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ALBERTUS DE PADUA (PADUENSIS), Expositio evangeliorum dominicalium et festivalium

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Northern Italy (Brescia?) or Austria?, dated 1470

TM 588
mss in the curriculum

310 ff., preceded by two paper flyleaves, complete (collation impracticable because the leaves are restored and remounted on acid-free paper allowing for the entire codex to be re-sewn), on paper (watermark close to Briquet no. 14871-14874: “Tête de boeuf surmonté d'une fleur avec triangle pendu au mufle”: paper from papermills in Brescia, with a very wide dissimination in Austria, Germany and Northern Italy), written in a hybrid cursive script, in brown ink, text in two columns (justification: 230 x 145 mm), on up to 42 lines, many capitals stroked in red, larger display script for opening heading, a number of larger initials in red or parti-colored in red and green, some with ornementation in red and green with leafy designs, or various penwork, some with zoomorphic features (e.g. a fish, f. 91v), some of these larger painted initials clearly unfinished (or drawn with less care as opposed to some of the more finished initials), textual sources and references to Scripture underlined in red. Bound in modern vellum, smooth spine with factice thongs, author written on the spine “Albertus de Padua” and the date “1328” [date of his death, not of the codex] (Binding in excellent condition; expert restoration with all leaves remounted on acid-free paper, re-sewn and remounted [Restoration conducted by Wicklander, Stockholm]; some waterstaining in the upper portion of the leaves). Dimensions 315 x 220 mm.

Dated manuscript of the Postillae for Sundays and Feast days, composed by Albertus de Padua (died 1328), an Augustinian Hermit. His Postillae associates exegetical commentaries on the selected Gospel readings for each Sunday or Feast day, immediately followed by two or three sermons. Published frequently in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Postillae of Albertus de Padua have not yet received a modern critical edition, which would take into account the some 30 manuscripts mostly in European institutional collections.


1. Copied in Northern Italy or perhaps Austria (Tyrol?) based on style of script and watermark of paper. In addition, the manuscript is dated 1470 as per the colophon on f. 310: “Finitus et completus est presens materia in vigilia annuntiationis beate marie semper virginis...anno m[illesim]o .cccc. .lxx.” [1470].

2. Dr. Wilhelm Krüger, as per the letter signed by Director of the Universitäts-Bibliothek Berlin (Berlin, 30 January 1948; Director, Schmidt), mounted at the front of the manuscript. The letter provides a bit of information on the author Albertus of Padua, and quotes the two incunable editions of this work, Venice, 1476 and Ulm,1480. A translation of the letter in Swedish has been typed and mounted immediately after the original German letter.

3. Libreria Bocca, Milan, small label pasted onto the lower portion of the letter from Berlin, 1948, Director of the Universitäts-Bibliothek (above-mentionned).

4. Nils Bonnier (1908-1991), a Swedish bibliophile, born in Stockholm in 1908, his bookplate pasted on the first flyleaf. He bequeathed a number of books to the Uppsala University Library, Sweden. His library was partly sold at auction in 1997: Selection of Fine and Rare Books From the Library of Nils Bonnier, Norden Aukioner AB, Stockholm, 1 June 1997.


ff. 1-1v, Albert of Padua, Expositio evangeliorum dominicalium et festivalium, heading, Incipiunt postille evangeliorum dominicalium et maiorum festivalium per ... anni edicte a reverendo magistro Alberto de Padua ordinis fratrum heremitarum sancti augustini; incipit Prologue, “Domine deus ecce nescio loqui...”;

ff. 1v-310, Albert of Padua, Expositio evangeliorum dominicalium et festivalium, Postillae and Sermons, incipit sermon for the first Sunday of Advent, “Erunt signa in sole et luna et stellis...Ad natalitia principum celebranda...”; last postilla and sermons for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, “Cum videritis abhominationem desolationis...Justum est ut res...”; explicit, “[...] eterne felicitatis nos perducet qui semper vivit...”; colophon, “Finitus et completus est ista presens materia in vigilia annuntiationis beate marie semper virginis...anno m[illesim]o .cccc. .lxx.” [1470].

This manuscript contains the Expositio evangeliorum dominicalium et festivalium [Explanation of Gospel readings for Sundays and Festivals]by Albertus de Padua (1277-1328), sometimes called (as here in the opening heading) Postillae evangeliorum dominicalium et maiorum festivalium. Gathered here are his Postillae or exegetical notes on the readings selected from the Gospels for Sundays and Feast days, followed by two or three sermons for each day, based on the preceding selected reading. The Postillae here are in fact brief historical, etymological, and exegetical comments on the part of the text of the Gospels appointed to be read on each Sunday and festival. The word “postilla” apparently derives from the Latin post illa [verba], “after these words” used in medieval sermons. Preachers would have deemed useful to have these short collections of textual comments preceding the sermons composed by Albert de Padua, and the present Postillae were likely composed as sermonic or preaching aids, then followed by the actual sermons.

This collection of Postillae and sermons is recorded in Schneyer, I, pp. 124-130 under the title: “Postilla super evangelia dominicalia (Sermones de tempore) et in praecipuis festivitatibus.” The Postillae and sermons of Albert of Padua were published early on in Venice, 1476 (Goff, A-339) and again in Ulm, 1480 (Goff, A-340), followed by a number of editions in the sixteenth century (see Schneyer, I, p. 130, for a list of the 16th century editions). Many manuscripts are extant, a complete list is lacking, although a partial list is found in Schneyer, I, p. 130 [30 codices]: to this list, one can add Pistoia, Biblioteca Forteguerri, MS 205; Univeristy of Iowa, Special Collections, MMs.Se1. Interestingly, most of the extant codices listed in Schneyer are held in German or Eastern European institutions. No copies are recorded at auction in the Schoenberg Database. There is to this date no modern critical edition.

In 1256, a new mendicant order was created, the Order of Hermits of St Augustine, bringing many disparate hermit communities in Italy under a single rule. The event was called the Great Union, and the brothers took as their habit black robes with leather belts. Mendicants with a keen interest in predication, Augustinian authors composed sermons and sermonic aids, such as the present Postillae. Albertus of Padua was an Augustinian Hermit (OESA), professor of theology at the Studium in Padua, and then, after 1319, in Paris, where he died in 1328. He had studied under the supervision of Giles of Rome in Paris, the leading thirteenth-century theologian of the Order of the Augustinians. He was a renowned preacher whose sermons were well-received and copied. He is credited with two volumes of sermons, the present Postilla super evangelia dominicalia, and Postilla super evangelia quadragesimalia, recorded respectively in Schneyer, I, pp. 124-130; pp. 130-150.

The life and works of the Augustinian hermit Albert of Padua (†1328) have recently been reconsidered in the context of the revival of Augustinian theology in the early fourteenth century in Padua and also in relation with theological cycle of Giotto’s frescos in Scrovegni Chapel. In particular, there is growing interest in the preaching of Albert of Padua and others Paduans preachers at the end of thirteenth and in early fourteenth centuries.


Guttierez, David. The Augustinians in the Middle Ages, Villanova, 1984.

Ossinger, J. F. Bibliotheca augustiniana historica, critica et chronologica, Ingolstadt and Vienna, 1768.

Schneyer, Johannes Baptist, Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1150-1350, 11 vols., Münster, Aschendorff, 1969-90.

Siraisi, N. Arts and Sciences at Padua. The Studium at Padua before 1350, Toronto, 1973.

Zumkeller, A. Manuskripte von Werken der Autoren des Augustiner-Eremiteordens im mitteleuropäischen Bibliotheken, Würzburg, 1966.

Online resources

Digitized Codex, Iowa Digital Library, MS xMMs.Se1, Postillae of Albert of Padua: