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Divi Thomae Aquinatis ex Praedicatoria familia, Summa contra gentiles, quatuor libris comprehensa, commentariis eruditissimi viri, Fratris Francisci de Sylvestris, Ferrariensis, doctoris Theologi, ordinis item Praedicatorij (Paris: Jean Savetier for Vivant Gaultherot, 1552); Divi Thomae Aquinatis . . . Summa contra gentiles . . . commentariis . . . Fratis Francisci de Sylvestris, Ferrariensis (Paris: Jean Savetier for Oudin Petit, 1552) .

The commentary on Thomas's Summa contra gentiles published in these volumes was written by Francis Sylvester of Ferrara, O.P. (1474-1528), who also commented on works of Aristotle, wrote a treatise against Martin Luther, and a Life of Blessed Osanna of Mantua, O.P., to whom he was personally devoted. Despite the different publishers' marks and signatures on their title pages, these books are identical, page-for-page. Even the typesetting of the title pages is identical, except for the devices (for which a space was left) and the line of the publisher's statement. The books were printed in a single run at the Parisian press of Jean Savetier, whom the Petit family several times sub-contracted to print their books. Apparently, the printer Vivant Gaulterot (active 1534-1553) entered an agreement with Oudin, the latest scion of the Petit printing dynasty (active 1540-1572), to share the expense of producing the volume (see catalogue n° 59).

Remarkably, Gaulterot and Petit seem not to have been the only partners in this enterprise. Adams (see References below) lists another printing of Thomas's Summa contra gentiles with Sylvester's commentary, also published in Paris in 1552, which was printed by Jean Savetier for another publisher, Jean Foucher (active in Paris 1535-1577). This book has identical foliation and signatures as those published by Gaultherot and Petit; we presume that Foucher's title page is also identical, except for the device and publisher's statement.

By happy accident, Oudin Petit's initials, printed on his device are the same as the Order of Preachers that his family served for so long at the sign of the Lily on the rue St.-Jacques (see catalogue n° 19, n° 49, and n° 59). This coincidence on the title page of a work by Thomas Aquinas seems appropriate, for by juxtaposition it signifies the close affiliation between the printing Petits and the Preachers, making the former honorary members, as it were, of the familia praedicatoria.

This exemplar of Gaultherot's printing of the Summa contra gentiles once belonged to the Dominican convent of St. Raymond of Peñafort in Barcelona. The University of Notre Dame purchased a part of the convent's library in the 1970s (see catalogue n° 64 and n° 65).

References: Adams 1: 49 no 1419 (Foucher's edition); IA 3/3: 358, 423, 444; Quétif Échard 2/1: 59b-60b.

Catalogue No. 60
Call Number: Rare Books B 765 .T53 S94 1552
     Catalog Record

Catalogue No. 61
Call Number: Rare Books Oversize B 765 .T361sc 1552
     Catalog Record

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University of Notre Dame
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