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

St John's College MS. 34


Language(s): Latin

(fols. 1ra - 185va)
Rubric: Incipit hystoria scholastica theologice dicipline
Incipit: (prologue) Imperatorie maiestatis est in palatio tres habere mansiones auditorium uel consistorium
Incipit: (text) In principio erat uerbum et uerbum erat principium in quo et per quod
Explicit: in loco magno honorabili scilicet in cathacumbis.
Peter Comestor, Historia scholastica (Stegmüller, RB 6345–65 [4:280–90]), ed. PL 198:1053–1722. The final column is blank. A considerable amount of marginal addition of various sorts in a variety of hands (decreases substantially after Genesis).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: summitatem
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS)
Extent: ii + 185 + iii (numbered iii-v)
Dimensions (leaf): 335 × 212 mm.


1–2(8), 3(8–1),4(8), 5(6), 6(8–3), 7–9(8), 10(10), 11–13(8), 14(8–1), 15–23(8), 24(4) Signed on the final leaves of quires with a roman numeral. Although many signatures have been cut away, quires 6, 9–10, 12–16, and 23 have the expected signature in roman, ending xxiiius. on fol. 181v. Although the signature system is consistent, fols. 32–7 do not constitute a single quire and must reflect some difficulty in production. The six leaves have consecutive text (from ‘Exodus’, PL 198:1169–91) in proper order, but currently appear to be a bifolium and a quire of four. Catchwords under the gutter columns. Many catchwords have been cut away.


In double columns, each column 205 × 55 mm. mm, with 11 mm between columns, in 45 lines to the column.

Bounded and ruled in black and brown ink. Written above top line. Very occasional prickings survive (especially early on).


Written in gothic textura semiquadrata. Punctuation by point, and occasional punctus elevatus


Headings in red.

At the heads of books, a line of alternating red and blue 2-line arabesque capitals with flourishing.

Sections within books set off by 2-line arabesque capitals, alternating red and blue with flourishing of the other colour; inset glosses begin with 1-line alternating red and blue arabesque capitals.

Red running titles to indicate the biblical book (ending at fol. 117v, a quire bound); some effort to supply them in pencil in later portions.

On fol. 1ra a very damaged 25-line I in gold leaf (originally with violet-brown infill, now faded?) on a dark blue ground. At fol. 52va (the start of Joshua, similarly fol. 62rb, Kings), an 18-line L in gold with blue infill on a violet-brown ground. Similar rather crude champes later: 6-line at Tobit (fol. 101ra), 8-line for the gospels (126va), 7-line for Acts (162rb).

See AT, no. 654 (65), dated c.1200.


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


Origin: s. xii ex. ; French

Provenance and Acquisition

Two lines of Latin medical notes, perhaps verse (on a bit of vellum 85 mm x 135–50 mm, mounted on the front pastedown, s. xiii ex.)

‘‘Liber Collegij Sanctj Iohannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Magistrj Iohannis Lambe Registrarij Petriburgensis’’

(fol. 2, upper margin). Our MS appears in Laud Exhib Addenda [21].

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.

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2020-11: First online publication

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