Lyon: Gilbert de Villiersfor Guillaume Huyon and Constantin Fradin, 1515.
3rd Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #002624
4 May 1515. 8vo (191 x 134 mm). 224 leaves, foliated [i] ij-ccxxiiij. Signatures: a-z8, A-E8. Colophon on E8r. Gothic types, 2 columns, 50 lines and headline, lombard and decorated initials, 5 woodcuts used 17 times (some with typeset captions). Bound in fine 18th century green vellum, spine with rich gilt floral decoration and gilt morocco lettering piece, boards little rubbed and soiled. Head of title page with old paper repair not affecting text, upper margin trimmed a bit close just touching headlines on a few pages, tiny hole in title-leaf affecting one letter on verso. First 3 leaves including the title a bit browned and spotted, otherwise quite crisp and clean. Provenance: the highest authority of the masonic order of the Scottish rite of Northern America (Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States) with fine engraved bookplate on front pastedown (motto "Deus Meumque Jus - Supreme Council 33") with signature "Inv. W.P.B. 1900" (W. Phillips Barrett, engraver). A fine copy printed on good, strong paper. ----
Duveen, p. 368; Palau 143725; Rogent and Duran, Bibliografia de les impressions Lullianes (Barcelona, 1927) no. 55; Baudrier XI, 107; Renouard, Badius Ascensius III, 44-45. - THE RARE THIRD (SECOND ILLUSTRATED) EDITION of the principal philosophical work of the great Catalan mystic, Ramon Lull who was killed by the Saracens in Morocco in 1315. In this, the most voluminous and comprehensive of his treatises, he expounds his entire system of philosophy, dividing the whole range of human knowledge into 16 categories, each represented allegorically by a tree (arbor). All early editions of Lull's philosophical works are rare, because his doubtful orthodoxy and his reputation as a magician and a cabbalist led to their destruction. The illustrations, cut for this book, show the trees of knowledge envisaged by Lull. Of considerable interest is the cut for the "arbor moralis", in which Christ appears as Judge with the axe, and the woodcut on fol. II recto, showing Lull being inspired by the Holy Ghost. Lull, who was born about 1232, was "one of the greatest vernacular authors of medieval Europe, the father of western orientalism, the inventor of a kind of generalised logic". (Sarton, Introd. Hist. of Science, vol. II, pt. 2, pp. 900-914.) Palau IV, p. 294.
The first two editions, Barcelona 1482 (GofF L-383) and 1505 (Norton 94, with woodcuts), are both of exceptional rarity. The Arbor scientiae was extensively analysed, with reproductions from the present edition, by Frances Yates (The Art of Ramon Lull, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. XVII, 1954; reprinted in her Collected Essays, London, 1982, pp. 9-77). Lullism enjoyed a strong revival in Renaissance France in the circle of Lefevre d'Etaples and of the scholar-printer Badius Ascensius. The present Lyons edition contains the first appearance of the title-page commendatory verse by Badius. This apparently represents the beginnings of his involvement in Lull's writings. He shortly after published in Paris, between November 1515 and December 1516, five further tractates by Lull.
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