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

St John's College MS. 26

Bible: glossed Isaiah and Daniel


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1ra–125va:
Rubric: Incipit prologus beati IERONIMI presbiteri In ysaiam prophetam
Incipit: Nemo cum prophetas uersibus uiderit esse descriptos […] [fol. 3rb, the text] Uisio ysaie filij amos \verecunde de se quasi de alio fortis uel robusti saluatoris domini/ quam uidit super iudam […] [fol. 3rc, the gloss] Ysaias interpretatur saluator domini iudas confessio ierusalem uisio pacis
Explicit: [fol. 125rb, the text ends] usque ad sacietatem \letabitur iustus cum m m/ uisionis omni carni \sanctis/ […] [the gloss ends] quoque de beatitudine sua agentes gracias uisa impiorum ineffabili pena
Isaiah, with the ordinary gloss (Stegmüller, Bibl. 11807 [9:502–4]). The text begins with JEROME’S prologue, Stegmüller, Bibl. 482, followed on fols. 1vb–2va by its glosses, and with fol. 2vb blank. All the cited headings, save the colophon of text 2, are informal marginal instructions for a rubricator, never executed.
2. Fols. 125va–71va:
Rubric: Incipit prologus beati IERONIMI presbiteri in danielem prophetam
Incipit: Contra prophetam danielem duodecimum librum scripsit porphyrius […]
Rubric: [fol. 127va] Item alius prologus
Incipit: Danielem prophetam iuxta lxx. interpretes domini saluatoris ecclesie […] [fol. 129rb, the gloss] Anno tercio regni ioachi Occiso iosia a pharaone nechao populus […]
Rubric: [fol. 129vb, the text] Incipit daniel propheta
Incipit: Anno tercio regni ioachi regis iude uenit nabuchodonosor rex
Explicit: [fol. 169vb, the last interlinear gloss, on Dan. 13:63] hoc enim parum est nec a perfectis laudabile […] [the text ends] deuorati sunt in momento coram eo
Final rubric: Explicit daniel propheta
Daniel, ending in 14:41, with the ordinary gloss (Stegmüller, Bibl. 11812 [9:509–10], ). The text opens with JEROME’s prologue to Commentarii in Danielem (CPL 588), ed. François Glorie, CC 75A (1964), 771–5, followed by the standard prologue, Stegmüller, Bibl. 494, with glosses (fol. 129ra–va).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: -nia desiderauerunt
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. iii + 171 + iii (numbered fols. iii bis–v).
Dimensions (leaf): 340 × 235 mm.


1–218 224(–4). No catchwords; signed on the last leaf of each quire with a roman numeral (quires 1–21 = i–xxi).


A variable writing area dependant upon the gloss, generally within bounds of 220 × 155 mm. . In 45 half-size gloss lines or 15–22 text lines (there is a tendency, where glossing is heavy, to approximate one line of text to three of gloss, so as to include interlinear materials). Prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in two sizes of transitional protogothic bookhand/gothic textura, the gloss above top line, the text below top line. Punctuation by point only.


Blanks for introductory headings unfilled, but instructions survive.

No chapter divisions (pencilled notations s. xvi in upper margins, and earlier very indistinct lead notations in upper right corners of leaves).

The text divided with alternate red and blue arabesque capitals, two lines each; glosses introduced with a paraph in the text ink.

Illuminations appear at the heads of major divisions:

Fol. 1ra: a 10-line high gold N on a red ground with two orange and blue birds;

Fol. 3rb: Isaiah, nimbed, in a red robe, with a scroll ‘Isaias prop’ within a 12-line high gold U on midnight blue ground.

Fol. 125va: an 8-line gold C with a walking bird with open wings on violet, all on a midnight blue ground;

Fol. 127va: an 11-line high gold D with a lion playing a horn on a red ground, all on a violet ground;

Fol. 129vb: a 13-line high A formed of two beasts with gold vine in fill on violet and midnight blue

Walter Cahn, ‘St Albans and the Channel Style in England’, in The Year 1200: A Symposium (New York, 1975), 187–230 identified our MSS 26–27, companion volumes, with a painter who illuminated St Albans books during the tenure of abbot Simon (1167–83); he listed them as no. 7 in his enumeration of the relevant books (211) and reproduced our fol. 3rb as his figure 27.

Cahn suggests (194) that our MSS might be associated with a multi-volume glossed Bible commissioned by Simon. (Other portions, although not in the format shared by our books, might be the Luke and John in Lambeth Palace MS 102 and the Pauline epistles, with Peter Lombard’s gloss, in Cambridge, Trinity College MS O.5.8.)

There is further discussion in Patricia D. Stirnemann, ‘The Copenhagen Psalter’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1976), which we have not seen.

But Thomson demurs (see 1:54–62 passim); he lists our MSS among fifteen books attributed to ‘the Simon master’ perhaps from the abbey (nos. 97–8 [1:127]), but he suggests that the atelier was probably commercial, not monastic, not located at the abbey, and filling orders from a variety of customers.

See AT no. 65 (10) and plate v (fol. 3rb), with attribution to the ‘Simon painter’.


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf and two modern paper flyleaves; at the rear, two modern paper flyleaves and another marbled paper one (iii bis–v).


Origin: s. xii3/4 or xii ex. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

The top margin of fol. 1 has been cut away, perhaps to remove an institutional ex-libris. For the possibility that this is a St Albans book (Ker, MLGB does not list it), see above.

‘Liber Collegii Sanctj Iohannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Venerabilis virj Richardi Butler Doctoris Theologiae Archidiaconi Northampt procurante Reuerendo in Christo Patre Iohanne Episcopo Roffensi 1613’ (fol. 2 upper margin).

Record Sources

Ralph Hanna, A descriptive catalogue of the western medieval manuscripts of St. John's College, Oxford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002)


For enquiries relating to this manuscript please contact St John's College Library.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


    Walter Cahn, ‘St Albans and the Channel Style in England’, in The Year 1200: A symposium (New York, 1975), 187–230.
    Eligius Dekkers and Aemilius Gaar, Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn. (Turnhout, 1995).
    François Glorie, Commentariorum in Danielem, Corpus Christianorum 75A (Turnhout: Brepols, 1964).
    N. R. Ker, Medieval Libraries of Great Britain: A List of Surviving Books. Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks. 2nd edn. (London, 1964), extended by Andrew G. Watson, MLGB: Supplement to the Second Edition. RHS Guides and Handbooks 15 (1987).
    Friederich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid, 1950–80).
    Patricia D. Stirnemann, ‘The Copenhagen Psalter’ (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1976)
    Rodney M. Thomson, Manuscripts from St Alban's Abbey 1066–1235, 2 vols. (Woodbridge, 1982).

Funding of Cataloguing

Conversion of the printed catalogue to TEI funded by the Thompson Family Charitable Trust

Last Substantive Revision

2021-09: First online publication

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