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

St John's College MS. 62

Bernard, sermons on the Canticle


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1ra–2vb
Rubric: Incipiunt Cantica Canticorum que hebraice dicuntur Sy.aserim Vox Synagoge cristi desiderantis aduentum
Incipit: Osculetur me osculo oris sui quia meliora sunt ubera
Explicit: ceruorum super montes aromatum
Final rubric: Explicit cantica canticorum habent uersus ..... ducentos Octogin
The Biblical text.
2. Fols. 3ra–137ra
Incipit: || domino canticum nouum quia mirabilia fecit Rursus cum adiecit supra petram statuere
Explicit: Item ad omnes electos ut filij lucis inquit ambulate
Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones super Cantica Canticorum,

ed. J. Leclercq et al., Opera, vols. I–II (Rome, 1957–8), beginning imperfectly (the opening leaf perhaps removed for its decoration) at 1:6/24; our MS is described at pp. xxviii–ix. Fol. 137v is blank and unruled but has the appropriate quire signature.

A variety of marginal notes in a contemporary hand (most extensively at fols. 58v–9, with two distinctiones in the lower margins), a few in s. xiii2 textura and s. xv anglicana, mainly to indicate topics of interest; fol. ivv has a note (s. xv) of a few topics from the sermons.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: soror (fol. 2)
Secundo Folio: faceret (fol. 4)
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. iv + 137 + iii (v–vii); an accurate early modern foliation in the top centre of each leaf.
Dimensions (leaf): 300 × 215 mm.


12 28(–1) 3–188. No catchwords; each quire after the first signed with a roman numeral on the last verso (quires 2–18 = jus–xvijus).


Extensive repair work on the damp-damaged leading edges of many leaves, e.g. fols 106, 108–9, 114, 119–22.


In double columns, each column 213–15 × 62 mm. , with 15 mm between columns, in 42 lines to the column. No prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink.


Written in very late protogothic bookhand, square and regular, above top line; fols. 1–2 are by a different contemporary hand. Punctuation by point, punctus elevatus, and punctus interrogativus.


Headings in red.

The only other decoration is 3-line red, blue, and green arabesque capitals at the heads of the sermons, with infill in a contrasting colour.

In item 1, headings in red, alternate 1-line red and green arabesque capitals to divide the verses.


A modern replacement. Sewn on five thongs. At the front, three modern paper flyleaves and one of medieval vellum, perhaps earlier a pastedown; at the rear, three modern paper flyleaves (v–vii).


Origin: s. xii/xiii or s. xiii in. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Hic liber est ecclesie sancte Marje de suwicha quem ab ea alienari non licet Quod qui facere presumpserit siue titulum istum dolose deleuerit uel fraudem aliam fecerit quo minus eius sit nisi eidem condigne satisfecerit sit anathema Maranatha Amen’ (fols. 136v–7, the lower margin). The inscription also appears on fol. 2, (from ‘dolose’ only, the remainder on the lost preceding leaf), and fols. 78v–9; in the other examples, ‘hac fiat’ precedes ‘Amen’. Registrum R.34.21 (173, 262), Ker, MLGB 181.

‘Homiliae Diui Bernardi in Cantica Canticorum’ (fol. 1, upper margin; s. xvii in., a St John’s hand).

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.


    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).
    Jean Leclercq et al. (eds.), S. Bernardi Opera, 8 vols. (Rome, 1957–77).
    Richard H. Rouse and Mary A., and R. A. B. Mynors (eds.), Registrum Anglie de libris doctorum et auctorum veterum. Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues 2 (London, 1991).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2021-06: First online publication

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