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

St John's College MS. 119

Bible: Sapiential books


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1va–120rb
Rubric: Incipit liber sapientie
Incipit: Diligite iusticiam qui iudicatis terram sentite de domino in bonitate
Explicit: capree hinnuloque ceruorum super montes aromatum
Final rubric: Expliciunt cantica canticorum
The sapiential books of the Vulgate Bible,

each preceded by a table of chapter contents (that for Wisdom on fols. 1ra–va). The MS presents, in order: fols. 1va–16va Wisdom; fols. 16va–59va Ecclus.; fols. 59va–85va Job, preceded by Stegmüller, Bibl. 344 and 349 and followed on fol. 85vab by ‘Iob quoque exemplar pacientie que misteria—Reposita est hec spes mea in sinu meo Hec IERONIMUS De Iob’ (also accompanying Job at BL, MS Royal 1 A.i, fol. 203v), with five lines blank and rubric for the next in fol. 85vb; fols. 86ra–108rb Proverbs, preceded by Stegmüller, Bibl. 457; fols. 108va–15rb Eccles, and the rubric for the next; fols. 115va–20rb Song. The text lacks Eccles. 9:18–12:1 (see Collation below). Fol. 120v is blank but ruled.

2. Fols. 120–49v
Rubric: De libro genesis
Incipit: Excipit a byssus et ab hijs generatur abyssus | A sine dat bissus candet tenebrescit abissus
Explicit: uelum censecut in ipso | Dirigunt cursus nauis nec promouet ipsam ||

WIC 6045, also cited from BL, MS Royal 9 A.xiv, fol. 141;, BodL, MS Digby 56, fol. 101., The verse offers etymologies of biblical words, in the main names, going through the books in order (as Jerome’s Interpretationes nominum does); it breaks off in Acts, here the penultimate book, and a large stub of an excised leaf (fol. iii) follows.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: mortem
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. ii + 150 (numbered fols. 1–149, iii) + ii (numbered fols. iv–v).
Dimensions (leaf): 235 × 165 mm.


1–68 710 8–148 158 (–7, –8, presumably blank, and both stubs) 16–188 196 (6 probably the stub, fol. iii). Catchwords in the gutter (only to quire 14); no signatures. At the end of quire 14, the catchword does not match the succeeding text. In fact, fol. 114vb ends in Eccles. 9:18, and the following recto begins at 12:1. At this point, the scribe must accidentally have turned a leaf in his exemplar and simply missed out a section of the text.


In two formats:

(a) fols. 1–120: in double columns, each column 145 × 42–3 mm. , with 11 mm between columns, in 28 lines to the column;

(b) fols. 120–49: writing area 143 × 73 mm. , with a 30 mm ruled right-hand column for glosses and titles, in 28 long lines to the page.

Occasional prickings; bounded and ruled in brown and purplish-brown crayon.


Written in gothic textura quadrata, both sections above top line. Punctuation by medial point and punctus elevatus.


In the biblical sections, 6-line red and blue lombards on flourishing of the same; chapters introduced by alternate 2- line red and blue lombards on flourishing of the other colour.

Chapter numbers in the margin in red.

In the tables, chapter contents introduced by alternate 1-line red and blue lombards.

Running titles for books provided later in text ink.

In the verse, sections of the poem introduced by 2-line alternate red and blue lombards on flourishing of the other colour; red rubrics and red gloss column entries with indications of content.


Brown leather over millboards, with a gold-stamped fillet, s. xvii. Sewn on five thongs. Black ink ‘119’ on a paper lozenge at the top of the spine, in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns modern paper, a College bookplate on the front pastedown. At the front and rear (iv–v), two modern paper flyleaves (still uncut at the top).


Origin: s. xii/xiii ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Si mea penne’ (fol. iiiv, secretary, s. xv2).

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).
    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

2021-10: First online publication

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