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

St John's College MS. 118

Philip the Chancellor, Sermons on the Psalter


Language(s): Latin

Fols. 1ra–161vb:
Incipit: Assit prinicipio sancta maria meo [in the upper margin] Exurge psalterium et cythara exurgam diliculo proverbiorum xj. Bene consurgit diliculo qui querit bona Que sunt hec bona […] [fol. 1va, the text] Et erit tanquam lignum etc. hoc lignum quod sic plantatur potest dici uir spiritualis qui est arbor
Explicit: preuenerunt principes coniuncti psallentibus etc. et cantica in fine Qui habitas in ortis etc
PHILIP THE CHANCELLOR, Ps. 1–150, sermones 1–336 (Stegmuller, RB no. 6952 [4:429–301], where our copy is listed), printed at Paris 1523 and Brescia 1600, not available to us. The MS lacks the discussion of Ps. 109:4–110:4 and has left a blank for its supply (see Collation below). The lines have been numbered by fives between the columns, usually taken as a sign of Oxford provenance.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: fructus
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. iii + 161 + iii (numbered fols. iv–vi).
Dimensions (leaf): 232 × 170 mm.
Foliation: There is an accurate medieval foliation, usually in brown crayon, sometimes in ink.


1–78 8–910 108 11–1310 148 [fol. 122, a production break] | 158 16–1810 192 (–2, a stub of a leaf presumably blank). Fol. iv is apparently pasted to the final leaf. Catchwords under the gutter columns; signed with roman numerals on the first leaf of each quire (the last leaf in quire 1), quires 1–18 = i–xviii. There is a textual break at the end of quire 14. Fol. 120vb has only four lines, and breaks off in the commentary on Ps. 109:4. Fol. 121 is blank but ruled, but fols. 121v–2v blank. A later hand has begun to set up an index on the blank fols. 121 and 122v. The text resumes (fol. 123ra) with Ps. 110:4 and its comment. The scribe seems to have found a lacuna in his archetype and tried to leave ample space to accommodate the missing material. At the head of the next quire, a quick succession of hand changes ensues.


In double columns, each column 165–75 × 60 mm. , with 11 mm between columns, in 41–4 lines to the column. Infrequent prickings; bounded and ruled in black ink and lead.


Written in gothic textura quadrata, more than one hand, below top line. Punctuation by point and punctus elevatus.


Two-line red lombards at textual divisions, usually unfilled blanks.

The text underlined in rubric, but only in very early parts of the MS.

A number of unfilled blanks for headings.


Brown leather over millboards with a stamped gold fillet, s. xvii. Sewn on five thongs. Black ink ‘118’ on a paper lozenge at the top of the spine, in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns old vellum, on the front one a College bookplate and filled nail-holes and rust from two strap fittings, on the rear ‘Saffrey’ (s. xv). At the front, two modern paper fly-leaves, one medieval vellum one, with another (torn) College bookplate; at the rear, one medieval vellum flyleaf (probably a former pastedown) and two modern paper flyleaves.


Origin: s. xiii med. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Two lines, perhaps the opening of a booklist (fol. iv, at the top, s. xiv in.).

‘Spalterium Glosatum’ (fol. iiiv, s. xv and a similar identification, s. xvii).

‘Liber Richardi Butler Rectoris de Aston in le walles ex dono Magistri Albani Butler senioris 21 Decembris 1607’ (fol. iiiv).

'Liber Collegij Sanctj Johannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Richardi Butler Doctoris Theologiae Archidiaconi Northampt” (fol. 1, upper margin).

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.


    Friederich Stegmüller, Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi, 11 vols. (Madrid, 1950–80).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-11: First online publication

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.