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Biblia Sacra [Bible. Latin. Vulgate], c 1300

Identifier: MS 2
ff. 3v-4r
ff. 3v-4r

Scope and Contents

The manuscript contains the complete text of the Vulgate. It also contains the Interpretationes nominum hebraicorum ('Interpretations of the Hebrew names'), a list, mostly in alphabetical order, of Hebrew names found in the Bible, attributed to Stephen Langton (died 1228); each Hebrew name is accompanied by a short explanation in Latin.

At the beginning of Nehemiah, a second hand has added the numeral for 'second' and a later hand has added the title 'Nehemie' next to 'Esdre' of the scribe, whereas the running title at the top of the page is consistently 'Neemias'.

There is an inscription in the flyleaf: si deus pro nobis, qui contra nos? ('if God is with us, who can be against us?').

Prologue to the Bible (Letter to Paulinus): starts on f. 1r; this is the letter written by Jerome to Paulinus, bishop of Nola, placed at the beginning of the Vulgate as general preface. It is introduced by the rubricated words Incipit epistola sancti ieronimi presbiteri ad paulinum de omnibus divine historie libris and begins with Frater ambrosius michi tua minuscola preferens.

Prologue of Jerome to the Pentateuch (Letter to Desiderius): starts on f. 3r. It is introduced by the rubricated words Incipit prologus sancti ieronimi presbiteri in pentateucum and begins with the words Desiderii mei desiderata accepi litteras. Pentateuch is the name which collectively identifies to the first five books of the Bible.

Pentateuch: starts on f. 3v. It is composed of: Genesis (starts on f. 3v), Exodus (starts on f. 20r), Leviticus (starts on f. 35r), Numbers (starts on f. 44v), Deuteronomy (starts on f. 59r).

Historical Books: start on f. 91r. They are composed of: Prologue to Joshua, Judges and Ruth (starts on f. 71r), Joshua (starts on f. 71v), Judges (starts on f. 80r), Ruth (starts on f. 88v), First Kings (starts on f. 90v and corresponds to First Samuel), Second Kings (starts on f. 103r and corresponds to Second Samuel), Third Kings (starts on f. 112v and corresponds to First Kings), Fourth Kings (starts on f. 123r and corresponds to Second Kings), First Prologue to Chronicles (starts on f. 133v),. First Chronicles (starts on f. 134r), Second Prologue to Chronicles (starts on f. 144r), Second Chronicles (starts on f. 144v), Prologue to Ezra (starts on f. 157r), Ezra (starts on f. 157v), Nehemiah (starts on f. 161), First Esdras (starts on f. 166r), Prologue to Tobit (starts on f. 172v), Tobit (starts on f 172v), Prologue to Judith (starts on f. 175r), Judith (starts on f. 175r), Prologue to Esther (starts on f. 179v), Esther (starts on f. 180r).

Wisdom Books: start on f. 184r. They are composed of: Prologue to Job (starts on f. 184r), Job (starts on f. 183r), Psalms (starts on f. 194r; a later cursive hand has indicated the division in individual Psalms on the margins until Psalm 40), Prologue to Proverbs (starts on f. 218r), Proverbs (starts on f. 218v), Prologue to Ecclesiastes (starts on f. 227r), Ecclesiastes (starts on f. 227r), Song of Songs (starts on f. 229v), Prologue to Wisdom (starts on f. 231r), Wisdom (starts on f. 231r), Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (starts on f. 236v), Ecclesiasticus (starts on f. 237r).

Prophets: start on f. 252r.They are composed of: Prologue to Isaiah (starts on f. 252r), Isaiah (starts on f. 252r), Prologue to Jeremiah (starts on f. 270r), Jeremiah (starts on f. 270r), Lamentations (starts on f. 292v), Prologue to Baruch (on f. 294v), Baruch (starts on f. 294v), Prologue to the Letter of Jeremiah (on f. 296v), Letter of Jeremiah (starts on f. 296v), Prologue to Ezekiel (starts on f. 297v), Ezekiel (starts on f. 298r), Prologue to Daniel (starts on f. 319v), Daniel (starts on f. 320v).

Twelve Minor Prophets: start on f. 329r. They are is composed of: Prologue to the Twelve Prophets (starts on f. 329r), Prologue to Hosea (starts on f. 329r), Hosea (starts on f. 329v), Prologue to Joel (on f. 332v; there are two short prologues), Joel (starts on f. 332v), Prologue to Amos (starts on f. 334r; there are three prologues, their division is indicated in the margin by a different hand), Amos (starts on f. 334v),Prologue to Obadiah (on f. 336v), Obadiah (starts on f. 336v), Prologue to Jonah (on f. 337r), Jonah (starts on f. 337r), (Prologue to Micah (on f. 338r), (Micah (starts on f. 338r), Prologue to Nahum (on f. 339v), Nahum (starts on f. 339v), Prologue to Habakkuk (starts on f. 340r), (Habakkuk (starts on f. 340v), Prologue to Zephaniah (starts on f. 341r), Zephaniah (starts on f. 341v), Prologue to Haggai (starts on f. 342r), Haggai (starts on f. 342v), Prologue to Zachariah (on f. 343r), Zachariah (starts on f. 343r), Prologue to Malachi (starts on f. 346r), Malachi (starts on f. 346v).

Maccabees: starts on f. 347r. It is composed of Prologue to Maccabees (starts on f. 347r; there are two prologues), First Maccabees (starts on f. 348r), Second Maccabees (starts on f. 359v).

Gospels: start on f. 367r. They are composed of: Prologue to the Gospel of Matthew (starts on f. 367r), Gospel of Matthew (starts on f. 367v), Prologue to the Gospel of Mark (on f. 379r), Gospel of Mark (starts on f. 379r), Prologue to the Gospel of Luke (starts on f. 386v; there are two prologues), Gospel of Luke (starts on f. 387r), Prologue to the Gospel of John (on f. 400r), Gospel of John (starts on f. 400r).

Pauline Epistles: start on f. 409v; each letter is preceded by a its argumentum, a short text which records Paul's reason for writing the letter, the place and circumstances in which he wrote, and the people he entrusted the letter to. The letters are: Letter to the Romans (starts on f. 409v), First Letter to the Corinthians (starts on f. 412r), Second Letter to the Corinthians (starts on f. 416v), Letter to the Galatians (starts on f. 419v), Letter to the Ephesians (starts on f. 421v), Letter to the Philippians (starts on f. 423r), Letter to the Colossians (starts on f. 424v), First Letter to the Thessalonians (starts on f. 425v), Second Letter to the Thessalonians (starts on f. 426v), First Letter to Timothy (starts on f. 427r), Second Letter to Timothy (starts on f. 428r), Letter to Titus (starts on f. 429r), Letter to Philemon (starts on f. 429v), Letter to the Hebrews (starts on f. 430r).

Acts of the Apostles: starts on f. 434v and is preceded by a short prologue.

Catholic Epistles: start on f. 445v. They are preceded by a prologue (f. 445v) and are composed of: Letter of James (starts on f. 446r), First Letter of Peter (starts on f. 447r), Second Letter of Peter (starts on f. 448r), First Letter of John (starts on f. 449r), Second Letter of John (starts on f. 449v), Letter of Jude (starts on f. 450v).

Book of Revelation: starts on f. 457v (preceded by a prologue on f. 456r).

Interpretationes nominum hebraicorum:: starts on f. 458r with the name Aaz and finishes on f. 490r with to Zuzim.


Script good and uniform. The small capitals are touched with red, and there are good penwork initials to the chapters, and a very fine one at the beginning of the Interpretationes nominum hebraicorum. Hebrew Names.


All the prologues and two of the books have decorative initials, evidently the work of two different hands, one very poor, the other of more than average skill.


The historiated initials, seventy in number, are also by two hands. One artist, a very unskilled one, does the opening prologue and the books from Genesis to Fourth Kings, eight of the Psalms, Maccabees, the Gospel of Matthew, the Letter to the Romans, and the Second Letter to the Thessalonians. The rest are by a more skilled hand.

Historiated Initials

  1. Prologue (f. 1r) – Saint Jerome writing.
  2. Genesis (f. 3v) – The Days of Creation: seven rectangular pictures, each under a cusped arch. Above, on branches of foliage, two angels censing. Below, a crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John and, hanging from branched foliage at either side, two blindfold corpses. Poor work.
  3. Exodus (f. 20r) – Moses, horned and mitred, carrying book, followed by Israelites.
  4. Leviticus (f. 35r) – Two Israelites sacrificing rams at altar. Head of Christ above.
  5. Numbers (f. 44v) – Moses and another kneel on the left, an angel above speaks.
  6. Deuteronomy (f. 59r) – Moses with the book of the Law addresses Israelites.
  7. Joshua (f. 71v) – Three Israelites kneel in prayer on the left, head of Christ above.
  8. Judges (f. 80r) – Four Israelites, one seated on the left, head of Christ above.
  9. Ruth (f. 88v) – Elimelech, Naomi, and sons set out on journey.
  10. First Kings (f. 90v) – Hannah, with Samuel behind her, kneels before what appears to be a small square altar, covered with a loose white cloth. Eli stands behind the altar.
  11. Second Kings (f. 103r) – David throned, and before him Benaiah slaying the Amalekite.
  12. Third Kings (f. 112v) – Abishag and a young man beside David's couch.
  13. Fourth Kings (f. 123r) – Ahaziah falls from tower.
  14. First Chronicles (f. 134r) – Three Jews seated conversing.
  15. Second Chronicles (f. 144v) – Solomon crowned, hands joined in prayer, kneels with two others at an altar. The altar is apparently four-square, and vested in a loose blue frontal, powdered with groups of three white spots. The mensa is covered with a white linen cloth edged with a short coarse fringe, the background is conventional.
  16. Ezra (f. 157v) – Above, three single figures, two with hammers, one with a hod; below, Cyrus, speaking.
  17. Nehemiah (f. 161r) – Artaxerxes, seated on the right, takes cup from Nehemiah kneeling.
  18. First Esdras (f. 166r) – Priest, vested in a blue, close-sleeved tunic girdled at waist, reaching just below the knees, and apparently opening in front, with blue stockings and red shoes, holding a holy-water stock in the left hand and a sprinkler in the right, with which he sprinkles the altar. The altar, which is small and square, is vested in a plain, loose, blue frontal, hanging in folds made by its being looped up in the centre of the side shown. The mensa is covered with a white linen cloth edged with coarse fringe. The altar stands beneath an elaborate canopy in the architectural style of the 13th century. This is supported on pillars at the corner of the altar, has a trefoil-headed arch and an embattled parapet, above which is a group of three short and massive pinnacles surmounted by gold balls. Over the altar a lamp is shown, suspended from beneath the canopy.
  19. Tobit (f. 171v) – Tobit lies on a couch, a figure stands by him with a swallow's nest in his hand.
  20. Judith (f. 175r) – Judith beheads Holofernes in his tent.
  21. Esther (f. 180r) – Ahasuerus crowned, seated; below him Esther, crowned, hands raised; below her Haaman on gibbet.
  22. Job (f. 185r) – Job, his wife, and three friends, two of them crowned, conversing.
  23. Beatus vir (Psalm 1, f. 194r) – David playing on harp, angel with trumpet standing on lion in foliage of border.
  24. Dominus illuminatio (Psalm 26, f. 198r) – David, crowned, points to his eye, nimbed figure with book goes before him.
  25. Dixi custodiam (Psalm 38, f. 200r) – Same figures seated, David points to his lips.
  26. Dixit insipiens (Psalm 52, f. 202r) – Fool with club in the right hand, cake in the left.
  27. Salvum me fac (Psalm 68, f. 204v) – David crowned, waist-deep in water, hands raised, Christ above, blessing.
  28. Exultate Deo (Psalm 80, f. 207r) – David plays on three bells with hammer.
  29. Cantate Domino (Psalm 95, f. 210r) – Three clerks singing at desk. Very rough.
  30. Dixit Dominus (Psalm 109, f. 212v) – Trinity.
  31. Proverbs (f. 218v) – Solomon teaching Rehoboam.
  32. Ecclesiastes (f. 227r) – Solomon enthroned, with sceptre.
  33. Song of Songs (f. 229v) – Virgin and Child, crowned and nimbed.
  34. Wisdom (f. 231r) – Solomon seated with drawn sword on the left, warrior in mail with shield on the right.
  35. Ecclesiasticus (f. 237r) – Nimbed figure throned.
  36. Isaiah (f. 252r) – Isaiah's martyrdom with a cross-cut saw.
  37. Jeremiah (f. 270r) – Jeremiah seated on the left, tear bottle beside him, Deity from cloud above hands him something and points to his tears.
  38. Lamentations (f. 292v) – Jeremiah sits outside the gate of Jerusalem, five persons look down on him from the battlements.
  39. Baruch (f. 294v) – Prophet seated with open book, head in cloud above.
  40. Ezekiel (f. 298r) – Ezekiel seated, hands clasped, looks up at the nimbed heads of four evangelistic creatures. In lower right corner, in the four quarters of a circle, four human heads nimbed.
  41. Matthew (f. 367v) – Half-reclining figure. Very poor work.
  42. Luke (f. 387r) – Zachariah, apparently kneeling before a small foursquare altar, vested in a loose frontal covered with a linen cloth edged with coarse fringe, and censing it with a censer held in his right hand by short chains.
  43. John (f. 400r) – Father and Son cross-nimbed, with book, seated under cusped arch, blessing; below, under similar arch, Saint John with scroll points and looks upwards.
  44. Romans (f. 409v) – Saint Paul seated with sword, two mitred bishops before him.
  45. First Corinthians (f. 412r) – Saint Paul seated with sword, addresses one mitred bishop with crosier.
  46. Galatians (f. 420r) – Saint Paul addresses crowd.
  47. Philippians (f. 423r) – Saint Paul addresses two men, one nimbed, with book.
  48. Colossians – Saint Paul addresses two tonsured men with books.
  49. First Thessalonians (f. 425v) – Saint Paul addresses two men, one tonsured and bearing a book.
  50. Second Thessalonians (f. 426v) – Saint Paul addresses two mitred bishops, one with crosier.
  51. First Timothy (f. 427r) – Saint Paul and Timothy seated.
  52. Second Timothy (f. 428r) – Similar, Timothy with crosier.
  53. Titus (f. 429r) – Similar to First Timothy.
  54. Philemon (f. 429v) – Saint Paul seated under strong tower (in prison), soldier guarding him on the left figure with book on the right.
  55. Hebrews (f. 430r) – Saint Paul seated addressing crowd.
  56. Revelation (f. 451v) – Saint John seated writing at desk.


  • Creation: c 1300


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to all. The manuscripts can be consulted in the Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Main Library.


1 bound MS volume

Custodial History

This may be either English or French workmanship. Two 14th century inscriptions on the flyleaf have been almost wholly erased. They read: Ista Biblia est ad usum fratris ... ('this Bible is for the use of brother...'; the words usum fratris are now illegible) and Ista Biblia est Joh ... ('this Bible is Joh...'). On another flyleaf the name Walterus Balcanquall has been subsequently erased: this is probably Walter Balcanquhall, a Presbiterian clergyman who held the ministry of Saint Giles in 1574, or his son, also Walter Balcanquhall and also a clergyman. On f. 1r, in a later hand, it is possible to recognise the inscription Richard Redman's Book; on the same folio, in the lower margin, is also recorded the gift of the manuscript to the Library by the first Earl of Forfar is recorded: Liber Bibliothecae Edinburgenae ex dono Nobilissimi Comitis Forfarensis 1670 ('Book of the Library of Edinburgh donated by the Honourable Earl of Forfar').

Previous reference


Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Modern brown morocco, painted edges, red ground, branches intersecting, with lions' faces at intersections, and, within the spaces formed by the branches, gold leaves, I.H.C. written in the fore edge with a vertical orientation.

Collation: a12-s12, t10, v12-L12, M10, N12-P12, Q5, R10, S6, T10, V7 = 490.


30.16 cm x 20 cm


Secundo folio: hora credidit

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 490, double columns, 52 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
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