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CONRAD OF BRUNDELSHEIM, Sermones de sanctis [Sermones Socci]

In Latin, decorated manuscript on paper
Southern Germany (Ulm?), dated 1456

TM 337

i (unnumbered paper) + 338 + i (unnumbered paper) folios on paper, watermarks: bull’s head, above one-line star, online Piccard 76387 and 76390, both Basel 1481, and 74799, Speyer, 1482; grapes, many similar marks, but cf. online Piccard 128805, Nördlingen 1455, and 128806, Klosterzimmer, 1455; and unidentified mark, perhaps an arrow, modern foliation in pencil, top, outer corner, recto (collation, i-xxi12 xxii-xxvi10 xxvii-xxix12), horizontal catchwords, bottom, inner margin, most quires signed on the first folio, bottom, outer corner, with an Arabic numeral, written by many scribes in cursive gothic bookhands in two columns with 29- to 42-lines (justification, 212-175 x 152-133 mm.), ruled in ink or lead, frame ruled with only vertical bounding lines, full-length, on both sides of each column, prickings in top and bottom margins on some folios, rubrics copied in the same script and ink of the text, no running titles, guide letters for initials, pointing hands throughout, majuscules within text stroked with red, identification of biblical texts underlined in red or text ink, three-line red initials at the beginning of each sermon, f. 1, six-line blue initial infilled with the face of a man in profile in red pen, and with red pen flourishing extending into the margin, damage to the top margin, f. 1, resulting in some loss of the initial and beginning of the text, repaired with modern paper, overall in excellent condition, some staining due to damp in the top quarter margin in the opening folios, text space, ff. 250-295, is darkened, with some spreading of the ink. Half bound, nineteenth-century (?), in pasteboard covered with decorative paper, spine, lettered in gilt “Soccus, Sermones Vari De Sanctis; Cod. Anni 1446 [sic],” with some damage to the spine, especially at the top and bottom. Dimensions 288 x 203 mm.

Signed and dated by the scribe, Johannes Domine of Blaubeuren, in southern Germany in 1456, this manuscript is an attractive copy of the popular fourteenth-century Sermons known as the Sermones Socci, attributed to Conrad of Brundelsheim, Abbot of Heilsbronn. Although these sermons were printed three times in the fifteenth century, they have not been studied or edited by modern scholars. Numerous copies survive, mostly in collections in the southern Germany and Austria; only two copies are in North America (at Yale University and the University of Kansas).


1. The manuscript was copied by numerous scribes, and was completed in 1456 by “Johannes Domine Blauburen,” who signed his name (colophon, f. 324v, and explicit, f. 338v). John may have been a monk at Blaubeuren Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery founded in 1085 in southern Germany near Ulm; in 1535 the monks were expelled; in 1563 a Protestant Abbot was installed; from 1565-1807 it was a choir school, and it is now a Protestant Seminary. Engelbert, Stiftsbibliothek, MS 237, Sermons by Saint Bernard, is signed by “Johannes dictus de Blauburen,” who may be the same scribe, although the manuscript is described in the catalogue as fourteenth century (Bénédictins du Bouveret. Colophons de manuscrits occidentaux des origins au XVIe siècles. Spicilegii Friburgensis subsidia 4, Fribourg, 1973, vol. 3, p. 187, no. 8936; P. Benedictus Gottwald. Catalogus codicum manu scriptorium qui asservantur in bibliotheca-monasterii O.S.B. Engelbergensis, Fribourg, 1891, p. 181).


ff. 1-324v, [top margin damaged, so text now begins imperfectly], Incipit, “//Gregorius ex[ponens verbum] propositum dicit: Per hec [verbum] dominus omnes ad eternitatem vocat … ; f. 322, Domum tuam decet sanctitudo domine, Ps. [92.5], Sanctus propheta iam [sic] ex divine presencie … Quas omnes benedictiones concedat nobis ille qui sine fine vivit et regnat per infinita seculorum secula. Amen,” Explicit soccus de sanctis sub annis domini 1456 per manus Johannis domine de blauburen in feria quarta post asscensio [sic] domini hora 3 post meridiem;

f. 325, Numerus sermonum in hoc volumine, Incipit, “Andreas folio 1 sermones duos./ Nicolaus folio 5, sermones duos … De dedicatione ecclesie, folio 235”;

ff. 325-362, Alia tabula sermonum huius libri, Incipit, “De sancto andrea apostolo 1,Venite post me, Matthew 4, Venite et videte John 2; De sancto Nicolao episcopo 5, Ecce sacerdos magnus, Ecce. 44 … In dedicatione ecclesie 235, Nos ultra non erit, apoc.; … Domum tuam decet sanctitudo, Ps.”;

ff. 326-328v, Incipit, "Confide fili remittuntur tibi peccata tua, Matthew 8 [actually Matthew 9:2], Dicit Bernardus [?] unde auctor omnium deus tante habundat …. Deus ergo qui est spes nostra dignetur speremus quarum ipse etc. Et sic est finis, deo gracias”;

ff. 328-338v, [top margin:] Tabula huius libri fratrum [?] socci de sanctis, Incipit, “Abdicatio, 150 E, rerum, corporis, anime; … Christe oravit propter quatuor causas,” Explicit tabule 1456 Deo gracias.

Conrad of Brundelsheim, Sermones de sanctis; see Johannes Baptist Schneyer. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1150-1350, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosopie und Theologie des Mittelalters 43, Münster, 1969-80, vol. 1, pp. 738-747.

Compared with Schneyer’s description, the sermons included in this manuscripts are as follows: Schneyer 267-285; 291-293, 290, 294-301, f. 89, additional sermon for the feast of St. Benedict, “Ecce elongavi fugiens et mansi in solitudine, Ps. [54.8], Dicit Bernardus in sermone cant. 52, Cultiro vos et exponens verbum …; 302-316; f. 141, additional sermon for the feast of Peter and Paul, “Principes iuda duces eorum Ps. 67[28], Dicit Gregorius vnicuique memento adsumandam uivendi regula partum …” [also in Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 393, f. 165v]; 317-358; f. 246v, additional sermons for St. Maurice, De martiribus …, “Multe tribulaciones iustorum etc. [Psalm 33:30], De labore siue tribulatione tria sunt …”; and f. 248v, “Multe tribulaciones iustorum, [Psalm 33:20], Dicit beatus augustinus quia per medicamentum tribulationis …”; 359-361; f. 256v, additional sermon for Simon and Jude, “Iudas fortis uiribus … [1 Macc 2:66], Augustinus. Confitemur sive Deum …, Iudas enim confitens sive laudatur …”; 362-372; f. 297, three sermons for the Dedication of a Church, “Mors ultra non erit neque luctus mea … [Apoc. 21:4], Et convenienter potest predicari de festo dedicationis …”; f. 300, “Vere dominus est in loco isto … Gen. 28[16], Hec sunt verba patriarche Iacob …”; f. 303v, “Sapiencie edicauit sibi domum, Prov. 9[1], Nota quod sapientia dei secundum filius qui est sapiencie patris …; 374; 373; 375-379.

This collection of Sermons for the feasts of saints was very popular during the later Middle Ages. Schneyer lists eighty manuscripts, the majority now in libraries in southern Germany and Austria; he does not list the two manuscripts in libraries in the United States, New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 393, and Lawrence, Kansas, University of Kansas, Spencer Research Library, MS D84. The sermons were printed three times in the fifteenth century, Deventer, between 1477-1479, Reutlingen, 1478, and Strassbourg, 1484 (see Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, Leipzig and New York, 1925-, nos. 7411, 7412, 7413). There is no modern edition of these Sermons, nor have they been the subject of a detailed scholarly study, despite their popularity. The differences between the sermons included in this manuscript and the sermons listed by Schneyer suggest that a careful study of the surviving manuscripts is certainly warranted. Yale University, Beinecke MS 393, also includes sermons not in Schneyer, although, except in one case, the additional sermons are not those found in the manuscript described here. According to the Schoenberg Database only one other copy has changed hands in the last decade.

The author of these sermons seems likely to be Conrad of Brundelsheim, abbot of the Cistercian monastery at Heilbronn in southern Germany from 1303-1306, and again from 1317 until his death in 1321; this attribution is supported in a number of manuscripts. The curious designation of these sermons as the “sermones socci,” or sermons by “Frater soccus,” has never been adequately explained--“soccus,” in Latin means “shoe” or “slipper.” R. Bauerreis has argued that Soccus should be interpreted as a family name and suggests the sermons are actually by the Cistercian Johannes Bott, or Bottis (i.e. Boot), of the convent of Marienrode (see article listed below).

The careful structure of the sermons and copious use of older authorities, especially Saint Bernard, doubtless contributed to their success. This copy was carefully annotated to make it easier to use, and includes a table of contents, listing the sermons in order, with the name of the saint, and a more detailed list, in the same order, but including the scriptural theme used at the beginning of each sermon; Schneyer, sermons 286-289, which currently are not found in this manuscript, are listed in this table, with the note, “Quere in principio libro.” Following these two lists, there is an alphabetical index of topics and words found in the sermons, with references to the different ways they are interpreted. All these tables include references to folio numbers. Curiously, the folio numbers are now lacking, although the manuscript appears to be close to its original size (some folios still retain prickings for the rulings). The final alphabetical index also includes references to sections within the sermons, designated by letters of the alphabet; these letters are still visible in the margins of many sermons.


Baurreiss, Romuald. “Wer ist der mittelalterliche Prediger ‘Soccus’?” Studien und Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des Benediktiner-Ordens 65 (1954), pp. 75-80.

Canivez, Joseph-Marie. “Conrad de Brundelsheim,” in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, Ascéteque et Mystique, Doctrine et Histoire, Paris, Beauchesne, 1953, volume 2, pp. 1543-1546.

Schneyer, Johannes Baptist. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1150-1350, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosopie und Theologie des Mittelalters 43, Münster 1969-80, vol. 1, pp. 716-747.

Online resources

History of Blaubeuren Abbey:

Official Web site of Blaubeuren, with a short history of the City:

Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart; Piccard’s Watermarks Online (Wasserzeichensammlung Piccard):