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

Merton College MS. 59

Former shelfmark: G. 2. 4



Summary of Contents: MSS 59–64 are an exceptionally handsome set, written for Richard Scarborough (fellow from about 1449 until at least 1464) between 1451 and 1455 by the professional scribe Iohannes Reynbold, who came from Zierenberg in Hesse but worked in Oxford. The brilliant initials in colours and gold are also by a foreignor. The set was bought from Scarborough by his (presumably equally wealthy) contemporary Thomas Bloxham, who bequeathed it to the College on his death in 1473. The set has been sadly mutilated by a later fellow or fellows.

Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1–190v)
John Duns Scotus OFM, Commentary on I Sent. (Reportatio IA)
Incipit: ⟨Ci⟩rca prologum libri sententiarum primo queritur ⟨u⟩trum Deus sub propria racio⟨n⟩e deitatis possit esse subiectum alicuius sciencie. Videtur quod non. Omne scibi⟨le ha⟩bet conceptum alium a conceptu scibili
Explicit: Sed hoc pertinet tantum ad uoluntatem diuinam comprehendere finem suum qui est beatitudo sua, ad quam nos perducat ...
Final rubric: Explicit lectura doctoris subtilis in uniuersitate Parisiensi super primum librum sentenciarum scilicet doctoris Iohannis Duns nati in quadam uillicula parochie de Emyldoun uocata Dunstane in comitatu Northumbrie pertinentis domui scolarium de Mertounhalle in Oxonia et quondam socii dicte domus
Colophon: Scriptum per me Iohannem Reynbold de Monte Ornato anno Domini millesimo ccccº lvto

ed. and tr. A. Wolter and O. Bychkov (St Bonaventure, NY, 2004); Glorieux, Théol. 344o1; Stegmüller, Sent. 425.

On fols. 191–2v is an index of distinctiones and quaestiones in an elegant humanistica.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: non habet
Form: codex
Support: Thick parchment
Extent: 194 leaves (i + 193)
Dimensions (leaf): 385 × 265 mm.
Dimensions (written): 255–60 × 145 mm.
The edges retrimmed, cropping marginalia by the scribe, and stained yellow.


1–238, 246, a bifolium; catchwords.


Ruled with fine pencil in 52 long lines.


Written for Richard Scarborough, along with MSS 60–4, by Johannes Reynbold from Zierenberg in Hesse in a formal bookhand, elongating ascenders into the upper margin, descenders into the lower, the quaestiones in quadrata script two lines high. Quaestio -numbers are written in large script in the margins. The original accounts for writing these books, now lost, are described by Anthony Wood in Bodl. Libr., MS Ballard 46, fol. 70: ‘A writing of a little piece of parchment shewing of John Reynbold did agree with Rich. Scarburgh fellow of Mert. coll. for the writing of every 4to book of the 3 last books of the subtile Doctor on the books of the Sentences, for 2s. & 2d. apeici — 21 June an. reg. H. 6 31 — notwithstanding an indenture dat. 14 June eiusd. an. by him signed and sealed’. Reynbold copied another, very similar, set of Scotus’ works, now Balliol Coll. 202–6, 209, 216 and 261, a few years later. On him, see P. L. Meier, ‘Die Skotusausgabe des Johannes Reinbold von Zierenberg’, Scriptorium 7 (1953), 89–114.


On fol. 1 is an initial (excised) and full border in colours and gold, with ornament of feathers, bezants, flowers and foliage. Scott, DDEMB, pl. XXVI, illustrates the same man’s work in Balliol Coll. 204 (dated 1461), and comments that he was not English. Very many large coloured initials on squarish gold grounds with sprays of feathers, bezants and foliage. Large dark-blue initials elaborately flourished in red; red or blue paraphs.


Modern; bare oak boards backed with modern vellum; resewn on seven bands. fols. i and 193 are paper blanks from an earlier (s. xix) binding.


Origin: 1455

Provenance and Acquisition

MSS 59–64 are a set, made for Richard Scarborough (see MS 17), and bought from him by Thomas Bloxham (see MS 41), who bequeathed it to the College on his death in 1473. On the first paper blank is ‘N. V. 4.’, s. ?xix, canc. and replaced with ‘G. 2. 4 (LIX)’ in red. An indecipherable number, perhaps ‘3’ changed to ‘4’ is inked on the foredge.

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. 38; Powicke, no. 984; Watson, Dated and Datable Oxford, no. 836 and pl. 482; Alexander & Temple, no. 568; K. L. Scott, ‘Two sequences of dated illuminated manuscripts made in Oxford 1450–64’, in Books and Collectors 1200–1700; Essays presented to Andrew Watson, ed. J. P. Carley and C. G. C. Tite (London, 1997), pp. 43–69, esp. 44–52.

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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