Antiquariat Jürgen Dinter

Stephanus, Robertus

In Evangelium secundum Matthaeum, Marcum, et Lucam commentarii … Geneva 1553


In Evangelium secundum Matthaeum, Marcum, et Lucam commentarii ex ecclesiasticis scriptoribus collecti, Novae glossae ordinariae specimen, donec meliora dominus. — Oliva Roberti Stephani. M. D. LIII. [Colophon:] Excudebat Robertus Stephanus in sua officina anno M. D. LIII. Idib. Ian.

[Geneva, Robertus Stephanus, 13 January 1553]

First edition

Folio (315 x 204 mm). (18), 312, 38 ff.

Contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards, two clasps. Roll with Caritas, Spes, Fides, dated 1586, a smaller one with arms of Bavaria, small portraits, and the initials TA; oval centrepiece. The fine binding is executed by Theodor Allgeyer, who worked in Bavaria. – Haebler, Rollen- und Plattenstempel I 25; r002198 for the smaller roll-stamp.

Renouard 82f.; Adams S-1817. Not in Fred Schreiber’s collection. At the top of AA1 a slip is pasted: Harmonia Evangelica, Simul &, as described in Adams.

The binding has in its first compartment the manuscript title Glossae Roberti Stephani super tres prim. Evangelistas, and below in the second and in the same hand Haereticus. This refers to the condemnation of Robert Estienne’s work including „his entire corpus of biblical publications in Latin“ (Armstrong p. 200) by the Paris and Louvain theologians.

What you see on a page is Erasmus‘ translation, and printed in the inner margin and in smaller type the text of the Vulgate.

The verse count is taken from Robert’s Greek NT of 1551 as well as the subdivision of a chapter into A, B, C, etc.

A vertical double stroke indicates references to other passages of the Bible; the references are printed in the margin. „HAR“ in the margin refers to Andreas Osiander, Harmoniae evangelicae libri IV, Basel 1537, of which the index forms the last 38 leaves of the book. A quotation mark like “ shows that the following word or phrase has an annotation which can be found by help of the verse number in Robert’s extensive Nova Glossa Ordinaria – the Reformed replacement of the medieval Glossa Ordinaria. 


There are important passages in Robert’s preface to his commentary that E. Armstrong pointed out: „The texts relating these experiences [of Catholics and Protestants ‚in action‘], the nearest thing that we have to an account of Estienne’s religious development, is so important, and has been so completely overlooked, that I make no apology for translating the whole of the relevant passage.“ (261) So do I in quoting these unique passages in the translation of Elizabeth Armstrong:

„But when the Lord had delivered me from their cruel hands [of the Sorbonne doctors], and made them somewhat more kindly disposed towards me, I promised them to follow up the plan of a new Glossa ordinaria of which I had spoken to them, should they be willing to assist me in the matter. This they promised to do. But when I perceived and understood that they were wholly inimical and hostile to the blood of Jesus Christ, without a true and perfect understanding of which no one can arrive at understanding of the Scriptures, I resolved to depart from them, desiring no business or commerce with such bitter enemies of Jesus my Saviour. And I betook my self to the mountains, where in the summits wild and savage beats have their dens, finding among those mountains more humanity, simplicity and piety than among the theologians, and more acknowledgement and thankfulness to their Creator than among those who guileless sheep’s clothing wickedly turn men aside from the true fear of God and prevent his creatures from having access to their Creator through Jesus Christ.

  For here among the wild beats I met with men who proclaimed the loving and memorable goodness of God, and who preached both his grace and his mercy, acting as ambassadors of Christ and in His name, whom they so represented to their brethren, and as it were portrayed before their very eyes, that the likeness and face of the Son of God, hitherto unknown to me and now so notably expressed, and a new from and teaching of the Gospel threw me into the greatest wonder and amazement.

  For previously I considered that I made such progress in the knowledge of Jesus Christ that I thought I was in the position to teach them. But it fell out otherwise, and differently from what I expected. For I had first to unlearn wholly the false and corrupt teaching in which I had been brought up by those false prophets and impious masters, so as to learn my ‚first rudiments‘ in the Christian religion, wherein I was ignorant of the nature of the Sacraments, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. You can imagine what sort of Glossa I should have published, if the Lord had permitted me to accomplish anything therein at that time, using the advice of those who are enemies to the truth.

  Wherefore I removed far from these wolves of the plains, who back there infect with their breath the souls of all men, and I saw among these mountains a lesson in that Christian piety and religion which consists in God’s Word and his Sacraments. Then I consulted the Scriptures, to see whether the teaching which I heard agreed with them. For as our mind is spiteful and perverse, I thought I was sure to find some discrepancy, and something found wanting. But merciful God! I found the greatest possible agreement, harmony and concord.“