TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Sermons by an unidentified author(s)

In Latin and German, decorated manuscript on paper
Southern Germany or Austria, after 1497-c. 1510

TM 537

i (paper) + 122 + i (paper) folios on paper, watermark, crown with arch of two lines and pearls above a double-line cross, similar to Piccard 53009, Innsbruck 1494, 53044, Innsbruck 1488, and 16127, Innsbruck 1497, and one circle, ball with ribbon of one line, above star, one line, similar to Piccard 53266, Innsbruck 1497, original foliation in red Arabic numerals top outer corner recto, 11-132, modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, missing ff. 1-10, the first quire (collation, i-xi10 xii12), horizontal catchwords, inner lower margin beginning in quire four, leaf and quire signatures, with letters designating the quire and Arabic numerals the leaves, with the first three quires designated ‘b-d,’ and then beginning again with ‘a’ in the fourth quire, frame-ruled very lightly in lead with full-length vertical bounding lines only (justification, 125-120 x 85-80 mm.), written in current gothic script in twenty-nine to twenty-five long lines, some majuscules in text stroked with red, paragraph marks, underlining, and rubrics in red, two- to three-line red initials, some decoratively shaped, for example, ff. 31, 51, and 53, in very good condition, slight damage to the lower edge in the opening folios, generally almost pristine. Bound in modern vellum over pasteboard, in excellent condition apart from minor soiling. Dimensions, 165 x 110 mm.

This fascinating and learned collection of sermons dated 1497 is probably by a Dominican author, perhaps copied by a student at the University of Vienna or a Dominican house in Southern Germany or Austria. The sermons appear to be unpublished and unknown to modern scholars. They are noteworthy for the wide variety of sources cited and for the inclusion of exempla. One sermon is macronic, including both Latin and German, and there are also occasional marginal comments in German. Composed in the critical years just before the Reformation, these sermons will repay careful study.


1.The date on f. 24, “Applicatio sermonum aduentus anno etc. 1497”, records the date when the series of sermons included on ff. 1-23v were preached; this copy of the sermons must therefore date after 1497. Both watermarks, which are obscured by script and are difficult to discern accurately, were very widespread; however, they both occur in Innsbruck around 1497, and it seems likely that this manuscript was copied in Southern Germany or Austria not long after 1497, probably before ca. 1510.

The manuscript is now missing its first ten folios; it includes original foliation in red Arabic numerals, 11-132 (missing ff. 1-10v). This foliation is evidence that the entire contents of the manuscript as it is preserved here were present in the original manuscript. Nonetheless, textual and codicological evidence indicates that it was copied in two parts (but by the same scribe): ff. 1-29v, followed by a blank leaf, f. 30rv, and then ff. 31-122 (following modern foliation, that begins with f. 1); the quire signatures begin again here with ‘a,’ on f. 31, and the contents divide here as well (the first series of sermons are numbered 6-15, and the second series, which are not completely numbered, begin with sermon 2 and continue to the end with extracts from sermon 33.

There is no extant evidence that allows us to say with certainty where, or for what purpose, this manuscript was copied. The author of these sermons has not been identified, although textual evidence suggests that they may be by a Dominican (see discussion of text, below). This particular copy of the sermons seems to have been made by a very careful scribe, probably for his own use, but one who was aware that the manuscript might be used by other readers; for example, he notes at the end of the manuscript that this is the last quire (see f. 122v), and at the end of the first section, notes that his exemplar was faulty (see f. 27). Some of the sermons are labeled as extracts from the fuller text, evidence that the scribe was probably copying another manuscript – although it is also possible that this is the written version of sermons that the scribe had heard, or had consulted in an informal draft version. Passages are sometimes added in the margins, as on f. 83, or copied in a smaller script at the bottom of a page, as on f. 68v. The last folios are out of order because the scribe had not completed the last sermon when he reached the end of the quire, and he therefore used blank folios at the end of the previous text to finish this sermon. We can suggest that this manuscript was likely copied by a student, perhaps at a Dominican house of Studies, or at the University of Vienna.

2. Description of the manuscript and other notes by the historian Klaus Friedland (b.1920) to Herr Berghauptmann laid in.

3. Inside front cover, booksellers’ and owners’ annotations in pencil include, “35. Liber sermonum”, “M. 128” and a note attributing the text to Thomas Aquinas.


Folio numbers listed here refer to the modern foliation beginning with f. 1, and not the original foliation that now begins with f. 11.

[ff. 1-21, Sermons numbered 6-15 (lacking 1-5), all beginning with the same theme from Isaiah 19:20:]

ff. 1-5, Sermo 6 in die conceptionis, incipit, “Clamabunt ad dominum et mittet eis saluatorem qui liberet eos [Isaiah 19:20], Verba ista in christus amantissimi virginee innocentie cultores deuotissimi, ysa 19 sectione originali interpretatio. Incipiendo clarissime sermone themate sunt accepta …”;

ff. 5v-8v [f. 5, Sequitur sermo 7], incipit, “Clamabunt etc. vt supra. Ouidius 3 de tristibus, Ista decens facies longis vitiabitur …”;

ff. 9-10v, Sermo 8, incipit, “Clamabunt ad domino et mittet eis saluatorem qui liberet eos Ysaie 19 capitulo. Originale eum nunc quatuor excellentissimas mulieres uxores p patriarcham Adam abra. ysaac et Iacob. Euam saram reb. et rachael …”;

ff. 10v-12v, Sermo nonus, incpit, “Clamabunt ad etc. Bene in quodam sermone fidelius et sedulius rogarent ea que ad pacem sunt …”;

ff. 12v-13v, Sermo 10, incipit, “Clamabunt etc. ysa 19 capitulo. Henricus samariensis li 2. Nam mora denigrat donum meritumque …”;

Henry samariensis, or Henry de Septimello (fl. 1200), was a Latin poet.

ff. 13v-15v, Sermo undecimus, incipit, “Clamabunt etc. ut supra, sanctus Thomas 3 parte q. 35 ar. 8 habet 3 …”;

ff. 15v-17v, Sermo 12, incipit, “Clamabunt supra, Ysidorus li 4 ethimologiarum ca 2 tempora momentis horis diebus mensibus annis … anno mundi 3199 mense marco restat nunc … primus horaria angelice …”;

f. 17v, Sermo 13, incipit, “Clamabunt etc. Audito quoniam …”;

Note, f. 17v, line 9 of this sermon, citing Thomas Aquinas, OP (1225-1274), Ricardus de media villa, that is Richard of Middleton OFM (ca. 1249-1302), and Albertus magnus, OP (c. 12-6-1280).

ff. 17v-19v, Sermo 14, incipit, “Audito de missis angeli dignitate ordinali …”;

Note the question and response in this sermon, f. 18v, at the bottom of the page (“Queritur … Respondet ….”

ff. 20-21, Sermo 15, incipit, “Clamabunt etc. primus secundus tertius, Pars primo ex omnius …”;

[ff. 21v-23v, two unnumbered sermons:]

ff. 21v-23, Sermo de <…?>que fuit in dominica, incipit, “Uiuit dominus quoniam flii morte estis uos quia non custodistis dominum uestrum christum [1 Kings 26:16], Verba ista in christo amantissime pro temporis exigenciam deuotissimi christiani …”;

f. 23v, Sermo de nativitate domini, incipit, “Accipe puerum istum et nutri mihi ego tibi dabo mercedem tuam [Exodus 2:9]. Verba ista in christo a saluatoris natiuitate locum christiani exo. 2 ….”;

ff. 24-27, Applicatio sermonum aduentus anno etc 1494. Sermo primus, incipit, Clamabunt ad dominum et mittet eis saluationem qui liberet eos [Isaiah 19:20]. Verba ista in christo amantissimi saluatoris mundi expectione … ut in sermone primo. Qui virtutes vocabulorum ignorat da facili per …”, Sermo nonus, incipit, “Huius introductio ut sermone 4. Hoc ad. [ending abruptly, followed by the note in red, “Hic defectus est”]”;

Additional notes (here called an “applicatio” of the sermons) on sermons 1-9; note that the text appears to end abruptly, and the scribe added “hic defectus est” at the bottom of f. 27 in red, presumably pointing out a problem with his exemplar.

ff. 27v-29 [no rubrics or red within text], incipit, [E]grediatur sponsus de cubili suo Johel 2 [Joel 2:16], Der liebhabend holt selig sponsus solher auf gen …, Ista super locuta 3 …” [Ends mid f. 29v; remainder and f. 30rv, blank];

Lengthy sermon in Latin and German.

[ff. 31-122v, Sermons numbered 2-33:]

ff. 31-34v, Dominica prima <..?> sermo 2, incipit, “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], Hugo li. Secundo de claustro anime. Inter abusiones huius seculi sola est obstinacio senis qui morti pro . Mortis non abhorret aduentum qui quasi ad hostilium huius mundi …”;

ff. 34v-36, De Diuicos, incipit, Beatus diues qui inventus est sine macula .. ecclesiastici 11 et ibidem 31 [Ecclesiasticus 31:8], Quid enim communis fama …”;

ff. 36-37v, incipit, “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], <..?> in hystoriis quod fuit quidem multum diues Califfus de baldac qui fuit magnus dominus intus in fideles. Cum ergo esset obsessus adq rege in sua ciuitate baldac in cum haberet maximum thesaurum .. Sic secundum s. ieronimo … diuicie secundum Robertum holc. In librum sapientie et iob scilicet eternales, spirituales, temporales, et gloriose, virtuose et periculose …” [ends mid f. 37v; remainder blank];

f. 38, incipit, “Tertium, 3 cordialis nominate iam beato insecuto. Hec sunt profecto vere diuice pro quibus …;

One paragraph.

ff. 38-41v, incipit, “Penitentiam agite appropinquabit enim regnum celorum, Mt. 3 [Matthew 3:2], Porro saturi diuites quibus omnia ad succedunt … Nam fallacia diuiciarum suffocate …, Quam difficile diuites qui pecunias habent …”;

ff. 42-45, Sermo 6, incipit, “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], Salomon id est sapientissimus loquens de veris diuiciis, prov 10 ait …”;

ff. 45v-48v, Septimus, incipit, “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], Cum disponeret si dominus de ministris suis Levi 21c ait non in contaminare zu beflecken zu uiremein sanctuarium meum die heilig tempel stat. Super quo grecus in pasto. …”;

ff. 48v-50v, incipit “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], Lusor florus et seductorius …”;

ff. 51-52v, incipit, “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], Non contingit res addi putatciones ducere sed nominibus vitimur pro .. … Reuerte mei fili in alium sermonem interim autem per omnium obstinatorum peccatorum cordius emoliendis ex orate vt nobiscum hic omnes et in futuro …”:

Note headings within the sermon, f. 52, “Consilium”, and “O dura Obsinacio.”

ff. 53-56v, 10 sermo, incipit, “Aduc eum ad me quia filius mortis est, 1 Re. 20 [1 Reg 20:31], Auicena in libro mineralium, Spuma maris adherens littori aliquando in lapidem in durarcior. Dum non …:”

ff. 57-61v, Sermo 11, incipit, “Adduc eum etc. Nix dum primo cadit et lapsi est admodicum solis calorem potest resolui dum autem diu iacet tunc in glaciem insolubilem induratur et fit alabaster ..”;

ff. 61v-63v, 12, incipit, “Adduc eum etc. Legimus in tertius domini mortuos suscitatsse …, [f. 62v], “Desperatio, Maior est iniquitas mea quam .. Nota desperatione pessima. Primo ….”

ff. 63v-64v, Sequitur ex 13 sermone ..

ff. 64v-68v, Sermo 14, incipit, “Uiuit dominus quoniam filius mortis est vir qui fecit hoc 2 Re 12 [2 Kings 12:5], Papa leo in sermone qui incipit inter omnia et … O Iuda et infelicior omnibus …”;

ff. 68v-69v, Ex 15, De amicicia nota, incipit, “Narrrat valerius maximus li 4 ca de amicia, Heret amicus quam ante christi natives [sic] circa annos 340 fuerunt duo amicicia iuncti damon et pinthias …”;

ff. 69v-70, De Iusticia nota, incipit, “Seniores igitur quia virtutes …”;

ff. 70rv, Ex 19 …, incipit, “Vnde iob 1 … In refectorio religiosorum omnes exigent iustitcie …”;

ff. 71-73, incipit, Si vis ad vitam ingredi serua mandata, Mt. 19[:17], Quoniam autem seruabit nisi sciat ergo et scire tenetur …”;

Marginal note, f. 71, indicates the usefulness of this sermon on the ten commandments for instruction in preparation for confession.

ff. 73-75, incipit, “Maledicti qui declinant a mandates tuis ps. 118[:21], Et plane maledicti …”;

ff. 75-77v, 19, incipit,“Vivit dominus quoniam filius mortis est vir qui fecit hoc 2 Re 12 [2 Kings 12:5], Primum quoniam preceptor …”;

ff. 77v-80v, 20, incipit, “Da mihi domine sedium tuarum…. [Wisdom 9:4], Quare autem nominee multis designator … Prima est nominalis quia tam philosophia apud grecos [citing Robert Holcot] …”;

Continuing with sermons, ff. 80v-81; ff. 81v-83v [22] ff. 84-86 [23];ff. 86v-88 [24]; ff. 88-89v [25];

ff. 90rv, Applicatio 20 sermonem, incipit, “Primum est ..., Primo electio, entlich vser welt …”;

ff. 91-93v, 26 de die festo, incpit, “Vivit dominus, etc. De aqua pluuiali accenda li. 1 …”;

Continuing with sermons, ff. 93v-96 [27], ff. 96v-99 [28, pro sabbato]; ff. 99-101v [29]; ff. 102-103v [30, de sancte cruce ador].

ff. 104-107, incipit, “Ego sum panis vivus qui de celo descendi Ioh 6 [John 6:510, Finis ut continentur eligibilior est his que sunt ad finem 3 .. Unde melios est messis …” [Ending bottom f. 107; f. 107v, blank];

Continuing with sermons, ff. 108-110v [possibly the continuation of an earlier sermon]; ff. 110v-111v, [32];

ff. 112-120, Applicationes, …;

f. 122rv, ff. 120v-121v, Ex 33 et ultimo, incipit, “Vivit dominis etc. Cum homine tardaverat filius meus …”, Amen finis.

The manuscript now includes forty-two sermons by an unidentified author (it is missing the first five sermons it once included). The sermons have not been identified in either the Repertorium of sermons dating from 1150-1350 by Schneyer (Schneyer,1969-1990), or in its continuation, which lists sermons from 1350-1550 (Hödl and Knoch, 2001), and it therefore seems likely that they have not been published, or indeed, studied by modern scholars.

There is no evidence that allows us to attribute these sermons to a particular author, although careful study of the text would certainly shed further light on this question. Nonetheless, the sophistication of the text, especially the broad range of sources cited, ranging from Dominican theologians including Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, and Robert Holcot, to the classical authors Ovid and Valerius Maximus and the early thirteenth-century poet, Henricus de Septimello and others, including Isidore, and Hugh Foliot, certainly suggest that the author was very well educated, and most likely studied, or was studying theology at a university. The university context is also suggested by the marginal numbers indicating the “articles” within the sermons, as well as the inclusion of a “question” and response on f. 18v.

The combination of these sophisticated references, with the macronic nature of the text – the sermon on ff. 27v-29v, is in Latin and German, and there are a few other German phrases within the text or in the margins, as well as the presence of exempla (for example, ff. 40v, 42v, 43v) – suggest that these may have been by a Dominican author, someone who was certainly learned, but someone who was also interested in popular preaching. The sermon on f. 71 is an example of a sermon on the Ten Commandments, which is labeled as particularly suited for preparing people for confession.

This is an unusual collection of sermons. It consists of two groups of sermons; the first group, now found on ff. 1-21, numbered as sermons 6-15, all begin with the same theme from Isaiah 19:20. The majority of the sermons in the second group, which includes sermons numbered 2-33, also include the same theme, in this case from 1 Kings 20:31 (although there is some variation in the theme of the sermons in this second group. Long series of sermons on the same theme is certainly unusual (and this writer knows no comparable texts). Many of the sermons in the second section discuss the same concept, riches or wealth. Equally distinctive are the sections within the manuscript labeled “applicatio”, which seem to be additions, or further applications on the sermons included.


Bériou, Nicole. “Les Sermons latins après 1200”, in Beverly Mayne Kienzle, ed. The Sermon, Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental, 81-83, Turnhout, Brepols, 2000.

Hödl, L. and W. Knoch. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1350 bis 1500 nach den Vorarbeiten von J.B. Schneyer, CD-ROM edition, Münster, Aschendorff, 2001.

Longère, Jean. La prédication médiévale, Paris, Etudes augustiniennes, 1983.

Schiewer, Hans-Jochen. “German Sermons in the Middle Ages”, in Beverly Mayne Kienzle, ed. The Sermon, Typologie des sources, 81-83, Turnhout, Brepols, 2000.

Schneyer, Johann Baptist. Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters für die Zeit von 1150–1350, Münster, 1969–1990.

Taylor, Larissa. Preachers and People in the Reformations and Early Modern Period, Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2001.

Online resources

Piccard Online

Manuscripta mediaevalia (online catalogue of manuscripts in German Libraries)

Sermones.net: Édition électronique d’un corpus de sermons latins médiévaux

Medieval Sermons and Homilies; Bibliography, by Professor Charles Wright, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

John M. Howe, Texas Tech University, Sermons; Bibliography