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

Exeter College MS. 25

Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae; England, s. xiiex


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1r-130r)
Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Iudaicae,

transl. Rufinus

Rubric: Incipit prologus Josephi. in libris iudaice antiquitatis.
Incipit: Hystoriam disponentibus non unam
Explicit: [fol. 1v] Hec autem in sacris libris comperi ita scripta.
Final rubric: Explicit prologus.
Rubric: Incipit liber antiquitatum Iosephi nobilisssimi hebreorum hystoriographi
Incipit: [fol. 2r] In principio creauit deus celum et terram
Explicit: [fol. 6v] proprio designabo. Illo namque ||
Incipit: ||[fol. 7r] haberent. quod si ita
Explicit: [fol. 7v] optans hano||
Incipit: ||[fol. 8r] dam laban adhuc interesse
Explicit: [fol. 80v] egregie decreti cito possent[sic]||
Incipit: ||[fol. 81r] quadrangule columpnelle per angulos
Explicit: [fol. 87v] exercitu congregato. contra||
Incipit: ||[fol. 88r] reuixit puer. Illa uero gratias
Explicit: [fol. 113v] prebuit ad syrie et||
Incipit: ||[fol. 114r] rebat veniente uero
Explicit: [fol. 115v] parata cognoscat. Itaque||
Incipit: ||[fol. 116r] nia. a filio ceraste genus
Explicit: defunctus est.
Final rubric: Explicit liber duodecimus Iosephi. illustris hebreorum hystoriographi. de antiquitate iudayca ab initio mundi usque ad tempora machabeorum.

pr. Augsburg, 1470, etc.; books I–V ed. F. Blatt, The Latin Josephus (Copenhagen, 1958). Blatt, no. 79, categorizes our manuscript as one of the p family of a northern group of manuscripts. The excision of leaves leads to a number of gaps in the text: fols. 6/7 from Blatt 145/2 to 149/24; fols. 7/8 from Blatt 153/16 to 160/25; 80v/81r a gap between bks. viii. 2 and viii. 3; fols. 87v/88r a gap between bks. viii. 9 and viii. 20 (Augsburg, 1470 edn. vii. 6 and x. 9); fols. 113v/114r a gap between bks. xi. 7 (xi. 5 and xi. 8(?)) (edn. xi. 5 and xi. 6); fols. 115v/116r a gap between bks. xi. 8 and xi(?) (edn. xi. 6 and xi. 8).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: In principio.
Form: codex
Support: parchment HFFH
Extent: 130 leaves preceded by two 18th-century paper flyleaves and followed by two others
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 230 mm.
Dimensions (column): 270 × 85 mm.


18 (wants 6, 8), 28 (wants 1), 3–108 118 (wants 4) 128 (wants 4–6), 138 (wants 5, 7) 14–158 168 (wants 3, 6), 178 188 (wants 6–8). Only two catchwords survive. Quire numbers in large roman figures are in the centres of lower margins of final leaves, some with pen (and IX with pen and colour) decoration.


Two columns, 43 lines. Ruled in crayon.


Written above top line in several good protogothic book hands verging on gothic. Chapter titles (rubrics) are in rustic capitals, but where lacking they were supplied in a cursive hand of s. xv. Capitula are in either a smaller version of the main hand or (as on fol. 21r) in a rather documentary script with longer ascenders and descenders. Punctuation is by low point and punctus elevatus. There are running titles in the cursive hand of s. xv.


Red, blue, and green initials, 7/10-line, some with arabesque decoration, at beginnings of chapters; 3-line mostly plain red or blue but some with extenders and 1/2-line throughout. Rubrics, red stroking. Some marginalia are encircled in red. Alexander and Temple, no. 110.


Sewn on six bands. Standard Exeter binding: simple and quite elegant, calf over millboards, the calf bearing blind decoration of a floral type, early 19th century; sprinkled edges.


Origin: s. xiiex ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

On fol. 130r, in a large and competent gothic quadrata script, is ‘Ex dono domini Johannis [wrongly altered to Willelmi in a post-medieval hand] French capellani Collegij Regalis Etone. collegio Exonie in Oxonia. Orate pro anima eius.’ He died in 1457 (BRUO). The Rector’s Accounts for 1458 record payments to John Godysson, stationer, for chaining six volumes of which two were ex dono John French (Boase1, 21, Boase2, 40). Note that Boase1, 34, and Boase2, 59, attribute the gift of this manuscript to John French, Principal of Hart Hall, d. by Jan. 1552, and deduce from the ex dono that he was chaplain of Eton: these errors are taken over by BRUO 1501–1540.

Not recorded in Ecloga, but recorded as CMA, no. 40.

Exeter library identifications, on the front pastedown, are: bookplate 3, ‘Ex: Coll: Oxon:’ and ‘(Q8—5 Gall’ (the latter deleted); ‘C2—H’ (deleted), ‘172–G–5’ and ‘Coxe Cat. no. xxv’. ‘5’ is on a round paper label at the top of the spine.

Record Sources

Andrew G. Watson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts of Exeter College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2000.


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

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Rector and Fellows of Exeter College.

Last Substantive Revision

2020-04-29: First online publication

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