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MS 8: Biblia sacra [Bible. Latin. Vulgate], c 1260

Identifier: MS 8
Biblia Sacra (MS 8)
Biblia Sacra (MS 8)

Scope and Contents

The manuscript contains the complete text of the Vulgate. The order of books of the Old Testament is unusual: chapter 15 of Leviticus is found at the end of the book of Esther with an explanatory rubric; Lamentations and Baruch precede Jeremiah instead of coming after it; the Letter of Jeremiah, normally found at the end of Baruch, is placed at the end of Jeremiah; the prologues to each book of the Minor Prophets are all copied in order before Hosea; chapter 3 of Habakkuk is placed after Second Maccabees, with the explanatory rubric hic est tertium capitulum de abacuc ante obmissum ('here is the third chapter of Habakkuk which was omitted before').
The manuscript includes the so-called Confession of Ezra', a prayer taken from the apocryphal Second Esdras (8:20-36) and often transmitted in copies of the Vulgate independently from the rest of the book. It is placed at the end of First Esdras and has been wrongly labelled as Oratio Neemie ('The speech of Nehemiah') by the rubricator.
The manuscript also includes the apocryphal Letter to the Laodiceans. A letter written "to the Laodiceans" or "from Laodicea" (depending on the different interpretation of the Latin text) is mentioned in the Letter to the Colossians (Col. 4:16); however, no Greek version of this letter exists and the Latin short letter, which appears in this manuscript and which is trasmitted by other copies of the Vulgate, is considered a forgery.
The poetic summary of the content of the four gospels, which is found at the end of the text of the Vulgate, has been attributed to Alexander of Villedieu (c. 1175-1240), French teacher and mathematician, also famous for his work on Latin grammar. with a key to the numerals used throughout the verses, and
There are some corrections, including the addition of the whole passage Exodus 25:13-23, which had been omitted by the scribe due to saute di même au même (f. 33v; the expression de lignis setthim appears twice in the passage and the scribe has not copied the text between the two occurences). In this case, the missing text has been added in darker ink.
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 epistula sancti ieronimi presbiteri ad paulinum presbiterum de omnibus divine historie libris and begins with Frater ambrosius tua mihi minuscola perferens. Within the prologue, the names of the books of the bible mentioned by Jerome are rubricated.
Prologue of Jerome to the Pentateuch (Letter to Desiderius): starts on f. 3v. It is introduced by the rubricated words Incipit praefatio sancti ieronimi in pentateucum and begins with the words Desiderii mei desideratas accepi epistulas. Pentateuch is the name which collectively identifies to the first five books of the Bible.
Pentateuch:: starts on f. 4r. It is composed of: Genesis (starts on f. 4r), Exodus (starts on f. 24r), Leviticus (starts on f. 40v), Numbers (starts on f. 52r), Deuteronomy (starts on f. 68r).
Historical Books: start on f. 82v. They are composed of: Joshua (starts on f. 82v), Judges (starts on f. 92r), Ruth (starts on f. 101v), Prologue to Kings (starts on f. 103r), First Kings (starts on f.103v and corresponds to First Samuel), Second Kings (starts on f. 117r and corresponds to Second Samuel), Third Kings (starts on f. 127r and corresponds to First Kings), Fourth Kings (starts on f. 140r and corresponds to Second Kings), Prologue to First Chronicles (on f. 153v). First Chronicles (starts on f. 153v), Second Chronicles (starts on f. 163v), Prologue to Ezra (on f. 176v), Ezra (starts on f. 177r), Nehemiah (starts on f. 180v), First Esdras (starts on f. 186r), Prologue to Tobit (on f. 191r), Tobit (starts on f. 191r), Prologue to Judith (starts on f. 194v), Judith (starts on f. 195r), Prologue to Esther (on f. 199v), Esther (starts on f. 199v).
Wisdom Books:: start on f. 205r. They are composed of: Prologue to Job (starts on f. 205r; there are two prologues), Job (starts on f. 205v), Prologue to Proverbs (on f. 213r), Proverbs (starts on f. 213r), Prologue to Ecclesiastes (on f. 220r), Ecclesiastes (starts on f. 220r), Song of Songs (starts on f. 222r), Prologue to Wisdom (on f. 223r), Wisdom (starts on f. 223r), Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (on f. 228r; there are two prologues), Ecclesiasticus (starts on f. 228r).
Prophets: start on f. 240v. They are composed of: Prologue to Isaiah (on f. 240v), Isaiah (starts on f. 240v), Lamentations (starts on f. 254v), Prologue to Baruch (on f. 256r), Baruch (starts on f. 256r), Prologue to Jeremiah (on f. 257v), Jeremiah (starts on f. 257v), Letter of Jeremiah (starts on f. 277v), Prologue to Ezekiel (on f. 278v), Ezekiel (starts on f. 278v), Prologue to Daniel (starts on f. 295v), Daniel (starts on f. 296r).
Twelve Minor Prophets: start on f. 303v. They are is composed of: Prologue to the Twelve Prophets (on f. 303v), Prologue to Hosea (starts on f. 303v), Prologue to Joel (on f. 304r), Prologue to Amos (on f. 304r), Prologue to Obadiah (starts on f. 304r), Prologue to Jonah (on f. 304v), (Prologue to Micah (on f. 304v), Prologue to Nahum (starts on f. 304v), Prologue to Habakkuk (starts on f. 305r), Prologue to Zephaniah (on f. 305r), Prologue to Haggai (starts on f. 305r), Prologue to Zachariah (on f. 305v), Malachi (on f. 305v), Hosea (starts on f. 306r), Joel (starts on f. 308v), Amos (starts on f. 309v), Obadiah (starts on f. 311v), Jonah (starts on f. 312r), (Micah (starts on f. 313r), Nahum (starts on f. 314v), (Habakkuk (starts on f. 315r), Zephaniah (starts on f. 315v), Haggai (starts on f. 316v), Zachariah (starts on f. 317r), Prologue to Malachi (starts on f. 320r).
Maccabees: starts on f. 320v. It is composed of: First Maccabees (starts on f. 320v), Second Maccabees (starts on f. 333r). It is followed by Habakkuk 3 (f. 342r).
Gospels: start on f. 343r. They are composed of: Prologue to the Gospel of Matthew (on f. 343r), Gospel of Matthew (starts on f. 343r), Prologue to the Gospel of Mark (on f. 252r), Gospel of Mark (starts on f. 252r), Prologue to the Gospel of Luke (starts on f. 357v; there are two prologues), Gospel of Luke (starts on f. 358r), Prologue to the Gospel of John (on f. 367v), Gospel of John (starts on f. 367v).
Pauline Epistles: start on f. 374r; two longer prologues precede them and each letter is accompanied by its own short prologue. The letters are: Letter to the Romans (starts on f. 374v), First Letter to the Corinthians (starts on f. 378r), Second Letter to the Corinthians (starts on f. 381r), Letter to the Galatians (starts on f. 383v), Letter to the Ephesians (starts on f. 384v), Letter to the Philippians (starts on f. 385v), Letter to the Colossians (starts on f. 286r), First Letter to the Thessalonians (starts on f. 387r), Second Letter to the Thessalonians (starts on f. 387v), First Letter to Timothy (starts on f. 388r), Second Letter to Timothy (starts on f. 388v), Letter to Titus (on f. 389v), Letter to the Laodiceans (starts on f. 389v), Letter to Philemon (on f. 390r), Letter to the Hebrews (starts on f. 390r).
Acts of the Apostles: starts on f. 392v and is preceded by two short prologues.
Catholic Epistles: start on f. 401r. They are preceded by two short prologues and by the argumentum, a short introductory text, of the first letter. The letters are: Letter of James (starts on f. 401v), First Letter of Peter (starts on f. 402r), Second Letter of Peter (starts on f. 403r), First Letter of John (starts on f. 404r), Second Letter of John (starts on f. 404v), Third Letter of John (on f. 405r), Letter of Jude (on f. 405r).
Book of Revelation: starts on f. 415v (preceded by two prologues starting on f. 415r).
Summary of the Gospels: starts on f. 410r.
Table of Lessons of the Year: starts on f. 412v. It consists in a list of the biblical readings for each day of the liturgical year, which begins with the first Sunday of Advent. The first part of the table contains readings for Sundays, Saturdays, certain festivities, and days with no special observances; the second part contains a list of the readings for the celebrations of the saints. Among other festivities, it includes the feast and anniversary of the translation of the body of Saint Dominic.
Writing The manuscript is well-written, with filigree initials in blue, red, and yellow. Possibly more than one scribe at work. Interlinear rubricated titles of sections are mostly moved to the margins from Job onwards.
Illumination There are two plain gold initials on a blue ground (f. 304v and 305v); one, at the beginning of Malachi (f. 320r), of silver filigree; and one, at the beginning of Daniel, with gold filigree (f. 296r).


  • c 1260


Language of Materials


Physical Description

A tear on f. 245 has been repaired with a strip of written vellum, making it difficult to read the text on f. 245r. The bottom of ff. 352 to 354 has been sewed; the bottom of f. 345 has been repaired with paper(?).

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

An interesting colophon [i.e. an annotation that provides some information about the scribe or about the manuscript] to the second prologue to the Pentateuch gives the provenance. Written in alternate lines of red, blue, and black, it reads as follows: Laus tibi sit Christe, te glorificat liber iste / Conditus impensis, Ottonis Pataviensis / Qui quasi bos fratrum majorum traxit aratrum / Rex bone me qui te colo, scribito codice vite / Alme pater mesto pugili palme dator esto / Esto dator palme pugili mesto pater alme / Plaudo tibi vite genitor laudo colo rite / Rite colo laudo genitor vite tibi plaudo / In patria mihi prolatria pater atria dona / Nate dei miserendo mei super astra corona / Cui liber hic cedat mihi psalmos jugiter edat. From this it would appear that the Bible was written for and at the expense of Otto of Passau. Otto, Bishop of Passau (1254-65), had a fine collection of books, which he left to certain abbots and members of his chapter (according to Theodor Gottlieb in his Mittelalterliche Bibliotheken, published in Leipzig in 1890: Otto praesul varios libros de camera sua abbatibus et pluribus capituli sui membris communicat, 'Bishop Otto divides various books of his private room with abbots and several members of his chapter'). A catalogue of these books which mentions three Bibles, Item Biblia ('a Bible'), Item vetustissima Biblia ('a very old Bible'), and Item Biblia vilis ('a cheap Bible'), is extant (see Gottlieb 1890, p. 382). The Bible contained in this manuscript might be the first or last of these (it could scarcely have been called 'very old' in 1265).
There are later marks of ownership. On f. 1v a definition of the word 'energia' is added by a 15th century hand, and signed Haec manu propria D. Pirchumbart ('This by the own hand of D. Pirchumbart'). On the first fly-leaf is Laing's signature, the price of £6, 16 shillings, 6 pennies, and, by another hand, MS. 1847. Biblia Sacra cum praefationibus. At the end are the initials T. R. [Thomas Rodd ?] and the number 8403.

Previous reference

Laing 2

Physical Description

A tear on f. 245 has been repaired with a strip of written vellum, making it difficult to read the text on f. 245r. The bottom of ff. 352 to 354 has been sewed; the bottom of f. 345 has been repaired with paper(?).

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Modern. Back cover slighlty damaged.

Collation: a2, b16, c8, d16, e8, f16, g10, h18, i10, k18, l8, m14, n6, o18, p6, q20, r8, s16, t12, v16, x12, y13, z12, A12, B10, C14, D12, E12, E12, F13, G12, H12, I14, K10, L11 = 415.


19.65 cm x 14.61 cm


Secundo folio: grammaticis.
Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 414 (+1a), double columns, 50 lines to a page.

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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