Vitae Patrum, in Usum Ministrorum Verbi, Quo ad eius Fieri Potiut Repurgatas Cum Praefatione D. Doctoris Martini Lutheri.
Major, Georg.

VVitembergae: (per Petrum Seitz), 1544. First edition of Major's work on the Church fathers, with a fifteen-page preface by Martin Luther. Title-page within a woodcut architectural border, two large decorative woodcut initial letters. Binding extremities lightly worn, minor worming to front board, last leaf, and both pastedowns. Lacking front free endpaper. Light dampstain at fore-margin of first several gatherings. Marginal chips to last leaf, one cropping part of a running title. Short old Latin inscription on front pastedown, twentieth century owner's signature and small book label also on front pastedown. Early ink underscoring in several places, early ink annotation at the end of the Martin Luther preface. A good copy. Contemporary pigskin over wooden boards. Both covers elaborately stamped in blind, using roll tools. Metal clasps and catches lacking. Octavo. [8], 323 [i.e. 317], [20 (Item ID: 16392)


Georg Major (1501-1574) was a Lutheran theologian and one of leading disciples of Martin Luther, by whom he was ordained. He was appointed rector of the Johannischule in Magdeburg and in 1537 became a court preacher at Wittenberg. He served a long tenure as dean of the Theological School at Wittenberg, was a partner of religion and church policy of the Saxon Electorate, and was translator and editor of the Wittenberg Luther edition. He is known for his part in the "Majoristic controversy," which forced Luther's heirs to refine their definition of the relationship between faith and works, a controversy he felt reluctant to be drawn into.

This is a very scarce book, especially in commerce. American Book Prices Current lists no copies coming up at auction in at least forty years. The only auction copy that we could find was in an obscure Danish auction in 2011. OCLC lists nearly two dozen copies worldwide, including eight in America. Benzing, Lutherbibliographie 3455. VD 16. Adams; M-225.

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