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

St John's College MS 29

Vulgate Bible


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 1ra–459rb:
Rubric: ⟨E⟩pistola IERONIMI ad paulinum presbiterum de omnibus diuinis historie libris
Incipit: F [unfilled space for painted incipit] Ambrosius tua michi munuscula perferens detulit et suauissimas literas […]
Incipit: [fol. 4ra, the text] In principio Creauit deus celum et terram […]
Incipit: [fol. 364rb] Matheus ex iudea sicut in ordine euangelistarum […]
Incipit: [fol. 364va] Liber Generationis iesu cristi filii dauid filii abraham
Explicit: ueni domine ihesu Gracia domini nostri ihesu cristi cum omnibus uobis Amen
The Vulgate Bible,

in Ker’s usual order (MMBL 1:96–7), without 2/3 Ezra or the Prayer of Manasses; Esther precedes Tobit, and Acts follows the Gospels. At the end of Job (fol. 197), the second column of the recto is blank, and Psalms begin on the verso; fol. 459rb has only 19 lines of text, the verso blank and bounded but not ruled.

There is quite substantial variation in the prologues from Ker’s model manuscript. Many standard prologues are absent: Stegmüller, Stegmüller, Bibl. 327 to 2 Chron. (fol. 150rb); Stegmüller, Bibl. 357 to Job (187rb); RB 462 to Eccles. (229rb); RB 511 to Joel (327ra); RB 513 to Amos (328va), Stegmüller, Bibl. 547 and 553 to 1 Macc. (343va), RB 589 to Matthew (364va), RB 780 to Titus (443rb), RB 783 to Philemon (444ra), RB 793 to Hebrews (444rb), RB 809 to the Catholic epistles (447vb). In the last case, the scribe left a blank space to accommodate the text; three exegetical additions (s. xv) appear in the margin. There is also added gloss material at the foot of both columns on fol. 366.

Particularly in the Minor Prophets, prologues other than the standard set appear: for Obadiah, Stegmüller, Bibl. 516, (fol. 330vb); for Jonah, Stegmüller, Bibl. 522, (331rb); for Haggai, a prologue beginning ‘Moriente dario rege medorum et succendente in regno […] ’ (337vab; also in this position in, for example, Christ Church MS 105, ) and Stegmüller, Bibl. 535, (337vb); for Malachi, a prologue beginning as JEROME, Commentarii in Prophetas minores (CPL 589), ed. M. Adriaen, CC 76–76A (1969–70), in Malachiam Prol., 901/1, and RB 545, 544 (342rb–va); for Acts, Stegmüller, Bibl. 616, 11831 (3) (from the opening of the ordinary gloss), and 635 (409rab); for 2 Cor., Stegmüller, Bibl. 700 (431rab).

Finally, there are a number of extra prologues: for Eccles., the unidentified: ‘Incipit quartus ordo eorum librorum qui in ueteri testament […] ' (fol. 238va); Stegmüller, Stegmüller, Bibl. 495 as a second prologue to Daniel (316ra); Stegmüller, Bibl. 510,1 to Joel (327ra); Stegmüller, Bibl. 525 to Micah (322rb); Stegmüller, Bibl. 527 to Nahum (334rb); Stegmüller, Bibl. 530 and 529 to Habakkuk (335va); the unidentified ‘Iosyam regem iude cuius ternporibus sophonias […] ’ and Stegmüller, Bibl. 532 to Zeph. (336va); Stegmüller, Bibl. 540 (338va) and a prologue beginning as JEROME, in Zachariam 1.1, CC 76A:749/6 to Zech. (338va–39ra).

Large portions of the text—fols. 94–139v (1–4 Kings), 172–96v (Esther–Tobit–Judith–Job), 221–53 (the wisdom books), 266v–70v (late Isaiah), 422–46 (Pauline epistles, breaking off in Hebrews) have been marked for an index, probably inherited, since the divisions correspond neither to chapter divisions nor to pages here (but each page roughly corresponds to the eight units marked a–h in red in the margins). There are also more regular marginal notations ‘S’, ‘P’, and ‘T’, apparently to identify liturgical lections.

Fols. 460ra–78rb
Rubric: Hic incipiunt Interpretationes nominum Incipientium per A literam
Incipit: Aaz apprehendens uel apprehensio Aad testificans uel testimonium
Explicit: Zuzim consiliantes eos uel consiliatores
STEPHEN LANGTON, Interpretationes nominum hebraicorum (Stegmüller, Bibl. 7709 [5:234–5]; cf. Sharpe no. 1669 [at 628], ed. in Bedae Opera (Cologne, 1688), 3:371–480. Fol. 478rc is blank but ruled, the verso blank.

Added text:

fol. 478rc, lower margin

‘Finito libro sint laus et gloria cristo Amen’, followed by an index, listing books of the Bible alphabetically with folio references. In mixed anglicana and secretary, s. xv med.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: me perstricta
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. ii + 478 + iii (numbered fols. iii–v); equipped with vellum tabs to find the individual books.
Dimensions (leaf): 330 × 235 mm.
Foliation: An original foliation, in several sequences: 1–196 = the present foliation; a new series begins with Psalms, where 1–24 = fols. 197–220; then 1–239 = fols. 221–459; the foliation of the Hebrew Names 1–19 = fols. 460–78 is fully modern, in a hand which has corrected the numeration occasionally earlier.


1–3812 3910 4012. No catchwords; quires to fol. 324 signed with a roman numeral on the last verso (quires 2–27 = II–XXVII).


Item 1: In double columns, each column 190 × 50–5 mm. , with 11 mm between columns, in 54 lines to the column.

Item 2: This text appears in triple columns, each column 250 × 60 mm. , with 4 mm between columns, in 72 lines to the column.

A few prickings visible in the gutter of the final text; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in gothic textura quadrata. Punctuation by medial point and punctus elevatus.


Headings in red.

At book initia, large, variably sized red and blue lombards on flourishing of the same.

Alternate red and blue 1-line lombards at chapter divisions; chapter numbers in the margin in alternate red and blue roman numerals prefaced with alternating red and blue paraphs.

Small capitals in text ink at the heads of verses.

Running titles with alternate red and blue lombards to indicate books.

Liturgical readings indicated in red in the margins.

In text 2, 8-line red and blue lombards on flourishing of the same at the heads of the alphabetical sections, 1-line alternating red and blue lombards at the heads of individual entries.

Two illuminations:

Fol. 1ra: an initial with vine and leaf pattern and a dragon in blue, violet, and green on gold leaf with a full-column marginal bar in gold and blue, an angel near the page foot and a floral design in a gold square at the head of the initial.

Fol. 4ra: a full-column initial I in gold with blue border, vine and leaf designs, dragons, in a central lozenge God holding the book.

See AT no. 219 (23–4), dating s. xiii3/4, and plate xii (fol. 4).


A modern replacement. Sewn on eleven thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf and a modern paper flyleaf; at the rear, two modern paper fly-leaves and another marbled paper one (iii–v).


Origin: s. xiii ex. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Liber Collegij Divi Ioannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Roberti Dow Mercatoris-scissoris Iunij 11o. Anno salutis 1600’ (fol. 1, 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.


    M. Adriaen (ed.), S. Hieronymi Presbyteri Opera. Corpus Christianorum 76–76A (1969–70)
    Bedae Opera (Cologne, 1688), 3:371–480
    Eligius Dekkers and Aemilius Gaar, Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn. (Turnhout, 1995).
    N. R. Ker, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries. 4 vols. (Oxford, 1969–92).
    Richard Sharpe, A Handlist of the Latin Writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540. Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin 1 (Turnhout, 1997).
    Friederich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid, 1950–80).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2021-10: First online publication

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