DCL MS. B.I.7Thomas Aquinas, Super librum IV Sententiarum
Held by: Durham Cathedral Library: Durham Cathedral Manuscripts

Thomas Aquinas, Super librum IV Sententiarum (incomplete), written in England or France late 13th or early 14th century.

Digitised: https://n2t.durham.ac.uk/ark:/32150/t2mf1881m03c.html

Physical description of manuscript

Parchment: stout, even-toned. Arranged: FH, HF. A crease runs vertically down the whole length of f.29; another runs diagonally across f.175-9, also marking abutting leaves. Some worm holes in first and last leaves.

Extent: v+183+ii f
Size: 380 mm x 255 mm


Modern pencil foliation

Secundo folio: poni in diffinicione

Preliminary leaves (the former pastedown and the slip)2 (a bifolium, the lower three-quarters of its second half having been excised), I-XV12 XVI3 (= 4, with leaf 3, blank, cancelled).

Signatures: Contemporary signatures (some boxed, five presented within crudely rendered motifs: a fish, f.36v; a two- or three-headed monster with a saddle, f.48v; a bird with a human head, f.72v; two small grotesque heads, f.84v; a hand and a grotesque beast head, f.96v).
Contemporary leaf numbering in lead and often also in ink (generally red, but blue in quire XII).

Text-block: 265 x 160 mm.
Two columns (width, 73 mm). Lines: 52 (space, 5 mm; height of minims, 2.5 mm).
Pricking: awl (survives for all the bounding lines but not the text-block horizontals).
Ruling: ink to f.72v, lead thereafter. Single verticals flank both columns of the text-block (two in total in the intercolumnar space); the first horizontal extended (written below this top line); all horizontals run across the intercolumnar space. The text-block is entirely framed by pairs of rulings in the inner, upper, outer and lower margins.


Written in Textualis semi-quadrata. Seemingly a single scribe.


The 9-line-high space reserved for an initial to head the text on f.1r remained unfilled. Distinctiones and quaestiones are headed by blue initials, 2+ lines high, flourished in red, with red and blue flourished extensions spreading into the margins, which often terminate with circular florettes, fern like sprays, and/or symmetrical geometrical patterns, and sometimes incorporate beast heads or dragonesque motifs The many subsections are marked by paraphs, alternately red then blue.
Sentence capitals were calligraphically embellished (often with faces with large noses) and stroked in yellow ochre; the “isit” of the initial word on f.1r was entirely done thus. Short lines were filled with foliate motifs, curls and flourishes, washed in ochre.

Corrections and annotation

Distinctio numbers were added, 14th century, in Arabic numerals at the outer top corners of rectos. Light annotation in a bold 14th century cursive, e.g. f.8r, f.17v, f.22r, f.23r, f.99r. A few corrections, 14th-15th century (e.g. f.43v, f.44r, f.54v), a few others 15th century (e.g. f.27v, f.33v, f.41v).


Bound in Durham by Waghorn, early 18th century. Thick pasteboard boards, covered in calf, blind-tooled with an inner frame created from rolls, having projecting fleuron corner-pieces (comparable with DCL MS B.I.6); gold armorial of the Dean and Chapter of Durham subsequently stamped at the centre of both boards; 5 raised bands; 2 metal clasps.
The raised paste-down (unnumbered front leaf) bears rust stains at the fore-edge from two pairs of fixtures for a pair of clasps from an earlier binding, with a further pair of stains in the middle of the bottom and three such stains at the middle of the top of the leaf probably from the fixtures for chain staples. It also preserves impressions from the lacing channels (7 short rectangles all at right-angles to the spine) and turnovers of an earlier binding.

Manuscript history

Written in England or France, late 13th / early 14th century.


Pressmark: “.A.”, later 14th century, f.1r, top right.
Title: “Thomas super 4tum pro parte [\s -?- -?- : a interlinear insertion that has been erased/]2o fo poni.”, start of 15th century, subsequently augmented and reworked, f.1r, top.
Inscription: “.liber domini [Iohannis Aukland – inserted over erasure] monachi dunelm′ ex dono [-?Ihis ? F-?-s-?- monachi eiusdem - erased and overwritten with: dompni Wyllelmi Elwyke, the ‘Elwyke’ retraced by an early modern hand]”, 15th century, f.1r, top, perhaps originally referring to John Fishburn.
Inscripiton: “[Liber domini Willelmi Elwyk ex dono domini Ricardi Byllyngham. datus dicto domino Wo Elwyk per predictum dominum Ricardum Byllyngham in recompensacioni certe summe pecunie a dicto domino Wo mutuate et hoc testificor manu propria - erased]”, mid 15th century, second unnumbered flyleaf verso, top.
Inscription: “Liber domini Iohannis Aukland Ex dono domini Willelmi Elwyk”, later 15th century, second unnumbered flyleaf, verso, top.
Inscription: “Iste Liber Assignatur Nouo Armariolo In Claustro Dunelm′ Ecclesie Per Venerabilem Patrem Magistrum Iohannem Auklande Priorem eiusdem Ecclesie”, end 15th century (1484x94), second unnumbered flyleaf, verso.
In Spendement catalogues.

Manuscript contents
(a)     f.1r-182r
Original title: Super librum IV Sententiarum
Author: Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274
Incipit: ¶Ad .i. sic proceditur uidetur quod inconuenienter diffiniatur sacramentum per hoc quod dicitur sacramentum
Explicit: ergo predicte species penitentie sunt plura et non unum sacramentum.
Language: Latin

Breaks off at the bottom of the page within Distinctio 22, qu. 2, art. 2. f.182v is blank, as is the unnumbered final leaf.

Edited: Moos 1947, distinctiones 1-22

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.7 - Thomas Aquinas on Peter Lombard's Sentences
Digitised November 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]).

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

Index terms