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

Exeter College MS. 38

Augustine of Hippo, Enarrationes in psalmos 1–50; England, c. 1200


Language(s): Latin

1. (fols. 1r-6v)
A subject index to item 2
Incipit: Abissus dicitur cor hominis predicator et eciam profunditas precati ps. 41. f et g et ps. 36 e. 2.
Explicit: Tristicia presens habet quasi quia transibit sicut so[m]nus. ps. 48 tractatus 2. c.

The final entry, cited above, is in the standard form and refers to the psalm (48), the number of the tract or sermon on that psalm (2), and the reference letter of the page within that tract (c).

2. (fols. 7r-189r)
Augustine of Hippo, Enarrationes in psalmos 1–50
Incipit: ||misit me.
Final rubric: Explicit tractatus de psalmo primo.
Rubric: Incipit tractatus de psalmo .iiº.
Incipit: Ut quid fremuerunt gentes
Explicit: deus de illo exiget suam.

lacking all but two words of Ps. 1 through the loss of the original first leaf; Stegmüller, Bibl., 1463; pr. PL 37. 67–599; ed. E. Dekkers and J. Fraipont, CC 38 (1956). CPL 283.

Fol. 189v is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: (fol. 7) misit me.
Form: codex
Support: parchment HFFH
Extent: 189 leaves preceded and followed by two 18th-century paper flyleaves.
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 220 mm.
Dimensions (column): 250 × 70–75 mm.


16 28 (wants 1) 3–248. Catchwords, many lost, are by scribes. Quires are numbered in capital roman figures in the bottom centre of the last leaf, also on first rectos by horizontal strokes with a small letter above, i.e. c above four strokes indicates the third leaf of the fourth quire. Very low down in bottom margins are occasional traces of small guide letters for the reference letters to ‘tracts’ or ‘sermons’ more formally written at the top of each page (see item *1 above).


Two columns, 44 lines. Pricked in inner margins, ruled in crayon.


1: anglicana punctuated by low point.

2: written above top line by several late protogothic hands punctuated by punctus elevatus, punctus interrogativus, and low point.

The hand of fols. 145 et seq. is virtually gothic with broken bows and lozenges at the extremities of minims, but fused letters seem to be confined to de and pp. Insular abbreviations for enim and est are used.


Four-line blue and red lombards, flourished blue and red, at the beginning of each psalm, some with extenders. Also similar ten- and six-line lombards at the beginnings of the commentary on the ferial psalms, 26 and 38, and plain one-line blue and red initials. Lemmata underlined red. One red line-filler; rubrics. Fragments of acanthus leaves drawn in margins probably indicate points of interest, as may occasional heads. Sometimes a foot stands on the top of an acanthus leaf (fols. 33v, 65v, 71v) and there are occasional hands, not pointing but open as if saying ‘behold!’ (fols. 34v, 36r).

Snakes are common: on fol. 38v a snake of 63 mm length is vertical in the margin and at one point is represented as disappearing into and emerging from the membrane; an elegant 45 mm snake is on fol. 43v; there are also a bird’s head, animal heads, and human feet. In the bottom margin of fol. 86v is a pencil drawing of a group of buildings, including a battlemented wall or tower, a domed tower, and a building with a red roof. Alexander and Temple, no. 150.


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. On the spine is a red leather label with the title in gold. Red-and-white endbands; sprinkled edges.


Origin: c. 1200 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Presumably of monastic origin.

On fols. 29v and 187v are two sets of verses, in different hands of c. 1200, ‘Post fulgus post fulgur fulmen habetur’ and ‘Versus. Ad pulmonis opus confert medicamen ysopus’. Neither is recorded by Walther, Initia, or Walther, Proverbia.

It is not known when the book came to Exeter but unless we suppose that this manuscript and MS 37 were together before coming to the College (for which there is no evidence) their sharing a common history in the 15th century, shown by the presence in both of the hand of that date that added the opening words of psalms (see above), makes it very probable that they were together in the College then. One of them may, indeed, be the book referred to in the Rector’s Accounts for summer 1419, ‘Item Vs pro vno libro beati Augustini.’ Both are recorded as being in the library c. 1600 (Ecloga, nos. 22 and 28 respectively) and at the end of the 17th century (CMA, nos. 22 and 29 respectively).

On fol. 94 (as in MSS 28 fol. 173 (172), 37 fol. 109, and 40 fol. 47) a tab was created to bear a title, ‘In Psalmos 50 Augustini.’

Exeter library identifications are, on the front pastedown, ‘P8—7 Gall’ and ‘C–2–10’ (both deleted), ‘173–H–3’, ‘Coxe Cat. no. XXVIII’ and the book stamp. On the spine is a round paper label with ‘3’ on it.

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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