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

St John's College MS. 49

Peter Lombard, Sentences


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 2ra–138vb:
Rubric: Incipit prologvs
Incipit: Cvpientes aliquid de penuria ac tenuitate nostra cum paupercula in gazofilatium […] [fol. 3vb, the text] ⟨ ⟩ etiam considerantibus nobis preuia dei gracia innotuit sacre pagine tractatum
Explicit: sciendum est quod auctoritas nicholai de illo [CW: agit qui uxori] ||
PETER LOMBARD, Liber sententiarum,

the extant medieval portions corresponding to Sententiae in iv libris distinctae, 3rd edn. (Grottaferrata, 1971–81), 1:3–2:507/16 (breaking off in Between the prologue and text (fols. 2rb–3rb) is the table of chapters for book 1. A considerable amount of marginal material has been added on fols. 16v–17, 32rv, 33v, 75–80, 111v (primarily a correction), and 135.

Watson, DMO, no. 870 (146) and plate 65 (fol. 4), suggests that the MS might have been produced in northern France, and considers it datable, since the Lombard completed his work 1158, and bishop Hilary of Chichester died in 1169. Our MS is discussed by Malcolm Beckwith Parkes, ‘The Influence of the Concepts of Ordinatio and Compilatio on the Development of the Book’, in J. J. G. Alexander and M. T. Gibson (eds.), Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays presented to Richard William Hunt (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976), 117, 126, 139, and plate x (fol. 13v).

The fragmentary conclusion has been filled out with a modern supply, ending at fol. 149rb (ed. cit. 2:560/2): ‘ […] id est electis Laetabit enim iustus cum viderit vindictam Finis’. Fol. 149v is blank but ruled.

Added text:

Fol. 1vab:
Rubric: AVGUSTINUS in libro contra faustum
Incipit: Cum in omnibus latinorum codicibus inueniatur factus ex semine dauid
Explicit: significare non uoluit sed singularitatem noluit
Augustine, Contra faustum

Excerpts, in a hand of s. xiii in. (above top line).

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: dicatur
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. ii (numbered fols. i, 1) + 137 (the medieval portion, numbered fols. 2–138) + 11 (modern supply, numbered fols. 139–49) + i (numbered fol. ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 310 × 215 mm.


The original medieval MS: 1–48 58+1 (+8, its stub showing after fol. 34) 6–178. Catchwords usually cut away (examples in the centre of the leaf, in the gutter, under the gutter column); usually signed with a roman numeral on the last verso (quires 3–17 = iii–xvij). The modern conclusion: 184 ?three singletons (fols. 143–5) 194.


Half of the leading edge column of fol. 3 has been cut away for its initial, now replaced with a later supply.


In double columns, each column 228 × 65 mm. , with 7 mm between columns, in 54 lines to the column. Along the leading edge a column for comments, about 22 mm wide. Frequent prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in transitional protogothic bookhand/gothic textura. Punctuation by point and punctus elevatus.


Headings and marginal notations in red.

At the head of internal divisions, 2-line alternate slatey blue and red lombards with pen-work of the other colour.

Although the illumination at the head of book 1 has been excised, the illuminated letters at other major divisions survive:

Fol. 2ra (the prologue): an 8-line red and blue lombard with green and gold (as well as red and blue) leafy infill;

Fol. 44rb: God creating Eve from Adam’s side, on gold leaf within a blue initial on diapered red ground;

Fol. 81va, the Nativity, on gold leaf inside a red initial on a diapered blue ground;

Fol. 107ra: a large green and blue S, its ends animal heads and filled with vine and leaf design and with animals, on gold leaf.

See AT, no. 89 (12) and plate 6 (fol. 44rb).


Reversed calf over millboards, s. xvii. Sewn on four thongs. Cloth ties on both boards to close the book. An old tab ‘62’ at mid lower board leading edge. Gold ‘49’ at the top of the spine; in ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns modern paper, a College bookplate on the front pastedown. At the front, a modern paper flyleaf and a medieval vellum flyleaf (half a bifolium, preceded by its stub); at the rear, a single modern paper flyleaf (ii).


Origin: s. xii3/4/1158 × 1169 with missing leaves supplied s. xvii/xviii ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘liber sententiarum h⟨illa⟩r’ [clear in ultraviolet light] Episcopi ijdo fo dicatur F xxiiij’ (fol. 2, the lower margin; s. xv2), and an erased ex-libris (fol. 1, upper margin). Ker, MLGB 51, 247 associates the book with Chichester Cathedral.

‘Liber Collegij Sanctj Johannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono venerabilis virj Guilielmj Laud sacrae Theologiae Doctoris Archidiaconj Huntingtoniensis Ecclesiae Cathedralis Glocest Decanj et ejusdem Collegij Praesidis MDCXVIIo’ (fol. 1vb). Our MS is described as Laud Exhib, no. 4 (7).

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.


    J. J. G. Alexander and Elźbieta Temple, Illuminated Manuscripts in Oxford College Libraries, the University Archives and the Taylor Institution (Oxford, 1985).
    An Exhibition of Manuscripts to Commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Birth of Archbishop Laud 7 October 1573-10 January 1634 (Oxford, 1973).
    I. C. Brady (ed.), Magistri Petri Lombardi Sententiae in iv libris distinctae, 3rd edn., 2 vols., Spicilegium Bonaventurianum 4 and 5 (Grottaferrata, 1971–81).
    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).
    Malcolm Beckwith Parkes, ‘The Influence of the Concepts of Ordinatio and Compilatio on the Development of the Book’, in J. J. G. Alexander and M. T. Gibson (eds.), Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays presented to Richard William Hunt (Oxford: Clarendon, 1976).
    Andrew G. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c.435-1600 in Oxford Libraries, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1984).

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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