Lot 7
  • 7

Niger, Petrus (latinized from Peter Schwarz]

50,000 - 70,000 USD
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  • Niger, Petrus (latinized from Peter Schwarz]
  • Stern des Meschiah. 
    Esslingen: Conrad Fyner, 20 December 1477
  • ink, paper, sheepskin
Median folio (224 × 145 mm). Collation: [16 (Grammar); 2-410 5-398 (text, 2/1r blank); 406 (contents summary, colophon 40/6r, verso blank)]: 322 leaves. 28 lines. Type 2:115G (text), 1:96G (glosses), large woodcut historiated initials, smaller outline lombard initials; two full page woodcuts (Niger disputing with Jews; Christ’s entry into Jerualem), each repeated; two smaller in-text woodcuts regarding the Divine Name, woodcut Hebrew letters in the grammar section. A few pages with rubricator’s marks. Remains of original quire numbers in early brown ink on the first leaves of various quires. Note: the collation as given follows the binding order of the British Library copy. In the present copy, as in others, the Grammar quire [16] is bound between quires 39 and 40; in other copies, it is bound as the final quire.
Nineteenth-century marbled sheep, edges gilt.


Goff N-258; Hain 11886*; BMC II 516 (IB.8930); Bod-inc N-117; BSB-Ink N-206; Polain 2894; Schreiber 5217. NB: Polain’s transcriptions of passages from the Brussels copy of Stern des Meschiah differ in various places from the transcriptions of BMC and other incunable catalogues. The variations have not been fully analyzed, but it appears that in the Brussels copy the final quire is an entirely different setting from that of the copy here offered. 

Catalogue Note

First edition, a considerably revised and expanded German version of Niger’s Contra perfidos Judaeos, issued by the same press, 6 June 1475 (Goff N-257). Niger was a Dominican of wide travels who had knowledge of Hebrew and the Jewish religion, and was active in preaching confutations. In the colophon of his Latin work against the Jews he stated that he had studied not only at Freiburg and Ingolstadt but also at Montpellier and Salamanca. One of the woodcuts of the Stern des Meschiah demonstrates a part of his reasoning. It depicts a common Hebrew scribal practice of writing three “yods” as a substitute for the Divine Name, and Niger argues that these three strokes actually represent the Trinity. The Esslingen editions of Niger’s writings may have been patronized by the Count of Württemberg, Eberhard im Bart, who commissioned a German manuscript copy of the judicial process against the Jews of Trent.