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

Merton College MS. 69

Former shelfmark: E. 2. 2



Language(s): Latin

fols. i-iii blank. On fol. iii verso is a table of contents, keyed to the foliation, listing the items in the order followed below.

1. (fols. 1–117, 123–33v, 135–9v)
Thomas (Gallus) of Vercelli, Extractio de Libris Beati Dionysii
Incipit: Iob xxxix. c. Nunquam per sapientiam tuam plumescit accipiter ...; Hic inter cetera loquitur dicens de turbine
Explicit: lumina luminaria &c. usque proporcionalem participantibus
Final rubric: Explicit exposicio abbatis Vercellensis de mistica theogia[sic]

fol. 1v De Hierarchia Caelesti; fol. 30 De Hierarchia Ecclesiastica; fol. 64v De Diuinis Nominibus; fol. 130v De Mystica Theologia. Ed. P. Chevallier, Dionysiaca (Paris, 1937–1949), pp. 673–717, 1043–66; Glorieux, Théol. 116a-d.

2. (fols. 140–7)
Ps.-Dionysius, De Hierarchia Caelesti (transl. John Sarrazin)
Incipit: Quoniam prudencie uestre serenitatem perpendi in libris beati Dionisii
Incipit: Primum quod omnis diuina illuminacio secundum bonitatem uarie
Incipit: Omne datum bonum et omne donum perfectum desursum est descendens
Explicit: occultum silendo uenerantes
Final rubric: Explicit Angelica Ierarchia secundum translacionem Iohannis Saraceni et sequitur ecclesiastica seu humana secundum aliam translacionem

ed. ibid., pp. 286–310.

3. (fols. 147–54)
Ps.-Dionysius, De Hierarchia Ecclesiastica
Incipit: Quoniam igitur de celesti ierarchia quantum uidebatur hactenus diximus
Explicit: in altissima uapores ascendere
Final rubric: Explicit liber beati Dionisii de ecclesiastica Ierarchia

On this anonymous translation, otherwise known only from Todi, Bibl. comm. 52 (s. xiii), see S. H. Thomson, ‘An unnoticed translation of the Pseudo-Dionysius’ De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia’, RB 50 (1938), 246–53.

4. (fols. 154–67v; 168–70v blank)
Ps.-Dionysius, De Diuinis Nominibus (transl. John Sarrazin)
Rubric: Incipit prologus Iohannis Saraceni in librum Dionisii de diuinis nominibus
Incipit: Memor hospicii et mee sponsionis
Incipit: Nunc autem O beate post theologicas ypotiposes
Explicit: ad simbolicam autem theologiam transibimus
Final rubric: Explicit textus libri de diuinis nominibus

ed. Dionysii Cartusiensis Opera XVI (Tournai, 1902), pp. 351–94. Followed by a note ‘A.b. Liber de mistica theologia in textu habetur totaliter supra fo. 118 ante misticam theologiam.’

5. (fols. 117v-118)
Ps.-Dionysius, De Mystica Theologia (transl. John Sarrazin)
Rubric: Mistica theologia
Rubric: Prologus Iohannis Saraceni ad Odonem sancti Dionisii reuerendum abbatem in librum de mistica theologia
Incipit: Ante misticam theologiam simbolica theologia esset transferenda
Explicit: ab omnibus simpliciter absoluti et supra tota
Final rubric: Explicit mystica theologia Dionisii Areopagite episcopi Athenarum

ed. Dionysii Cartusiensis Opera XV (Tournai, 1902), pp. 286–310, 597–628, ibid. XVI (Tournai, 1902), pp. 351–94, 471–5.

6. (fols. 118–22)
Ps.-Dionysius, Epistolae X (transl. John Sarrazin)
Rubric: Epistole diuerse
Incipit: Prima Gayo monacho. Tenebre occultantur lumine et magis multo lumine
Explicit: et hiis qui erunt post te trades

ed. Dionysii Cartusiensis Opera XVI, pp. 501, 504–6, 508–9, 512, 515, 517–18, 527–33, 557–61, 583–4.

The book is disordered, not because of misbound quires, but because it seems to have been copied by a number of scribes who did not work as a team; there are consequently gaps, sometimes substantial, at the ends of their stints though, as an early reader noted, text is not missing. Sometimes the fit between stints is not perfect, and one or more early readers has amended the text accordingly. Gaps occur at fol. 25rv, 37rv, 102rv, 117rv, 122rv (in each case the verso blank), 133v (134rv blank).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sumptum est
Form: codex
Support: Parchment
Extent: 173 leaves (iii + 170)
Dimensions (leaf): 380 × 265 mm.
Dimensions (written): 275 × 185 mm.
The edges retrimmed, affecting running heads and marginalia, and stained yellow.
Foliation: Contemporary foliation in arabic numbers, repeating 12, 135, 146 and 160; 25, 75, 167–70 now lacking.


A4(4 canc.), 1–212, a bifolium (lacks 2), 3–512, 68, 76(lacks 6), 812, 916, 1012, 118, 1212, 13–148, 158(lacks 8), 168, 176(lacks 4–5), a singleton hooked around the last quire; catchwords; quire-signatures of the usual late medieval form. At the foot of fol. 169v is ‘quaterni sunt 5.’


Ruled with pencil in 2 cols of 53 lines.


Proficient French hands (including the table of contents), changing with quires but also over shorter stints, writing littera bastarda or gothic rotunda bookhand, except for fols. 123–33v, in textura.


Blue initials flourished in red; red or blue paraphs; red underlining.


Standard Merton s. xvii, sewn on eight bands; formerly chained from the usual position. fols. i and 170 were pastedowns in an earlier binding. Near the foot of fol. 170v are four holes from the large brass chain-staple, patched on the recto with a scrap from a book of s. xiv, with text written in anglicana.


Origin: s. xv med ; France, Paris (?)

Provenance and Acquisition

Probably made in Paris; at the College soon after s. xv med.

At the head of fol. iiiv is ‘B. lir13us’, in a humanistic hand (cf. MS 87 &c).

Inside the front board is ‘N. 6. 3. Art:’, s. xvii, canc. and replaced by ‘K. 2. 2. (LXIX)’ in red, the ‘K. 2. 2.’ canc. and replaced by ‘E. 2. 2.’, itself canc. and replaced by ‘P. 1. 2’ in ink of text. Below is a sheet of paper with a table of contents, s. xvii, and the College bookplate. ‘3’ 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. 43; Powicke, no. 1200.

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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