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Original price £950.00 - Original price £950.00
Original price
£950.00 - £950.00
Current price £950.00

Petrella, Bernardino: [...] Quaestiones logicae. De intentione philosophi in secundo post: De medio demonstrationis potissimae, De speciebus demonstrationis [...]. Patavij, apud Iacobum Iordanum, ab Aquila. 1571.

First printed attack on the logical work of the key Renaissance philosopher Giacomo Zabarella (1533-1589) by the Padua philosophy professor Bernardino Petrella (1529-1595). The nature of logic is addressed from first principles. The author starts by evaluating Aristotle’s intentions in his writing, and proceeds by studying the functioning and types of logical demonstrations. The book started a long-running dispute which animated the philosophy faculty at the University of Padua. At the time of this book’s publication, Zabarella’s writings had not yet been printed, but were circulating in manuscript amongst students.

Petrella’s work has unfortunately come off the worse in the fight. A nineteenth-century commentator noted his “arid subtlety, the lengthiness of his distinctions, the weakness of the reasoning”. The historian Eugenio Garin (1909-2004) felt that Petrella’s philosophical method was ultimately “a vicious circle, an abstract debate concerning separate ideal forms”, concerning “reduction into elements that already existed” (both quotations in my translation). This was nevertheless an illuminating confrontation which helped define logic in the period.

The copy (perhaps only coincidentally) carries manuscript initials identical to the author’s on the final blank.


First edition. One volume, 15.7 cms. x 10.6 cms. in binding, octavo, fols. [4] 51 [1]. With final blank. Roman and italic letter. Woodcut printer’s to title-page (eagle on orb flanked by two serpents), woodcut initial ‘C’ used twice, typographical decoration to second leaf recto, to sig. b8 recto, Light age-yellowing, light waterstaining, bound in recent vellum over boards. Reader’s mark to sig. c1 verso, initials ‘BP’ to final leaf recto.

USTC 847922. CNCE 27872. Adams P 851. OCLC shows outside Italy the Cambridge copy described in Adams, and a copy at the Sachsische Landesbibliothek (Dresden).

Gregorio Piaia, ‘PETRELLA, Bernardino’, Dizionario biografico degli italiani 82 (2015), last consulted online 20 May 2021.