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

St John's College MS 143

Hebrew biblical books with the Vulgate and Latin glosses


Language(s): Hebrew and Latin, with some Anglo-Norman glosses

a rejected piece of text, unpointed and without the translations, equivalent to fol. 2v/1–11: Joshua 1:8–11,

ed. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgantensia (Stuttgart, 1983), unpaginated.

2. Fols. 1v–74:
Incipit: [the interlinear gloss] post mortem mose serui dei et loquebatur d.s ad iehousuha filium nun […] [the marginal gloss] ⟨E⟩t factum est ut post mortem moysi serui domini loqueretur dominus ad iosue filium nun
Explicit: [the interlinear gloss ends] sepelierunt cum in gibohat phineas filii sui quem dabitur ei in monte eferaim […] [the marginal gloss ends] sepelierunt eum in gaab filii fynees eius in possessionem qui data est ei in monte effraim
The Hebrew Joshua with a literal translation (interlinear) and the Vulgate (marginal),

the presentation customary through the entire volume. In addition, throughout there are occasional marginal glosses, a few in French. See the discussion in S. Berger, Quam Notitiam Linguae Hebraicae habuerunt Christiani medii aevi temporis in Gallia (Paris, 1893), pp. viii, 37, 44, 49, etc. Fol. 74v is blank. Our MS is described in Raphael Loewe, ‘Latin superscriptio MSS on portions of the Hebrew Bible other than the Psalter’, Journal of Jewish Studies 11 (1958), 62–71 at 64–6.

On the front pastedown, M. M. Colvin’s note: ‘The folio numbered 1 was found to be the missing folio of a Hebrew Psalter in Lambeth Palace Library [435] which had been bound up with the MS at some time subsequent to 1667; see Raphael Loewe, Hebrew Union College Annual 28 (1957), 205ff. It was reunited with the Lambeth MS in 1954.’ This leaf seems actually to have been paginated 1–2, since, in a nineteenth-century foliation, the MS now begins with page 3.

Books of this sort with the Psalter were prepared in the circle of Robert Grosseteste (Loewe, 1957), and a volume like this may have similar origins. Loewe, 1958 mentions a list on fol. 2v, perhaps a reference to the leaf now at Lambeth, since it is no longer in our MS, which implies that the volume was once bound with a copy of Proverbs.

3. Fols. 75–138v:
Incipit: [the interlinear gloss] Post mortem iosuha interogauerunt filii israel in deo dicendo quis ascendet […] [the marginal gloss] ⟨P⟩ost mortem iosue consuluerunt filii israel dominum dicentes quis ascendet
Explicit: [the interlinear gloss ends] In diebus illis non rex in israel uirum placitum in suis oculis facit […] [the marginal gloss ends] in diebus illis non erat rex in israel sed unusquisque quod sibi rectum uidebatur hoc faciebat
The Hebrew Judges with translations,

lacking 5:30–7:23, in a lost quire.

4. Fols. 139–49:
Incipit: [the interlinear gloss] ar canticorum quod ar salamoni Osculetur me osculis oris sui quia meliores dilecciones tue quam vinum […] [the marginal gloss] ⟨O⟩sculetur me osculo oris sui quia meliora sunt ubera tua uino
Explicit: [the interlinear gloss ends] dilecte asimula tibi capreani uel hinnulum ceruorum super montes aromatum [marginal note: Hic liber inspectus est satis preter defectis inserendos] […] [the marginal gloss ends] et assimulare capree hinuloque ceruorum super montes aromatum
The Hebrew Song of Songs with translations (‘Cantica canticorum’ added in the upper margin fol. 139, s. xiii ex.).
5. Fols. 149–72:
Incipit: [the interlinear gloss] \uerba [marg.]/ ecclesiastes \uel congregantis/ filii dauid regis ierusalem Vanitas vanitatum dixit ecclesiastes vanitas vanitatum omnia stulticia […] [the marginal gloss] ⟨E⟩cclesiastes filii dauid regis ierusalem uanitas uanitatum dixit ecclesiastes uanitas uanitatum et omnia uanitas
Explicit: [the interlinear gloss ends] deum time ar mandata eius custodi quia hic omnis homo […] [the marginal gloss ends] omnis homo in cuncta que fiunt adducet deus in iudicium pro omni erratu siue bonum siue malum sit
The Hebrew Ecclesiastes with translations,

172v is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: potent (marginal)
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (HSOS/HFFH).
Extent: Fols. 172 + i.
Dimensions (leaf): 214 × 150 mm.


1–88 910 [fol. 74, a booklet boundary] | 10–118 [a lost quire] 12–168 1710 (–9, –10, both probably blank) [fol. 138, a booklet boundary] | 18–208 2110. Hebrew catchwords in the gutter, a few cut away; no signatures.


A main column for the Hebrew text and its interlinear (or ‘superscriptio’) Latin gloss, 140 × 66 mm. ,

with a gloss column 28–9 mm wide, separated by 5 mm, along the leading edges. With 17 lines to the page in the main text column, 31 lines in the gloss column. Prickings; bounded and ruled in brown crayon (the Hebrew text) and black ink (the gloss column).


The Hebrew has been pointed by one of the Latin hands; the marginal translation written in textura semiquadrata, s. xiii med.; the interlinear translation written in textura prescissa with occasional anglicana letter forms, s. xiii ex. Punctuation in the marginal translation only by medial point. Although the Hebrew text reads right to left, as is customary (and the interlinear gloss must be read in the same direction), the book opens as a normal western one and reads from front to rear.


Blanks for initial capitals unfilled.

Running titles for books frequently supplied in a hand resembling the one that wrote the interlinear gloss.


Brown leather over millboards, s. xvii?, with stamped centre rectangle with fleur-de-lis at corners. Sewn on five thongs. Gold ‘143’ at the head of the spine; in black ink on the leading edges. Pastedowns modern paper. No flyleaves at the front; at the rear, a single modern paper flyleaf (i).


Origin: s. xii/xiii (the Hebrew), s. xiii med. and ex. (Latin)

Provenance and Acquisition

‘Liber Collegii Divi Joannis Baptistae Oxon’ Ex dono Edvardi Bernardi Socii 1667’ (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.


    S. Berger, Quam Notitiam Linguae Hebraicae habuerunt Christiani medii aevi temporis in Gallia (Paris, 1893).
    Karl Elliger and Rudolph Wilhelm (eds.), Biblia Hebraica Stuttgantensia (Stuttgart, 1983).
    Raphael Loewe, ‘Latin superscriptio MSS on portions of the Hebrew Bible other than the Psalter’, Journal of Jewish Studies 11 (1958), 62–71.
    Raphael Loewe, 'The mediaeval Christian Hebraists of England: the Superscriptio Lincolniensis', Hebrew Union College Annual 28 (1957), 205–52.

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

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