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Manuscripts in the Curriculum

Program Description

For anyone studying the Middle Ages, there is no substitute for hands-on experience of actual medieval manuscripts.  Our way of making this happen is a unique and innovative program, “Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” which lends colleges, universities, and other educational institutions in North America a group of manuscripts during a segment of the academic year (semester, quarter, or summer session).  Although public display of the manuscripts is encouraged, central to the philosophy of the new program is the integration of real manuscripts into the curriculum in courses where students can work closely with original material under the guidance of a professor. 

“Manuscripts in the Curriculum,” a pilot program, began in January 2017 and concluded with the Fall semester of 2019.  For a glimpse of some of the programming at participating institutions, see below “The Program in Action.”

Manuscripts in the Curriculum II

This pilot program was such a success that we have continued it in a slightly revised form as “Manuscripts in the Curriculum II,” which began in September 2019 and continues through Fall 2022.  A group of nine manuscripts will be available for loan, including seven representative examples of types of medieval books, and two “wild-cards,” chosen by the participating institution (a sample list of manuscript is available on the pdf below).

There is a nominal cost ($5,000) for North American institutions to contribute towards the out-of-pocket expenses of the program (with an additional fee for participating Canadian institutions for international shipping and customs).  The fee covers administration, insurance, shipping, and condition reports.  It is our hope that this program will encourage participating institutions to discover and implement ways that manuscripts can continue to be used creatively in their curricula.

For further information, please contact: lauralight@lesenluminures.com

MANUSCRIPTS IN THE CURRICULUM II

MANUSCRIPTS IN THE CURRICULUM I - THE PROGRAM

SUGGESTIONS FOR TEACHING

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - IOWA LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - WALDO LIBRARY WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION - NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION: SUDENTS' POSTERS, NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA

THE PROGRAM IN ACTION: ILLUMINATING LIFE, EXHIBITION CATALOGUE, UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH

Psalter

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Southern Germany (diocese of Constance or Augsburg), c. 1240-60

Almost certainly copied for lay use, this German illuminated Psalter includes historiated initials depicting both Saint Francis and Saint Dominic, canonized only decades before the manuscript was produced.  Artistically, it is related to important illuminated south German Psalters now in Liverpool and Schaffhausen.  It is still bound in an early binding (with some restoration), and there are numerous signs of use throughout, including evidence that it was used to teach children to read.  Unusual and intriguing damage to the initials of Francis and Dominic warrants closer attention

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TM 789
at curatorial service

Vulgate Bible

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Spain, Kingdom of Castile (Seville?), c. 1240-1260

This is a rare example of a thirteenth-century portable Bible copied in Spain; its distinctive pen decoration links it to other Bibles made in Castile, and the medieval binding is probably Spanish.  Small Bibles were copied in great numbers in the thirteenth century in France (in particular in Paris), England, and Italy.  Spanish Bibles of this type still await full scholarly study, but they are significantly less common.  Likely made for Franciscan use, it was later used by Dominican friars.  Several writers added marginal notes, including one who was interested in comparing the text to the Hebrew. 

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TM 844
at curatorial service

NICHOLAS OF GORRAN, Sermones de Tempore et de Quadragesima [Sermons for the Temporale and for Lent], sermons excerpted from the Sermones de Sanctis [Sermons for the Feasts of Saints]

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northern France, Paris?, c. 1275-1300

A very early collection of the still unedited sermons of the influential Dominican preacher and royal advisor Nicholas of Gorran, this manuscript is an extremely important witness, having been copied during the author’s lifetime, possibly even with his supervision.  Changes to this volume early on may reveal Nicholas’s intentions as he shaped these sermons at the Dominican convent of Saint-Jacques in Paris.  Handsomely decorated, with a charming illuminated initial depicting the author receiving Christ’s blessing, this was quite possibly made for a recipient of some importance.

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TM 868
at curatorial service

Passio sancti Viti martyris; Historia translationis sancti Viti martyris

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment and paper
Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia (Gladbach or possibly Corvey?), c. 1400-1450 and 1777

This handsome composite manuscript includes two texts discussing the martyrdom of St. Vitus, the Early Christian saint of Sicily and patron saint of dancing, and the movement of his relics.  It was likely copied in part (and possibly in its entirety) at the Benedictine abbey of Gladbach, dedicated to St. Vitus, and it attests to the abbey’s efforts to preserve these narratives that were integral to its own history.  These texts – one of which is a rare copy of the earliest narrative history of the Benedictine abbey of Corvey – are valuable historical sources.

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TM 828
at curatorial service

Portable Breviary (Augustinian Use)

In Latin, manuscript on parchment
Northern France, Paris?, c. 1460-80

Only fragments of this Augustinian Breviary are preserved here. Included are parts of the Psalter, Hymns, parts of the Common of Saints, and the Office of the Dead and Hours of the Virgin. Originally it probably also included a calendar, and Offices for the Year, arranged according to the Temporale and Sanctorale. The two remaining illuminated initials indicate that this was likely once an illuminated manuscript of considerable elegance.

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TM 259
at curatorial service

Juvenal, Satyrae (Satires); with introductory verses to satires II, IV-VIII by GUARINO DA VERONA

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Northern Italy, c. 1460-1480

One of the most popular classical texts of all time, Juvenal’s Satires seldom appears on the market (only our copy is recorded in the Schoenberg Database since 1998).  Satirizing all aspects of everyday Roman life in elegant Latin, Juvenal’s text was particularly popular during the Renaissance, when it was used extensively in the schools.  Distinguishing our manuscript, preserved in its original binding, are verse introductions by humanist schoolteacher Guarino da Verona “the greatest master of the century,” along with much evidence of use by students.

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TM 942
at curatorial service

Commentary on PETER LOMBARD’'s First Book of the Sentences, related to PAULUS VENETUS, Super primum sententiarum Johannis de Ripa Lecturae Abbreviatio

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper and parchment
Northern Italy, 1479 (?)

This is an important manuscript, one that opens up complex textual issues warranting further study. The manuscript presents an abbreviated version of the lengthy commentary on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard by the fourteenth-century Franciscan theologian, Johannes de Ripa. In fact, our text corresponds most closely with the version of Ripa by Paul of Venice, written shortly before 1402 at Padua and known in a single manuscript, which was the basis of the modern edition.

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TM 339
at curatorial service

Office of the Dead (Use of St. Kunibert, Cologne); Prayers before celebrating Mass; Funeral service; Necrologium (added) 

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Germany, Cologne, 1487 and 1727 (with later additions)

Large in format, this carefully written and decorated liturgical manuscript from the important church of St. Kunibert in Cologne was used daily by the Canons for the liturgy associated with death and burial. Dated and with a known donor, it is preserved in an elaborate sixteenth-century binding. It also includes an eighteenth-century necrology with names, dates, and burial location, making this an important document both as a record of people associated with the community and for the physical organization of the Church and its altars.

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TM 644
at curatorial service
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