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Rare Books Collection: St. Augustine Collection

Mount Saint Mary's University rare books catalog

Introduction

     Saint Augustine was and remains one of the most influential figures in Christian thought and philosophy. Over the centuries, writers and printers have manufactured new copies and editions of his works, some of which has been collected by the library and placed in the Rare Books Collection. The point of this guide is to collect all of the different copies and editions of his works (or works credited to him) in one page for easy viewing so that any researcher interested in the topic can have easy access.

For a better introduction to Saint Augustine's philosophy, check out the site below:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/

Meditations

The Meditations and Manvall of the imcomparable Doctovr Augustine translated into English. 1621.

Origins: The cover page for this book is has a stamp claiming this book was part of the library of Right Rev. James J. Dunn. This James J. Dunn might be the same Bishop James J. Dunn who served as Auxellary Bishop from New York.

Material: This small 17th century volume is an English translation of The Meditations and Manvall, both credited to Saint Augustine.This small book appears to be translated by a Jesuit priest for an unidentified English woman known only as ‘Mrs. E.B.’ The author of this work, himself only identified as I.W., dedicates the book to her in the preface, indicating that her patronage to the Catholic faith and members of the clergy. English nobility who secretly remained loyal to the Catholic faith helped smuggle priests and other religious groups into England to maintain the Catholic faith., Moreover, the unidentified author  I.W. identifies another unnamed friend of Mrs. E.B. who also contributed money to the publication of this book which suggests a network of supporters. This book will be useful to an student interested in early 17th century English religious history.

         

       It should be noted that the Meditations were not written by Augustine himself but rather has been credited with the creation by medieval scholars. Though this may seem unusual in today's world, such a practice would not seem unusual in a medieval context. In fact, some scholars have found that "They [The meditations] are sufficiently similar to what Augustine wrote that they could with some justification be assigned to him."[1] Since the publisher credited Augustine with the original authorship, I have chosen to keep the author the same in this short description.

[1] John RotelleMeditations of Saint Augustine, (Augustinian Press; Villanova, 1995,)10. 

Call Number: BR 65 .A85 M489 1621   

Augustine. Meditaciones Del Glorioso Doctor De La Iglesia S. Agustin. Por Juan Francisco Piferrer: Barcelona, 1780.

 

Origins: It is unknown how the library came to own this book. There is unreadable cursive and a faded ink stamp which indicates prior ownership though it is not clear who or what did in fact own the book.

Description: The book has a brown covering which has a faded pattern on both sides. The title for the book is on the spine along with three gold lines, three located on the bottom. The pages are yellow at the edges. The inside and back cover for the book has a blue, red and yellow marbled page. The printing appears to be Neo-Roman, a type set used in the 1780s.

Material: The book is a reprint of a popular collection of writings credited to Saint Augustine about God and the Christian faith. The aim of the book is to encourage the reader to think about their faith and their relationship with God as a method for encouraging contemplation. Researchers interested in philosophy and religious studies may be interested in this book.

It should be noted that the Meditaciones were not written by Augustine himself but rather has been credited with the creation by medieval scholars. Though this may seem unusual in today's world, such a practice would not seem unusual in a medieval context. In fact, some scholars have found that "They [The meditations] are sufficiently similar to what Augustine wrote that they could with some justification be assigned to him."[1] Since the publisher credited Augustine with the original authorship, I have chosen to keep the author the same.

[1] John Rotelle, Meditations of Saint Augustine, (Augustinian Press; Villanova, 1995,)10. 

Call Number: BR 65 .A2 M489 1780?

Augustine. Divi Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis Episcopi Meditationes        Soliloquia et Manuale. Hyacinthi Marietti: Taurini, 1871.  

 

Origins: It is unclear how this book came into the library’s possession. A note written on one of the first pages in Latin and cursive suggests that the book was a gift to one Jas P. Parker. This arrangement seems to make sense as the same name is written on the cover page of the book.

 

Material: This small volume is a copy of Augustine’s Meditations translated into Latin. The size of the book suggests that this was a personal meditation book, possibly used for travel. Augustine’s writings focused the reader on the nature of God and about the various mysteries within the Christian faith. The idea of the book was to lead the reader on a meditation of holy concepts and ideas. It should be noted that the Meditaciones were not written by Augustine himself but rather has been credited with the creation by medieval scholars. Though this may seem unusual in today's world, such a practice would not seem unusual in a medieval context. In fact, some scholars have found that "They [The meditations] are sufficiently similar to what Augustine wrote that they could with some justification be assigned to him."[1] Since the publisher credited Augustine with the original authorship, I have chosen to keep the author the same as well.

[1] John RotelleMeditations of Saint Augustine, (Augustinian Press; Villanova, 1995,)10. 

Note: The front cover of this book is gone. The book is quite fragile.

Call Number: BR 65 .A8 1871

Works by Augustine

Augustine, S. Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis episcopi Operum Tomus III and IV. Christophorus Plantinus: Paris, 1614.

 

Origins: It is not clear how this book came into the Rare Books Collection.

 

Material: This book contains two volumes of a republishing of Augustine’s Works. These particular volumes are reprints of Christopher Plantin’s publications, completed in the late 16th century, which then were edited by scholars at Louvain University in Belgium. [1] Printed in Paris in year 1614, these two volumes, On Christian Doctrine and On Lying contain Augustine’s views on specific points of the Christian faith which were important to his time period. Augustinian scholars may be interested in studying this text in order to compare them to other publications of his work.

Note: There is no title page for Volume 3.

Weaknesses: Book is fragile, must be handled with care.

Call Number: BR 65 .A58 1614


[1]Falvey Memorial Library, “Commemorating 500 Years of the Complete Works of Saint Augustine: From the 1506 Amerbach Edition to the Internet,” Accessed October 5, 2017, https://exhibits.library.villanova.edu/archive/augustine/augustine500.

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