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les Enluminures

ARNOLDUS BONAVALLIS, De ultimis verbis Domini; De laudibus beatae Mariae Virginis; and Preface to De operibus sex dierum; Treatise on the Sacraments (especially the Mass) and Treatise on the Eucharist by UNKNOWN AUTHOR(S); Patristic extracts on the Eucharist; RUFINUS OF AQUILEIA, preface to Periarchon; and Apologia ad Anastasium; HIERONYMUS, Epistola ad Rufinam; and Liber tertius adversos libros Rufini

In Latin, with isolated words in Greek, decorated manuscript on parchment
France (Southern?) or Spain (?), c. 1160-80

TM 654


i (paper) + 60 + iii (paper) on parchment (original imperfections including some holes and irregular borders, visible follicles on hair side), modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, incomplete, last text ends imperfectly and quires are missing at the end (collation, i-vi8 vii-viii6), no leaf or quire signatures, ruled in lead with the top two and bottom two horizontal rules full across on most folios through f. 46v and with single full-length vertical bounding lines, ff. 46v-60v, ruled very lightly, but bounding lines are visible on f. 48, prickings in three outer margins on many folios (justification, 197-193 x 105-103 mm.), written above the top ruled line in skilled pre-gothic bookhands by three scribes, copying ff. 1-46, 46v-55, and 55v-60v respectively, in forty-one to thirty-eight long lines, guide letters for initials alongside initials in margin, numerous six- to three-line red initials, three four-line red initials with simple pen decoration (ff. 33v, 42v, 53), nine eight- to three-line reddish-purple initials with red arabesque infilling or decorative extensions (ff. 1v, 5, 5v, 22, 26, 28, 30, 37, also with pen decoration, and 45), f. 1, LARGE NINE-LINE ARABESQUE INITIAL, in purple, infilled with red and faded yellow arabesque decoration, all on an angular pale yellow or tan ground, first leaves slightly darkened, occasional small stains within text, not affecting legibility, e.g., ff. 26-27v, 42v-43, etc., overall in excellent condition.  Bound in seventeenth-century (?) green vellum, spine with five raised bands and title in gilt “Bonvallis/ De vltim/ Verb. Dom”; back board bowed, split along spine, top and bottom of spine damaged, with uppermost compartment missing. Dimensions, 255 x 163 mm.

Twelfth-century manuscripts are increasingly rare on the market, and the contents of this handsome example are of particular significance. This manuscript is one of the earliest witnesses to the three texts by Arnold of Bonneval, close in date to the author’s lifetime and none published in modern critical editions. The treatises on the Sacraments and Eucharist by unidentified authors, almost certainly unprinted, deserve careful study. Together with the polemical works by Rufinus and Jerome, its content suggests it was copied in and for a learned, perhaps Cistercian monastery.


1. Copied in the third quarter of the twelfth century, based on the evidence of the script and decoration, probably c.1160-80; the manuscript was written by at least three scribes. The script of the first scribe includes features that would suggest a date closer to the middle of the twelfth century (“ae” sometimes written e-cedilla; “et”, Latin for “and”, is written with ampersand and tironian 7, and even “pp” is written separately), but although each scribe copied a cohesive set of texts (the first the texts by Arnold of Bonneval, the second, the treatises on the Sacraments and Eucharist, and the final scribe (or scribes), the texts by Rufinus and Jerome), these sections do not fall at the beginnings of new quires, making it likely that all the sections were copied at approximately the same date (and place). The first scribe may have been older, with script consequently reflecting slightly earlier practice. The last scribe copied the occasional Greek words in Jerome’s treatises in Greek script (e.g. f. 59v, line eight from bottom, or f. 60, four from bottom).

Although the manuscript was almost certainly copied in France, closer localization is more difficult. Overall, the evidence suggests that Southern France is a possibility (or even across the Pyrenees in Catalonia). The parchment points to southern Europe (very white flesh side, and speckled hair side). The first scribe abbreviates “qui” in both the northern and southern fashion (“q” with a superscript “i” and “q” with a line through the descender), and the style of the initial on the opening folio (especially the colors and the angular ground), also suggest an origin in southern (or possibly central) France. The second scribe writes a very controlled, slightly rounded script, which also seems to support this origin.

An important aspect of this manuscript that remains for future research is to determine the monastery where it was made. The first and second texts was accented by a later hand for public reading (through f. 7v, and ff. 43-45), and there are a few contemporary corrections and occasional later comments and nota marks. It bears signs of use, in other words, but probably not in a school setting. Although its contents would have been well-suited for a Cistercian monastery, it does not include the system of punctuation characteristic of Cistercian manuscripts.

2. There is a fourteenth- or fifteenth-century ex libris note in the top margin of f. 1. A previous catalogue read this, “Ecclesiae Sydon”, suggesting it belonged to Sedan in the Ardennes, the Parish Church of Notre-Dame-de Mouzon, a Benedictine Abbey in the Ardennes, that was destroyed in 822 by the Vikings; rebuilt in 971 by Adalbéron (969-988), Bishop of Reims, and eventually closed during the French Revolution. Alternatively the note might more be read as “Ecclesia Syd[u]ensis”, and possibly interpreted as Sitten, Switzerland. Further research is called for.

3. Belonged to Pietro Francesco di Rossi (d. 1673), the seventeenth-century Papal jurist; his inscription, “Ex dono R. P. D. Petri Francisci de Rubeis”, lower margin, f. 1; other volumes from his library were acquired by the Sapienza library in Rome when he died, and then by the Biblioteca Alessandrina (Maier, 1964); another portion of his library was left to the convent of San Pantaleo in Parione in Rome (Gasnault, 1971, see especially p. 414, note 6, mentioning some of Francesco di Rossi’s books that were bound in green vellum, although possibly tooled, unlike this one).

4. Inside front cover, modern hand-written notes on the author in French pasted in, signed Arnault Morin; inside back cover, in pencil, “15647”; scrawled on front cover in black, “225[?]” and “25[?].”


ff. 1-42v, Incipit liber arnaldi abbatis boneuallis de vltimis uerbis domini, incipit, “Vltima christi uerba quę cruci affixus noui testamenti heredibus tractanda proposuit licet sparsim … fiant doctores et qui sepulti magistri”;

Arnoldus Bonavallis, De ultimis verbis domini (“On the last words of the Lord”) or De septem verbis Domini in cruce (“On the seven words of the Lord on the Cross”); there is no modern critical editon; printed several times including Antwerp,1532, and Migne, Patrologia latina 189:1677-1726 (cum scholiis et emendatione Francisci Titelmanni Hassellensis); Bestul, 1996, pp. 187-88, no. 8, and p. 206, n. 64; McCulloch, 1964 is an unpublished thesis with an English translation.

There is no complete census of the manuscripts of this text, but it was relatively popular; the majority of the surviving manuscripts are now in public collections in England and France; see Stegmüller,1950-80, no. 2254, listing twelve manuscripts; Oury,1977, listing an additional seven, and “In Principio” (Online Resources) adding four; Yale University, Beinecke Library, Marston MS 268, and Harvard University, Houghton Library, MS lat 191, may be the only copies in the United States.

ff. 42v-45, incipit, “Si linguis hominum loquar et angelorum nichil dignę nichil proprie de sanctę ac perpetuę uirginis … non attenderet dum erroneum lucaretur”;

Arnoldus Bonavallis, De laudibus virginis mariae (“On the praise of the Virgin Mary”); printed in Migne, Patrologia latina189:1725C-1734A, but also lacking a modern critical edition or complete census of surviving manuscript; often found in manuscripts with the previous text.

ff. 45-46, incipit, “Aput hebreos ante moysen nullum scripturarum diuninarum fuisse … non sit ibi harum rerum expressa disntinctio”, Libro finito sit semper gloria christo. Amen;

Arnoldus Bonavallis, preface to De operibus sex dierum; printed in Leclercq, 1953, pp. 96-98. The text of Arnoldus’ commentary on the creation story at the beginning of Genesis (“On the works of the six days”) is not found in this manuscript, but is printed, without the preface, in Migne, Patrologia latina189:1515A-1570A; first printed in 1609; Stegmüller, 1950-1980, no. 2251, lists the work (with the preface and text), in five manuscripts; once again, there is no modern critical edition or census of surviving manuscripts.

Little is known of the life of Arnoldus Bonavallis, or Arnold of Bonneval (d. c. 1156/9); even his name is found with innumerable variations in medieval and modern sources (e.g., Arnaud, Ernaud, Ernaldus, de Bonneval, de Bonavalle, and sometimes Carnotensis, that is “of Chartres”). He may have studied at Chartres, an important center of leaning in the first half of the twelfth century, and was certainly Abbot of Bonneval a Benedictine Abbey near Chartres, c. 1138 (and possibly as early as 1129). He resigned his abbacy and retired to Marmoutier near Tours in 1156. He was known as a man of learning and piety and a close friend of Bernard of Clairvaux (he was the author of the second book of Bernard’s Vita, commissioned by the monks of Clairvaux). In the past, his works were sometimes attributed to Arnoldus, the abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Bonnevaux in the diocese of Vienne, a theory that no longer accepted by modern scholars.

Three of his most important treatises are included here, all probably written c. 1144-1153. The Tractatus de septem verbis domini in cruce (“Treatise on the Seven Words of our Lord on the Cross”, with variant titles; some manuscripts speak of the “Six Words”, and even in one case, the “Five Words”) in the words of Bestul, p. 206, n. 64 is “a straightforward exposition of Christ’s words on the cross, with little elaboration of the gospel account.” It emphasizes the victory of Christ by the cross, anticipating the Glory of the Resurrection. The next, as its title indicates, is a short work in praise of the Virgin Mary that often circulated with manuscripts of the De Septem Verbis. The final text, quite different in content, is a short text discussing the origin of the sacred texts that were included in the Bible at the time of Moses and earlier, and their relationship to secular letters; it circulated as the preface to his commentary “On the Six days of Creation” (De operibus sex dierum), but here it is copied as an independent treatise.

ff. 46v-53, incipit “Viro et incomprehensibili modo uerbum domini deus domini filius consilium illud antiquum mundo innotuit cum se uidendum hominibus in nostra carne passibilem …; [c. 2] In primo igitur misterio sacri baptismatis requiritur fides ….; [c. iv], Prelibatis igitur hiis de duobus sacramentis quibus reformatur ecclesia …; [c. v], Ad recolenda igitur missarum sollempnia primum ponitur introitus cum psalmo …; [c. xxxvii], Sequitur benedicamus domino populusque … in eo quod eorum oblatio per christum mediatorem nostrum uultui dei apparens pro nobis trans missa est”;

Treatise on the Sacraments and the Mass; this text does not seem to have been printed or identified in another manuscript (unidentified in Stegmüller, 1950-1980, Migne, Patrologia latina, or the Databases, “Manuscripta Mediaevalia” or “In Principio”, both Online Resources); it certainly should be studied, especially given its context here in a twelfth-century manuscript following the works by a contemporary author.

The text is divided into thirty-seven short chapters, each beginning with a paragraph mark, outlined in red, and numbered in the outer margin. It begins with a general discussion of the sacraments, including chapters on Baptism, and Penance, and continues with an analysis of the Mass, beginning with the Introit in chapter five. It seems to be a theologically sophisticated text, concerned with the meaning of each part of the Mass, and in particular with the Eucharist; the author does not quote other sources (at least by name), nor has a preliminary test of selected passages in the Patrologia latina indicated that the author is borrowing from earlier writers. Arnold of Bonneval did write several texts on the Eucharist (Leclercq, 1946, and Smith, 1994); this text, and the treatise on the Eucharist that follows, are not identical with those.

ff. 53-55, incipit, “In effabile et incomprehensibile misterium corporis et sanguinis domini nostri ihesu christi ab antiquo misticis oblationibus sanctorum … Sic igitur corpus ecclesie proficit et crescit et compagnatur usque ad consumationem seculi”;

Treatise on the Eucharist by an unknown author; like the preceding text it has not been identified in available sources, and seems never to have been printed. It is copied in the same hand as the preceding text, and may be by the same author. Further study is called for.

f. 55, Augustinus, incipit, “In primo populo unicuique piorum manna secundum propriam uoluntatem in ore … manna fastidium est [Augustine, Ep. 36 (Migne, Patrologia latina 33:201-202]; Verumptamen nisi aliquot intercedente peccato … Nisi manducaueritis carnem filium hominis … [Isidore?]. Sanctus ambrosius in libro sacramentorum dicit. Si quotiensque effunditur … [Ambrose, De Sacramentis [Migne, Patrologia latina 16:446A]; Augustinus. Christe iudam tollerauit et ad praedicandum misit …; Ambrosius. Ideo tangit sacerdos est tercia parit dominici corporis …; Augustinus ad ianuarium. Escam uite accipit …; Augustinus ad Ianuarium. Sunt qui cotidie eucharistiam … ex priori die quod tamen romani non faciunt”;

Eight short Patristic extracts on the Eucharist, from Augustine, Isidore (?), and Ambrose.

ff. 55v-56, Incipit prefatio Rufini presbiteri librorum periarchon quos de greco transtulit in latinum, incipit, “Scio quam plurimos fratrem scientie scriputarum desiderio prouocatos … ne sensuum difficultas si distinctus codx non sit maiores obscuritates legentibus generet”;

Preface to Origen’s, Periarchon, or First Principles, translated from Greek into Latin by Rufinus; edited by Koetschau in Simonetti,1961, pp. 245-248, using eleven manuscripts from the tenth through the twelfth centuries; printed earlier in Migne, Patrologia latina 22:723-725, and in Jerome’s corpus of letters as Epistle 80, CSEL 55, pp. 102-105; Dekkers, 1961, no. 198e. 

Rufinus translated Origen’s treatise into Latin in 398 while he was living in Bethlehem. In the preface to this work he praised Jerome’s translations of Origen’s commentaries (without mentioning Jerome by name), and states that, like Jerome, he paraphrased obscure passages, and omitted heretical passages (that he says are interpolations). This preface was the immediate cause of the heated controversy between Rufinus and Jerome, which ended the long friendship between the men.

ff. 56-57, Incipit apologia eiusdem Rufini presbiteri quam pro se misit ad anastasium rome vrbis episcopum, incipit, “Audiui quosdam cum apud beatudinem tuam controuersias siue de fide siue de aliis nescio quibus questionibus … solam generant et liuorem”;

Rufinus, Apologia ad Anastasium; edited in Simonetti, 1961, p. 25-28, from nineteen manuscripts dating from eighth to the thirteenth centuries; earlier printed in Migne, Patrologia latina 21, 623-628; Dekkers, 1961, no. 198; English translation available at New Advent (Online Resources). 

In this letter, written in 400 and addressed to Pope Anastasius (498-503), Rufinus affirms the orthodoxy of his beliefs, despite the accusations that he says have arisen in consequence of the controversy over Origen (including a summary of his beliefs, mentioning fundamental doctrines including the Trinity, the nature of Christ and the soul, followed by a discussion of translation in general, and of Origen’s works in particular).

Rufinus of Aquileia (or Tyrannius Rufinus, 344/5-410), although perhaps overshadowed in the modern world by his contemporary, St. Jerome, was an important figure in the fourth-century Church.  Born in Italy, he became a monk in Aquileia, where he first met Jerome. He later studied in Alexandria, and eventually founded a monastery in Bethlehem, and devoted himself to translating the works of the Greek Fathers. His numerous translations were indeed his most important legacy, and include for example Eusebius’ Church History, and many works by Origen including his Commentary on Romans, many of his homilies, and the Periarchon. The two works in this manuscript are polemical, written in the midst of his argument with Jerome about the orthodoxy of Origen’s works.

f. 57, Jeronimus ad Rufinum, incipit, “Diu te rome remoratum sermo prius indicauit … qui possit figuratis laudibus delectari”;

Jerome, Epistle 81 to Rufinus; Hillberg ed. CSEL 55, pp. 106-107; English translation, Fremantle (Online Resources). The earliest manuscript is Verona, Italy: Biblioteca Capitolare, XV (13), from the sixth century (Lambert, 1969-72, I: p. 795).

Written in 399, this letter of remonstrance by Jerome was his first response to Rufinus’ Periarchon, and is still fairly friendly in tone; it was however suppressed by Pammachius, and Rufinus never received it, ending hopes of reconciliation between the two friends.

ff. 57-60v, Jeronimus aduersus Rufinum presbiterum aqulileiense, incipit, “Lectis litteris prudentie tue quibus in me inueheris …statique tibi ipse respondes et contra me//”;

Hieronymus, Epistula adversus Rufinum presbyterum aquileiensem (“Letter against Rufinus”), or Liber tertius aduersus libros Rufini (“Book three against the books of Rufinus”), edited by Lardet, 1982 (book three, pp. 73-116), here ending imperfectly in section 13, Lardet, ed., p. 86, line 2; Dekkers, 1961, no. 614; Lardet’s edition includes a lengthy discussion of the manuscript tradition; 198 manuscripts survive, most from twelfth or fifteenth century (testifying to the great interest in Jerome in monastic circles in the twelfth century, and the renewed interest in him in the fifteenth century). Earlier edition in Migne, PL 23:395-492A (here ending at 467A); English translation, Hritzu, 1975, and available online (Online Resources).

Written in 400-401, this is book three of Jerome’s Apologia contra Rufinum (“Apology against Rufinus” (Dekkers, no. 613). The first two books of Jerome’s Apologia were complete in themselves, but Jerome continued the work in this third book after receiving a letter from Rufinus. During the Middle Ages the three books commonly circulated together, although some manuscripts include only the third book, as here, and a few include only books one and two. This treatise was Jerome’s final, and vituperative, remarks directed against Rufinus.

Origen (185-245) was an extremely important author in the monasteries of twelfth century Europe. Although Origen’s biblical commentaries with their stress on the allegorical and spiritual meaning of the text were particularly popular, his other works were read and copied as well (summarized in Leclercq, 1962, 94-97). St. Bernard’s writings, for example, are full of borrowings from Origen, and the list of books he collected for the library of Clairvaux included eight works by Origen, including biblical commentaries, the Periarchon, and Pamphilus’ Apology for Origen. At the same time, however, the monks of the twelfth century were aware of the problematic (indeed, heretical) reputation of some of his teachings, which had been a source of controversy in the Church even during Origen’s lifetime. The Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553 condemned views held by some of Origen’s followers.

The controversy was particularly acute at the end of the fourth century, when it was hotly debated and led to the very public rupture between two of the most important and learned figures in church, Rufinus and St. Jerome. The reception in the twelfth century of the polemical texts related to this controversy is of interest. This manuscript includes four of the most important texts -- two pro-Origen by Rufinus, and two anti-Origen by Jerome -- evidence that monks in the twelfth-century still found the debate of interest.

Taken together, the texts included in this manuscript are particularly interesting; a search in the Schoenberg Database, although not definitive, suggests that none of them have been commonly available on the market.


Bardy, Gustave. Recherches sur l’histoire du texte et des versions latines du De principiis d’Origène, Paris, É. Champion, 1923.

Butterworth, G. W. transl. Origen. On First Principles: Being Koetschau’s Text of the De principiis, London, 1936.

Bestul, Thomas H. Texts of the Passion. Latin Devotional Literature and Medieval Society, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylavania Press, 1996.

Dekkers, E. and Gaar, A., Clauis patrum latinorum, Editio altera, Steenbrugge, 1961.

Gasnault Pierre. “Manuscrits envoyés d’Italie à la Bibliothèque du roi par Mabillon”, Bibliothèque de l’école des chartes, 129 (1971), pp. 411-420.

Hilberg, Isidorus, ed. Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Epistulae, Corpus scriptorum ecclesisticorum latinorum, 54-56, second edition, with Margit Kamptner, ed., Vienna, 1996 (first edition, Vienna, 1910-1918).

Hritzu, J. “The Apology Against the Books of Rufinus”, in Saint Jerome, Dogmatic and Polemical Works, Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America Press, 1965, pp. 47-220.
Lambert, B. Bibliotheca Hieronymiana Manuscripta, i-iv, Instrumenta Patristica IV, Steenbrugge, 1969-1972.

Lardet, P. ed., Contra Rufinum, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, vol. 79, Turnholt, 1982.

Leclercq, Jean. “Ecrits monastiques sur la Bible aux XIe-XIII siècles”, Mediaeval Studies 15 (1953), pp. 96-98.

Leclercq, Jean. The Love of Learning and the Desire for God. A Study of Monastic Culture, tr. Catharine Misrahi, New York, Fordham University Press, 1961.

Leclercq, Jean. “Les meditations eucharistiques d’Arnauld de Bonneval”, Récherches de Théologie ancienne et médieval 13 (1946), pp. 40-56.

McCulloch, John Vianney. 1963. A study of Arnold of Bonneval (+ 1157) with a Translation and Critique of the Tractatus de septem verbis Domini in cruce. Unpublished translator’s Thesis (M.A. History) Catholic University of America, 1963.

Maier, Anneliese. “Zu einigen Handschriften der Biblioteca Alesandrina in Rom und ihrer geschichte”, Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 18 (1964), pp. 1-12 (reprinted in A. Maier. Ausgehendes Mittelalter: gesammelte Aufsätze zur Geistesgeschichte des 14. Jahrhunderts, Rome, Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1964-, 2:157-170).

Oury, Guy-Marie. “Recherches sur Ernaud abbé de Bonneval”, Revue Mabillon 59 (1977), pp. 97-124.

Pace, Nicola. Ricerche sulla traduzione di Rufino del “De principiis” di Origene. Florence, La Nuova Italia Editrice, 1990.

Simonetti, M. ed. Tyranni Rufini Opera, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina,Turnholt, Brepols, 1961.

Smith, Richard Upsher. “The Eucharistic Meditations of Arnold of Bonneval. A Reassessment”, Récherches de Théologie ancienne et médiéval 61 (1994), pp. 115-135.

Stegmüller, F. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, Madrid, 1950-1961, and Supplement, with N. Reinhardt, Madrid, 1976-1980.

Online resources

Manuscripta mediaevalia (online catalogue of manuscripts in German Libraries)

In Principio, Incipit index of Latin texts

Works of Rufinus in English translation

Rufinus, Apology to Anastasium, in English translation (New Advent, Church Fathers)

Wisconsin Lutheran College: Fourth Century Christianity, Writings of St. http://www.fourthcentury.com/index.php/jerome-chart

Jerome’s Letter against Rufinus (New Advent, Church Fathers)

Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Jerome’s Letters in English (translation by W. M. Fremantle)