i (medieval parchment) + ii (medieval paper) + 102 paper leaves, complete, watermarks not clearly visible, foliated in modern pencil i–iii and medieval ink j–cij (collation: i-iii14, iv-viii12), catchwords and leaf signatures frequently visible, especially from quire 4 onwards, prickings usually survive, ruled in brown ink for 38 lines of text, with single verticals, the first two and last two horizontals ruled full across the page, written in black ink and red rubrics in semi-cursive gothic script (justification c. 170 x 110 mm.), the start of each sermon with a two-line initial in red, paraphs and occasional underlining in red. Original unrestored 15th-century binding, the covers of limp undecorated parchment lined with re-used 13th-century documents, the binding appears to lack sewing supports as well as head and tail bands, and the quires are instead sewn directly through the flat spine onto three thick leather strips (originally with four, one now missing), the front cover inscribed with the 15th-century shelf-mark “S.xvij”, the spine with seven paper labels and evidence of at least one more: at the top van Ess’s square label printed “72” altered to “272” by hand, this label covering and obscuring at least two others, a larger rectangular label in the middle of the spine, now illegible, a smaller rectangular label inscribed “140,” Phillipps’s small label printed “658” altered in pencil to “656,” the latter partly overlapped by a circular auction label inscribed with the Phillipps auction lot number “726,” the lowermost sewing of the binding defective, the front cover a little stained, and with a few natural production-flaws in the paper, otherwise in very good condition throughout. Dimensions c. 207 x 147 mm.
A collection of sermons from the prominent Carthusian House of St. Barbara’s in Cologne, which includes sermons by numerous authors, many of which are unidentified. The presence of so many unidentified sermons in a manuscript from an identified monastic library makes this a potentially important source for sermon studies and research into Carthusian religious life. The original limp vellum binding is an interesting example of a style of binding which was probably widespread during the Middle Ages, but which has survived less often to the present day.
1. Written in Germany, the eclectic selection of sermons suggests that the manuscript was compiled for personal devotional use rather than as a preaching aid, presumably at the Carthusian monastery of St.-Barbara, Cologne (founded in 1334, and suppressed in 1796), whose ownership inscription on the first page of the text reads “Carthus.,” to which was subsequently prefixed “Domus Colonie”; the shelf-mark on the front cover and spine (the latter mostly obscured by later labels) is of a form typical of St.- Barbara’s, with “S” indicating a volume of sermons (Marks, 1974, p. 26).
2. Leander van Ess (1772-1847), of Darmstadt, formerly Professor of Catholic Theology at Marburg University, who acquired hundreds of manuscripts from suppressed monastic houses in Cologne (St.-Barbara’s was suppressed in 1796), Erfurt, Steinfeld, etc. (on van Ess and his collections see Knaus, 1958, and especially Gatch, 1996); described in his privately-printed catalogue of manuscripts (1823), p. 46 no. 272 (cf. top spine-label) as “272. Sermones 58 [sic] pro diversis festis a variis ignotis authoribus. Auf 102 Papierblätter gescheiben, gut erhalten, in Schweinleder-Umschlag. 4to.”
3. Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872), his MS 656: acquired en bloc with the rest of the van Ess manuscripts for £320 in 1824 (on this protracted transaction, see Munby, 1954, pp. 29–33 and pls VI–VII); inscribed “Phillipps MS / 656” (fol. iir; cf. “656”, fol. ir and iv; and spine-label); included in his privately-printed catalogue (“656. Sermones Festivales. 4to”). Sir Thomas Phillipps, renowned as one of the greatest and most obsessed book-collectors of all times, amassed a collection of more than 60,000 manuscripts. The dispersal of his collection took more than one hundred years.
4. Sold in the Phillipps sale at Sotheby’s, 6–9 June 1910, lot 726, bought by Messrs Leighton for £1 1s; Leighton sale at Sotheby’s, 2–5 November 1920, lot 3692 (this number pencilled on the final page); bought by Last for £1 1s.; G. H. Last, bookseller of 25 The Broadway, Bromley, Kent, with a clipping from one of his catalogues, in which this was item 271, priced at £3 10s. (this price also in pencil on fol. ir).
5. Private Collection, England, apparently bought from Last c. 1921.
ff. iir–iiir) Added 15th-century list of the contents, with folio references and some incipits: “Andree. xliiij / Nicolai. Oleo sancto meo unxi eum. xliij / Thome apostoli xlv ...”
ff. 1r–102v, About 130 miscellaneous sermons for major feasts from the Sanctorale and Temporale, beginning with a group of fifteen sermons, ff. 1-13v, including a sermon for Pentecost (fifty days after Easter), the Ascension (forty days after Easter), and then seven sermons from the sanctorale, from May, June, July and August, concluding with the Navivity of Mary (8 September), and followed by sermons for the feast of St. Lawrence (10 August), the Asuumption, Bartholomew (24 August), Mary Magdalene (22 July) and John the Baptist (24 June). The divisions given below suggest the grouping of the sermons, but they are not divisions given in the manuscript itself.
ff. 1-2v, De sancto spiritu, incipit, “Spiritus domini ornavit celos. Job [26:13]. In verbis istis ostendit ipse divinus spiritus per beatum Job ...”;
Schneyer 4,788, no. 82, Petrus de Benedicto, OFM.
f. 2v, De ascensione domini. Sermo, incipit, “Qui descendit ipse est et qui ascendit super omnes celos ... [Ephesians 4:10]. Si queratur quomodo descendit inter similitudines ... “;
ff. 2v-3v, De sancta Maria Magdalena, incipit, “Post lacrimacionem et fletum ... Thobias 3[:22]. Hoc verbum dixit sara licet etiam potuit ...”;
Schneyer 1,767, no. 303, Conardus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
ff. 3v-4, De sancto Iohanne Baptista, incipit, “Volo ut protinus des mihi in disco caput iohannis baptiste Marcus 6[:25]. Iniqua herodiadis filia ab iniqua matre instructa …”;
Schneyer 1,769, no. 328, Conradus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
f. 4rv, De sancta cruce, incipit, “Videbam et ecce arbor in medio terre Dan. 4[:7]. Quod arbor illa significet exp[eriri] in textu potest arbora illa cruce christi significare …”;
Schneyer 1,205, no. 743, Aldobrandinus de Cavalcantibus; cf. also Schneyer 9,729.
ff. 4v-5, De sancto Iacob, incipit, “Dic ut sedeant hii duo filii mei unus ad dexteram et vnus ad sinistram tuam in regno tuo [Mt. 20:21]. Considerate karrisimi quod quadruplicem sessionem, vna est session …”;
Schneyer 1,768, no. 307, Conradus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
ff. 5v-6, De vincula sancti petri, incipit, “Disrupisti vincula mea Ps. [115:16]. Hec verba beatus petrus dicere potuit cuius vincula dominus …”;
ff. 6rv, De sancto bartholomeo, incipit, “Nudaverunt eum tunica talari gen. 37[:23]. Ioseph de quo hoc verbum dicitur significare potest beatum batholomeum apostolum …”;
Schneyer 1,769, no. 324, Conrardus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
ff. 6v-7v, In nativitiate beate marie, incipit, “Aufer rubiginem de argento et egredietur vas purissimum Prov. [25:4]. Vas purissimum fuit beata maria que rubigine …”;
Schneyer 1,769, no. 331, Conradus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
ff. 7v-9, De sancto laurentie martire, incipit, “Cordis eius particulam si super carbones ponus fumus eius extricate omne gen. daemonium Thob. 6[:8]. Quamvis comendabilem sic in beato laurencio quod posuit …”’;
Schneyer 2,465, no. 87, Guilelmus de Hispania, magister.
ff. 9v-10, In assumptione beate uirginis marie, incipit, “In omnibus requiem quesivi et in hereditate eius morabur Eccus. [24:11]. In hac epistola duo inuenitur de beato uirginem scilicet …”;
ff. 10-11, In assumptione virginis gloriose marie, incipit, “Astitit regina non in congrue dicitur hec regina quia omnis celestis regni dominas precolit in tribus videlicet in excellentia dignitatis …”;
ff. 11-12, De sancto bartholomeo, incipit, “Exspoliavit se ionathas tunicam qua eras vestitus et dedit eam david 1 Reg. [18:4]. Vugaliter dicitur qui non dat quod amat non accipit …”;
Schneyer 4,794, no.168, Petrus de S. Benedicto, O.F.M.
f. 12rv, De sanctam mariam Magdalene, incipit, “Maria optimam partem elegit que non auferetur ab ea. Luc. 10[:42]. Verba ista non solum ewangelium sunt sed etiam dominica sunt …”;
Schneyer 4,794, no. 161, Petrus de S. Benedicto, O.F.M., but see also 4,243, no. 179, Nicolaus de Byard.
ff. 12v-13v, In nativitate sancti Iohannis baptiste, incipit, “Erit enim magnus coram domino. Luc 1[:15]. Gabriel angelus predicens de iohanne quod multi in natiuitate eius gaudebunt …”;
Schneyer 1,767, no. 297, Conradus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
ff. 13v-21, eight sermons, very miscellaneous, but again, with the Ascension (40 days after Easter), Easter, nativity of Mary, John the Baptist, All Saints, and concluding with“de angelis,”:
ff. 13v-14, In ascensione domini, incipit, “Hic ihesus qui assumptus est a uobis in celum sic veniet act. 1[:11]. Considerandum est quomodo ihesus venit in celum …”;
ff. 14-15, [rubric lacking], incipit, “Humiliamini sub potenti manu dei 1 Pet. 5[:6]. Prothema sicut lucum in manu . Deut.[32:39], Ego occidam et ego vivere faciam percutiam et ego sanabo et non est qui de manu mea possit eruere. Beatus petrus in uerbis presentibus duo facit …”;
ff. 15-16, [rubric lacking], incipit, “Estote misericordes sicut et potest … in est. Luc. 6[:36]. Uerbum est domini saluatoris fideles quosque ad misericordiam …”;
ff. 16-17v, De resurrectione domini, incipit, “Si mortui sumus cum christo … uiuemus cum illo. Ro. 6[:8]. In hiis uerbis duo spiritualiter attenditur scilicet passionis …”;
ff. 17v-18, De natiuitate beate marie, incipit, “Orietur stella ex iacob Num. [24:17]. Sicut passio saluatoris per maliuolum …”;
f. 18rv, De sancto Iohanne, incipit, “Creuit puer et moratus in solitudine factus est uiuens sagitarius. Gen. [21:20]. Hec uerba congruent commendationi beati Ioahnni quia hec commenditur a tribus …”;
ff. 18v-19, [rubric added: Omnes sanctis], incipit, “Habebat in dextera sua stellas vii. Apo. 1, in prothemata fratribus qui sunt per egyptum … mach. 1 [2 Macc. 1:1]. Uerbum primum ponitum scribitur in apo. et potest sumi ab commendationem omni sanctorum …”;
ff. 19-21, [added: De angelis], incipit, “Nota quod angelis sunt in celo per triplicem ierarchiam distincti. In primo ierarchia sunt tres ordines …”;
ff. 21-30, fourteen sermons, again beginning with the Ascension, followed by Pentecost, Easter (which is out of order), John the Baptist, de sancta trinitate (Trinity Sunday?), and concluding with Simon and Jude (28 October):
ff. 21-21v, De ascensione domini, incipit, “Omnis qui se exaltat humiliabitur et qui se himiliat exaltabitur [Luc 14:11]. Duo nominator luciferi deictio et saluatoris sublimatio …”;
ff. 21v-22, De sancto spiritu, incipit, “Apparuerunt illis dispertite lingua tamquam ignis sedit supra singulos eorum act 2[:3]. Notandum quod in die pentecostes spiritus sanctus advenit replevit apparuit …”;
ff. 22-22v, De sancto spiritu, incipit, “Repleti sunt omnes spiritu sancto et coeperunt loqui etc. [Acts 2:4]. Sicut non neccesarie est prius flatu reperere organa ….”;
ff. 22v-23, [rubric lacking], Diligamus deum quoniam prior dilexit nos 1 Joh. 4[:19]. In verbis istis hortatur beatus iohannes quod deum diligamus ut artem …”;
Schneyer 4,533, no. 124, “Parati sermones,” (author unknown).
ff. 23-24, De resurrectione domini, incipit, “Si consurrexistis [sic] cum christo que sursum sunt querite ubi christus est in dextera dei sedens que sui sum [sic] sunt sapite non que supra terram Colos. 3[:1-2]. Ad instuctionem enim nostram ex misterio dominicae resurrectionis ….”;
Schneyer 3,707, no. 59, Johanne de Rupella (de la Rochelle) O.F.M.
ff. 30v-35v, nine sermons from the Common of Saints, beginning with apostles, martyrs, confessors, holy doctors (including one specifically for Augustine), virgins, and ending with the dedication of a church:
ff. 30v-31, [added rubric: de apostolis], incipit, “Duodecim fratres vno patre geniti sumus. Gen 17[:20]. Duodecim fratres sunt apostoli christi ab uno …”;
ff. 36v-52, twenty-two sermons, beginning with John the Evangelist (27 December), followed by the Purification of Mary (2 February), and then continuing with a sprinkling of feasts from June, August (again St. Lawrence), Francis (4 October), Katherine (25 November), and continuing with November, December, March, April, May, June, July (again, Mary Magdalene), and concluding with Peter’s Chains (1 August):
ff. 36v-37, De sancto iohanne ewangelista, incipit, “Beniamin amantissimus domino. Deut xxxiii[:12]. Tria sunt que beatum iohannem orantu …”;
ff. 52v-55v, seven sermons from the summer, including sermons for Mary Magdalene and the Assumption:
ff. 52v-55v, De sancto paulo apostolo, incipit, “Alius angelus tuba cecinit … missus est in mare. [Apo. 8:8]. Paulus qui omnes tube interpretatur hoc comedat …”;
ff. 56v-69, fourteen sermons, in a fairly random order but from the summer months; beginning with John the Baptist, and including St. Bernard (20 August):
ff. 56v-57, Iohannes baptista, incipit, “Multi in nativiate eius gaudebunt. Luc. [1:14]. Hodie et in omni anno in iohanne sanctissimo adimpletur ….”;
Schneyer, 1, 767, no. 296, Conardus de Holtnicker, O.F.M.
ff. 70-89, nineteen sermons, many without rubrics, and judging from the added index, probably from the temporale, including an unusually full sermon, ff. 79v-84 on the Ascension, and ending on f. 89, with a note on the books of the Bible:
ff. 70rv, [rubric lacking], incipit, “Quecumque est panis … seruorum filiorum comensalium hospitalis. Primus est ergo sanctissiums quia de …”;
ff. 79v-84, In ascensione domini, incipit, “Elevata est nubes de tabernaculo foederis profectique sunt filii israhel per turmas suas de deserto Sinai et recubuit nubes in solitudine pharan. Numbers 14[sic; 10:11-12]. Legitur uerbum in quo sub figura nubis exprimitur nobis mistreium hodierne festivitatis….”;
f. 89, incipit, “Quinque libri moysi sunt Ge. ….”;
ff. 89v-102v, twenty-three sermons including many without rubrics, which again may be from the temporale, including sermons for Advent and Christmas:
f. 89v, [rubric lacking], incipit,“Egressus ihesus peramulabat iericho etc. [Luc. 19:1]. Karissimi hodie celebratur nostra festivitas dedcationis que fieri solet cum gaudio et letitia ….”;
f. 90v, De monstruo molliciei, incipit, “Ad inuestigandum monstruum molliciei latentur procedendum est quasi per insinuacionem et circumlocucionem …”;
f. 90v, De detractione, incipit, “Detractio uirtutibus consistit maxime ….”;
f. 99v, Jeremia de contricione, incipit, “State in viis vestris et videte que sic uia eterna. Hoc uerbo ostendum quod dominus pro peccatis nostris irascitur …”;
ff. 102, In palmis. Cum appropinquaretur dominus ierusalem misit duos de dicipulis ... [Mark 11:1] Bona gens de passione domini saepius audistis ... cum venerit iudicare seculum per ignem. Amen”.
The organization of the volume suggests that it was compiled from a number of collections of sermons. The sermons vary in length, a few are quite lengthy; most are quite short. Although medieval sermon collections were most often organized according to the liturgical year, following either the movable feasts centering around Easter and the life of Christ (the temporale), or the feasts of the saints (the sanctorale), numerous sermon manuscripts, like this one, were organized in a less formal manner. This manuscript includes sermons for the sanctorale and the temporale. Although there is no formal arrangement, they are loosely copied in liturgical order, albeit with many exceptions, and can thus very tentatively divided into a number of groups that may reflect the exemplars from which the manuscript was copied. Note, that although this manuscript is a personal one–copied on paper, in a cursive script, bound in limp vellum, with an informal index–spaces left in the text reflect the care with which it was copied.
Included in this manuscript are sermons for the feast of John the Baptist, the Cross, St. James, St. Peter’s Chains, Bartholomew, the Nativity of the Virgin, Laurence, the Assumption, Mary Magdalen, the Nativity of John the Baptist, the Ascension, the Resurrection, John the Baptist, the Nativity of the Virgin, the Holy Spirit, St. Francis, St. Bernard, etc. The text of thirty-nine of the one hundred and thirty-one sermons in the manuscript was studied; of these thirty-nine sermons, fourteen were found in Schneyer’s Repertorium (the continuation of the Repertorium was also checked, but no sermons were identified among the later sermons listed in this source). The known authors include Conradus de Holtnicker, O.F.M. (d. 1279), whose sermones de sanctis survive in seventy-three manuscripts, most now in German collections, and have never been edited; Petrus de S. Benedictus, O.F.M., who preached in Paris c. 1280 (his sermons de sanctis survive in seventeen manuscripts, and again, have never been printed); one by Aldobrandinus de Cavalcantibus, who was prior of Sta Maria Novella, Florence, and later bishop of Orvieto (d. 1279) (see Schneyer, I, pp. 150-222); one sermon by Guilelmus de Hispania, of whom little is known, although he seems to have taught theology in the fourteenth century; his unedited sermons survive in a single manuscript, apart from this one; and one by Johannes de Rupella, O.F.M. (d. 1245), who was a master in Paris (his unedited sermon collection survives in about fifty manuscripts).
The presence of so many unidentified sermons, in a manuscript from an identified monastic library, makes this manuscript of importance for sermon studies and research into Carthusian religious life.
The document that forms the inside front cover includes the phrases “episcopus Colon.,” “moniales de convento nostro,” “monasterii nostril,” “Nycolaum de Bomele advocatum in Curiam Colon.” “Ottonem de Aleij in Colon. Curiis,” all pointing to a monastery in the diocese of Cologne. The document that forms the inside back cover includes the phrases “Ecclesie in Boidendorf,” “Saffinburg,” “monasterii extra muros Andernacensis,” “villam Boidendorf,” and “Ecclesie Remagen.,” also pointing to a church in the diocese: Bodendorf is about 50 kilometers southeast of Cologne, Remagen is about one kilometer northeast of Bodendorf, and Andernach is about 20 kilometers southeast.
The first parchment flyleaf, f. i, is a re-used leaf from a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century manuscript with a grammatical text; the beginning of the text is obscured by the binding, but it includes sections on conjunctions and prepositions, and mentions Donatus.
The volume is still bound in its original limp vellum binding, which appears never to have been restored or otherwise altered. Most medieval books were bound in wooden boards covered with leather, but a certain proportion of books throughout the period were bound instead in unsupported or “limp” material, most often vellum like this manuscript. Various methods of sewing were used; this manuscript appears to be an example of one where the quires are sewn directly through the spine, instead of on bands or other sewing supports. The thick leather strips on the spine over the sewing are unusual; limp vellum bindings are discussed in J. A. Szirmai, The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, Aldershot, England, Ashgate Publishing, 1999, pp. 285-319; he does not illustrate a binding directly comparable to this one.
Bériou, Nicole. “Les Sermons latins après 1200,” in Beverly Mayne Kienzle. The Sermon, Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental 81-83, Turnhout, Brepols, 2000.
Hödl, L. and W. Knoch. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1350 bis 1500 nach den Vorabarbeiten von J. B. Schneyer, Münster, Aschendorff, 2001.
Knaus, Hermann. “Die Handschriften des Leander van Eß,” Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens, 1 (1958), pp. 331–36.
Krämer, Sigrid and Michael Bernhard, Handschriftenerbe des deutschen Mittelalters 3 vols., Munich, 1989–90, II (1989), pp. 424–34.
Löffler, Klemens and Goswin Frenken, Kölnische Bibliotheksgeschichte im Umriss, mit einer Nachweisung kölnischer Handschriften und ein Beitrage, Cologne, 1923, p. 73 no. 257
Marks, Richard Bruce. The Medieval Manuscript Library of the Charterhouse of St. Barbara in Cologne, 2 vols, Analecta Cartusiana, 21-22, Salzburg, 1974.
McC. Gatch, Milton. ‘So Precious a Foundation’: the Library of Leander van Ess at the Burke Library of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, New York, 1996.
McC. Gatch, Milton, forthcoming edition of the 1823 van Ess catalogue
Munby, A. N. L. The Fformation of the Phillipps Library up to the Year 1840, Phillipps Studies, III, Cambridge, 1954.
Munby, A. N. L. Portrait of an Obsession: the life of Sir Thomas Phillipps, the world's greatest book collector, adapted by Nicolas Barker from the five volumes of Phillipps studies, London, Constable, 1967.
Phillipps, Thomas. Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum in Bibliotheca D. Thomæ Phillipps, Bart, Middle Hill: privately printed, 1837[–1871], p. 6.
Schneyer, Johannes Baptist. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters: für die Zeit von 1150-1350, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters, Münster, 1973.
Szirmai, J. A., The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, Aldershot, England, Ashgate Publishing, 1999.
van Ess, Leander. Sammlung und Verzeichniss handscriftlicher [sic] Bücher aus dem VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. XIII. XIV. etc. Jahrhundert ... welche besitzt Leander van Ess, Darmstadt: privately printed, 1823, p. 46, no. 272.
Limp Vellum: An Exhibition
Sermones.net: Édition électronique d’un corpus de sermons latins médiévaux
Medieval Sermons and Homilies; Bibliography, by Professor Charles Wright, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
John M. Howe, Texas Tech University, Sermons; Bibliography