A catalogue of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries and selected Oxford colleges

Merton College MS. 23

Former shelfmark: F



Language(s): Latin

fol. irv blank but for a note of the contents, s. xvii, on the verso.

(fols. fols. 1–244v; 245rv blank.)
Jerome, Commentaries on the Minor Prophets
Rubric: Incipit explanacionum in Osee prophetam beati Ieronimi presbiteri liber primus et ad Pammachium
Incipit: Si in explanacionibus omnium prophetarum
Incipit: Verbum Domini ...; Verbum Domini quod in principio erat apud Deum patrem
Explicit: et si credideritis iam uenit in Helia Iohannem intelligens
Final rubric: Explicit liber explanacionis beati Ieronimi presbiteri in Malachiam prophetam ad Mineruum et Alexandrum

CPL 589; CSEL 76–76A (1969–70); Lambert 216.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -tat. Vnde ante
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 246 leaves (i + 245)
Dimensions (leaf): 390 × 260 mm.
Dimensions (written): 260 × 165 mm.


at each end a bifolium, the outermost leaves pasted down, 1–308, 316(lacks 5–6); catchwords; quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form.


Frame-ruled with brown ink in 2 cols; written in c. 48 lines.


Several expert scribes, writing imitation protogothic bookhand. The first hand, which writes only the first quire, is certainly Continental. The extensive biblical lemmata are in red, as are the running heads.


On fol. 1, in colours and gold, an 8-line historiated initial (Jerome as cardinal with lion, seated before an open book, his hands clasped in prayer) and full framed border (foliage, kneeling bishop), in Flemish style. The rest of the decoration is English: on fols. 150, 195 and 219v 10-line initials on a gold ground with pink and blue insets and coat of arms, the first two Fitzjames, the third the see of Rochester; 8–10 line coloured initials on a gold ground with foliage and sprays; 4-, 5-, or 9-line champe initials; 3-line blue or red initials flourished in red, brown or black; red titles, running heads and initials; blue paraphs, red highlighting.


Original, repaired; whitawed skin over oak boards, slightly bevelled and with slightly projecting squares; sewn on six bands, raised on the spine and outlined with string; plain endbands sewn through the cover skin. Straps of pink-stained skin from recesses in the front board to catches in the rear, now all gone except for the stub of the lower strap. The marks of chain-staples at the foredges of both boards, near the foot at the front, near the head at the rear.


Origin: 1497 ; Flanders (?) and England

Provenance and Acquisition

Companion volume to MS 25, made for Richard Fitzjames. The rubricated colophon on fol. 244v continues ‘Hic quoque opus eiusdem in explanacionem .12. prophetarum minorum perfectum feliciter finit quod singulari reuerendissimi in Christo Patris et domini Domini Ricardi Fytzjames Roffensis episcopi industria unaque impensis exaratum fuerat in uigilia Sancti Hugonis Anno dominice incarnacionis. 1497.’ Fitzjames (BRUO 692) was warden 1483–1507, bishop of Rochester 1497–1503, of Chichester 1503–6, of London 1506–22. His arms, at the foot of the border on fol. 1, have been excised; immediately below an inscription is erased, against which a hand of s. xvii has written ‘Fitziames his Armes’. His arms are in the opening initials of Hab. and Zach.

On fol. iv is a title and ‘N. 2. 11. Art:’, s. xvii, ‘Coxe 23 (F)’, in pencil, and the College bookplate.

Record Sources

R. M. Thomson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Merton College, Oxford (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer), 2009.


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact Merton College Library.


    Coxe, p. 20; Powicke, no. 1181 and n. 1; Watson, Dated and Datable Oxford, no. 835 and pl. 797; Alexander & Temple, no. 618 and pl. XXXVI; Scott, DDEMB, pp. 114–17.

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Warden and Fellows of Merton College .

Last Substantive Revision

2018-08-01: First online publication

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