Friday, February 25, 2011

Highlights from our 2010 Sales: J. Zehner, Mining Sermons, 1593

Zehner, Joachim.

Christliche Predigt Von Bergwercken, deren anfänglichem ursprung, warem gebrauch unnd mißbrauch: Darinnen alles, was in heiliger göttlicher Schrifft hievon zu finden, kürtzlich zusammen gezogen worden.Gedrukt zu Schmalkalden, bey Michal Schmück 1593.

Quarto. 21 non numbered leaves, )( - D4, E1.

This is an interesting and very rare work in the now little-known, mostly Protestant tradition of Biblical mining history. Zehner's sermons constitute a study of mining history from the Old Testament, considering Tubalcain as the first miner and smelting-master of the antediluvian world, followed by post-diluvian mining history. He discusses the moral issues involved when good, Christian miners have inherited their art from such a shameful origin among the “mostly godless, raw folk of the accursed lines of Cain, Ham, and Canaan.” Questions of the generation and geography of ore and precious stone occurrences are also considered; and it is especially here that citations of Old Testament books are supplemented by classical Greek and Latin sources, including Aristotle, Strabo, Herodotus, Ovid, and Pliny. One of the rarest books we have yet sold.