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De Spiritualib[us] Nupciis Available Online

02/07/12

The Burns Library's earliest printed book, Jean Gerson's De Spiritualib[us] Nupciis (On Spiritual Marriage), is now available in a digital edition. Exquisitely beautiful, on an ancient, erotically-charged poem, of significant historical importance, the Burns Library's De Spiritualibus Nupciis is a book well worth your time.

The topic of this short, 80 page quarto-sized book is a commentary on one of the shortest books of the Old Testament, the Song of Songs, or Song of Solomon. This commentary is by Jean Charlier de Gerson (1363-1429), commonly known as Jean Gerson. Mystical theologian, university reformer, poet, man of letters, apologist for Joan of Arc, and from 1395 until his death, Chancellor of the University of Paris, Gerson spent his entire life in the service of the Church both as an educator and as a major force of the Conciliar movement.

The Treatise on the Song of Songs, as current scholarship identifies the De Spiritualibus Nupciis, was Gerson's last major work. The book itself was made a scant 15 years after the first book came off a printing press. The Burns Library's copy is in superb, almost mint shape: the paper is white and supple, the text very easy to read, and the rubrication (from the Latin "rubrico," to color red) of initial capital letters is exquisite.

Further analysis of the book’s significance is available in the John J. Burns Library blog.