“FROM THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO”: USSHER’S ANSWER TO A CHALLENGE MADE BY A JESUIT, 1625
USSHER, James. An Answer to a Challenge Made by a Jesuit in Ireland. London: Printed for the Society of Stationers, 1625. Small octavo, period-style full polished tan calf, raised bands, red morocco spine label, new endpapers. $1500.
Second edition, published in the year after the first, of Bishop Ussher’s “lengthy work of controversial anti-Catholic theology” (DNB), handsomely bound.
Renowned not only in his native Ireland but also in England for his erudition and his preaching, James Ussher (who was named Archbishop of Armagh in 1625 and would become Primate of Ireland in 1634) devoted much of his considerable intellectual talent—"he was a cautious scholar, happiest surrounded by manuscripts in a library"—to polemical controversies. In this work, for example, he set out "to prove that the doctrines held by the Roman Catholic church were not in all respects those of the early Christian church. Ussher unleashed his many years of patristic and historical scholarship to prove that the medieval and modern papacy had strayed from early purity… His style was neither aggressive nor outspoken, but rather consisted in the slow building up of citations, sources and references… The depth and breadth of his knowledge rightly earned him the admiration and respect not just of his contemporaries in the republic of letters across Europe, but also of politicians and ecclesiastical leaders of all persuasions" (DNB). Leaf A1, title page, bound following [A7]; substitute title page, A2, bound as first leaf. This copy without the second impression of A briefe declaration of the universalitie of the church of Christ as second part (STC reports it is usually found as part two); Answer is a complete work in itself. Woodcut initials and headpieces. Without errata leaf. First published 1624. STC 24543. Lowndes, 2744. Allibone, 2501. Old owner signature and old owner's initials, dated 1706, to first leaf.
Occasional light foxing. Small restoration to title page. A near-fine copy, handsomely bound.