DCL MS. A.III.16Old Testament: Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, Esther, glossed
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Old Testament: Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, Esther, glossed

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2msb397826w.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: iii+88+i f
Size: 290 mm x 215 mm


Modern pencil foliation.

Secundo folio: Rabb' Omnis sa

flyleaves singleton and bifolium containing a singleton, I1+8 (a regular 8, to which f.5 was prefixed), II-IX8, X10, flyleaves bifolium.


Written by several hands:


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)

A strip of the original cover (?from the spine) has been mounted between f.1 and 2: white (now discoloured); 42 x 210 mm; inscribed in a late 12th century hand, //Ihς filius syrac. lib′ magistri Roberti de dunelmo, Contra bibliothecam//, with the press-mark A.III.16 added in 18th century, written at right-angles to the original inscription. Impressions from the turnovers of an earlier binding are visible on f.1.

Manuscript history

Written in Northern France, later 12th century. The core of the volume comprises three coeval, matching parts: (A) quires I-VI, f.6-53, Ecclesiasticus; (B) quires VII-IX, f.54-77, Tobit, Judith; (C) quireX, f. 78-87, Esther – which were brought together almost immediately and augmented with prefaces and capitula lists.


Robert of Addington/Haddington. List of his books written on f.2v. This volume identifiable as the Ecclesiasticus, et tobias et iudith et hester in uno on his book-list. Robert of Haddington, a student in Paris who returned with his library, some 38 volumes, which he donated to the priory. He appears, described as magister, as a witness to a number of Durham charters in the 1190s (see Mynors, p.78-9).

Inscription: liber Sancti Cuthberti, f.2r, top, early 14th century; to which de le splendement was added, by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham c.1483-1539.

Pressmark .B., mid 14th century, f.2r, top left. .B., late 14th century, f.6r, top right. Ecclesiasticus .glo., early 15th century, f.6r, top left.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.2v
Modern title: List of the books deposited by Robert de Ędnt' at Saint-Victor
Date: late 12th century
Incipit: ¶Hii, sunt libri magistri Roberti de Ędnt′, repositi apud sanctum victorem / Bibliotheca tota in xlviii quaternis. Genesis glosata. Exodus, uterque per se. leuiticus et numeri in uno uolumine … liber de uita et miraculis Sancti Cuthberti. psalterium cum himpnario et canticis monachalibus. Rotula historiarum. Distinctiones de psalterio tam secundum decanum Meldensem quam secundum cantorem parisiensem
Language: Latin

Various faint notes also on f.1-4

Edited: Mynors, p.78
Cited: de Hamel, p.51
(b)     f.5r
Modern title: Prologue to Ecclesiasticus
Date: late 12th century
Incipit: Multorum nobis et magnorum per lege et prophetas
Explicit: proposuerint uitam agere
Rubric: Incipit prefacio in librum iesu filii sirach
Language: Latin

(b) and (c) were contemporary (late 12th century) supplements, written by the same scribe on a singleton that was prefixed to (d).

(c)     f.5r-5v
Modern title: Capitula List for Ecclesiasticus
Date: late 12th century
Incipit: .i. Omnis sapientia a deo domino est
Explicit: cxxvii. Oratio salomonis
Language: Latin

(b) and (c) were contemporary (late 12th century) supplements, written by the same scribe on a singleton that was prefixed to (d).

SECTION: (A)    
(d)     f.6r-52v
Modern title: Ecclesiasticus, glossed
Incipit: Omnis sapientia a domino deo est
Explicit: et dabit uobis mercedem uestram in tempore suo
Language: Latin
(e)     f.53r
Modern title: Preface to Tobit
Date: added late 12th or early 13th century
Incipit: De bonis operibus thobie et quia idolatriam spreuit
Explicit: et quia eius progenies in bona uita permansit
Language: Latin

Added to originally blank last leaf of quire VI.

(f)     f.53r-53v
Modern title: Capitula List for Judith
Date: added late 12th or early 13th century
Incipit: Arphaxat rex iudeorum superatis multis gentibus
Explicit: Iudith quoque expletis centum xxv annis fine optimo uitam conclusit
Language: Latin

20 unnumbered entries. Added to originally blank last leaf of quire VI.

SECTION: (B)    
(g)     f.54r-63v
Modern title: Tobit, glossed
Incipit: Chromatio et heliodoro episcopis; iheronimus presbiter in domino salutem
Explicit: ex cunctis habantibus terram. Explicit liber tobie
Language: Latin
(h)     f.63v-77r
Modern title: Judith, glossed
Incipit: Apud hebreos liber iudith inter agyographa legitur
Explicit: usque in presentem diem
Language: Latin
(i)     f.77v
Modern title: Capitula list for Esther
Date: added late 12th or early 13th century
Incipit: De conuiuio assueri regis
Explicit: Exemplar epistole pro iudeis directe
Language: Latin
SECTION: (C)    
(j)     f.78r-85r
Modern title: Esther (1.1-10.3), glossed
Incipit: Librum hester uariis translatoribus constat esse uitiatum
Explicit: et loquens ea que ad pacem seminis sui pertinerent
Language: Latin
(k)     f.85v-86v
Modern title: Esther (10.4-13.8)
Incipit: Que habentur in hebreo plena fide expressi
Explicit: eo quod eis certa mors
Language: Latin

Stops at the bottom of 86v, one word before the end of 13.18.

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. A.III.16 - Old Testament: Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith, Esther, glossed
Digitised September 2016 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project Pages with marginalia not visible in the image because they are too far into the gutter: Recto: 12r, 14r, 25r, 31r, 32r, 40r, 41r, 42r, 60r, 74r, 78r Verso: 9v, 17v, 18v, 22v, 25v


de Hamel, Christopher, Glossed books of the Bible and the origins of the Paris book trade   OCLC citation, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, England: Boydell Press, 1984)

Mynors, R.A.B., 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)

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