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

St John's College MS 171

John Wycliffe, Postillae in Biblia


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–64v:
Rubric: Incipit Prologus super libro Iob
Incipit: Tercia vero pars scripture disputatiua et dialectica continetur librorum binario […]
Rubric: [fol. 1v] Explicit Prologus Et incipit Postilla super libro Iob |
Incipit: [fol. 2] Uir erat in terra […] Genesis 22o. patet quod melcha peperit nachor fratri abrahe hus primogenitum
Explicit: augmentum bonorum gracie quibus perductus est ad futuram gloriam Que durat per omnia secula seculorum Amen
Final rubric: Explicit postilla super libro Iob
JOHN WYCLIFFE, on Job (Stegmüller, RB no. 5070,1 [9:243–4]), unpublished, the only other copy Oxford, Magdalen College MS lat. 117, fols. 274–308. Beryl Smalley, 'John Wyclif's Postilla super totam Bibliam', Bodleian Library Record 4, iv (1953), 186–205, first identified this dispersed text (the position of our MS in the series is discussed at 190–1). Fairly frequent marginal notes, both scribal and by readers, throughout.
2. Fols. 64v–108v:
Rubric: et incipit super libro Ecclesiasten
Incipit: Iste liber dicitur soliloquium salomonis nunc loquentis in persona sapientis […] [the text] Uerba ecclesiastes filij dauid regis ierusalem In titulo enim describitur autor huius libri ex nomine et genere
Explicit: et vincet cum iudicabit Psalmo 50. Cui iudicanti et vincenti et viuenti in secula seculorum sit laus et honor in eternum Amen
Final rubric: Explicit postilla super Ecclesiasten et finitur 3a. pars scripture
WYCLIFFE, on Ecclesiastes (Stegmüller, RB no. 5073,1 [9:244–5]), like all the remaining items in the book, a unique text.
3. Fols. 108v–312v:
Rubric: Prologus super Psalterium hic incipit
Incipit: Qvarta vero pars scripture que est ymnidica et quasi poetica et decantatiua […] [fol. 109v, the text] Explicit prologus et incipit Postilla super psalterium
Rubric: Explicit prologus et incipit Postilla super psalterium
Incipit: Beatus vir […] Primo igitur hortatur siue Dauid siue Esdras quasi prohemialiter ad hanc doctrinam
Explicit: Beati qui habitus in domo tua domine in secula seculorum laudabunt te Ad quam gloriam nos perducat qui sine fine viuit et regnat Amen
Final rubric: Explicit postilla super psalterium
WYCLIFFE, on Psalms (Stegmüller, RB no. 5070,2 [9:244]); followed in the lower margin by an index of references to Wycliffe’s discussion of the canticles. The exegesis of Ps. 135:17–18 (fols. 292v–3), ed. Gustav Adolf Benrath, Wyclifs Bibelkommentar (Berlin, 1966), 336–8. Frequent diacritical marks by the heads of the chapters, with cross-references to related Psalms.
4. Fols. 313–24:
Rubric: Incipit Postilla super Cantica Canticorum
Incipit: ⟨I⟩ste est 2us. liber inter libros scripture hymnidicos continens 10. partes […]
Rubric: Explicit Prologus et Incipit Postilla super Cantica
Incipit: Osculetur me […] In primo igitur dragmate loquitur sponsa primo volens liberari de egipciaca seruitute
Explicit: qui dicuntur cerui vt patet supra capitulo 2o. Cui creanti recreanti et finaliter iudicanti sit honor in eternum Amen
Final rubric: Explicit postilla Super Cantica
WYCLIFFE, on the Song of Songs (Stegmüller, RB no. 5074,1 [9:245]).
5. Fols. 324v–63:
Rubric: Incipit prefacio introductoria ad intellectum Cantici Canticorum seu pocius tocius scripture
Incipit: Tria sunt que magis conferunt mundicordibus vt perueniant ad notitiam debitam scripturarum
Explicit: Vide Allegoriam seu tropologiam supra in exposicione prima quia ista exposicio non est vlterius prosecuta Explicit
WYCLIFFE, a tropological reading of the Song, to 4:1 only (Stegmüller, RB no. 5074,2 [9:245]); the ‘prefatio’ (fols. 324v–27v) ed. Beryl Smalley, ‘Wyclif’s Postilla on the Old Testament and his Principium’, in A. B. Emden (ed.), Oxford Studies presented to Daniel Callus, Oxford Historical Society NS 16 (1964), 253–96 at 288–96; Benrath also edits this passage (338–46), as well as the exegesis of Song 3:5 (fols. 356v–7v, 346–9).
6. Fols. 363v–74v:
Rubric: Incipit postilla super libro Trenorum Ieremie
Incipit: Liber 3us. hymnidicus scripture est liber Trenorum Treni dicuntur lamentaciones et dicuntur elega […]
Rubric: [fol. 364] Explicit Prologus et incipit Postilla
Incipit: Qvomodo sedet sola ciuitas plena populo Vtitur autem liber iste secundum Gilbertum omnibus coloribus rethoricis
Explicit: fines mundi intuetur vt dicitur Iob 28o. sit honor et gloria per infinita secula seculorum Amen
Final rubric: Explicit 4a. pars scripture que dicitur hymnidica siue decantatiua
WYCLIFFE, on Lamentations (Stegmüller, RB no. 5077,1–2 [9:246]), the exegesis of Lam. 4:9–22 (fols. 372v–3v), ed. Benrath, 349–51. The remainder of the MS is blank.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: Vir erat
Form: codex
Support: Vellum (of various quality, often thin and often oddly shaped leaves; FSOS/FHHF).
Extent: Fols. ii + 376 (numbered fols. 1–374, iii, iv) + iii (numbered fols. v–vii).
Dimensions (leaf): 195 × 135 mm.
Dimensions (written): 133 × 89 mm.


1–3112 324. Catchwords, boxed, towards the centre of the leaf. All leaves in the first half of each quire signed with arabic numerals; added quire signatures in brown ink, quires 1–23 = a–z, the remainder arbitrary signs, beginning &, con, = with a hook, est. Fol. 312, at the end of the Psalter and of quire 26, might be construed as a booklet boundary.


In long lines, 36 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded in lead, no rules.


Written in anglicana above top line. Punctuation by virgula, punctus elevatus, and occasional medial point.


At the heads of individual books, 4- to 8-line red and blue lombards, unflourished (on some pages, e.g. fols. 1, 2, a red and blue marginal bar).

Two-line unflourished blue lombards at chapter divisions.

The biblical text underlined in red, and at chapter heads written in larger, more formal anglicana (also used for marginal chapter numbers, most preceded by a red or blue paraph).

Some marginal notes, introduced by alternating red and blue paraphs.

Running titles with book name, preceded by red and blue paraphs.


A modern replacement. Sewn on four thongs. At the front, a marbled paper leaf and one paper flyleaf at the rear, a vellum flyleaf from MS (a pastedown in an earlier binding), a modern paper flyleaf, and another marbled leaf (v–vii).


Origin: s. xv in. ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

'Ego dixi Tu es meus deus’ ‘Graunt Thomas Tu es ipse qui libri possessor es’ ‘Aque’ (twice) ‘Ego sum bonus Puer’ ‘sunt ho’ (fol. vii, all variously s. xv ex.). Emden (BRUO, 802–3) identifies the book as Graunt’s (he was precentor of St Paul’s 1454–74).

‘Condam fui libellus domini thome Graunte sacerdotis Et nunc sum libellus Nich’ Sykys’ (fol. 1, lower margin, upside down, s. xvi in.). Sykes also owned our MS 178, although that book has no explicit indication of donation by Richard Butler.

Christopherus pollei⟨n⟩s me nunc possidet’ (fol. 1, upper leading edge, rubbed or erased, s. xvi).

'Liber Richardi Butler rectoris de Aston in le walles ex dono Magistri Albani Butler senioris 21 Decembris 1607’ (fol. 1, upper margin).

‘Liber Collegij Sanctj Johannis Baptistae Oxon’ ex dono Richardi Butler Doctoris Theologiae Archidiaconi Northampt’ procurante Reucrendo in Cristo Patre Johanne Episcopo Roffensi 1613’ (fol. 2, vertically in the margin).

MS 171 - flyleaf

flyleaf text


Language(s): Latin

fol v

fol. v is part of a leaf from a very large double-column service book, probably a breviary

The leaf contains readings for the feast of St Andrew, in part comparable to BrevSar, 3:12, 21.

Physical Description

Extent: part of a leaf


most of a full column present and part of the second.

The text has been spaced to allow music, but no staves written.


Written in textura semiquadrata, s. xv


Origin: s. xv

Additional Information

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.


    Gustav Adolf Benrath (ed.), Wyclifs Bibelkommentar (Berlin, 1966).
    A. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 vols. (Oxford. 1957-9).
    Francis Proctor and Christopher Wordsworth (eds.), Breviarum ad usum insignis ecclesiae Sarum, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1882–6).
    Beryl Smalley, 'John Wyclif's Postilla super totam Bibliam', Bodleian Library Record 4, iv (1953), 186–205.
    Beryl Smalley (ed.), ‘Wyclif’s Postilla on the Old Testament and his Principium’, in A. B. Emden (ed.), Oxford Studies presented to Daniel Callus, Oxford Historical Society NS 16 (1964), 253–96.
    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

2022-01: First online publication

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