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

St John's College MS. 198

William Heytesbury, Sophismata

Physical Description

Comprising three originally separate MSS
Secundo Folio: .. est causa

Comprising three originally separate MSS, the first on mixed vellum and paper, the last two single quires on vellum (HSOS/HFFH). In manuscript 1, scribes 1 and 2 simply alternate vellum and paper leaves (the vellum always outside); scribe 3 uses a vellum sheet to form outer and central bifolia and regularly has two groups of two paper sheets each between these and a third vellum bifolium. The paper leaves do not appear to be formed by folding but from cutting appropriately sized bifolia from sheets; wire lines run both vertically and horizontally, and watermarks appear irregularly and indiscriminately. The first twelve quires are on very archaic paper, with pronounced widely spaced wire lines. There are four stocks:

A: Monts/Dreiberg in quire 3;

B, C: Ciseaux of two types, one each in quires 4 and 5;

D: Horn in quire 8;

E: Fleur, perhaps more than one type, in quires 16–18.

Extent: Fols. 1 + 193 (numbered fols. 1–194; fol. 150 is assigned to a tab sewn to fol. 151) + i (numbered fol. ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 160 × 115 mm.
(after fol. 116, slightly wider, about 120 mm)
Foliation: An original foliation beginning at fol. 2 and running to fol. 119 (numbered 120).


Fol. 2 lower margin patched with a small bit of Latin MS on vellum, and a further vellum slip set into the paper at the foot of fol. 7.


Various page formats noted below.


A modern replacement. Sewn on four thongs. At the front, one modern paper flyleaf (dated 1789); at the rear, one modern paper flyleaf (ii).


Origin: s. xv ; England

Provenance and Acquisition

Ker could read under ultraviolet light what we can no longer clearly discern, the erased inscriptions, ‘quaternus fratris Iohannis de Claxton ordinis predicatorum Bostonie’ (fol. 181, upper margin) and the words ‘quod [? quaternus] frater I Claxton de Booston’ (fol. 188v, below the inscription described next); for the ascription of fols. 181–8 alone to the Boston Dominicans, see MLGB 11, 231.

‘Ista sunt sophismata Fratris Willielmi Louent [the name over an erasure] ordinis predicatorum cicestrie [again over an erasure]’ (the upper margin, fol. 188v) (the Chichester Dominican convent, Ker MLGB 51, 248).

Ker also read with ultraviolet another erased inscription (s. xv ex., fol. 180v, below an earlier contents table added s. xv) ‘Iste quaternus ⟨ ⟩ ordinis predicatorum leycestrie’ (MLGB 113, fols. 1–180 only).

Pen-trials ‘Mary Whyght’ twice (fol. 173v, s. xvi).

The old shelfmark ‘Abac: ij N. 51.’ (fol. 1, margin).

Iohannes White de Suthwykk in Comitatu Sutht Armiger dedit hunc librum Thome White de london militi ad vsu Colegij per ipsum de nouo erecti in Oxon’ Anno 1555’ (fol. 1, lower margin).

Manuscript 1 = Fols. 1–180


Language(s): Latin

1. Fols. 1–173:
Rubric: Hic incipiunt sophismata secundum vsum HE\T/SISBERI
Incipit: Omnis homo est omnis homo modo autem istud sophisma sit verum
Explicit: esse inequalia sed apparebunt esse equalia uel inequalia in sensu composito etc.
Final rubric: Explicit sophisma notabile etc. Hic incipit sofisma sofisticale [with only a few further lines written]
WILLIAM HEYTESBURY, Sophismata (Sharpe, no. 2082 [775–7]), the text disordered and divided for only 28 of the 32 sophisms, ed. Johannes Petrus de la Porta ([Pavia], 3 November 1481), (Hain 8439, BMC 7:997). Fol. 130, where the third scribe begins, is treated as the incipit of a new text: ‘Necesse est aliud condensari si aliquid rarefiat […] ’, corresponding to sophism 31 of the edition (sig. M 6vb); the explicit is that of sophism 9 of the edition (sig. G 7vb). Fols. 173v–80v were originally blank, bounded to fol. 176v. Sharpe’s reference to Trinity College MS 198 is in fact to our MS.

Added texts

a. Fol. 180:
a logic diagram,

s. xv.

b. Fol. 180v:
an index to Heytesbury,

s. xv.

c. Fol. 180v:
Incipit: Hec sunt duodecim abusiones claustri Prelatus \1/ negligens \2/ Discipulus \3/ inobediens Iuuenis \4/ ociosus […]

in a different hand s. xv. A note derived from HUGH OF FOUILLY, De claustro animae, see MS 200, item 3, for the full text.

d. Fol. 180v:

‘Fuit homo missus a deo cuius nomen erat Iohannes [s. xv ex., in the same head which continues as Provenance 3] Iste quaternus’.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: .. est causa
Form: codex
Dimensions (written): 107 × 69 mm.


1–78 8–910 1010 (–1) 11–1210 132 [an added bifolium to supply an omission on fol. 111, with signe de renvoi] 148 1514 [fol. 129, a booklet boundary at the end of a sophism and of a scribal stint] | 1614 1714+1 (+7, fol. 150, assigned to a tab sewn to fol. 151) 1814 1910 ( –9, –10, the second a stub with some line-ends in later hands). Catchwords at the inner bounding line, occasionally in the gutter; no signatures.


In long lines, 33 lines to the page. No prickings; bounded in brown crayon, no rules.


Written in textura with some anglicana forms, s. xv. There are three scribes, whose stints run fols. 1–99, 99v–129v, 130–73. Punctuation by point only.


Absolutely unfinished.

Logic diagram added, fol. 180.


Origin: s. xv

Manuscript 2 = Fols. 181–8


Language(s): Latin

2. Fols. 181–8v:
Incipit: Sicut dicit Aristoteles in libro .... [hole] iiija. predicamenta incomplexa scilicet diffiniunt
Explicit: et non de curuis Ecce sensus principium male neccesarium est principium sillogismi
Another set of sophismata,

for the name in the upper margin of fol. 188v, here taken as an owner, see Provenance.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: predicatum
Form: codex
Extent: Fols. 8
Dimensions (written): 122 × 88 mm.


208. No catchwords or signatures.


In long lines, 32 lines to the page. No prickings, bounds, or rules.


Written in anglicana, probably s. xv in. Punctuation by point only.


Origin: s. xv in

Manuscript 3 = Fols. 189–94


Language(s): Latin

3. Fols. 189ra–94vb:
Incipit: Habito quod amor intellectu per extencionem faciat affectum ubi comunat quod non uidet set gustat
Explicit: appetitus In omnibus enim raciona⟨bi⟩libus esse intenti
Theological quaestiones ,

the incipit followed by discussion of faith and charity, of virtue generally, of the resurrection, of obedience.

Physical Description

Secundo Folio: sic
Form: codex
Extent: Fols. 6


216. No catchwords or signatures.


In double columns, each column 143 × 50 mm. (the leaves have been cut into at the top of the text), with 4 mm between columns, in about 65 lines to the page. No prickings, bounds, or rules.


Written in university textura, s. xiii ex. Punctuation by point and punctus elevatus.


Origin: s. xiii ex.

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.


    Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century Now in the British Museum, 8 vols. (London, 1909).
    L. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum, 8 vols. (Stuttgart, 1826–38, repr. Milan, 1948), with Supplement by W. A. Copinger (London, 1895–1902; repr. Milan, 1950).
    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).
    Richard Sharpe, A Handlist of the Latin Writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540. Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin 1 (Turnhout, 1997).

Funding of Cataloguing

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

Last Substantive Revision

2022-04: First online publication

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