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

MS. Add. A. 92

Summary Catalogue no.: 28897

Autograph proverb collection of Martin Luther; Germany, 16th century, first half


(pp. 1–34)
Martin Luther, Sprichwörtersammlung (autograph)
Incipit: Art gehet vber künst | Da steckts sagitta scz [i.e. scilicet] perfecte iacta | Ist lange nicht zum bad gewest |
Explicit: Er hat das liebe brot semmel geheissen | Was nicht dein ist, das las ligen | Was dich nicht bornet das lessche nicht

With some duplications, deletions, interlinear and marginal insertions, etc.

Edited by Ernst Thiele, Luthers Sprichwörtersammlung (Weimar, 1900), and ‘Luthers Sprichtwörtersammlung’ in D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesammtausgabe, 51 (Weimar, 1914), pp. 634–44 (introduction), 645–662 (text), and 663–64 (further notes by D. Brenner).

MS. Add. C. 309 includes a transcript made c.1700 of pp. 1–10; attestations to the genuineness of the writing; and a clipping from the 1862 bookseller catalogue (originally loose papers in the case of this volume).

Language(s): German, with some Latin

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Paper. Thiele notes that the watermark (monogram) is also found on the manuscript (also in this note-paper format) of Luther’s tract Wider Hans Worst, which was written and published in 1541
Extent: 20 leaves
Dimensions (leaf): c. 140 × 105 mm.
Foliation: Paginated 1.–34. in 19th-century ink; the blank leaves paginated 35–40 in purple pencil at the Bodleian.


1(8), 2–3(6); the first two quires signed on their first rectos in the middle of the lower margin, A and C: these signatures and a change of ink from p. 16 to p. 17 suggest that a quire is missing at this point.


Unruled; typically written with 15–19 lines per page. Written space variable, typically c. 125–30 × 65–75 mm.


Cursive, by Martin Luther, in several shades of reddish brown and pink ink.




The gutter margin has holes from earlier stab-stitching. Now apparently sewn on two bands and bound in thin pasteboards covered with comb-marbled paper; the spine with a green paper label inscribed ‘Luthers eigne Hand’. Kept in a dark blue leather slipcase lettered in gilt capitals ‘M. Luther. Autograph.’ on the spine and on one side.


Origin: 16th century, first half ; Germany

Provenance and Acquisition

Successive members of the Lingke family, including Johann Theodor Lingke (1720–1801), theologian of at Wittenberg and Torgau, who wrote a number of works about Luther.

At his death the manuscript passed to his son, August Theodor Lingke, who died celibate in Dresden in 1838

Inherited by his nephew Wilhelm Becher, who sold it in 1862.

H. Skutsch, bookseller, Breslau, Catalogue 89 (1862), no. 1412, priced 300 Thaler.

Deighton, Bell, & Co., booksellers, Cambridge.

Bought by the Bodleian, 10 March 1865, for £45. Former Bodleian shelfmarks: ‘MS. Addit. Bodl. II. C. 12.’ and ‘Addit. A. 92.’ A set of photos taken in 1890 is now MS. Add. A. 92* (SC 31001).

Record Sources

Summary description (March 2021) by Peter Kidd, edited by Matthew Holford. Previously described in the Summary Catalogue.

Digital Images

Digital Bodleian (full digital facsimile)


Last Substantive Revision

2021-03-30: Description fully revised for Polonsky German digitization project.