18th century codex (manuscript), Theologia Moralis. II vols.. Provenance. Theology (banned).


Dated to the mid-1700s (likely between 1763 and 1778) this fascinating codex, entitled Theologia Moralis follows the Gallican tradition in the modified form of Febronius' "De Statu Ecclesesiae et de legitima Romani Pontificis Auctoritate" (published in 1763).

This theology caused some controversy when it was found taught at the Irish school of St. Patrick's in Maynooth after the work was put on the forbidden index in 1778.

Phrases in the chapters "De Legibus", etc., are almost literal repetitions from the propositions condemned as Febronianism, and suggest a kinship between the two works. The retraction of Febronius may also acount for the non-publication of this manuscript for the rest of the doctrine follows the scholastic trend in vogue at the time.

About the Provenance

In 1825 "W.H. Black" penned his ownership inscription on the title pages. This is likely the same W.H. Black who catalogued the Ashomole manuscripts in Oxford from 1831-33 (published in the 1840s).

This work was recently withdrawn from the Library of the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and bears their marks. I purchased it from the service they used to sell a number of their books. I don't find any record of it being on the market before.

Physical Attributes

Each measure 26 x 18.5 cm. Together they are 7 cm wide. Both are parchment over hardcovers, with the title in gilt on the spine within a border (also in manuscript below).

Tomus Prior consists of one title page leaf, and then pages 1-417 (numbered both sides) and an index of viii (verso unnumbered) and one blank leaf at the end.

Tomus II consists of one title page, pages numbered 1-372, index numbered to v (blank verso), 23 blank leaves, and one endpaper.


See pictures. Ex library with associated marks, stamps, spine labels, etc. inside and out. Dust on top edge. Soiled boards. Occasional spots and thumb marks within. Dust, or possibly somewhat humid environment, has stained top edge of all pages within the top margin; it does not reach down into the writing. Occasional marginal annotation. Occasional page crease. Pencil reference numbers on pastedowns. Mostly though, the pages are clean and pleasing. Bindings are holding up well.

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