DCL MS. B.III.1Origen, Homilies on Old Testament
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Manuscript codex containing Latin translations of Homilies of Origen on books of the Old Testament, written in Normandy and among the books given to Durham Priory by William of St Calais before 1096.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1m2b88qc18x.html

Physical description of manuscript

Parchment: fairly even toned but some hair sides with prominent follicle marks (e.g. f.51v+52r, 81v+81*r, 120v+125r). Arranged HF, FH. Parchment tab, inscribed with an “X” attached to f.96.

Extent: i+208+i f
Size: 350 mm x 250 mm


Modern foliation of medieval leaves: i-iii, 1-44, 44*-81, 81*-134, 134*-202 (a first foliation in ink in Arabic numerals was started on the first leaf of the text proper and overlooked three leaves now indicated with *; the omitted leaves were subsequently foliated in pencil.

Secundo folio: actus qui

Preliminaries (f.i-iii)3 (singleton, followed by a bifolium), I-XXV8, XVI5 (6 with leaf 6, probably blank, lost or cancelled).

Signatures: Signed in Roman numerals on final verso, centre (only “xviii” on f.141v and “xix” on f.149v (cropped) survive, plus a trace on f.63v).

Condition of manuscriptFire (?candle) and water damage to top of f.106-202.

Written area: 270 x 175 mm. Two columns (width: 75 mm). Lines: 39, except the capitula lists, f.ii-iii, where 40 (space, 6-7 mm; height of minims, 2 mm). Pricking: awl (generally only survives in the lower margin). Ruling: hard point on each hair side. Double verticals flank each column (three in total in the intercolumnar space); first, third, last and antepenultimate horizontals extended. In the Capitula lists (f.ii-iii): verticals as in main body of book, but first three and the last one (f.ii) or two (f.iii) horizontals extended.


All the original text (f.iiv-202r: items (a)-(l)) is by a single hand, writing an early Protogothic of Norman type. The same scribe wrote DCL MS B.III.10 and also appears in MSS destined for Jumièges, Exeter and St Albans. Neat corrections by a contemporary hand that also corrected DCL MS A.II.4 and DCL MS B.III.16. Item (m), transitional Protogothic-Textualis libraria. Running headings added to many of the rectos in late medieval hands.


Decorated initial, 27 lines high, heads (b): letter-shape formed from interlace and foliage, with beast-head terminals and a beast mask straddling the stem; done in red, green and black against a blue ground. The same artist reappears in DCL MS B.III.10. Individual homilies within (b), the incipits of subsequent items (including the fragmentary (l)), and the main subdivisions within them are all headed by an arabesque initial, 5+ lines high. Their basic letter shape is generally defined in a single colour (red, blue, or green) with simple embellishment in the other two colours. The rest of the first line of text is normally written in Rustic Capitals in ordinary ink, the letters stroked in red, yellow and green. The very small space reserved for the initial at the start of (m) was never filled.


Standard Tuckett binding, mid 19th century full brown calf over thick wooden boards (Charles Tuckett, binder to the British Museum, rebound many Durham Manuscripts in the 19th century)

Manuscript history

Written in France, Normandy, before 1096.


Inscription: “.Liber sancti Cuthberti de Dunelmo”, later 12th century, f.1r, top right. “Origenes super uetus testamentum -?-”, very heavily cropped, start 15th century, f.1r. “P.Q.”, very heavily cropped, 15th century, f.1r, top right. 15th/16th century additions to original contents list, f.iiv-iiiv, ?by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham c.1483-1539. One of the books given to Durham Priory by William of St Calais. Cited in list of books donated by St Calais, in mid 12th century catalogue and Cloister catalogue.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.iiv-iiir
Modern title: Capitula Lists
Incipit: Incipit Omelia prima. In principio creauit deus celum et terram
Explicit: Item alia omelia.
Rubric: Incipiunt Capitula libri Genesis
Language: Latin

The capitula for each of the texts to In Jeremiam are by the main scribe of the book - with several original corrections in rasura; “Super Ezechielem” was appended by a late medieval hand. The folio on which each section starts was inserted by the hand responsible for the ink foliation, which also added “homiliae duae p. 196” to the appended entry “super Ezechielem”.

(b)     f.1r-30v
Original title: In Genesim Homiliae
Author: Origen
Rufinus, of Aquileia, 345-410
Incipit: In principio fecit deus
Explicit: sunt querere; et deus erit semper nobiscum, per iesum christum etc.
Rubric: Incipit tractatus Origenis in Vetus Testamentum
Language: Latin

16 numbered homilies

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6170
(c)     f.30v-60v
Original title: In Exodum homiliae
Author: Origen
Rufinus, of Aquileia, 345-410
Incipit: Sciendum es primo quod in singulis quibusque locis
Explicit: et aptare possimus et componere, atque ex his adornare tabernaculum deo Jacob. Per christum etc.
Rubric: Incipit explanatio de benedictionibus patriarcharum Omelia i
Language: Latin

13 numbered homilies. The first homily (f.30v-35v) is a composite from Ps.-Origen, Homelia XVII In Genesim, Rufinus,De benedictionibus patriarcharum, and Origen, In Exodum homelia I

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6171
Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6174
(d)     f.60v-105v
Original title: In Leviticum homeliae
Author: Origen
Rufinus, of Aquileia, 345-410
Incipit: Sicut in novissimis diebus verbum dei ex maria carne uestitum processit in hunc mundum
Explicit: iugum fidei et caritatis et spei ac totius snctitatis imposuit. Ipsi gloria in eternum secula seculorum. Amen
Rubric: Incipit exposition origenis In Leviticum. Omelia i. De eo quod scriptum est, Si homo munus offeret deo.
Language: Latin

16 numbered homilies. in Homily 14, the text “Verum quoniam sentetiam apostoli proposuimus … secundum isaie uerbum et inquinamenta oris incurrunt” (the equivalent of a column and a third on f.100v) has been boxed round in red. f.106 blank.

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6176
(e)     f.106v-137r
Original title: In Joshue homeliae
Author: Origen
Rufinus, of Aquileia, 345-410
Incipit: In divinis voluminibus refertur quod ad constructionem templi
Explicit: ex lapidibus uiuis que est ecclesia dei uiuentis, et ubi est uerus israel, in christo iesu domino nostro per quem est deo patri honor et Gloria etc.
Rubric: Incipit premium expositionis originis in iesum naue
Language: Latin

Rufinus’s Prefatory Letter to Chromatius and 26 numbered homilies.

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6181
(f)     f.137r-146v
Original title: In Judices homeliae
Author: Origen
Rufinus, of Aquileia, 345-410
Incipit: Lector quidem presentis lectionis ita legebat
Explicit: concinentes, et clamantes ad deum, ut ab ipso uictoriam consequi mereamur in christo iesu domino nostro, cui est gloria etc
Rubric: Incipit exposition origenis in librum iudicum. Omelia prima de eo quod scriptum est et servivit populus domini
Language: Latin

8 numbered homilies.

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6183
(g)     f.147r-151v
Original title: Homilia in I Reges (De Helcana et Phenenna)
Author: Origen
Rufinus, of Aquileia, 345-410
Incipit: Non tunc tantummodo deus plantauit paradisum sed donec stat uita martalium
Explicit: sed deo qui me a mortuis suscitauit, ut in nouitate uite ambulem, In christo iesu domino nostro, cui est gloria etc.
Rubric: Incipit omelia IX. In Regnorum de Helchana et Fenenna et Anna et Samuhel et Heli et Opni [corrected to Ofni] et Finees
Language: Latin

Numbered as a continuation of item (f).

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6185
(h)     f.151v-158v
Original title: In Cantica Canticorum
Author: Origen
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420
Incipit: Quomodo didicimus per moysen esse quedam non solum sancta sed et sancta sanctorum
Explicit: Quapropter consurgentes deprecemur \dominum/ ut digni efficianur sponsi sermione, sapientia iesu, cui est gloria etc.
Rubric: Incipit omelia ia In Cantica Canticorum usque ad eum locum in quo ait quo ad usque Rex veniat in Recvbitv svo.
Language: Latin

2 numbered homilies

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6199
(i)     f.158v-169v
Original title: In Isaiam homeliae
Author: Origen
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420
Incipit: Quam diu ozias rex uixit, non potuit uisionem uidere isaias propheta
Explicit: per singular oper, et efficeris filius dei in Christo iesu cui est Gloria etc.
Rubric: Incipit omelia I in isaia, de eo quod scriptum est, quamdiu ozias \rex/ viv\x/it.
Language: Latin

9 numbered homilies.

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6202
(j)     f.169v-196r
Original title: In Jeremiam homeliae
Author: Origen
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420
Incipit: Deus ad benefaciendum promptus est, ad puniendos eos qui poena digni sunt
Explicit: docens in commune populum suum omnipotentem \dominum/ cum christo iesu cui est gloria etc.
Rubric: Incipit expositio origenis in ieremia\m/, omelia prima
Language: Latin

14 numbered homilies only

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6204
(k)     f.196r-202r
Original title: In Ezechielem homiliae II
Author: Origen
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420
Incipit: Magnum est quidem amice quod postulas
Explicit: et consurreximus ei. Non ergo resurrexerunt hoc est. ...
Rubric: Incipit expositio Origenis in ezechielem, Omelia Prima
Language: Latin

Homily I (f.196r-200v) complete; Homily II (f.200v-202r) breaks off unfinished.

Citation: Stegmüller RBMA 6208
(l)     f.202r
Modern title: Homily fragment
Incipit: Rogo vos fratres karissimi ut non moleste recipiatis nec superfluos
Language: Latin

Starts following a two-line gap for rubric (not supplied) immediately after the imperfect end of (k), written in the same hand and headed by an arabesque initial.

(m)     f.202v
Original title: Quod non sum hereticus
Author: Origen
Jerome, Saint, -419 or 420
Date: Added late 12th century
Incipit: [Q]uidam eorum qui libenter habent criminari proximos suos
Explicit: falsum testimonium uel dicens, uel dicentibus credens
Language: Latin

Microfilmed in 1985/86 by the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, St John's Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota. Copies held by them and Durham University Library.

Digitised material for Durham Cathedral Library MS. B.III.1 Origen, Old Testament homilies
Digitised April 2015 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project


Catalogi veteres librorum Ecclesiae cathedralis dunelm. Catalogues of the library of Durham cathedral, at various periods, from the conquest to the dissolution, including catalogues of the library of the abbey of Hulne, and of the mss.   OCLC citation, Surtees Society 7, (London: J.B. Nichols and Son, [1838]).

Mynors, R., Durham Cathedral manuscripts to the end of the twelfth century. Ten plates in colour and forty-seven in monochrome. With an introduction [including a list of all known Durham manuscripts before 1200]   OCLC citation, (Durham: 1939)

Stegmüller, Friedrich, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi   OCLC citation, (Madrid: 1950-1980)

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