Lot 1440: William Cave PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY 1676 Antique English Theology & History Leather Binding Engraved Additional Title Page Ancient Christians
22 October 2016
Freeville, NY, USALive Auction
Title: Primitive Christianity: or, the Religion of the Ancient Christians in the First Ages of the Gospel. In Three Parts.
Author: William Cave -
William Cave was an English divine and patristic scholar.
The merits of Cave as a writer consist in the thoroughness of his research, the clearness of his style, and, above all, the admirably lucid method of his arrangement. The two works on which his reputation principally rests are the "Apostolici; or, The History of the Lives, Acts, Death and Martyrdoms of those who were contemporary with, or immediately succeeded the Apostles" (1677), and "Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria" (1688). Dowling says that the works of Cave "rank undoubtedly among those which have affected the progress of Church-history. His smaller works greatly tended to extend an acquaintance with "Christian Antiquity; his Lives of the Apostles and Primitive Fathers, which may be regarded as an Ecclesiastical history of the first four centuries, is to this very day" [i.e. 1838] the most learned work of the kind which has been written in our own language; and his "Historia Literaria" is still the best and most convenient complete work on the literary history of the Church." Though he is sometimes criticized for not being critical with his sources, that failing means that many of his works, particularly Antiquitates Apostolicae and Apostolici contain a wealth of legendary material, culled from a wide variety of sources, much of which is not readily available elsewhere.
During the course of his work he was drawn into controversy with Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736), who was then writing his Bibliotheque universelle et historique. Cave published a dissertation "De Eusebii Caesariensis Arianismo adversus Johannem Clericum," criticizing Le Clerc's treatment of Eusebius as an Arian, as the last of three dissertations appended to the second part of his "Historia Literaria" (London 1698). Le Clerc replied in a work entitled "Epistolae Criticae et Ecclesiasticae," which formed the third volume of the second edition of his "Ars Critica" (Amsterdam, 1700); reprinted (Leiden, 1778). Le Clerc said, that Cave, in his "Historia Literaria," had concealed many things about the fathers, for the sake of enhancing their credit, which an impartial historian should have related; and that, instead of lives of the fathers, he often wrote panegyrics upon them. Cave responded the same year with his "Epistola Apologetica" (London, 1700). This was reprinted at the end of the second volume of the "Historia Literaria," in the edition published at Oxford in 1743. (Biographical information courtesy of Wikipedia)
Publisher: Printed by J. G. for R. Chiswell
Binding Style: Hardcover
Pagination: xxxviii/388 pages plus 5-page index
Width: 5" Height: 7.5"
Condition / Notes: This antique volume has been rebound in dark brown full leather with stamped decoration and ruling on both covers. It has been recased with a later dark brown leather spine showing four raised bands and a dark red leather label with gilt lettering. There is moderate external wear to the covers. The engraved second title page shows moderate foxing and toning. The pages show light age toning and scattered foxing, with occasional edge wear/loss.
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