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

St John's College MS. 39

Bible: Mark and Matthew glossed


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1rb–98vb:
Incipit: Ex Iudea sicut in ordinem primus ponitur ita euuangelium in iudea primus scripsit […] [the gloss, in the upper margin] Basilius omnes libri euuangelium bonum ?nuncium grece latinum quid et si sit comunium proprium […] [fol. 3rb] Liber generacionis ihesus cristi filii dauid fllii abraham […] [the gloss, in the upper margin] Ihesu cristi ut per rectam sacerdotalem personam natura dei et hominis
Explicit: [fol. 98va, the gloss ends] non sunt de futuri quod diuina mansione sunt digni […] [the text ends] omnibus diebus usque ad consummacionem seculi
Matthew, with the ordinary gloss (Stegmüller, RB 11827 [9:521–3]), preceded by JEROME’S prologue, Stegmüller, RB 590, with three columns of glosses (fol. 2v). Throughout the volume, many glosses are in later hands, and there are considerable non-gloss additions, many in a faded brown ink (s. xiii); a sample of these is noted below.

The two booklets are not thoroughly consonant with the scribal stints. Although scribe 2 began copying on the last leaf of quire 4, there is a production break at the end of his stint (fol. 86v), where he left a double ‘catchword’, instructions not simply where to take up the text (Matt. 26:1) but also for a rubric. At this point, where scribe 1 resumes, there is also a large decorative capital, paralleled by one similarly placed at Mark 14:1 (fol. 144vb), also the head of the Passion narrative. Presumably, the second scribe was given piecework while his more adept companion set about later portions of the volume, and if there is a third scribe, he was left to finish Mark while scribe 1 completed the work of his other colleague.

The whole volume appears to have been put together over a protracted period. The gloss especially seems to have been filled in progressively. In fact, the entire volume may have been conceived with a relatively narrow text column (only 60 mm) and without extensive glosses precisely to allow later users (? in a communal setting) to add materials as they saw fit, which they did with gusto.

2. Fol. 99ra–155vc:
Incipit: Marcus euangelista dei et petri in baptismate filiis Atque in diuino sermone […] [fol. 99rb, the gloss] De Iohanne baptista aut uictu aut habitu eiusdem baptizatus ihesus […] [fol. 100rb, the text] Principium euangelii iesu cristi filii dei sicut scriptum est […] [the gloss, in the upper margin] Beda Matheus dicit filii dauid filii abraham Marcus filius dei ut paulatim
Explicit: [fol. 155vb, the text ends] Super egros manus imponent et bene habebunt et dominus quidem Ihesus […] [the gloss ends] spiritualia per hoc enim anime suscitantur non corpora
Mark, to 16:18 only, with the ordinary gloss (Stegmüller, RB 11828 [9:523–5]), preceded by JEROME’s prologue, Stegmüller, RB 607, with following gloss. Both the prologue and its gloss are written in the hand normally reserved for glosses; the text hand resumes at the head of the biblical text.

Added texts (a sample only):

a. Fol. 8v, lower margin:
Incipit: Sunt digni fructus si carnem luxuriosus | Edomet elatus oret […] (6 lines);
Incipit: Baptiste domus est heremus sunt esca locuste | Pellis zona […] (2 verses).
Verses on the deadly sins and John the Baptist,

not in Walther.

b. Fol. 12v, the margin:
Incipit: a timet et pauper regnat perit inde superbus | b pius et mitis terram tenet inuidus erit […]
A mnemonic for the Beatitudes and their conventional development as a septenary,

not in Walther.

c. Fol. 21, lower margin:

a variety of similar additions.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: euangelio (text)
Secundo Folio: seruite (gloss)
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. v + 155 + viii (numbered fols. 156–9, the last a folded bifolium bound as if a single leaf, vi–viii).
Dimensions (leaf): 325 × 240 mm.


1–210 3–512 614 716 812 [fol. 98, a production boundary] | 9–1212 1310(–10, perhaps with some text; its stub now follows fol. 147). Catchwords at the centre of the final verso of each quire, rarely towards the gutter; the first quire signed ‘j’ on fol. 10v, but any further examples are cut away. Some leaf signatures survive in brown crayon; originally all leaves in the first half of each quire assigned a letter (fols. 11–15 = a–e; 87–92 = a–f) or given roman numerals (fols. 21–6 = i–vi; 71–8 = i–viii).


The lower half of fol. 141 has been cut away, with some text loss, and the lower margins of fols. 65, 97, and 153 have also been cut away.


The writing area varies with the shape of the gloss; the basic ruled area is 170–80 × 155–70 mm. , in 42 lines for the gloss (within the bounds; there are frequently glosses in the upper margins in an additional six ruled lines) and 15 lines (and more) for text. Frequent prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in two different styles of gothic textura, the text often in a thick and formal semiquadrata, the gloss only slightly smaller but a much thinner and more current quadrata.

The text is below the top line, the gloss often extending into the upper margin. At least two, and perhaps three, scribes: scribe 2 copied fols. 44–86; if there is a third, he took up at fol. 120v; and scribe 1 is responsible for the remainder. Punctuation by medial point, punctus versus, and punctus interrogativus.


No headings. At the heads of the texts, 8- or 9-line red and blue lombards on flourished grounds of red with blue.

Alternating 2-line red and blue lombards at verse- heads.

Glosses introduced by large alternate red and blue paraphs, usually with a 1-line lombard in the other colour.

In some quires, the paraphs have long descenders running into the lower margin.

Some running titles and chapter numbers added later, at various times—in lead, rubric, etc.


Modern replacement, with imitation s. xvi rolls and punches over wood. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, three modern vellum flyleaves and two medieval ones (fols. iv–v, a bifolium, fol. iv damaged and partly remounted), a College bookplate on fol. ivv. At the rear, five medieval vellum flyleaves (counting a bifolium put in as a single leaf; fol. 159, as two) and three modern vellum flyleaves (156–9, vi–viii).


Origin: s. xiii1 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

The old shelfmark ‘E.y’ (fol. 1, upper margin). In form and position, this corresponds to the shelfmark of our MS 20; thus assigned, with a query, to St Andrew’s, Northampton (OClun) (Ker, MLGB 135).

A variety of pen-trials and pieces of names, in the main s. xv and s. xvi in. (fols. 103, lower margin; 110, lower margin; v).

Notes on contents of the MS (fol. 1, upper margin; s. xv and xvii).

‘Veritas non querit latebras […] ’ (4 lines); ‘Iuunt frondent silue et causa […] ’ (s. xvi3/4, fol. vv).

‘Liber Collegij Sanctj Iohannis Baptistae Oxon ex dono Richardj Butler Archidiaconi Northampt’ Doctoris Theologiae Procurante Reuerendo in Cristo Patre Iohanne Episcopo Roffensi’ (fol. 1v, vertically in the margin).

MS 39 - Flyleaf text (d)


Language(s): Latin

d. Fols. 156v–7
a list of names, some with notations suggestive of accounts,

s. xii ex., ed. M. W. Barley, with contributions by W. H. Stevenson and Kenneth Cameron, Documents Relating to the Manor and Soke of Newark-on-Trent, Thoroton Society record series 16 (1956), pp. ix–xv, 1–4 (annotated 5–15), where the text is dated c. 1175. The frontispiece reproduces part of fol. 156v.

Fols. 156–7 are a bifolium; the unrelated leaf, fol. 158 (see the next item) is now pasted to them.

Physical Description


Origin: s. xii ;

MS 39 - Flyleaf text (e)


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 159bra–vb, 159ava–rb, 158ra–vb:
Incipit: || -uerunt simul inutiles facti sunt Omnes sibi ignem ..cendit flammamque
Explicit: sanctitas ac iusticia et omnia quibus ||
Incipit: || mihi homo D⟨ominus⟩ auxiliator meus et ego despiciam inimicos meos
Explicit: genus oleris est uilissimi et fragilissimi ||
Incipit: || septuaginta ecce ego preparabo tibi carbunculum lapidem tuum vt tota ciuitas sit
Explicit: intellexi Et illud audire Beati mundo corde ||
JEROME, Commentarii in Esiam (CPL 584) bits from books 14 and 15,

ed. Marc Adriaen, CC 73–73A (1963), 557/9–560/34, 568/82–572/23, 609/58–613/187.

Fols. 158–9 are leaves from the same MS, but not by the same scribe. Fol. 159 is in fact a bifolium, with leaves folded up, rather than cut down to the size of the MS. The constituent leaves imply a book overall 395 × 305 mm. .

Physical Description


In double columns, each column 275 × 90–5 mm. , in 36 lines to the column.


Written in protogothic bookhand, s. xii ex.


The bifolium fol. 159a + b, before the current binding, formed the wrapper for the book and bears (159v) a round brown shelfmark tag ‘39’ (cf. MS 28).


Origin: s. xii ex

Additional Information

Record Sources

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


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


    Marc Adriaen (ed.), Commentariorum in Esaiam libri I–XI (Hieronymus), Corpus Christianorum 73 (1963).
    Marc Adriaen et al (eds.),Commentariorum in Esaiam libri XII–XVIII. In Esaiam parvula adbreviatio (Hieronymus), Corpus Christianorum 73A (1963).
    M. W. Barley (ed.), with contributions by W. H. Stevenson and Kenneth Cameron, Documents Relating to the Manor and Soke of Newark-on-Trent, Thoroton Society record series 16 (1956).
    Eligius Dekkers and Aemilius Gaar, Clavis patrum latinorum, 3rd edn. (Turnhout, 1995).
    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).
    Hans Walther, Initia carminum ac versuum Medii Aevi posterioris Latinorum, 2nd edn (Göttingen, 1969).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-01: First online publication

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