Paris: Denys Thierry, 1692. Hardcover. 16mo. Full calf, compartments, gilt spine decoration and gilt title ("Sainte Bible") on crimson spine label. (20pp), 583pp. Sewn-in silk page marker. Tables, numerous small decorative woodcuts. Marbled endpapers. Very good overall. Bit of leather damage at lower right tip of front board, with small chips at head and tail of spine; age toning to opening and closing preliminary leaves; contemporary ownership signature on inner flyleaf; small stain at bottom of some pages, though most are bright, clean and lovely. Item #34078
Tight, clean, attractive early printing of the noted "Bible de Royaumont" or "Sainte Bible" in an early (circa late 18th century) binding. De Royaumont (Nicolas Fontaine,1625-1709) was companion to the renowned French theologian, priest of Port-Royal and humanist Lemaistre de Sacy (1613-84) during his captivity at the Bastille (1666-68), where he completed his famed translation of the Old Testament (known as the "Bible de Sacy" or "Bible de Port-Royal") -- supposedly with much help from Fontaine -- which became the most popular French version of the Bible in the 18th century. Fontaine's "History of the Old and New Testaments, with Edifying Explanations, from the Holy Fathers" was first published in Paris in 1670. Pierre La Petit published it again in 1681, and in 1687 Denys Thierry obtained the rights to it. Perhaps most interesting about this copy is that six leaves (pp. 25-26, pp. 29-36 and pp. 39-40) were removed at some point in the 18th century and replaced with beautifully handwritten replacements (including header and blank rule), clearly of 18th century vintage. It's been suggested these leaves were removed by a censor, but this is not definitive and clearly it would take a line-by-line comparison of these handwritten leaves against another 1692 copy to determine if any text has been altered or deleted. It's an intriguing notion, though, for the Jansenism reform movement within the Roman Catholic church, of which this volume was a part, was often heated and often violent. Censorship was not outside the realm of possibility.