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Surgant's List of Recommended Books for Preachers (1502-03)

  • Rudolf Hirsch

Extract

Johann Ulrich Surgant (ca. 1450-1503) combined the ideals of medieval Christianity with elements of new learning, as did many of the early transalpine humanists. He belonged to the circle of Alsatian-Swiss ‘eruditi’ which included his one-time teacher and later colleague, Heynlein von Stein, and his friends Sebastian Brant, Jakob Wimpheling, and Johann Amerbach. Surgant was born in Altkirch (Alsace) and received his baccalaureate at the University of Basel in 1466 in the ‘via antiqua.’ From there he went to Paris, but returned to Basel as ‘magister parisiensis’ in 1470 to crown his academic efforts in 1479 when he obtained the degree of doctor of canon law. He was twice dean of the Faculty of Arts (1474 and 1478), thrice dean of the Law Faculty (1483, 1489, and 1496), and four times rector of the University of Basel (1482, 1487, 1494, and 1501). From 1479 until his death (September 20, 1503) he served as curate of St. Theodore.

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1 The Homilarius was reissued by the same printer in 1498 and reprinted once more by Jacobus of Pforzheim in 1506.

2 The preface of the Regimen is dated November 22,1502. It appeared without indication of place, printer, or date, and was not reprinted.

3 Histoire littéraire de l’Alsace (Paris, 1879), II, 57.

4 ‘Satius est paucis auctoribus … tradere, quamque errare per multos,’ and ‘Multo melius est scire de rebus nobilibus modicum, quam de ignobilibus multum.’ Here Surgant also expresses his preference for well-indexed books: ‘Ego etiam semper oculum habui ad colligendum varios libros, maxime cum habent inventaria seu alphabetica registra.'

5 Die mittelalterliche Predigttheorie und das Manuale curatorum des Johann Ulrich Surgant (Basel, 1956), Easier Beiträge zur Geschichtswissenschaft, LVIII.

6 This list of books ‘ quos … curati inter alios habeant magis familiares’ was reproduced in J. F. Schannat, Concilia Germaniae (Cologne, 1765), VI, 29.

7 The Ars praedicandi, wrongly attributed to Henricus de Hassia and probably dating from the late fourteenth or the early fifteenth century, concludes with a list of six titles ‘libri amminiculativi artis presentis.’ This enumeration cannot possibly be called a bibliography.On this Ars praedicandi see Harry Caplan, ‘Henry of Hesse,’ PMLA, XLVIII (1933), 340-361.

8 Bibliographical abbreviations used in the List:

GW. Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke

H.L. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum

HC.L. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum and W.A.Copinger

Cop. W.A.Copinger, Supplement to Hain's Repertorium

Reichl. D.Reichling, Appendices Hainii-Copingeri

P.G.W.Panzer, Annales typographici.

9 The inscription ‘M.Johannes Ulricus Suriant decanus comparavit expensis facultatis artium 1464 (vero 1474)’ occurs in the Strasbourg edition printed by Adolf Rusch, ca. 1470 (GW.9102), cf. Max Burckhardt, ‘Aus dem Umkreis der ersten Basler Universitätsbibliothek,’ Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde, LVIII/LIX (1959), 166-186.

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