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les Enluminures

[Devotional Miscellany] including [PSEUDO-BONAVENTURA], Instructio sacerdotis ad se preparandum ad celebrandum missam; for the celebration of the Mass including JOHANNES FISCANNENSIS, Oratio dicta s. Ambrosii; HENRICUS SUSO, Centum meditationes etc.

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Germany, Moselle? Westphalia?, c. 1480-1490

TM 233

[IV] + 260 ff., mostly in gatherings of 8 and 10 (collation i-ix10, x-xiv8, xv10, xvi-xviii8, xix-xxiv10, xxv8, xxvi7 [8-1, likely missing a blank folio], xxvii8, xxviii10, xxix8, xxx2 [of 8? thus missing up to 6 ff. at the end?]), missing a number of folios at the end, else apparently complete, catchwords and some quire signatures, copied on paper with watermarks close to Briquet no. 10028: Siegen (Westphalia) or 10029: Nancy, Saarbr├╝ck, 1480; Briquet no. 12484, Metz, 1485 [see also same “Pot à une anse/ Drinking vessel” in Piccard, with many matches with Mainz/Frankfurt/Worms]; Briquet, no. 1744: Malines, 1482; Siegen (Westphalia), 1482-1489; Mayence, 1486, written in a very regular hybrid gothic bookhand, on a single column in brown ink, ruled in brown ink (justification 105 x 75 mm), rubrics in red, paragraph marks in red, capitals stroked in red, signatures still partially visible, numerous one-line high painted initials in red, some larger 2- to 5-line high painted initials in red or blue introducing the major divisions of the text. Contemporary Louvain-style binding of blind-tooled brown calf over wooden boards, covers divided by triple fillets into an outer blank frame and a central panel, the latter tooled by triple fillets to a cross pattern, the fillets and compartments of central panel stamped with varied tools such as small rosettes, Agnus Dei, eagle with spread-out wings, fleur-de-lys and ornamental acanthus leaves (compare C. Sorgeloos, Quatre siècles de reliure en Belgique (1993), II, no. 1, pp. 42-43: “Reliure louvainiste aux filets et petits fers” (c. 1480); see also Goldschmidt, Gothic and Renaissance Bookbinding (1928), no. 25 and 26, both Louvain-style bindings), back sewn on three raised thongs, remains of brass clasp, with pastedowns from a 13th or early 14th c. miscellany or commentary on Boethius and the 13th c. pedagogical treatise known as the De disciplina scholarium (attributed to Pseudo-Boethius, likely composed by T. de Cantimpré), with upper pastedown, rubric: “Quintus” / incipit: “Casus est inopinate rei eventus ex causis confligentibus…” and lower pastedown, rubric: “Quartus de consolatione” / incipit: “'Nullum malum impunitum, nullum bonum irremuneratum / Duo sunt, quibus omnis humanorum actuum constat effectus…” [Boethius, De consolatione philosophiae, Liber quartus]; other rubric: “Boecius. De disc[iplina scholarium] / incipit: “Diligentia cuiuslibet operis obtusitas permollitur… (see O. Weijers (1976), p. 95)” [On the De disciplina scholarium, see O. Weijers, ed. “Pseudo-Boèce. De disciplina scolarium…”; Leiden, Brill, 1976 and A. Steiner, “The Authorship of De disciplina scholarium”, in Speculum, vol. 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1937), pp. 81-84)] (Binding in its contemporary condition, spine a bit worn). Dimensions 135 x 100 mm.

Thematically organized around Eucharistic Devotion and the Celebration of Mass, this miscellany compiled for the use of priests was perhaps copied in reaction to the reform movement known as the Devotion Moderna. Appealing to different needs and sensibilities among the community of priests, the manuscript survives intact in its contemporary unrestored Louvain-style binding with original pastedowns.


1. Script, watermarks suggest a Westphalian or Moselle origin for this manuscript, perhaps in reaction to the Devotio Moderna movement that began in The Netherlands but that rapidly spread to Germany, with a leader such as Henry von Ahaus, himself a Westphalian, and founder of the Brethren of Common Life in Germany. Rather than the personal prayer centered on Christ and the Gospels, advocated by the Devotio Moderna, the Church insisted on the return to sacraments, prescribing more Eucharistic devotion and more frequent celebration of Mass for monks, priests, and bishops.

2. Private Collection, Germany.


This miscellany contains texts and prayers pertaining generally to Eucharistic devotion and the Celebration of Mass. The manuscript is organized in two parts as suggested in the manuscript itself: “Incipit secunda pars in quia continentur oraciones meditaciones et aliqua exercicia etc.” [Here begins the second part in which one finds prayers, meditations and other spiritual exercises] (f. 166). This second part occupies ff. 166-260v, and is preceded by a first section with a group of compiled texts offering instructions to the priest on how to celebrate Mass (ff. 1-166), traditionally attributed to Bonaventura but likely a compiled version of extracts taken from the Stimulus amoris of Jacobus de Milano (see Text below).

ff. II-IV, Notes and considerations on the Eucharist, heading underlined in red, De institucione venerabilis sacramenti eucharistie;

f. IVv, blank;

ff. 1-166, [Pseudo-Bonaventura], [Instructio sacerdotis ad se preparandum ad celebrandum missam] [Excerpts from the Stimulus amoris], rubric, Incipit opusculum quoddam ex diversis collectionum quod vocatur monitorium preparacionis ad misse celebracionem prefatio; incipit prologue, “Habemus altare de quo edere non habent … In quibus verbis duo notantur…Altare autem hoc est sancta ecclesie sacra mensa…”; incipit chapter 1, “Ad missam celebrandum sex consideranda sunt. Primum est rationis discretion respectu…” [Jacobus Mediolanensis, Quaracchi, 1905, Pars II, c. xvii, pp. 75-76]; explicit, “[…] sic opere adimpleat. Quod nobis concedat qui est benedictus in secula amen” (ff. 3-5v); heading, chapter 14, De confessione. Capitulum quartum decimum (f. 155v); incipit, “Superest nunc ad extremum…” (ff. 156-166);

This compilation of texts with advice on how to prepare Mass is attributed to Bonaventura, but the attribution has since been declared spurious or doubtful (see Distelbrink, 1975, no. 146; see also Mohan, 1977, p. 211). The authorship of the work is now considered to be Pseudo-Bonaventura. It was published in Bonaventura, Vatican, 1596, VII, pp. 205-250 and again Bonaventura, ed. Peletier, XII, p. 631-703; see also Jacobus Mediolanensis, Quaracchi, 1905. Distelbrink states that the present work is actually composed of excerpts and interpolations from a number of ascetical treatises in particular James of Milan’s Stimulus amoris. The text is here organized in 14 chapters. There are a number of manuscripts that contain versions of this text, with the chapters in different order, often contained in very similar devotional miscellanies such as the present manuscript. Compare for example the choice of texts of Paris, BnF, MS lat. 3758, ff. 55-57v (manuscript copied in Abbeville), or Paris, BnF, MS lat. 3499 (Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp): although these manuscripts are of French origin, they assemble a selection of similar texts, with prayers and meditations, spiritual exercises attributed to authors such as Bonaventura, John of Fecamp, Anselm, and Henry Suso. In the present manuscript, the scribe has indicated the following, confirming that the work is by Bonaventura: “Igitur ad primum occurrit nobis sanctus Bonaventura doctor seraphicus qui habundacius ceteris inbutus fuit…et primo quidem capitulum hoc quod point in libello suo qui dicitur stimulus amoris…” (f. 2v).

ff. 166- 212v, for the celebration of the Mass, heading underlined in red, Incipit secunda pars in quia continentur oraciones meditaciones et aliqua exercitia etc.; fol. 166v: “Sequitur nunc oraciones ante celebracionem vel communionem legende secundum ferias…”; in red, Dominica die; incipit [Johannes Fiscannensis], [Oratio dicta S. Ambrosii], “Summe sacerdos et vere pontifex qui te obtulisti deo patri hostiam…”; explicit, “[…] neque sitiam amplius in eternum per te Ihesu Christe salvator mundi rex glorie qui vivis et regnas in secula amen” (ff. 167-170), followed by a number of other prayers;

These all concern the celebration of the Mass. The first Prayer is identified as Johannes Fiscannensis (John of Fécamp (1028-1078), Oratio S. Ambrosii, published in A. Wilmart, Auteurs spirituels (1971), pp. 101-124: “L’Oratio sancti Ambrosii du Missel Romain,” text edited on pp. 114-124. This prayer, destined to be read for preparation for the Holy Mass [Oratio ante missae celebrationem dicenda], is reproduced in the Roman Missal, and was attributed to Ambrose since the twelfth century. Further study should allow scholars to identify and classify the following selection of prayers.

ff. 213-213v, blank;

ff. 214-232v, [Henricus de Suso], Centum meditationes passionis domini nostri Jesu Christi; rubric, Meditaciones de passione domini. Dominica die; incipit, “Eya dulcissime ihesu mane factomet benignissime domine ihesu christe…”;

Among the numerous passion texts that circulated in the fifteenth century, the Hundred Articles of the Passion by the German Dominican friar Henricus Suso (1295-1366) is one of the most popular (see “Project: Meditation Practice” below). Suso’s meditations, which extend chronologically from the Agony in the Garden to the Entombment and the return of Mary to Jerusalem, were intended to be said throughout the day, or divided between the canonical hours, or over the days of the week (Lavaud, pp. 8-11).

ff. 233-250v, Spiritual exercises to be undertaken after the celebration of Mass, heading underlined in red, Exercicium quoddam devotum exercendum et utendum infra officium misse inter celebracionem; incipit: “Postquam igitur sacerdos qui missarum solempnia…”;

ff. 251-260v, to be pronounced after Mass or Communion, rubric, Sequitur oraciones post celebracionem vel communionem dicende. Prima die. Oratio; incipit, “Gracias tibi ago domine…”; rubric, Oracio post missam. Quarta die; explicit: “[…] Domine Ihesu Christe qui es vita eterna […]” [lacks ending].

The text in this last section on the exercises and prayers remains to be identified.


Bibliothèque nationale. Catalogue général des manuscrits latins, tome V (no. 3278 à 3535), Paris, BnF, 1966.

Bibliothèque nationale. Catalogue général des manuscrits latins, tome VI (no. 3536 à 3775B), Paris, BnF, 1975.

Bonaventura. Sancti Bonaventurae...Opera... in tomos septem distributa... (cum praefatione Constantii cardinalis Sarnani), Rome, Ex typographia Vaticana, 1588-1596, vol. VII.

Bonaventura. Opera omnia sancti Bonaventurae, ed. A.-C. Peltier, vol. XII, Paris, 1868.

Jacobus Mediolanensis. Stimulus amoris fr. Jacobi Mediolanensis, Quaracchi, 1905.

Distelbrink, B. Bonaventurae scripta authentica : dubia vel spuria critice recensita, Rome, Istituto storico Cappuccini, 1975.

Mohan, G.E. “Initia operum Franciscalium (XIII-XV s.),” Franciscan Studies 37 (1977), pp. 179-375.

Suso, Henricus. Henri Suso… La Passion de l’éternelle sagesse: les Cent méditations, le Livret d’Amour, tr. Benoit Lavaud, Neuchâtel, 1943.

Wilmart, A. Auteurs spirituels et textes dévots du Moyen âge latin: études d'histoire littéraire, Paris, Etudes augustiniennes, 1971, pp. 101-125.

Online resources

Project: Meditation Practice: The Passion Meditations of Henry Suso