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les Enluminures

Notated Office Lectionary and Homiliary, Temporal

In Latin, manuscript on parchment
[Southern Germany or Austria, c. 1475-1500]

TM 62

174 leaves, on parchment, complete (collation i-xxi8, xxii6), written in black ink in a large regular gothic bookhand, on up to 31 lines, text in two columns (justification 343 x 225 mm.), decorative catchwords, rubrics in red, contemporary numbering of folios in upper righthand corner, initials touched in yellow, paragraph marks in blue, fragments of plainsong square notation traced in black ink on 3-line staves traced in red, interlinear musical notations (neumes) in red, 2-, 3-, and 4-line high Lombard initials in red or blue, some decorated with human faces (ff. 102v-105), some with decoration left white, some parti-colored red and blue, index for the hymns for both the Temporal and the Sanctoral pasted on the front pastedown (copied in a later hand). BOUND IN AN IMPOSING CONTEMPORARY BINDING of pigskin over wooden boards with beveled edges, back sewn on 6 raised thongs, with five later rosette design bosses on each cover (for binding comparisons, see Mazal [1970], plate no. 53, “Mitteldeutschland, 15 jarhr.”), overall in sound condition, joints weak, some ink smudging, original clasps replaced with later leather straps. Dimensions 488 x 350 mm.

Imposing monastic manuscript, unusually large and with a sturdy contemporary binding, that contain the lections for the Temporal along with homilies accompanying each lection; an unusual feature is not only the marginal citation of the melodies and hymns associated with each reading but also, rarer still, the systematic interlinear neumatic notation throughout the text.


1. Script, decoration (the use of yellow touching, and the creamy quality of the parchment, suggest a southern German or perhaps Austrian origin, although it has not been possible to determine its exact provenance. A more thorough recension of the chosen homilies could reveal its liturgical provenance. The binding is close to a type ascribed to central Germany, mid-fifteenth century.

2. A note on f. 9 indicated that the manuscript was still in regular service use in sixteenth century: “Hec homelia legitur in Festo Sancti Josephi ab anno 1568”; on f. 31v, there is another note referring to the imagery used by Saint Ambrose concerning Christ as having passed through the Virgin Mary as the light of the sun through the glass of a window and indicates various authorities. It reads: “[First part crossed out] … vitrum transparente similitude idem miraculo factum non agilitatis beneficio que gloriosis corporibus competit quod Ezechielis vaticinio stabilitur .44. Vide Gregorium super Johannem .20. sed Ambrosius [sequentus] est Tertulianum contra Marcionem.” The note cites some authorities that disagreed with Ambrose and states that he found the idea in Tertullian's Adversus Marcionem.


ff. 1-8v, Beginning of the Temporal, with Advent: rubric, Dominica de adventu Domini lectio .ix. lectio sancti evangelii secundam Lucam; incipit, “In illo tempore dixit Jhesus discipulis suis. Erunt signa in sole et luna et stellis…”; rubric (f. 173), Dominica .xxv. lectio sancti evangelii secundum Johannem lectio .ix.; explicit, “…Nam tunc cum et duo illorum in panis fractione cognoverunt. Explicit Deo gratias et beate virginum”;

ff. 9-33, Nativity readings; rubric, In vigilia natalis domini lectio prima lectio sancti evangelii secundum Matheum; incipit, “In illo tempore. Cum natus esset...”; explicit, " …vivit et regnat in secula seculorum. Amen";

ff. 33-71, Epiphany readings; rubric,In apparitione Domini. Lectio de Ysaya. Lectio prima; incipit, "Omnes sitientes venite ad aquas... "; explicit, " …omnis eius caro est fenum";

ff. 71-85, Passion readings; rubric, Dominica in passione. Lectio sancti evangelii secundum Johannem. Lectio nona; incipit, “In illo tempore. Dixit Jesus turbis judeorum… ”; explicit, “…et exivit de templo”; f. 85, Palm Sunday readings; rubric, Dominica in ramis palmarum. Lectio sancti evangelii secundem Matheum. Lection .ix.; incipit, “In illo tempore. Cum appropinquasset Jesus…”; explicit, “… in manus Dei viventis. ”;

ff. 85-104v, Easter readings; rubric, In die sancto Pasce. Sermo beati Gregorii pape. Lectio prima; incipit, “Jesum queritis Nazarenum…”;

ff. 104v-112v, Ascension readings; rubric, In die Ascencionis Domini. Sermo beate Leonis pape. Lectio prima.; incipit, “Sacramentum dilectissimi salutis nostre…”; explicit, “…premat Spiritum sarcina…”;

ff. 112v-142, Pentecost readings; rubric, Dominica in penthecoste. Sermo beate Leonis pape. Lectio Prima; incipit, “Hodiernam dilectissimi festivitatem…”; f. 124: rubric, In festo corporis Domini nostril Jesu Christi. Lectio prima; incipit, “Immensa divine largitatis…”; explicit, “...caro autem non prodest”;

ff. 142-174v, First Sunday after Pentecost to twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost; f. 142, rubric, Dominica prima post octavos penthecostes lectio sancti evangelii secundam lucam lectio .ix.; incipit, “Ill illo tempore. Dixit Jesus discipulis suis…”; f. 173, rubric, Dominica .xxv. lectio sancti evangelii secundum Johannem lectio .ix.; incipit, “In illo tempore. Cum sublevasset occulos meos…”; explicit, “…Nam tunc cum et duo illorum in panis fractione cognoverunt. Explicit Deo gratias et beate virginum”;

This imposing volume comprises an Office Lectionary containing the lections (or pericopes) and homilies for the whole Temporal (Proper of Time) beginning with the first Sunday in Advent and ending with the last Sunday after Pentecost (twenty-fifth Sunday). It contains the readings, lections, for Matins (also called Nocturnes) arranged according to feasts of the liturgical year. The use of four lections rather than three suggests a monastic rather than a cathedral context. The Temporal would formerly have been one of a pair, the second volume containing the Sanctoral with the equivalent texts for the feasts of various saints. A brief index of a third service book, a hymnal, found on a later leaf pasted inside the front cover, contains references from both the Temporal and the Sanctoral.

The lections or readings from the Gospels, Prophets and Pauline Epistles are only a small proportion of the text in the book. For each Lection there are two or more homilies or sermons drawn from the Church Fathers. The author most often drawn on is Saint Augustine. There are also significant numbers of homilies by Saint Gregory, Pope Leo I, and Saint Ambrose. Other authors found are Jerome (ff. 15v, 51v, 66, 67v, 73, 94, 151v, 170v, and 171v), Hilary (ff. 66v, 136, 140, 171 & 172), Origen (ff. 25v & 43) and Bishop John, perhaps John Chrysostom (ff. 52v, 162v, 164). These texts help explain the particular text read in the lection.

Interestingly, our exemplar contains both systematic interlinear neumatic annotations (that specified pitch and manner of performance) as well as the first notes of hymns associated to each reading. These peculiarities show that the manuscript was used to coordinate the readings with the choral part of the service, a feature which is uncommon in Lectionaries. According to Martimort, “Il est possible mais rare d’y rencontrer entre les lectures, les chants notés” (p. 59).


Gregoire, R.. Homéliaires liturgiques médiévaux, Spolète, 1980.

Martimort, A. G. Les lectures liturgiques et leurs livres (Typologie des sources du Moyen Age occidental, 64), Turnhout, Brepols, 1992.

Mazal, Otto. Europäische einbandkunst aus mittelalter und neuzeit, Graz, 1970.

Palazzo, Eric. Histoire des livres liturgiques. Le Moyen Age. Des origines au XIIIe siècle, Paris, Beauchesne, 1993.

Vogel, C. Medieval Liturgy: An Introduction to the Sources, Washington, 1986.

Online resources

On Lectionaries

On the Divine Office: