DCL MS. B.I.5Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum super libros Sententiarum I; De potentia Dei
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum super libros Sententiarum I; De potentia Dei, written in England (possibly Oxford), at the start of the 14th century

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t1mx920fw987.html

Physical description of manuscript


Extent: iv+225+ii f
Size: 340 mm x 245 mm

Secundo folio: hiis que non sunt

unnumbered medieval flyleaves are a bifolium, I-XVIII12, XIX9 (= 12, with leaves 9 and 10 (probably blank) excised, and leaf 12, probably used as the pastedown in an earlier binding, lost during rebinding)

Catchwords: Contemporary catchwords (some, e.g., f.192v, f.216v, accompanied by a pointing hand)
Signatures: Contemporary leaf marking preserved on some quires, using different systems (quires VI and VIII, red Roman numerals; quires XV-XVI, red Arabic numerals; quire XVI lead, both Roman and Arabic numerals, continuing right through the quire up to xii/12; quires XVII-XIX, lead, Arabic numerals).

Condition of manuscriptParchment: low quality with pronounced H/F distinction; edgecuts (especially quires VI-VII), follicle marks on hairside, mottling, flaws; that of quires XII-XIII particularly poor. Arranged FH, HF. “Worm” holes in first and least leaves; a tear within f.1.

Text-block: 280 x 170 mm. Two columns (width, 80 mm). Lines: 47 (space, 6 mm; height of minims, 2.5 mm).
Pricking: awl and knife. Ruling: ink. Single verticals flank both columns (2 in total in the intercolumnar space); one or two further verticals supplied intermittently in the outer margin. The top two horizontals are extended; from f.1r-67r the bottom two horizontals are extended; thereafter the bottom horizontal is extended and an extra extended horizontal is supplied 4 mm below it. From f.1r-75r a further pair of narrowly-spaced horizontals bisects the lower margin; the practice was discontinued thereafter. All horizontals run across the intercolumnar space and project unevenly into the margins.


Written in Textualis libraria, heavily abbreviated; generally spaciously written until the last two quires when (especially from f.212r) it becomes smaller, more compressed, less consistent and often untidier. Probably the work of a single scribe who was also responsible for the item numbering in the margins. The occasional contemporary corrections in a more cursive script (e.g. f.39v, f.40r, f.86r) may be by the same hand.


Item (a1) is headed by a decorated initial “E”: a pink letter shape, 5 lines high, filled with simple foliate curls set against a gold leaf ground; enhanced by a border bar of sparse pink ivy set against a blue with gold leaf details that extends across the upper margin. A free-standing border bar in the inner margin features a hybrid (with a stork-like head and dragonesque body) whose tail turns into sparse ivy. Item (b1) is headed by a 6-line-high blue “Q” delicately flourished in red (including the motif of a dragon), the flourishing of its main bowl extending across the upper margin and on into the outer one, that of its tail flowing right down the intercolumnar space. Distinctions and articles within (a1) and Questions and articles in (b1) are headed by 2+-line high blue initials, flourished in red (the quality of the flourishing rudimentary); subsections therein are flagged by paraphs, alternately red then blue. Paraphs head every entry in the lists of tituli, (a2) and (b2).

Corrections and annotation


18th century, pasteboard boards (now detached), covered in brown ?calf, blind-tooled with an inner and an outer rectangle joined at the corners; sewn on 5 narrow raised bands; 2 metal clasps; marbled endpapers.

The first unnumbered flyleaf bears stains from channels in the boards, from turnovers, and from a pair of clasps of earlier binding(s); a set of small rust stains aligned parallel to the spine may be from metal pins used to secure the cords into the board channels.

Manuscript history

Written in England, Oxford (?), start of 14th century.


In Oxford, early 14th century, where repeatedly pawned as shown by the partially erased cautio records on f.225r-v:
“Caucio magistri [I-?-s de -?- ...-?- in cista] comitisse de Warwyc die sabati proxima ante festum Sancte margarete [pro -?- ...-?-]”. f.225r, top, in part vigorously erased
“[Caucio Roberti Mala-?- Walteri fratris eius] exsposita in cista comitise de Warwyc die sabati proxsima post festum translacionis beati Thome Martiris pro viij s anno domini Mo CoCoCo xvijo et tradatur Magistro Iohanni de Hemlyngtun et habet suplementum]”, f.225r, bottom, the first line partially erased, the whole struck through; for John of Hemlington as a fellow of Merton College Oxford, see BRUO, II, p.861.

Associated with Durham monks at Oxford between 1317 and 19 January 1324: “Caucio domini ade de Weremouht exposita in cista domine de gildeforde in vigilia beatorum Fabiani et Sebastiani [ ?- pro dimidia marcha an]no domini Mo CoCoCo visesimo tercio. tradatur alicui monacho Dulnemie”, f.225v, top (partially eroded). Adam of Wearmouth, monk of Durham approximately 1325-1354.

Durham Cathedral Priory inscription: “Liber sancti Cuthberti de Dunolmo.”, earlier 14th century, second unnumbered folio, verso, top; to which was added in 14th century, “et est de communi almariolo Dunolm′”. Lower on same page: “Prima pars \scripti/ [summe - deleted] fratris thome de aquino [cum questionibus de potentia dei – erased] | Liber Sancti Cuthberti de donelm”, mid 14th century, the listing of contents amplified 15th/16th century by Thomas Swalwell, monk of Durham: “super primum sentenciarum cum titulis questionum Item questiones eiusdem sancti -?- de potentia dei cum ?eius titulis.”
“.R.”, later 14th century, f.1r, outer margin.
“R Prima pars Scripti Thome De communi libraria Dunelm′”, early 15th century, f.1r, upper margin.
Cloister catalogue 312 marked “In libraria”, see Catalogi Veteres p. 73.

Manuscript contents
(a1)     f.1r-135v
Original title: Scriptum super libros Sententiarum I
Author: Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274
Incipit: Inter multas sententias que a diuersis de sapientia prodierunt, quid scilicet esset uera sapientia unam singulariter firmam et ueram
Explicit: cui est honor et gloria per infinita seculorum secula amen
Rubric: Ego sapientia effudi flumina, ego quasi trames aque
Language: Latin

Commentary on Book I of the Sentences. Distinctio numbers are supplied as running headings both in red and blue Roman numerals, and in black Arabic ones.

Edited: Mandonnet 1929
(a2)     f.135v-137r
Original title: Tituli to Scriptum super libros Sententiarum I
Incipit: Primo de
Explicit: Explicit summa questionum
Language: Latin

Tituli of the articles in (a1), clearly subdivided by paraphs, distinctio numbers being given both in black Arabic numerals and in red and blue Roman numerals, the latter sometimes running over the former. The columns of text are numbered in Arabic numerals throughout 1 and 2 (1-544), bar the final column of 2 (545, but unnumbered).

(b1)     f.137r-224r
Original title: De potentia Dei
Author: Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274
Incipit: Questio est de potentia dei et primo queritur utrum in deo sit potentia, et videtur quod non
Explicit: quamuis dogmata eiusdem theodori sint in quinta synodo condempnata, vnde in hoc mo′ standum sententie damasceni
Language: Latin

Quaestiones I-X, article 4 only (i.e. lacks X, article 5)

Edited: Pession 1965, p.1-276
(b2)     224r-224v
Original title: Tituli to De potentia Dei
Incipit: ¶Questio de potentia dei
Explicit: ¶Explicit hic totum pro χristo da mihi potum
Language: Latin

Tituli of the Questions and Articles of (b1) (also stopping at X.4), the entries for questions being numbered 1-10 in Arabic numerals and written in a larger, more formal script than those for articles. The scribal colophon, by the same hand, is presented as the final entry in the list, written in the larger, more formal script.

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.5 - Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum super libros Sententiarum I; De potentia Dei
Digitised August 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), p.252 no. 675

Emden, A. B., A biographical register of the University of Oxford to 1500   OCLC citation (Oxford: OUP, 1957-59)

S. Thomae Aquinatis Quaestiones disputatae. 2, De potentia. De anima. De spiritualibus creaturis ..., ed. P. M. Pession et al. (Rome: Marietti, 1965)

S. Thomae Aquinatis, Scriptum super libros Sententiarum magistri Petri Lombardi episcopi Parisiensis I   OCLC citation, ed. P. Mandonnet (Paris: Lethielleux, 1929)

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