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

St John's College MS 42

Bible: Jeremiah and Lamentations glossed


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1ra–67va:
Incipit: [the gloss] Lxx. Uerbum dei quia uerba ieremie uerbum domini est Ieronimus Primo exordium […] [fol. 1rb, the text] Uerba ieremie fllii elchie de sacerdotibus qui fuerunt
Explicit: [fol. 67ra, the text ends] usque ad diem mortis sue cunctis diebus uite eius […] [the gloss ends] et ego penitentiam agam de omnibus malis que locutus sum facere eis
Jeremiah, with the ordinary gloss,

ascribed to GILBERT (THE UNIVERSAL) OF AUXERRE (Stegmüller RB 2543/11808 [2:352, 9:504–5]). Beryl Smalley assesses the evidence for Gilbert’s responsibility for the gloss in ‘Gilbertus Universalis, bishop of London (1128–34), and the problem of the “Glossa ordinaria” ’, Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 7 (1935), 235–62, and 8 (1936), 24–60. Less than half the gloss column on the final leaf is filled, and the remainder of the page, although ruled, is blank.

2. Fols. 68ra–96rb:
Incipit: [the gloss] Svnt cantica canticorum sunt et lamentationes lamentationum Liber salomonis cantica […] [the text, fol. 68vb] Aleph Quomodo sedet sola ciuitas plena populo facta est quasi uidua
Explicit: [fol. 96ra, the text ends] repulisti \quasi pollutos/ nos iratus es \ut patet non irascaris ut iudex peccatis nostris/ contra nos \contrarios tibi/ uehementer […] [the gloss ends] in ignem eternum cum iam nec penitencie nec uenie locus erit |
Final rubric: [fol. 96ra] Sufficiant hec ad expositionem lamentationum ieremie que de patrum fontibus hausi ego G ALTISIODORENSIS ecclesie diaconus
Lamentations, with the ordinary gloss (Stegmüller, RB 2544/11809 [2:352, 9:505–6], ; Sharpe, no. 382 [149], ). The remainder of the book was originally filled, but has been washed; fols. 96v–vv, viv are covered with faded theological notes, including some music.

Added texts:


A good many marginal notes, especially chapter summaries of the biblical text, s. xvi2, perhaps Backhouse’s. In contrast, relatively few medieval additions, e.g. a distinctio for ‘?penis’ (fol. 72, the lower margin).

b. fol. vii, lower margin
An added versus:
Incipit: Sic in corde vigeat correpcio quod in ore non cesset oracio

Not in Walther (fol. vii, lower margin; s. xiv1).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: muros eius (text)
Secundo Folio: in confessione (gloss)
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. iv + 96 + vi (numbered fols. v–x).
Dimensions (leaf): 320 × 215 mm.


1–810 9–108. Catchwords beneath the inner column towards the gutter on last versos of all quires; no signatures. In earlier quires, the odd half-sheet required for a ten-leaf unit invariably appears as the centre bifolium and is slightly smaller than the remaining leaves.


The page format varies according to the extent of the gloss, generally a writing area of about 213 × 130 mm. , in 61 gloss lines, 31 text lines. Prickings rare after the first quire; bounded and ruled in black ink.


In two sizes of gothic textura quadrata, the gloss above the top line, but the text beneath it. Punctuation by point and punctus elevatus.

Musical Notation:

Fols. 96v–vv, viv are covered with faded notes, including some music.


Headings in red, for the alphabetical divisions within Lamentations only.

A 9-line red and blue lombard at the head, on red vine-work with blue touches and flourishing; a smaller and rather more stylized example at the beginning of Lamentations.

Chapter numbers in alternate red and blue roman numerals marginally.

Glosses introduced by large alternating red and blue paraphs, sometimes with enlarged lombards in text ink.

Running titles in alternate red and blue lombards (Iere | mie throughout).


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf, two modern paper flyleaves, and a medieval vellum flyleaf; at the rear, three medieval vellum flyleaves, two modern paper ones, and another marbled paper one (v–x). The last vellum flyleaf (fol. vii) may have been a pastedown in an earlier binding.


Origin: s. xiii1 ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Three erased ownership inscriptions: on fol. 1, upper margin, ‘Liber is⟨ ⟩ herici [sic for henrici] simones’ (s. xiv2); others at the top of fol. vii and on fol. viiv, this last in part ‘⟨ ⟩ amico Rogero Walter suus R ⟨ ⟩’.

Iohannes backhus me possidet precium ij s’ (fol. 1, upper margin).

‘Commentarivs G Altisiodorensis in Ieremiam’ (s. xvii, probably the hand of Christopher Wren), and ‘42’, an early form of the College shelfmark (fol. 1 upper margin).

'Liber Collegij Sanctj Iohannis Baptistae Oxon ex dono Venerabilis Virj Richardi Butler Doctoris Theologiae Archidiaconi Northampt’ procurante Reuerendo in Cristo Patre Iohanne Episcopo Roffens 1613’ (fol. 1, in the gutter).

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.


    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).
    Beryl Smalley, 'Gilbertus Universalis, bishop of London (1128–34), and the problem of the "Glossa ordinaria" ', Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 7 (1935), 235–62, and 8 (1936), 24–60.
    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

2022-04: First online publication

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