crombach’s exhaustive approach even included an attempt to identify as many of Ursula’s companions as possible and the inclusion of three finely engraved maps attempting to trace the route of the retinue from southwest England to Rome, before they turned north and were martyred in the defense of Cologne—besieged at the time by the Huns.
We have identified only five North American library holdings of this work.
Daughters of Our Lady: Finding a Place at Notre Dame, an exhibition of materials from the University of Notre Dame Archives curated by Elizabeth Hogan and reflecting on the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Notre Dame, opened late-August and will run through the fall semester.
The current spotlight exhibits are Three Sisterhoods and Two Servants of God (June – September 2022) and A Day in a Life of the Warsaw Ghetto in Photographs (August – September 2022).
RBSC will be closed Monday, September 5th, for Labor Day.
Cochlaeus (1479-1552) was one of the most prolific and rhetorically ferocious Catholic critics of the early Protestant Reformation and in this work attempts to refute one of Luther’s published sermons on the Mass, accusing him of being a “new Hussite” and likening him to the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake in 1452. Cochlaeus repeatedly stressed Luther’s preference for Hussite teachings on the Eucharist over those embraced by the Church and assailed him for breaking down religious law, true penance, and the authority of any institution to determine proper religious belief and practice. In particular, the author attacks Luther’s denial of transubstantiation—the doctrine that the bread and wine are transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ during the act of consecration—and the latter’s substitution of “consubstantiation”, the view that the substance of the bread and wine coexists with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
“Ultimately, Cochlaeus juxtaposed Luther’s preference for ‘your bread of Hus’ to the Church’s ‘body of Christ,’ a contrast that echoed Cochlaeus’ earlier accusations of Luther’s idolatrous veneration for Jan Hus and further showed Luther to be resistant to all forms of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.” (Haberkern, Patron Saint and Prophet, p. 228-9).
We have found only one other North American holding of this edition.
Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a rare first edition of an account by a seventeenth-century French Carmelite missionary of his journey through the Middle East and India, Philippe de la Tres Sainte Trinite’s Itinerarium orientale…in quo varii successus Itineris, plures Orientis Regiones, earum Montes, Maria & Flumina, Series Principum, qui in eis dominati sunt, Incolae tam Christiani, quam Infideles Populi (Lugduni, 1649).
Philippe traveled through Syria, Armenia, Persia and India, describing the situation of Christians abroad as well as taking notes on the flora, fauna, and geography of the places he visited. The work contains ten chapters; the eighth and ninth offer descriptions of the various Christian missions to the Middle and Far East, including an account of the martyrdom of two Carmelite missionaries in Sumatra in 1638.
The author (1603-1671) eventually settled in Goa (India), where he taught until he was elected General of the Carmelite Order in 1665.
We have found only three other North American holdings of this edition.
Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a rare and beautifully printed edition of Enrico Noris’s two controversial works, Historia Pelagiana and Dissertatio de Synodo V. Oecumenica(Patavii, 1708 and 1707) ; this volume also contains his Vindiciae Augustinianae quibus Sancti Doctoris scripta adversùs Pelagianos and is bound with his Opera Varia.
The first work, in which this Augustinian hermit (1631-1704) attacks Pelagianism and its emphasis on the efficacy of human free will and denial of original sin, was almost immediately suspected of propounding Jansenist doctrines; accompanying this copy is an extremely rare Inquisitorial broadside announcing the suspension of the title from the Spanish Index of Prohibited Books in 1758, accomplished after protracted lobbying by the Augustinian Order and the intervention of Pope Benedict XIV himself in 1748.
The second work on the church’s Fifth General Council deals with the Second Council of Constantinople (553) and supports the council’s condemnation of Nestorianism, which emphasized the distinction between Christ’s human and divine natures and denied that Mary could be called the Mother of God (in Greek, Theotokos).
Cardinal Enrico (or Henry) Noris, of Irish ancestry, held the Chair of Church History at the universities of Pesaro, Perugia, and Padua before gaining a position as Assistant Librarian in the Vatican in 1692; he became the full Librarian in 1700.
We have found only five other North American holdings of this edition.
Rare Books and Special Collections will be open regular hours during Reading Days and Exams (April 27 – May 5). We welcome those looking for a quiet place to study.
The spring exhibit The Word throughout Time: The Bible in the Middle Ages and Beyond is now open and will run through June. This exhibit, curated by David T. Gura (Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts), marks the 75th anniversary of the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Tours are available for classes or other groups, including K-12 audiences, by request.
The current spotlight exhibit are 100 Years of James Joyce’s Ulysses (January – April 2022) and Remembering Early England (March-April 2022).