Lucifer princeps tenebrarum … The Epistola Luciferi and Other Correspondence of the Cistercian Pierre Ceffons (fl. 1348-1353)

in Vivarium
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The famous Epistola Luciferi, written in late 1351 or early 1352, caused quite a stir in the Avignon of Pope Clement vi, quickly became a medieval best-seller, and thereafter remained topical, being copied and printed down to the present day. Traditionally ascribed to Nicole Oresme or Henry of Langenstein, the letter was attributed to the Cistercian Pierre Ceffons by Damasus Trapp in 1957. Trapp merely took Ceffons’ authorship for granted, however, and in the most thorough study of the Epistola Luciferi and of the entire genre of Devil’s letters, her 1982 PhD dissertation, Helen C. Feng rejected the attribution. Presenting codices and works of Ceffons of which Trapp was unaware, this article argues in favor of Ceffons’ responsibility for the Epistola Luciferi, while offering a new critical edition of the letter, an English translation, and a supplemental list of manuscripts and editions.


A Journal for Medieval and Early-Modern Philosophy and Intellectual Life