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

Exeter College MS. 36

Biblia (fragm.); England (pt. Oxford), ss. xiiimed, xvmed


Language(s): Latin

*1. (fol. iiiv)
Incipit: Versus sequentes monstrant ordinem librorum Biblie Geneseos. Ex. Le. Nu. Deu. Josue. Judicumque | Ruth. Regum. Paralipomenon. Esdras. Ne. To. Judith | ... Ac. Jaco. pe. bini. Jo. trinus. Jud. pocalipisis[sic].

Very similar to the version pr. in J. de La Haye, Biblia maxima, i (Paris, 1660), sig. õ5v. For related pieces see WIC 7146.

Written in the large 15th-century bookhand which added running titles, etc. throughout the biblical texts in 4 below. Preceding this on the page but written later are an Exeter ex libris (see History, below) and ‘Quicquid contingat Dei filius in omni euentu. dicit Raby Samuel Judeus in finibus capitulorum epistole sue de traditione et morte Christi ad Raby Isaac de Regno Marchay’ (a reference to the epistle of Rabbi Samuel to Rabbi Isaac, for early edns. of which see Hain, 14261–4. Lower down the page is an Oxford cautio: see History, below.

*2. (fol. ivr)
Lentulus, Publius, pseudo, De forma et statura nostri redemptoris
Incipit: De speciositate Christi. Quidam Lentulus romanus dum esset officialis in prouincia Judee pro Romanis tempore Tiberii imperatoris et Christum videret eiusque magnalia opera
Explicit: In colloquio grauis carus et modestus. Speciosus inter filios hominum etc.

The apocryphal letter of Lentulus to the Roman senate, pr. D. Johann Philipp Gabler’s Kleinere theologische Schriften, ed. T. A. Gabler and J. G. Gabler (Ulm, 1831), ii. 636. Stegmüller, Bibl. 158,1.

Added, s. xv1, in an anglicana script influenced by secretary. The title and first line and a half were copied in the blank column b, probably as a pen-trial. The number ‘327’ on fol. ivr shows that fols. iii and iv have been transferred from the back of the volume; see History, below.

*3. (fol. 1r-v)
Incipit: Ordo librorum in hac biblia est preposterus in quibusdam quam ob rem hic consequenter in hoc folio intitulatur ordo rectus cum quottacione foliorum in quibus singuli libri incipiunt. Et stat quottacio cuiuscumque folij in superno cornu dextro per totum librorum. Et primo in hoc opere ponuntur prologi ueteris testamenti et incipiunt folio 2 [now lacking]. Et prologi noui testamenti incipiunt post psalterium fol. 227º. Et ibi et ponuntur uersus qui incipiunt sic. Sex prohibet precant. cum quottacione omnium leccionum epistolarum et euangeliorum qui habentur in vsu Sarum per totum annum. Genesis incipit folio 10 coª. iª. Exodus 22. coª. 2ª
Explicit: Apocalipsis 275. coª. 4ª. Interpretaciones 297. coª. 1ª

An explanatory note, written after the part-completion and complicated rearrangement of the 13th-century volume (judging by the illuminated initial and spray in ‘Ordo’ this was done c. 1450). It is in a good quadrata / semiquadrata bookhand. The missing ‘Interpretaciones’ were probably the common interpretations of Hebrew names ascribed to Stephen Langton (Stegmüller, Bibl., 7708 or 7709) which begin ‘Aaz apprehendens’: the reference cannot be to the Directorium difficilium verborum, item *10 below, which does not bear the numbers added by the 15th-century foliator and must therefore be a late addition.

4. (fols. 2r–201v)

A Bible in the following order (the numbers of the prologues refer to Stegmüller, Bibl. The OT capitula have been compared with those in (1) Biblia sacra iuxta Latinam vulgatam versionem ... iussu Pii PP XI ... edita (Rome, 1926–) in which all our capitula belong to ser. A forma a, and (2) D. de Bruyne, Sommaires, divisions, et rubriques de la Bible latine (Namur, 1914) in which all our capitula belong to the A series, except those of 1 and 2 Kings, which he does not record. The sign † indicates that the colophon to the book contains stichometric notes; see below.

[Fol. 2r] ∥ †Genesis;

[fol. 12v] †Exodus, with capitula;

[fol. 23r] †Leviticus, with capitula;

[fol. 30r] †Numbers, with capitula;

[fol. 40r] Deuteronomy, with capitula;

[fol. 49r] †Joshua, with capitula;

[fol. 54v] †Judges, with capitula;

[fol. 60r] Ruth, with capitula;

[fol. 61r] †1 Kings, with capitula;

[fol. 69r] †2 Kings, with capitula;

[fol. 75r] †3 Kings, with capitula;

[fol. 82v] 4 Kings, with capitula;

[fol. 89v] Isaiah;

[fol. 100r] Jeremiah;

[fol. 112v] †Lamentations and prayer of Jeremiah;

[fol. 113v] Ezechiel;

[fol. 125r] Daniel;

[fol. 129v] Hosea;

[fol. 132r] Amos;

[fol. 133r] Jonas;

[fol. 133v] Micah;

[fol. 135r] Habakkuk;

[fol. 135v] Zephaniah;

[fol. 136r] Zechariah;

[fol. 138r] Malachi

[fol. 138v] stichometric figure for †Minor Prophets; †Job;

[fol. 143v] Proverbs;

[fol. 147v] Ecclesiastes, with prologue 462 written in bottom margin;

[fol. 149r] †Song of Songs;

[fol. 150r] Wisdom;

[fol. 153r] †Ecclesiasticus;

[fol. 161v] †1 Chronicles;

[fol. 167v] †2 Chronicles;

[fol. 175r] Ezra;

[fol. 177r] Nehemiah;

[fol. 180r] †Hester;

[fol. 183r] †Tobit;

[fol. 185r] †Judith;

[fol. 187v] 1 Maccabees;

[fol. 195r] 2 Maccabees;

[fol. 200r] Baruch, with prologue 491.

Explicit: Explicit liber Baruch.

Because of the loss of the first leaf, Genesis begins at 5. 28 and for no apparent reason the original hand in Baruch ends at 3. 8 (fol. 200vb/10) and the text is completed by the 15th-century hand. Modern chapter divisions are used. The colophons containing stichometric notes give the number of verses in the book according to the old system of division, e.g. ‘Explicit liber hellesinoth id est exodus habet uersus tria milia’: on this see S. Berger, Histoire de la Vulgate (Paris, 1893), i. 316–27. Nineteen sets of figures are given here, all agreeing with his, except 3 Kings (here 3,000, Berger 2,500) and Ecclesiasticus (here 2,600, Berger 2,800). This Bible has only two of the common set of fortytwo Old Testament prologues (see Ker, MMBL, i. 96–7).

*5. (fols. 201v-202v)
Ps.-Bruno Herbipolensis, Psalterium glosatum
Rubric: Incipit prefacio beati Ieronimi presbiteri in psalterium.
Incipit: Dauid filius Iesse cum esset in regno suo quatuor elegit qui psalmos facerent id est eman ethan et ydithim
Explicit: ipsi Dauid ad pertinent sacramentum. quia dd’ dictus est cristus ...
Final rubric: Explicit prefacio.
Rubric: Incipit prologus eiusdem.
Incipit: Psalterium Rome dudum positus
Explicit: certum est Dauid auctor esse omnium psalmorum. Licet pro conueniencia operum.
Rubric: Epistola Damasi pape ad beatum Ieronimum.
Incipit: Damasus episcopus ... Ieronimo ... salutem. Dum multa corpora librorum in meo arbitrio allata
Explicit: per Bonifacium presbiterum ierosolimanum.
Rubric: Ieronimus ad Damasum.
Incipit: Beatissimo patri Damaso ... Ieronimus salutem. Duplex legi litteras apostolatus vestri
Final rubric: Vox ista laudis canatur Aleph quod est alleluia.
Incipit: Item ieronimum ad Damasum. Nunc autem exposuimus
Explicit: Omnis spiritus laudet dominum.

Stegmüller, Bibl. 1833,1, items 2, 11, 6, 7, 8 respectively.

*6. (fols. 203r-218v)
Psalms, Gallican version
Rubric: Incipit liber ympnorum vel soliloquiorum Dauid prophete de Christo. ps. 1.
Incipit: Beatus vir qui non abiit
Explicit: omnes spiritus laudet dominum
Final rubric: Explicit liber ympnorum vel soliloquiorum Dauid prophete de Christo.

With the three-part divisions at Pss. 1, 51, and 101, and the ferial divisions at Pss. 1, 26, 38, 52, 68, 80, 97, 109. Followed by a list of canticles, etc., citing the biblical source for each. They are Confitebor, Ego dixi, Exultavit, Cantemus domino, Domine audivi, Audite coeli, Te Deum, Benedicite, Benedictus dominus, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, Quicunque vult, Pater noster, Ave Maria, Gloria.

*7. (fols. 218v-219v)
Incipit: Hic sequuntur prologi noui testamenti preter prologos in epistolas Pauli. quos inuenies primo folio ante euangelium Mathei.
Rubric: Prologus in Matheum euangelistam
Incipit: Matheus ex Iudea sicut in ordine primus ponitur. ita euangelium

Stegmüller, Bibl. 590.

Rubric: Item alius prologus.
Incipit: Matheus cum post predicasset euangelium in Iudea

Stegmüller, Bibl. 589.

Rubric: Prologus in Marcum euangelistam.
Incipit: Marcus euangelista Dei electus et Petri in baptismate filius

Stegmüller, Bibl. 607.

Rubric: Prologus in Lucam euangelistam.
Incipit: Lucas antiochensis nacione Syrus arte medicus apostolorum discipulus

Stegmüller, Bibl. 615.

Rubric: Prologus in Johannem euangelistam.
Incipit: Hic est Iohannes euangelista vnus de discipulis Dei

Stegmüller, Bibl. 624.

Rubric: Prologus supper[sic] epistolam ad Hebreos.
Incipit: In primis dicendum est cur apostolus Paulus in hac epistola scribendo

Stegmüller, Bibl. 793, Petrus Lombardus.

Rubric: Prologus super epistolas canonicas.
Incipit: Non ita est ordo apud Grecos qui integre sapiunt

Stegmüller, Bibl. 809, Ps.-Jerome.

Rubric: Prologus in apocalipsim Johannis apostoli.
Incipit: Omnes qui pie uolunt viuere

Stegmüller, Bibl. 839, Gilbertus Porretanus.

Incipit: Lucas Antiocensis nacione Syrus cuius laus in euangelio canitur
Explicit: et animabus eius proficeret medicina.

Stegmüller, Bibl. 640, Hugo de S. Caro.

They are nine of the common set of twenty-two New Testament prologues, excluding those for the Pauline Epistles which follow at *8(iii) below. All correspond to the list in Ker, MMBL, i. 97, except (d) for which he lists 620.

i. (fols. 220r-222v)
Alexander de Villa Dei, Compendium scripturae (Summarium Biblicum)
Incipit: Sex. 1. prohibet. 2. peccant. 3. Abel. 4. Enoch. 5. archa fit
Explicit: Apocalipsis ... 21. venio iam. 22.
Final rubric: Expliciunt versus Biblie.

pr. in de La Haye, Biblia maxima (as *1 above), 1–10. WIC 17610; Glorieux, Arts, 23h. On the text, a summary of the books of the Bible in Latin hexameters, each chapter being represented by a single word or phrase, e.g. ‘Genesis dierum opera Sex. 1. ... Adam et Eva peccant .2.’, see D. Reichling, Das Doctrinale des Alexander de Villa-Dei (Berlin, 1893), xlii–xliii. Initia, loc. cit., states that c. 80 manuscripts are known.

ii. (fols. 222v-226r)
A table of epistle and gospel lections according to Sarum use,

giving the beginning and end of each lection.

Rubric: Tabula leccionum epistolarum et omnium euangeliorum sub concordia vniformi tam dominicalium quam sanctorum festiualium et omnium sanctorum tam de proprio quam de communi per totum annum. incipiens a prima dominica adventus domini secundum vsum Sarum usque ad idem tempus anno reuoluto. Dominica prima aduentus domini.
Incipit: Epistola. Hora est iam nos
Rubric: [fol. 224r] Explicit temporale. Incipit proprietas sanctorum
Rubric: [fol. 225v] Explicit proprium et commune sanctorum. Incipiunt commemoracione que habentur in vsu Sarum
Rubric: [fol. 226r] Pro peccatis. Euangelium. Vidit Iesus publicanum. f. ad primam. Luc’ 5. Explicit.
iii. (fol. 226r-v)
Rubric: Hic sequuntur prologi super epistolas beati Pauli apostoli. Prologus super epistolam ad Romanos.
Incipit: Romani sunt … Hi preventi …
Rubric: Prologus super epistolam ad Hebreos.
Incipit: In primis dicendum est cur apostolus Paulus in hac epistola scribenda non seruauerit morem suum ut uel uocabulum nominis sui
Explicit: Greco sermone exposuit.
Final rubric: Expliciunt prologi super epistolas beati Pauli apostoli.

Fourteen of the common prologues to the Pauline Epistles, all corresponding to the list in Ker, MMBL i. 97. Authors and Stegmüller, Bibl., numbers are as follows:

(a) 677, Marcion, Romans;

(b) 685, Petrus Lombardus, 1 Cor.;

(c) 699, Petrus Lombardus, 2 Cor.;

(d) 707, Marcion, Gal.;

(e) 715, Marcion, Eph.;

(f) 728, Marcion, Philipp.;

(g) 736, Marcion, Col.;

(h) 747, Marcion, 1 Thess.;

(i) 752, Marcion, 2 Thess.;

(j) 765, Petrus Lombardus, 1 Tim., (‘scribens ei a Laodicia’);

(k) 772, Marcion, 2 Tim.;

(l) 780, Petrus Lombardus, Titus;

(m) 783, Marcion, Philemon;

(n) 793, Petrus Lombardus, Hebrews.

9. (fols. 227r-274v)
New Testament,

in the following order:

[fol. 227 r] Matthew

[fol. 235r] Mark

[fol. 240r] Luke

[fol. 248v] John

[fol. 254v] Acts

[fol. 263r] James

[fol. 264r] 1 Peter

[fol. 265r] 2 Peter

[fol. 265v 1 John

[fol. 266r] 2 John

[fol. 266v] Jude; Apocalypse;

[fol. 270v] Romans

[fol. 273v] 1 Cor.

Explicit: [fol. 274v] soror in eiusmodi. In pace ||

Our text ends abruptly in 1 Cor. 7. 15. From item *3 above it can be seen that 2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Philip., Col., 1 and 2 Thess., 1 and 2 Tim., Titus, Philemon, and Heb. were also once present.

*10. (fols. 275r-282r)
Rubric: Directorium alphabeticum uerborum difficilium sparsim descriptorum in marginibus inferioribus librorum et capitulorum passim per bibliam superius in locis suis positorum atque in singulis marginibus superioribus eorundem ad tale signum trium punctorum seu foliorum. ubilibet expositorum et hic in isto alphabeto notatorum atque cotatorum.
Incipit: Aalma ysa. 7mo. Abba. gal. 4to. et roman’ 8uo. Abalienus. ysa. pº
Explicit: Ymago. pª. Cor. iiº et abacuc. 2º.

This item is not in the list of biblical books in item *1 above and the leaves are not numbered by the 15th-century foliator.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: [cione].
Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: 282 leaves preceded by two 18th-century paper flyleaves and two medieval flyleaves, and followed by two 18th-century paper flyleaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 330 × 230 mm.
Dimensions (column): 250 × 70 mm.
Dimensions (column): 257 × 70 mm.
Dimensions (column): 253 × 70 mm.
Dimensions (column): c. 265 × 80–90 mm.
Dimensions (column): 257 × 68 mm.
Dimensions (column): 240 × 50 mm.
Foliation: The leaves numbered in large, clear figures [1]–327, s. xvmed


1 leaf, 110 (wants 1) 2–2010 214 2210 2310 (wants 8) 246 25–2810 294 308. Catchwords by scribes; no quire signatures or numbers.


*3: two columns, 40 lines;

4: two columns, 60 lines;

*5–*7: two columns, 61 lines;

*8: two columns, each 63 lines;

9: two columns, 60 lines;

*10: three columns, 46 lines.


4 and 9: gothic quadrata bookhand of medium size, s. xiiimed, punctuated by low point;

*1: large bookhand, which also added runing titles, etc. throughout the biblical texts in item 4, s. xv;

*2: an anglicana script influenced by secretary, s. xv1;

*3: A good quadrata / semiquadrata bookhand;

*5–*8: gothic rotunda bookhand of medium size, s. xvmed, punctuated by low point and punctus elevatus;

*10: as *5–*8 but a different hand, punctuated by medial point.


*3, *4–*7: are mid-15th-century Oxford style related to the manuscripts in Roger Keys’s donation (MSS 51–68); the decoration of fol. 203r of the present manuscript is almost certainly by the hand of fol. 1r of Bod. Lib., MS Bodl. 795 (SC 2644) written in Oxford in 1435 (DMO, no. 114, pl. 358) and of Bod. Lib., MS Hatton 73 (SC 4199) (Scott, Later Gothic Manuscripts, ii. 287, q.v. for others) and MS 53 below (our Artist A). For a characterization of his work see headnote to MSS 51–68 in Watson, Exeter, pp. 85–87.

*3: 6-line illuminated initial and extender fol. 1r, colours blue, green, brown;

4: at beginning of books, plain blue initials, 4-line but some with long extenders; also 3/4-line red-and-blue initials. Otherwise 1-line red, blue, and green initials, red-and-blue running titles, rubrics, blue paraphs;

*5: 3-line illuminated initial and extender (blue, green, brown, orange) by artist of *3; 2/3-line blue lombards flourished red, 1-line blue initials, rubrics;

*6: 9-line illuminated initial and border, fol. 203r colours blue, green, brown, orange, by same artist as *3;

*7: as *6 but without illumination;

*8: 1-line red and blue initials, rubrics;

9: as 4, but coloured running titles are replaced by elegant uncials in ink, written across both columns between ruled lines, and plain initials are replaced by red and blue initials flourished in the other colour, and red-and-blue initials;

10: 2/3-line initials flourished red, 1-line blue and red initials. Alexander and Temple, no. 451.


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, red-and-white headbands. In their lower margins fols. 281 back to 279r have a hole and/or a diminishing stain from a chain-staple. This mark is not found on fols. iii–iv, which were at one time at the back of the volume; see History, below.


Origin: s. xiiimed (items 4 and 9); s. xv1 (item *2); s. xvmed (items *5–*8(iii); c. 1450 (item *3); s. xv (item *1) ; England (pt. Oxford)

Provenance and Acquisition

The original book, items 4 and 9, plain but well-written, was written in England in s. xiiimed, without Psalms and, strangely, with Baruch ending at 3.8 despite the availability of space for the completion, but with the New Testament and Apocalypse complete.

In the mid-fifteenth century, judging by script and decoration, it was given a new lease of life: Baruch was completed; Psalms, New Testament prologues, and the other items *5–*8(iii) were added and placed between the Old and New Testaments; some passages were erased and rewritten. The leaves were then numbered in large, clear figures [1]–327, clear running titles were added throughout (probably because at least some of the 13th-century ones, those written in uncial script, were not readily legible), books of the Bible were renumbered clearly, and, to facilitate the use of a book which was now in a very confusing order, directions to the reader and a list of the books in the standard order with folio references were set at the beginning (item *3). The present volume is, however, incomplete at the beginning probably because of the extraction of a decorated leaf and also at the end, where 1 Corinthians breaks off abruptly at 7.15.

In the late 14th century the book was in the hands of a fellow of Magdalen College, John Mercer (BRUO) who, with an otherwise unknown Oxford master, borrowed money on the strength of it: on fol. iiiv are ‘Caucio M. J. Mercer et M. W. Masse exposita in cista Wynton. Anno domini mmo cccº lxxixº 3º die mensis Novembris et est Biblia 2º fo cione et habet duo supplementa 2º fo primi minus et 2º fo 2i. quod sapientem et iacet pro lxxxs. iiijd.’ and ‘Renouatur per m. Masse 26 die Octobris anno 1480 et iacet pro xlvis viijd’, and the Oxford-style decoration in items *3, *5, and *6 shows that in the mid-fifteenth century the volume was still there.

When and how it came to Exeter is not known; it is not recorded in Ecloga but does have ‘Liber Coll. Exon’ in a hand of s. xvi/xvii which is found in some of Roger Keys’s manuscripts which were in the medieval library: see further Watson, Exeter, Introduction, pp. xxii–xxiii. CMA, no. 27.

Exeter library identifications are, on the front pastedown, ‘P8–5 Gall’, ‘C2–13’ and ‘W4–1’ (all deleted), ‘173 H 1’, the book stamp and ‘Coxe Cat. no. xxxvi’. On fol. ivr is bookplate 1. ‘1’ 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.

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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