DCL MS. A.I.4Nicholas of Lyra, Postilla litteralis (on Job, Psalms, Canonical Epistles, Acts, Apocalypse)
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Nicholas of Lyra, Postilla litteralis (on Job, Psalms, Canonical Epistles, Acts, Apocalypse), written in Durham in the 1380s. Companion volume to DCL MS A.I.4.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1m9019s252t.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: ii+229+i f
Size: 435 mm x 290 mm


Modern pencil foliation runs 1-26, 26A (the part-leaf slip), 27-228, with some initial misnumbering and renumbering from 50-59 and 135-9.

Secundo folio: quamuis essent

I-III8, IV9 (=8 with a slip [f.26A] inserted after leaf 2), IV-XVIII8, XVIII-XIX10, XX-XXVII8

Composed of two matching, contemporary parts: quires I-XIX, f.1-156 and quires XX-XXVII, f.157-228.

Signatures: Contemporary signatures on all quires bar XIX and XXVII. There are two sets of leaf lettering-numbering in the first half of most quires, one part of a continuous sequence in a single hand that runs throughout the book, the other changing by scribe.

Written in two columns (width 96 mm). 60 lines. Text-block: 305 x 204 mm.


Part I (f.1-156) was shared between three scribes; part II (f.157-228) was entirely by scribe 2.

Scribe 1: f.1r-26v, 27r-76v (quires I-IX and part of X). Textualis quadrata, sometimes semi-quadrata, rectilinear; calligraphic elaboration of sentence capitals; also responsible for some corrections in rasura. Citations underlined in red; some deletion in red; running headings in red to 48v (end of quire VI). The hand of William le Stiphel, as confirmed by the signature stiphel at the end of the stint (f.76v, lower margin, centre).

Scribe 2: f.77r-90v/column 1; f.157r-228r (parts of quire X and XII, all of quire XI and XX-XXVII). Textualis, semi-quadrata, grand in scale but poorly controlled. From f.77r-88v (quires X-XI) and again from f.221r-228r (quire XXVII), citations are underlined in red, and some deletions are done in red; otherwise in ordinary ink. No running headings on f.77r-90v; red running headings throughout 157r-228r. The hand of le berby, as attested by the signatures le Berwby on f.90v (below col. 1 where his stint ends) and le borwby on f.228r (ending the colophon).

Scribe 3: f.26A, 90v/column 2-156r. Textualis semi-quadrata. Citations underlined in black ink. In the work of this scribe alone, paraphs, alternately blue then red, mark subdivisions.


(a) and (b) are headed by a red and blue initial, 12 lines high, flourished in both colours; amplified by red and blue extensions on three sides of the page, their flourishing extending along the fourth side. (c 1) and (c 2), (d)’s preface and incipit, and (e)’s incipit are marked by blue initials, 6 + lines high, flourished in red. Items (c 3)-(c 7) are headed by blue initials, 3+ lines high, flourished in red; so too are chapters in (a), (c), (d) and (e) and the start of each psalm in (b).


Bound in Durham by Waghorn, 18th century. Pasteboard boards covered in calf; decorated with two rolled rectangles, the outer one with fleuron corner-pieces; the innermost and outermost zones speckled to be darker; 2 metal clasps; gilt armorial of Durham Cathedral subsequently applied to the centre of both boards (presumably by Tucketts).

Manuscript history

Written in England, Durham, 1380s).


Payments in subsidium libro scribendo qui dicitur Lyra are recorded in Durham Feretrar’s accounts for 1383-4 and 1384-5 relating to DCL MS A.I.3 and the present volume. William le Stiphel (scribe 1) is documented at Finchale in 1381.

M (crossed through), 14th/15th century, f.1r, top left. Nicholaus de lira super Iob psalterium epistolas canonicas Actus apostolorum et Apocalipsim De communi libraria monachorum dunelm', early 15th century, f.1r, top.

Pressmark: 1 2i N, 15th century, f.1r, top right.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1r-35r
Original title: In Iob
Author: Nicholas, of Lyra, approximately 1270-1349
Incipit: Pacienciam habe in me et omnia reddam tibi.
Explicit: quibus perductus est ad futuram gloriam que perdurat in secula seculorum amen.
Language: Latin

The inserted slip, f.26A, contains the commentary on 23.24 (from libera eum) to 23.30 (luce uiuentium), replacing the defective original copy that it faces.

Cited: Stegmüller, 5851
(b)     f.35v-156r
Original title: In Psalmos
Author: Nicholas, of Lyra, approximately 1270-1349
Incipit: Quamuis liber psalmorum apud hebreos inter agyographia computetur
Explicit: Ad quam laudem nos perducat qui cum spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat deus per omnia secula seculorum.
Language: Latin

Occasional gaps within text, generally corresponding to a correction. f.156v, blank.

Cited: Stegmüller, 5853
(c)     f.157r-176v
Original title: In Epistolas Canonicas
(c 1)     f.157r-161v
Modern title: James
Incipit: Quatuor sunt minima terre
Explicit: a deo punienda pena eterna et sic ab eo recipietur in gloria ad quam nos perducat qui cum patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat in secula seculorum amen.
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5916
(c 2)     f.161v-166r
Modern title: Peter I
Incipit: Petrus apostolus. Hec est secunda pars principalis huius libri
Explicit: incorporati sibi per fidem.
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5917
(c 3)     f.166r-169v
Modern title: Peter II
Incipit: Symon petrus. Hic incipit secunda petri epistola quam scripsit
Explicit: et in diem eternitatis id est sine fine amen.
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5918
(c 4)     f.169v-174v
Modern title: John I
Incipit: Quod fuit ab inicio, hic incipit tertia pars principalis huius libri
Explicit: in cultu unius ueri dei in separabiliter permanere.
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5919
(c 5)     f.174r-175r
Modern title: John II
Incipit: postquam beatus Johannes in epistola prima
Explicit: tamen iste uersus non est in libris correctis.
Rubric: Incipit epistola Iohannis 2a. Senior electe domine
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5920
(c 6)     f.175r
Modern title: John III
Incipit: Hec epistola sicut et precedens diuiditur in tres partes
Explicit: que est quedam inchoatio future felicitatis ad quam nos perducat qui uiuit et regnat in secula seculorum Amen.
Rubric: Senior gaio.
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5921
(c 7)     f.175v-176v
Modern title: Jude
Incipit: hic incipit epistola beati iude apostoli
Explicit: qua talia facit est eterna. Amen.
Rubric: Iudas iesu christi seruus
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5922
(d)     f.176v-204r
Original title: In Actus apostolorum
Author: Nicholas, of Lyra, approximately 1270-1349
Incipit: Repleti sunt omnes spiritu sancto et ceperunt loqui, Actus secundo. Sicut lex euangelica per christum deum et hominem
Explicit: per martirii palmam transiret ad gloriam ad quam mps [erducat qui cum patre et spiritu sancto uiuit et regnat in secula seculorum, amen.
Rubric: Prologus in Actus Apostolorum
Language: Latin
Cited: Stegmüller, 5901
(e)     f.204r-228r
Original title: In Apocalypsim
Author: Nicholas, of Lyra, approximately 1270-1349
Incipit: Oportet te iterum porphetare populis et gentibus, apoc' x, sicut dixi in principio genesis
Explicit: oratio pro omnibus fidelibus cum dicitur, gratia domini nostri iesu christi nobiscum omnibus amen.
Language: Latin

f. 228v, blank

Cited: Stegmüller, 5923

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 A.I.4 - Nicholas of Lyra Postilla litteralis (Job, Psalms, Canonical Epistles)
Digitised April 2018 as part of the Durham Priory Library Recreated project (dates on images incorrect)


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]).

Stegmüller, F., Repertorium biblicum medii aevi   OCLC citation, (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1950-1961)

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