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Théodore de Bèze
Iesu Christi D. N. Novum Testamentum,

5, 500 

In stock



Very rare “first 8vo edition of the New Testament
by Theodore de Bèze”,
encouraged by Calvin and later forbidden.

A superb copy, very pure,
preserved in its contemporary ivory vellum.


Bèze, Théodore de. Iesu Christi D. N. Novum Testamentum, sive foedus, Graecè & Latine, Theodoro Beza interprete (…) differitur.
Henri Estienne, (Genève), 1565.

8vo [174 x 110 mm] of (12) ll., 404 ll., pp. 405-412.

Full ivory vellum, double gilt fillets on the covers, gilt oval motif in the center tooled with arabesques, flat spine decorated with double gilt fillets and floral ornaments, gilt edges, traces of ties. Contemporary binding.

A very rare « first 8vo edition of the New Testament by Theodore de Bèze », encouraged by Calvin and later forbidden.

It is unknown by Renouard who only mentions the folio edition published that same year.

Darlow, n°4630; Chaix, p.60 ; J. M. de Bujanda, Index des Livres interdits, n°940 and 1128.

A superb copy of this important work by the humanist printer Henri Estienne.

Beza’s first minor edition giving the Greek text together with his Latin translation and short marginal notes.” (Darlow)

This translation was undertaken on the advice and gentle prayer of Jean Calvin and of Robert Estienne.” (Renouard)

The book in Greek and Latin is printed in two columns with a superb font.

It opens with a long dedication to the Prince Louis of Bourbon Condé.

Theodore de Bèze (1519-1605) took a vivid interest in the reformed ideas and lead a brilliant career as a literary scholar. He became professor of theology and pastor in Geneva and was the first rector of the Academy which Calvin had just founded in Geneva in 1559.

During the first French wars of religion, he was the chaplain of Condé’s army.

He lead the Protestant delegation at the Colloque de Poissy (1561) and presided over the synod in la Rochelle in 1571 during which the statement of faith of the French reformed churches is adopted.

Back in Geneva in 1563, he takes over the direction of the Church of Geneva after Calvin and faithfully continues his work. He supervises the ecclesiastic and intellectual aspects of the international reformed movement.

The exchanges between Bèze and Calvin are very intense, even in the first letters. The letters follow at very small intervals, at least one a week ; their solidarity in matters regarding France follows their solidarity in their disputes. When Calvin dies, Bèze becomes his successor and his work in Geneva is quite burdensome.” (O. Millet)

On the 28th of May 1564, Calvin dies : Bèze, his appointed successor, must take on a very heavy and complicated mission ; he stays in touch with many individuals active in the Reformation all throughout Europe… He persists with the theological disputes Calvin had lead. He actively supports the fight of the French reformed and the persecuted minorities in Europe.” (J. Chomarat)

Paul F. Geisendorf believes the “Novum Testamentum will remain for many centuries the basis for all protestant Bibles. It’s solid and respectable base makes it easy to build on.”

Bèze explained and translated the New Testament for his contemporaries ; he gave them one of the most significant interpretations of the second half of the 16th century. It associates the observance of the demands of the humanism of the time with the « reformed » doctrine.

This is enough to give the Novum Testamentum the place it deserves in the contemporary literary and religious history.” (I. Dorota Backus, Theodore de Beze)

A beautiful copy, very pure, of this important work by the humanist printer Henri Estienne, preserved in its beautiful contemporary gilt vellum.

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