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

MS. Canon. Bibl. Lat. 60

Summary Catalogue no.: 18953

The Ranshofen Gospels


Gospels ('The Ranshofen Gospels')

Fol. 1r blank.

(fols. 1v-5r)

Canon tables

Fols. 5v-6v blank.

(fols. 7r-8v)

Jerome, Prol. to Gospels (Stegmüller, Bibl. 595)

(fols. 8v-10r)

Jerome, Prol. to Gospels (Stegmüller, Bibl. 596)

(fol. 10r-v)

Prol. to Matthew (Stegmüller, Bibl. 581)

(fols. 10v-11r)

Prol. to Matthew (Stegmüller, Bibl. 601)

(fol. 11r-v)

Prol. to Matthew (Stegmüller, Bibl. 590)

(fols. 12r-13v)

Capitula to Matthew

Fol. 14r blank.

Fol. 14v, full-page evangelist portrait (Matthew)

(fols. 15r-45v)


(fol. 46r-v)

Prol. to Mark (Stegmüller, Bibl. 607)

(fol. 47r-v)

Capitula to Mark

Fol. 48r blank.

Fol. 48v, full-page evangelist portrait (Mark)

(fols. 49r-68r)


(fols. 68v-69r)

Prol. to Luke (Stegmüller, Bibl. 620)

(fols. 69v-70r)

Capitula to Luke

Fols. 72–73r blank.

Fol. 73v, full-page evangelist portrait (Luke)

(fols. 74r-106v)


(fol. 107r-v)

Ps.-Bede, In evangelium Johannis (Stegmüller, Bibl. 620), prol.

Incipit: Hic est Johannes evangelista
Explicit: magisterii doctrina seruetur
(fols. 108r-v)

Capitula to John

Fol. 109r blank.

Fol. 109v, full-page evangelist portrait (John)

(fols. 110r-135r)


Fols. 135v-136r blank.

Fol. 136v, note on the completion of the binding in 1178 (see under Provenance).

Fol. 137r, note on the relics formerly contained in the binding (‘in hac huius operationis structura subtus tabulam maiestatis domini’).

Fol. 137v blank.

Language(s): Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: parchment
Extent: i + 137 + ii fols.
Dimensions (leaf): 315 × 230 mm.
Foliation: 1–139, replacing an earlier foliation 1–136 (with 9 double)


1 col., 25–30 lines (usually 30), written space 200–5 × 125–30 mm.


Important Canon Tables, fols 1v-5r.

Miniatures: full-page evangelist portraits, fols. 14v, 48v, 73v, 109v.


Initials. (Pächt and Alexander i.82, pl. VII)


Former treasure binding (‘celatura […] in auro. argento. et lapidibus’, with ‘tabulum maiestatis’ containing a reliquary), described in the inscriptions on fol. 136v, 137r (see Watson, Swarzenski).

Fols. 1–3 show marks from two large clasp fittings, each fixed with three nails, from a previous binding, perhaps the lost treasure binding.

18th century, second half, Italian, in M. L. Canonici’s highest grade of binding: pasteboards, covered in full dark-blue leather with gilt roll and tools round edges, gilt spine with two red-leather labels, marbled endleaves. 324 × 233–235 × c. 47–49 mm. (book closed).


Origin: 1178 or before ; Austria, Salzburg

Provenance and Acquisition

Inscription, fol. 136v (transcribed in full in Watson) recording the completion of the binding in 1178 at the expense of Adelbard, provost of the Augustinian priory of Ranshofen, and Liutold, treasurer of Ranshofen, and its gift to the priory. This provides a terminus a quem for the writing and decoration of the manuscript; while a considerable interval between writing, decoration and binding is possible, most recent literature favours a date in the 1170s.

Liutold the treasurer was identified in earlier scholarship with the scribe and artist Liutold of Mondsee, an identification that is no longer accepted. Nevertheless the Ranshofen Gospels are associated on art-historical grounds with the Mondsee Gospels written and partly decorated by Liutold of Mondsee (Vienna, ONB, Cod. 1244, ), and with other manuscripts in the so-called 'Liutold Group' (notably a breviary-collectar, Munich, BSB, Clm 8271, , and a copy of Gratian's Decretum, Munich, BSB, Clm 13004, ), associated with Salzburg and the Benedictine abbey of St Peter (E. Klemm, Die romanischen Handschriften der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek I (1980) pp. 165–6, ); Schmidt attributes the Ranshofen Gospels themselves to St Peter's although Holter favoured a secular workshop (K. Holter, 'Die mittelalterliche Buchkunst der Chorherrenstifte am Inn', repr. in his Buchkunst - Handschriften - Bibliotheken (1996) II.887–913 at 892–3).

Possibly to be identified with the gospel book (‘Matheus’) listed in the mid-fourteenth-century library catalogue of Ranshofen (Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Österreichs, V.90).

Presumably seen at Ranshofen by Johannes Turmair (Aventinus) between 1519 and 1521: his Chronicon Ranshofense refers to ‘Alhardus, qui integre Adelhardus, evangeliorum vetustum codicem faciundum curavit’ (Johannes Turmair's genannt Aventinus sämmtliche werke I (1881) 68)

Mentioned by Hieronymus Mayor, canon of Ranshofen, in his 1650 Antiquarium Ranshovianum (Schmidt, Ranshofener Evangeliar, 4).

Matteo Luigi Canonici, 1727–1805, acquired at an uncertain date.

Giuseppe Canonici , -1807

Purchased by the Bodleian in 1817.

Record Sources

Description adapted (August 2019, rev. April 2020) from the following sources, with reference to published literature cited in the description and listed in the bibliography.
B. C. Barker-Benfield, Bookbindings of Canonici manuscripts : a survey of early and non-standard bindings, mostly Italian, in the Canonici collection of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (Oxford, privately printed, 2020) [binding]
Otto Pächt and J. J. G. Alexander, Illuminated Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, I (1966), no. 82


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Last Substantive Revision

2020-04: Binding description added.