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Q: I need to know about a book. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: I need to know about a book.
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: churchwoman-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 08 Jun 2004 09:08 PDT
Expires: 08 Jul 2004 09:08 PDT
Question ID: 358182
I have volume two of a book set printed in 1769 called Ecclesiae
Disciplina, by Ludovico Thomasino. It is written in Latin. I would
like to find out about the auther, the books place in history,( for
example, does it parallel the writtings of the Council of Trent), This
appears to be an early Presbyterian text, but it was not printed in
England, where was it printed? The cover page has worn holes, But I
can PDF a copy to you. A $10.00 bonus , if you can find the value of
the books at auction or on sale on the internet. It has 695 pages and
a velum cover.
Subject: Re: I need to know about a book.
Answered By: leli-ga on 08 Jun 2004 15:27 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello churchwoman

Your book comes from an Italian edition of Thomassin's "Vetus et nova
Ecclesiae disciplina circa beneficia et beneficiarios", published in
Naples in 1769 in three volumes, together with another text on
benefices by Sguanin.

Thanks to Scriptor's comment below you will already know that
Thomassin was a Frenchman whose works were first published in Paris,
originally in French and subsequently in Latin. He was esteemed as a
learned theologian and, according to one writer, would have become a
cardinal had it not been for his humility and Louis XIV's opposition.

Thomassin was an Oratorian (see below), and is sometimes described as
a Gallican. The Gallicans had slightly unconventional views on the
power of the Pope, but not enough to offend against Catholic doctrine.
(See below)

His book is considered a classic theological text, e.g. "the classic
historical work on Benefices", and appears in the footnotes and
bibliography of many scholarly articles.

"On the history of ecclesiastical discipline and institutions, the
principal work is "Ancienne et nouvelle discipline de l'Eglise" by the
Oratorian Louis Thomassin (Lyons, 1676), translated into Latin by the

This is a translation of a small part of the preface:

"Whoever has the least idea of ecclesiastical laws, those that concern
government as well as those that regulate morals, knows well that they
are of two kinds. Some represent immutable rules of eternal truth,
itself the fundamental law, the source and origin of these laws, from
the observance of which there is no dispensation, against which no
prescription obtains, and which are not modified either by diversity
of custom or vicissitudes of time. Other ecclesiastical rules and
customs are by nature temporary, indifferent in themselves, more or
less authoritative, useful, or necessary according to circumstances of
time and place, having been established only to facilitate the
observance of the fundamental and eternal law."

He also wrote a number of other works, as described in the entry in
the Catholic Encyclopaedia to which Scriptor's comment refers you. For
the fullest possible list of his writing I suggest you use the
catalogue of the Vatican library, which is where I eventually tracked
down the 1769 edition.

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

After searching thoroughly, I found only one copy of "Ecclesiae
Disciplina" from 1769 on sale. Although that edition seems rare and is
not in the collections of numerous academic libraries where I had
hoped to find it, nevertheless the one bookseller offering it is
asking only 100 Euros for three volumes. These vellum-bound copies
have tears and spots, but the binding is said to be good.

These are the three volumes on sale in Florence:

"THOMASSIN, Louis (1619-1695). Vetus, Et Nova Ecclesiae Disciplina
Circa Beneficia, Et Beneficiarios... Auctore, Eodemque Interprete
Ludovico Thomassino...Editio Omnium Novissima, Et accurate emendata.
Cui adjectus est Tractatus Beneficiarius Fr. Caesarii Mariae
Sguanin... Neapoli, Expensis Gregorii P. & Michaelis F. Stasi Ex
Typographia Raymundiana, 1769-1770. 3 tomi in 4 (cm. 24x18), pp.
xxxxi-1 b.-368, vii-1 b.-695-1 b., vi-434, nel front. del vol. I  tit.
a car. rosso-nero, testatine e iniz. xilogr., buona leg. p. perg. con
2 tass. ai dorsi e tit. dor., tagli spruzzati. L'opera completa si
compone di 10 volumi.        100,00"

Please note that the second volume has 695 pages like your book. I
wonder if the mention of ten volumes comes from confusion with another
edition? The Rare Books section of the library at Niagara University
has the 1769 Naples edition and they describe three volumes:

"AUTHOR: Thomassin, Louis, 1619-1695. Sguanin, Caesar Maria. TITLE:
Vetus, et nova Ecclesiae disciplina circa beneficia, et beneficiaros:
in tres partes distributa, variisque animadversionibus locupletata
PUBLISHER: Neapoli: Expensis Gregorii P. & Michaelis F. Stasi, Ex
Typographia Raymundiana, DATE: 1769-1772."


The Gallicans
"Gallicanism - This term is used to designate a certain group of
religious opinions for some time peculiar to the Church of France, or
Gallican Church, and the theological schools of that country. These
opinions, in opposition to the ideas which were called in France
"Ultramontane", tended chiefly to a restraint of the pope's authority
in the Church in favour of that of the bishops and the temporal

The Oratorians

Oratorian Spirituality

"Louis de Thomassin [...] est ce célèbre oratorien et ce grand
canoniste trop connu dans le monde savant par son immense érudition et
par ses nombreux ouvrages, pour qu'il soit nécessaire d'en parler ici.
Le pape Innocent XI était si satisfait de son mérite, qu'il voulut
l'attirer à Rome, se proposant de lui donner le chapeau de cardinal;
mais la grande humilité du P. Thomassin, et le refus que fit Louis XIV
de priver la France de ses lumières, firent échouer ce projet."

"THOMASSINUS, Vetus et Nova Discipline circa Ecclesi? Beneficia et
Beneficiarios (Venice, 1766), the classic historical work on
"the Gallicans (Richer, Dupin, Thomassin, and Van Espen)"

This search should lead to more on Thomassin and this book:

I hope you find this useful and interesting, but please don't hesitate
to ask for clarification if I can help with anything more, e.g.
translation or links failing to work.

Best Wishes - Leli

Searches involved combing through library catalogues, used book
catalogues and using Thomassin's name, book titles, date etc. for
Google searches.
churchwoman-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $15.00
Your bonus is included.
Good work.

Subject: Re: I need to know about a book.
From: scriptor-ga on 08 Jun 2004 09:55 PDT
A note to my fellow researchers who might want to work on this question:

1. The author is French theologian Louis Thomassin d'Eynac
(1619-1695), who latinized his name as Ludovicus Thomassinus and
Thomassino. Read a brief biography here:

2. The book's original French title was "Ancienne et nouvelle
discipline de l'église touchant les bénéfices et les bénéficiers",
first published in Lyon, 1678-1679. Thomassin himself translated his
work to Latin, "Vetus et nova Ecclesiae disciplina circa beneficia et
beneficiarios", first published in Paris 1688.

Good luck!
Subject: Re: I need to know about a book.
From: leli-ga on 09 Jun 2004 05:06 PDT
Thank-you very much, churchwoman!

Your generosity with the bonus is much appreciated. I wish I had found
that the book might be worth more, but it is obviously an extremely
interesting volume, even if not one of the earliest editions of the


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