TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures


In Latin, manuscript on paper
Germany (Hessen?), c. 1520

TM 161

217 ff.(of which 8 blank), complete (collation: i-xxvi8, xxvii9 [10-1], with blank folio ix missing), on paper with watermarks close to Briquet no. 3057, “Cercle que surmonte un trait étoilé”: Babenhausen, 1523 and Briquet, no. 15405, “Tête de boeuf au serpent”: Zurich, 1519; Babenhausen, 1520, written in dark brown to lighter brown ink by a single hand in a small and legible cursive bookhand, on up to 32 lines (justification 115 x 68 mm), headings and opening words of sections in a gothic display hand, sermons numbered in contemporary Roman numerals, principal headings or rubrics in red, capitals stroked in red, larger painted initials in red introducing each sermon, one gathering from an in-8o format incunable or early sixteenth-century edition (sermons numbered XX-XXII, ff. 129-136), with printed text on double column, rubricated by hand]. Contemporary binding of limp vellum sewn on 3 double thongs, leather spine, strip of sewing-guard inside lower cover from an eleventh-century Ottonian noted liturgical manuscript (A few stains, binding defective but exemplar overall in sound condition). Dimensions 154 x 105 mm.

In its contemporary binding and including additions from an imprint, this manuscript collection containing very diverse sermons was likely compiled for a local priest. Apart from the identification of a few sermons, the manuscript offers no clues to authorship, and it requires further study to determine the actual authors. The sermons contain many exempla, some references to patristic authors, but mostly citations of classical or mystical authors such as Aristotle, Plautus, Lactantius, Seneca, Boethius, Aesop, Cicero, and Thomas à Kempis.


1. Probably written for a parish priest on the eve of the Reformation. Script and watermarks point to Germany (Hessen?) or even Switzerland as place of origin.

2. Augustine Knoblich, 1868 (his signature on upper cover), medieval historian, author of Herzogin Anna von Schlesien (1204-1265), Breslau, 1865 and other studies.

3. Dr. André Rooryck, his MS. 32


ff. 1-1v, Selection of subjects of sermons, subjects ordered alphabetically, with Roman numeral references to specific sermons, beginning “Animae dignitas,” and ending “Una virgine”; added Latin verses: “Multi multa scripserunt / Et in vanum tempus detriverunt / Melius fuisset ut orassent […]”;

ff. 2-6, Johannes Herolt, Sermo de Beata Maria Virgine, rubric, Sermo communis de beata virgine; incipit, “Beatam me dicent omnes generations. Luce .i. Johannes de sancto Geminiano dicit: Sol non mittit radios…” (This sermon should be contained in Kaeppeli, no. 2387, Sermones Discipuli de tempore. Sermones communes omni tempore praedicabiles. Sermones communes de sanctis, but we have not found its trace in the printed versions of this collection);

The present identification is based on information provided by the In Principio database, which records a sermon contained in Schlägl, Prämonstratenser-Stiftsbibl. 135 (454.a.69), ff. 279-285, in a work attributed to Herolt, entitled Sermones [Discipuli] communes de beata Virgine. The sermon is also attributed to Herolt in another manuscript Salzburg, Stiftsbibl. St. Peter, b.XI.9, fol. 13.

f. 6v, blank;

ff. 7-12, Sermon on the Virgin Mary, rubric, Sermo communis de beata virgine; incipit, “Loquere regi pro nobis et libera nos de morte…”;

f. 12v, blank;

ff. 13-17v, Sermon on the Virgin Mary, rubric, Sermo de beata virgine; incipit, “Ego mater pulcre dilectionis et timoris… Nemo potest digne laudare beatam virginem mariam…”;

ff. 18-18v, blank;

ff. 19-25, Sermon on Justice, rubric, Sermo de justicia; incipit, “Beati qui custodiunt judicium… Richardus in .iii. dis[…]”;

f. 25v, blank;

ff. 26-30, Sermon on Following Christ, rubric, Sermo de sequendo Christum; incipit, “Qui sequitur me non ambulat… Verba sunt redemptoris…”;

ff. 30v-34v, Sermon on Spiritual Welfare, rubric, Sermo de spiritus libello; incipit, “Certa bonum certamen fidei…In verbis premissis…”;

ff. 35-39, Sermon on the Fear of Judgement, rubric, Sermo de temerario iudicio; incipit, “Nolite ante tempus iudicare… Thomas de Kempis in liber de imitacione christi…“;

ff. 39-40v, blank;

ff. 41-45v, Sermon on the Nativity of the Lord, rubric, Sermo de nativitate domini; incipit, “Ecce annuncio vobis gaudium… Salvabo nostri… “ ;

ff. 46-49, Sermon on a Virgin, rubric, Sermo comunis de una virgine; incipit, “Hanc amavi et exquisivi… Divina sapientia…“;

f. 49v, blank;

ff. 50-53v, Sermon on the Conversion of a Sinner, rubric, Sermo de conversione pecatoris ; incipit, “Convertimini ad me in toto corde… Postquam natura humana…“ ;

ff. 54-63, Sermon on Good Works, rubric, Sermo de bonis operibus; incipit, “Vidit deus opera eorum…. Providencia dei omnipotentis…“

ff. 63v-64v, blank;

ff. 65-70v, Pelbartus Ladislaus de Temesvár, Sermon on Pentecost, rubric, Sermo in die Pentecostes; incipit, “Repleti sunt omnes spiritu… Bernardus…“ ;

Sermon 12 on Pentecost is apparently by Pelbartus Ladislaus de Temesvár (O.F.M., died 1504) of Temesvar in Hungary, author of an important body of sermons with four major collections (Sermones de tempore, de sanctis, quadragesimales and Stellarium coronae B. Virginis; first incunable edtion in Nuremberg, 1483).

ff. 71-88, Sermon on the Dignity of the Soul, Sermo de dignitate anime; incipit, “Sic deus dilexit mundum… Quamvis…“;

f. 88v, blank;

ff. 89-98v, Sermon on Speech, Sermo longus de oracione; incipit, “Sine intermissione orate… Grego ( ?) non cessat orare…“;

ff. 99-104v, Sermon on Predestination, Sermo de predestinacione; incipit, “Multi sunt vocati… Est consueta et vulgate…“;

ff. 105-111, Sermon on the Victory over Oneself, Sermo de victoria suipsius; incipit, “Certamen forte dedit…Nulla res qualis…“;

ff. 112-112v, blank;

ff. 113-116v, Sermon on the Brevity of Human Life, Sermo de brevitate vite hominis; incipit, “Breves dies hominis… Beatus Job de homine in verbis…“;

ff. 117-121, Sermon on deceased souls, Sermo de animabus; incipit, “Sancta et salubris est… Augustinus tria sunt…“;

f. 121v, blank;

ff. 122-127v, Sermon on deceased souls, rubric, Sermo de animabus; incipit, “Miseremini mei, miseremini mei, saltem uos amici mei… Vulgo dicitur…“;

ff. 128-128v, blank;

ff. 129-136, Sermons for the dedication of a church: gathering from an incunable or perhaps early-sixteenth century edition, heading, Sermo 103 / In dedicatione ecclesie. Sermo primus; incipit, “Elegi et sanctificavi locum istum ut sit nomen meum…Hec verba dixit dominus de templo…”; heading, Sermo 104, In dedicatione ecclesie; incipit, “Domum tuam domine decet…Scimus charissimi quam regiam…”; Sermo 105 / Commune de apostolis; incipit, “In nominee domini sequntur sermons de sanctis in comuni applicabiles. Primo de apostolis. Ser[mo] .i. Vos amici mei estis si feceristis…In quibus verbis Christus…“ ;

ff. 137-139v, Hand-written continuation of printed Sermo 105, starting “ […quicquid deus non] vult merito amicus…“; explicit, “[…] hodie festum (…)“ ;

f. 140, blank;

ff. 140v-146, Sermon on the Love of one’s Fellow Man, rubric, Sermo de dilectione proximi; incipit, “Hoc est preceptum meum… Sermo exit de dilectione proximi…“

ff. 147-152, Sermon on the Nativity of Christ, rubric, Sermo de nativitate Christi; incipit, “Parvulus natus est nobis et filius… Arisoteles in Phisicorum dicit…“ ;

f. 152v, blank;

ff. 153-157, Sermon on Saint Stephen, rubric, Sermo de sancto Stefano; incipit, “Ecce video celos apertos…“;

ff. 157v-160, Sermon on Saint John the Evangelist, rubric, Sermo de sancto Iohanne evangelista; incipit, “Hic est discipulus ille… Pro introductione notandum…“;

f. 160v, blank;

ff. 161-168v, Sermon on the Resurrection, rubric, Sermo de resurrectione; incipit, “Iesum queritis nazarenum… Bernardus solemnitas enim…“ ;

ff. 169-174, Sermon on Perseverance, rubric, Sermo de perseverancia; incipit, “Mane nobiscum domine… Perseverancia secundum theologos…“ ;

f. 175, blank;

ff. 175v-179v, Sermon on Peace, rubric, Sermo bonis de pace; incipit, “Venit Ihesus ianuis clausis… Salvator noster…“

ff. 180-184, Sermon on the Fear of God, rubric, Sermo de timore dei; incipit, “Beatus vir cui datum est habere… Sanctus Bonventura in centiloquio…“;

f. 184v, blank;

ff. 185-190v, Sermon on the Honor of Priests, rubric, Sermo de honore sacerdotum; incipit, “Vide et ostende te sacerdotibus… Scribuntur in presenti tres articuli…“;

ff. 191-192v, blank;

ff. 193-198, Sermon on the Search for God, rubric, Sermo de querendo dei; incipit, “Primum querite regnum dei…“;

ff. 198v-200v, On the Feast of the Body of Christ as instituted by Pope Urban, heading, De festo corporis Christi quomodo supersit exordium sub papa Urbano; incipit, “Gloriosissimi corporis et sanguinis... “;

ff. 201-205, Sermon on Facing Adversity, rubric, Sermo de adversitate tolleranda; incipit, “Omnes qu pie volunt vivere… Aristoteles .ii. phisico…“;

f. 205v, blank;

ff. 206-211, Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord, rubric, Sermo de ascensione domini; incipit, “Ascendo ad patrem… Hodierna dominice ascensionis festivitatem dignum…“;

ff. 211v, blank;

ff. 212-216, Sermon on the Holy Cross, rubric, Sermo de sancti cruce; incipit, “Mihi autem absit gloriari nisi in cruce Domini… Apostolus Paulus considerans…“; explicit, […] vivit et moritur“;

ff. 217-218, blank.

This is a collection of 30 sermons opening with a first sermon by Johann Herolt, O.P. (died 1468, in Ratisbonne), known as “Discipulus,” prior and lector of the Dominican convent in Nuremberg. Very little is known about Herolt, but his works are often copied in the Middle Ages, and printed in the fifteenth century. Goff records 27 editions of the Sermones Discipuli between 1474 and 1500. (see Kaeppeli, pp. 450-460; Verfasserlexikon, 1981, III, col. 1123-1127). A careful comparison with the incunable editions of Herolt’s Sermons might allow for other identifications, but a first survey of the sermons listed in the Registrum in sermons discipuli de tempore [de sanctis, de quadragesimalis] has not proven successful. We have consulted the 1497 edition, published without date or printer, but that contains at the beginning a Register of all sermons by Herolt (see Paris, BnF, NUMM -53280). A study of the manuscript tradition could lead to a better identification of certain sermons, but few reference tools aid in identification of sermons written after 1350, as J.B. Schneyer’s Repertorium covers sermons composed between 1150 and 1350, and thus we are still awaiting the recension of sermons composed in the fifteenth century.

The present manuscript contains an eclectic collection of sermons, composed by different authors and compiled for local or personal use. Copied in a very orderly fashion, by a single hand, the sermons were not copied ad hoc, but to serve a priest’s predication needs. The texts frequently include exempla, which are medieval or classical fables with a moral twist. The sermons are on the Virgin Mary (nos. 1-3), justice (no. 4), following Christ (no. 5), spiritual welfare (no. 6), fear of judgment (no. 7, frequently citing Alexander of Hales, the English scholastic philosopher), Christmas (no. 8), the conversion of a sinner (no. 10), good works (no. 11, citing Aristotle), Pentecost (no. 12), the dignity of the soul (no. 13), speech (no. 14), predestination (no. 15), victory over oneself (no. 16, citing Plautus, Lactantius, Seneca, Boethius, Aesop, Cicero, and others), the brevity of human life (no. 17), etc.

The integration of a single gathering from an early printed sermon collection, which runs from ff. 136v-137, without break of text, is an interesting example of the mingling of the two forms of book production at the very end of the Middle Ages.


Dahmus, J. W. “Medieval Preachers and Lay Perfections,” in Medieval Perspectives 1 (1986), pp. 122-134.

Guyot, B.-G. “Herolt, Jean,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique, Paris, Beauchesne, 1969, tome VII, col. 343-346.

Hermand, M. X. “Les méthodes de travail d’un compilateur d’exempla du XVe siècle: Johannes Herolt et le Promptuarium Exemplorum,” in Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum 64 (1994), pp. 261-299.

Kaeppeli, T. Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum medii aevi, Rome, 1975, vol. II, no 2386-2394.

Paulus, Nicolaus. "Johannes Herolt und seine Lehre," in Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie 26 (1902), pp. 417-447.

Teetaert, A. “Pelbart Ladislai de Temesvár,” in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, Paris, Letouzey et Ané, 1933, vol. 12, col. 716-717.

Worstbrock, F.J. “Herolt, Johannes (Discipulus),” in Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, Berlin-New York, 1981, vol. 3, col. 1123-1127.

Online resources

Gateway to Medieval Religious History, with a number of sites devoted to Exempla and Sermons

On Pelbartus Ladislaus de Temesvár

On Pelbartus Ladislaus de Temesvár