DCL MS. B.I.6Thomas Aquinas, On Peter Lombard's Sentences
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences, written in England at the end of 13th or start of 14th century.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1mvd66w002w.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: iv+336+ii f
Size: 350 mm x 235 mm


Foliated in modern pencil (omitting three leaves: between 264 and 265; 274 and 275; 289 and 290).

Secundo folio: quod quamuis signo

Preliminary leaves (i+ii)2, I-XX12, XXI8, XXII-XXVII12, XXVIII8, XXIX2 (the second leaf a raised pastedown)

Condition of manuscriptParchment: quires I-XXI: modest to low quality with pronounced contract between H/F sides, the former yellow and follicle marked; flaws. Quires XXII-XXIX: conspicuously poor with numerous imperfections, variations in thickness and texture, a more glaring H/F contrast, and numerous original repairs. Arranged FH, HF throughout. Half of f.i has been lost; f.ii-2 are weathered and dirty, their lower corner scuffed. Many pages are cockled; some (e.g. 132+133) display additional localised crinkling. Blobs of wax on f.201r; worm holes in final leaves.

Codicologically the volume comprises two main parts - quires I-XXI (f.1-248), and XXII-XXIX (f.249-327) – that are distinguished by parchment, preparation and scribal hands, plus a coeval appended quire (XXX), and a bifolium (f.i+ii) that was prefixed at an early date. Whether the two main parts were broadly contemporary or separated by up to a couple of decades is an open question.

Text-block. Quires I-XXI: 248 x 172 mm; two columns (width, 80 mm); 52 lines (space, 5-6 mm; height of minims, 2 mm). Quires XXII-XXIX: 252 x 165 mm; two columns (width, 78 mm); lines variable – 54, 46, 51, 51, 49, 56, 55, 57 respectively.

Pricking: knife (quires I-XXI prickings generally survive in upper and lower margins only, in quires XXII-XXIX they often survive in the outer margin too; on f.248 only, prickings for the horizontals appear on the outer vertical).
Ruling: quires I-XXI generally ink. Single verticals flank both columns (two in total in the intercolumnar space); occasionally a further vertical in the outer margin (e.g. f.118r). No horizontal regularly extended; all run across the intercolumnar space; until f.125r and then from f.268v there are regularly extra horizontals (often in pairs, but sometimes one or three) in the upper and lower margins. Quires XXII-XXX, ink and lead. Single verticals flank both columns, an extra vertical in the outer margin; first three, middle three and bottom three horizontals extended; a further pair of horizontals in the upper margin.


Written by 4 scribes:
1: f.i-ii item (a) Anglicana cursiva
2a: f.1r-124v, col. 1, line 23; f.328r-331v, col. 1, line 18. A Textualis semi-quadrata-Anglicana hybrid in which the former predominates. Possibly also responsible for stint 2b. Note the scribal invocation in the margin above the start of the text on f.1r: Assit principio sancta maria meo.
2b: f.124v, col. 1, line 23 - f.248r, col. 2, line 23. Textualis-Anglicana hybrid in which the latter predominates. Possibly less formal writing by scribe 2a.
3: f.248r, col. 2, line 23 - f.327v; f.331v, col. 1, line 19 - f.332v. Anglicana formata, variable. Starts assimilated to the style of 2b but rapidly resolves to a distinctive manner. Number of hands uncertain, possibly one - the variations in aspect (most noticeable at 260/261) are exaggerated by the alterations in line-count and hence in the size and spacing of the letters.


Scribe 2 was responsible for the entries up to Distinctio 42 on f.331v, scribe 3 for those thereafter – the point at which he took over in the main text. Each block in the stint of scribe 1 is headed by a title in red (‘Distinctio I’ etc.) flagged by a blue paraph; the first letter of each article entry is stroked in red. In the stint of scribe 2 each block of entries is headed by a blue initial flourished in red; there is no rubric, nor red stroking. All the entries by scribe 2 (1-775: corresponding to the numbering in the margins of the main text) plus the first 15 by scribe 3 (776-790 - unmarked in the main text) were numbered in a continuous sequence by a later hand.


(b), f.1r, is headed by a 4-line high initial “M” done in red and blue, with red and blue penwork waterfalls extending across the upper and down the inner margin. Distinctions and questions are headed by blue initials, 2+ lines high, flourished in red; subdivisions are marked by paraphs, alternately red then blue. The blue used in scribe 3’s stint is consistently lighter than that in scribe 2’s.

Running heading gives the Distinctio number. Continuous numbering (1-775) added to the margins, 14th century, up to f.248r (throughout the stint(s) of scribe 2a+b but no further).


Bound in Durham by by Waghorn between 1720-40. Pasteboard, covered in calf, blind-tooled with an inner frame having projecting fleuron corner-pieces; gold armorial of the Dean and Chapter of Durham subsequently stamped at the centre of both boards; 5 slightly raised bands; 2 metal clasps.
Rust-stained hole in f.i and ii, lower centre from the fixture for a chain staple on an earlier binding. Rust stained hole in ii, fore-edge, from the fixture of a clasp. Small rust stains, principally in a line parallel to the spine, on f.338 and 337 from pins that securing lacing into board channels. f.333v bears traces of former turnovers.

Manuscript history

Written in England, 13th/14th century.


Annotations by Thomas of Westoe, monk of Durham approximately 1272-1321, f.126r, 144r, 329r-v (i.e. confined to the stint of scribe(s) 2a+b).
“N.”, 14th century, f.1r, top right. “Thomas super 4m Sentenciarum Assignatus communi armariolo Dunelm′”, start 15th century, f.1r, top; to which “cum tabula” was added, 15th/16th century, by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham.
“1a 6ti S”, 15th century, f.1r, top right.
In Cloister catalogue.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.iv-iiv
Modern title: Tabula for (b)
Date: Added early 14th century
Language: Latin

Starts imperfectly, owing to the loss of the outer half of f.i. Set out in four columns per page, the entries (each headword underlined) are in alphabetical order, with some inconsistencies within letter groupings, a display initial marking the start of each letter group. Reference is by distinction and question.
f.ir, blank.

(b)     f.1r-332v
Original title: Super librum Sententiarum IV
Author: Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274
Incipit: ex peccato primi hominis humanum genus duo incurrerat, scilicet mortem et infirmitatem
Explicit: ut sic ei deo incipiens eius doctrina, etiam terminetur in deo qui est principium, a quo omnia, et finis ad quem omnia terminantur. Cui est honor et gloria in secula seculorum. Amen
Rubric: Misit uerbum suum et seruauit eos
Language: Latin

Edited: Moos 1947, distinctiones 1-22
Edited: Aquinas 1858, distinctiones 23-50
Dondaine and Shooner, p.252 no. 676

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

Digitised material for Durham Cathedral Library MS B.I.6 - Thomas Aquinas on Peter Lombard's Sentences
Digitised October 2018 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]).

Dondaine, H-F. and Shooner, H. V., Codices manuscripti operum Thomae de Aquino   OCLC citation (Roma: Commissio leonina, 1967-1982)

Sancti Thomae Aquinatis ... Opera omnia. 7,2, Commentum in quatuor libros sententiarium: volumen secundum pars altera   OCLC citation (Parma: Fiaccadori, 1858)

Moos, M. F., ed., S. Thomae Aquinatis Scriptum super libros Sententiarum magistri Petri Lombardi episcopi Parisiensis   OCLC citation, v.4 (Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1947)

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