DUNS SCOTUS, Blessed Joannes. & O’FIHELY, Maurice, Archbishop. Comentaria doctoris subtilis Joan. Scoti in xii. li. Metaphyice Aristo. Emendata & quottationibus concor dantiis atqe annotationibus decorata per fratrem Mauritium Hibernicú. Colophon: Impressum Venetijs mandato expēsis heredus nobilis viri d. Octauiani Scoti ciuis Modoetiēsis āno natalis salutiferi primo quingentesimo supra millesimū septimo idus Junias, Cura ac vigilanti studio. Boneti Locatelli pzesbyteri.


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Venice: Ottaviano Scoto by Boneto Locatello, 7 June, 1507. Folio. Signatures: A-T8, U10. 162 numbered leaves. Woodcut initials throughout, and with Scotus/Locatellus device. Imprint from colophon. Later decorated boards. Inofensive old stain to a few folios. Previous owner’s inscription and initials. Early manuscript note in Latin on first folio. Small engraved vignette of saint on page 1. Marginal paper repair to front blank and title. A very good copy of an extremely rare book.
The Comentaria is the 1st of two Shaaber printings - D 225. COPAC locates 1 copy only of the 1520 edition. WorldCat 1. Sweeney 1604.
This edition of Duns Scotus’ work on Aristotle is a landmark in Irish Bibliography as the first edition of the first book by the first Irish author to write for the printing press rather than the scriptorium. Maurice O’Fihely, a Franciscan, who saw the work through the press and provided a major commentary in the form of “Castigationes” was born in Baltimore, County Cork. Hence the name “Mauritius de Portu” by which he was widely known to his contemporaries who also bestowed on him the flattering nickname “Flos Mundi”. After teaching in Milan and Padua, he became censor of the press in Venice to Octavianus Scoti and thus may also lay claim to being the first Irishman to play a major role in the new world of printing. He was appointed archbishop of Tuam by Pope Julius II in 1506. Reluctant though to exchange the comfort of Italy for the rigours of the West of Ireland, he did not take up the appointment until 1512. His apprehensions were apparently well founded for he died within the year and was buried in Galway where his grave can still be seen. As for the Irishness or otherwise of Duns Scotus, it is a matter that may never be finally resolved to every one’s satisfaction. Modern scholarship argues against, but this was certainly not the opinion entertained by early Irish editors who devoted so much effort to producing a definitive edition of the corpus of this late 13th-century Franciscan (died in 1308). As for the value of the original text, Efrem Bettani in his book “Duns Scotus: The basic principles of his philosophy” calls the edition of “a work of Duns Scotus’ youth, very helpful for the study of the formation, and to a certain extent, of the evolution of Scotistic thought.”
‘Commentaria doctoris subtilis Joan. Scoti’ is the 1st of two Shaaber printings, D 269, listing it amongst the “Doubtful and spurious works of Duns Scotus” but this would seem to be a misreading of the situation for this is Maurice O’Fihely’s commentary. The passages quoted from Duns Scotus are printed in large type, and the commentary from O’Fihely, which affords the major portion of the text, is printed in small type.


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