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les Enluminures

Sermon for Holy Thursday (unidentified author); De admirabili sacramento eucaristie (On the admirable sacrament of the Eucharist); PSEUDO-LENTULUS, Epistola de forma et statura Jesu Chisti; Extracts related to the Virgin Mary

In Latin and German, manuscript on paper with a circular diagram
Germany (Southern?), c. 1460-80

TM 392-4


i (modern parchment) + 14 + i (modern parchment) folios on paper, watermark, angular, two-line letter P, without added motif, with a cross through the vertical stroke, same type as Piccard 108383, Xanten 1475; Piccard 108404, Murbach 1476, Piccard 108422, Anrnhem 1466-67; Piccard 108421, Cologne 1468, etc., modern foliation in pencil, top outer corner recto (collation, i16 [-15 and 16]), no catchwords or signatures, written by two scribes, using different formats, ff. 1-2v, frame ruled very lightly in pencil (justification, 165 x 105-100 mm.), written in a quick flourished cursive script in thirty-six to thirty-five long lines, ff. 3-14v, frame ruled in ink with double vertical bounding lines, and with an extra set of single vertical lines in the far outer margins, usually trimmed, but visible on ff. 3-5 (justification, text: 154 x 93-90 mm., text and glosses: up to 190 x 139 mm.), written in an upright small cursive gothic bookhand in thirty-four to thirty-three long lines, with glosses in the inner, outer, and sometimes bottom margins, rubrics and initials in text ink, circular diagram, f. 12, in good condition, although some glosses have been trimmed. Bound in modern pasteboard covered by a leaf from a large sixteenth-century (?) choir book (not noted), cockled, back cover slightly rubbed, but in good condition. Dimensions, 200 x 140 mm. (lower edge unevenly trimmed by binder).

Complete in itself, this manuscript includes a number of unpublished texts that deserve careful study. Its contents point to an origin in the theology classroom. The unpublished treatise on the Eucharist by an unknown author is of particular interest, since it includes glosses in Latin and German and is followed by a circular diagram summarizing teachings on the nature of the Real Presence in the consecrated Host. So far, we have identified this treatise in only one (or possibly two) other manuscripts.


1.This is a one quire removed from a longer manuscript, and then bound separately in the late nineteenth or twentieth century in a pasteboard binding covered with a leaf from a large Choir Psalter. The texts included here are complete, although two leaves are now missing from the end of the quire.

2. The script and watermark suggest that this manuscript was copied c. 1460-80; watermarks of this type are found all across Germany, and it is difficult to assign a more exact origin to this manuscript, although Southern Germany is possible, since another copy of this same text, Würzburg, UB M ch q 158, which appears to exist in only two, or possibly three copies, is from Southern Germany.

3. Notes by collectors and dealers include, front flyleaf, in pencil, “M.111,” and brief description of the manuscript in German, handwritten in pencil on a small paper sheet, laid in.


ff. 1-2v, In cena domini sermo, incipit, “Probet autem seipsum homo et sic de pane illo edat et de calice bibat, 1 Cor xi [1 Cor. 11:28]. A in primo libro de anima simile a simili … sanctorum facit nos . Sed si quod” [Ends mid f. 2v, remainder blank];

Sermon for Holy Thursday (not listed in Schneyer or Manuscripta mediaevalia); the reference in the beginning to De Anima is of particular interest in the context of a sermon; the attribution to an author whose name begins with “A” is quite clear, and presumably Aristotle is being cited here.

ff. 3-11, De admirabili sacramento eucaristie, incipit, “Memoriam mirabilium suorum fecit misericors et miseratur dominus escam dedit timentibus, ps. [Psalm 110:4]. Reuelatio dictio misericors dominus misericors in affectu miserator in operibus fecit memoriam mirabilium … uel ambulando super more.” Decima ueritas admirabilis de sacramento eukaristie//[ends abruptly with this rubric, mid f. 10v; remainder and f. 11, blank]”;

This is a comprehensive text on the Eucharist, apparently unpublished, by an unknown author. This copy does not include the tenth and final section of the text, although the scribe copied its heading. It is known in one, and possibly two, other manuscripts: Würzburg, UB M ch q 158, ff. 297v-304v; see http://www.manuscripta-mediaevalia.de/hs/katalogseiten/HSK0083_b018_JPG.htm; and possibly, Erfurt, Wissenschaftliche Allgemeinbibliothek, MS Amplon 4¢ª 13618, which includes, De Sacramento sacrae Eukaristie, incipit “Memoriam fecit mirabilium” (complete description of the text and manuscript unavailable). The Würzburg copy (which includes the tenth section lacking in our manuscript), also includes glosses, suggesting these were a formal apparatus intended to accompany the text. This is unusual for a text of this type, and warrants careful investigation; where (and by whom) was this text written? And possibly, even of more interest, why was it written and for what type of audience?

ff. 11v-12, incipit, “[P]ro misterium sacramenti eukaristie presuper proponuntur quatuordecim fundamenta verissima. Primo quod dictus potest vnam … Quaturodecim determinatio quo substantia corporis Christi in propria specie sequitur modum quantitatis sue in sacramento uero … in hostia licet per modum indiuisibilem”;

A summary of fourteen teachings about the nature of the Eucharist; they focus on the nature of the host, and the technical, philosophical explanations of the Real Presence during Mass.

f. 12rv, Circular diagram on the Eucharist, f. 12, followed by explanatory text, f. 12v, incipit, “[E]x hac figura superius assignata prenotata patent misteria huius sacramente eukaristie .. illud numquam erit nisi unum”;

The treatise on the Eucharist on ff. 3-11, the summary of fourteen teachings about the Eucharist on ff. 11v-12, the circular diagram on the bottom of f. 12, and the explanation of the diagram, are obviously related in subject matter. Further research would be necessary to determine whether they are part of the same work; the Würzburg copy of the text on ff. 3-11 does not include the texts and diagram found in this manuscript on ff. 11v-12v. These texts, together with the diagram, summarize teachings on the Eucharist, and in particular focus on the nature of Christ present in the consecrated Host. The circular diagram, echoes the shape of the Host, and pairs teachings about the Real Presence in the consecrated Host at the time of the Last Supper, During the Flagellation of Christ, While Christ was on the Cross, While Christ was in the Tomb, and After the Resurrection, with the teachings of the “Doctores” or teachers, on each of these points.

f. 13, Temporibus octauiani cesaris cum ex vniuersis mundi partibus qui pro senatu romano populo … lentulus in iudea presens senatui populoque romano epistolam misit descriptione persone Christi …, incipit, “[A]pparuit nostris temporibus et aduc est homo magne uirtutis cui nomen est ihesus christus …. Hec sola romanorum inuenta est etc.”

Pseudo-Publius Lentulus, Epistola de forma et statura Jesu Christi ad Senatum romanum; see Von Dobschütz, Stegmüller 158,1, and Bertalot II 1371. This letter, which circulated widely in the later Middle Ages, purports to be by Publius Lentulus, the governor of Judaea before Pontius Pilate; in the letter, Lentulus describes the physical appearance of Christ to the Roman Senate. The letter is clearly fictitous; there was no Lentulus serving as governor of Judea at that time. The original letter may have been Greek, translated into Latin in the thirteenth century. It had wide currency in humanist circles in fifteenth-century Italy. The inclusion of this letter on the “form and stature” of Christ makes sense to accompany a treatise on the Eucharist.

f. 14rv, Questiones quod uirgo maria mater omnium Albertus …, incipit, “Virgo maria in assumptione sua exaltata est super omnes … sibi” Ends top f. 14v, remainder blank];

Extracts from Albert the Great on the Virgin, with marginal glosses on f. 14r.

Not surprisingly, the nature of the Eucharist was the focus of innumerable treatises during the Middle Ages; these treatises vary widely in their approach to the subject. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, for example, theologians such as Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus and William Ockham wrestled to formulate ideas that reconciled their belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated Host with Aristotelian ideas of the substance and essence of matter (see Adams, listed below). In the fourteenth century, in contrast, the vernacular treatise, the Eucharistietraktat by Marquard von Lindau focused on attitudes towards the reception of the Host (see Mossman, listed below). The treatise in this manuscript deserves careful study; it appears to be a summary of philosophical theological teachings about the nature of the sacrament, and includes two unusual features: it is accompanied by short glosses in Latin and German, and it is followed by an explanatory diagram. Overall, the contents of this treatise, and the presence of the glosses, suggests that this manuscript was copied for use in the theological classroom. The remainder of the texts in this manuscript–the sermon that cites Aristotle, the letter ascribed to Lentulus that was popular in humanist circles, and the excerpts on the Virgin citing Albertus Magnus and other authors–ould also been of interest to a student of theology, perhaps a young priest, or even a monk.


Adams, Marilyn McCord. Some Later Medieval Theories of the Eucharist: Thomas Aquinas, Gilles of Rome, Duns Scotus, and William Ockham, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Bertalot, Ludwig. Initia humanistica latina; Initienverzeichnis lateinischer Prosa und Poesie aus der Zeit des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts, Tübingen, M. Niemeyer, and Rome, Auslieferung für Italien durch Edizioni di storia e letteratura, 1985-2004.

Dobschütz, Ernst von. Christusbilder; Untersuchungen zur christlichen Legende, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur NF 3, Leipzig, Hinrichs, 1899.

Lubac, Henri de. Corpus mysticum; the Eucharist and the Church in the Middle Ages; Historical Survey, translated by Gemma Simmonds with Richard Price and Christopher Stephens, London, 2006.

Macy, Gary. Treasures from the Storeroom; Medieval Religion and the Eucharist, Collegeville, Minn., Liturgical Press, 1999.

Mossman, Stephen. Marquard von Lindau and the Challenges of Religious Life in Late Medieval Germany; the Passion, the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Rubin, Miri. Corpus Christi: the Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture, Cambridge, and New York, Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Stegmüller, Fridericus. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 1950-61, and Supplement, with the assistance of N. Reinhardt, Madrid, 1976-80.

Online resources

Briquet Online (Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen des Mittelalters
der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften)

Piccard Online

Manuscripta mediaevalia (online catalogue of manuscripts in German Libraries)

Pseudo-Lentulus, Epistola de forma et statura Jesus Christi (English translation)

Maas, A. “Publius Lentulus” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1910