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Biblia Sacra [Bible. Latin. Vulgate], 14th century

Identifier: MS 7

Scope and Contents

This two-volume bible contains the complete text of the Vulgate, except Psalms. There is no prologue to Wisdom.

The first volume contains the books from Genesis to Isaiah 65:3 and ends with the words ad iracundiam pravocat me ante faciem meam. The second volume begins from Isaiah 65:3 with the words semper qui immolant in hortis et sacrificant super lateres. Foliation continues from the first volume.

The scribe has affixed the line O alme deus sis adiutor meus before the beginning of the text.

The rubric identifies Nehemiah as Second Esdras, and First Esdras as Nehemiah. After chapter 12 of Book of Daniel, there are the rubricated words Hucusque danielem in hebreo volumine legimus. Cetera quae sequuntur in finem libri de theodotonis editione translata sunt ('We read Daniel until this point in the book in Hebrew. What follows at the end of the book is translated from the edition of Theodotion').

The beginning of single books are indicated with page-markers.

The first two prologues to Maccabees included in the manuscript are by the Medieval theologian Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856), Benedectine monk and disciple of Alcuinus. He was in charge of the abbey school of Fulda between 803 and 814, abbot of the same monastery from 822 to 842, and finally archbishop of Mainz from 847. The first prologue (f. 307r) is a letter to Louis the Pious, king of France and begins with the words Domino excellentissimo et in cultu Christiane religionis strenuissimo, Ludovico regi, rabanus vilissimus servorum dei in dominorum domino perpetuam optae salutem. The second prologue (starts on f. 307v) is a letter to a certain Geroldus, arhcdeacon of the royal palace and begins with the words: Reverendissimo et omni caritatis officio dignissimo gelaldo [sic] sacri palatii archidiacono, rabanus vilis servorum dei servus in christo salutem.

The prologue placed before the Book of Revelation is part of a longer preface written by Gilbert de la Porrée (d. 1154), a scholastic theologian and teacher (also known as Gilbertus Pictaviensis because he was born in Poitiers, France).

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 presbiterum de omnibus divine historie libris primum and begins with Frater ambrosius mihi tua minuscola perferens.

Prologue of Jerome to the Pentateuch (Letter to Desiderius): starts on f. 2v. It is introduced by the rubricated words Incipit prologus sancti ieronimi presbiteri in pentateucum and begins with the words Desiderii mei desideratas accepi litteras. Pentateuch is the name which collectively identifies to the first five books of the Bible.

Pentateuch: starts on f. 3r. It is composed of: Genesis (starts on f. 3r), Exodus (starts on f. 17v), Leviticus (starts on f. 28r), Numbers (starts on f. 35v), Deuteronomy (starts on f. 46v).

Historical Books: start on f. 56r. They are composed of: Prologue to Joshua (starts on f. 56r), Joshua (starts on f. 56v), Judges (starts on f. 63r), Ruth (starts on f. 70v), Prologue to First Kings (starts on f. 71v), First Kings (starts on f. 72r and corresponds to First Samuel), Second Kings (starts on f. 84v and corresponds to Second Samuel), Third Kings (starts on f. 94r and corresponds to First Kings), Fourth Kings (starts on f. 105r and corresponds to Second Kings), Prologue to First Chronicles (starts on f. 115v), First Chronicles (starts on f. 116r), Prologue to Second Chronicles (starts on f. 126v), Second Chronicles (starts on f. 127r), Prologue to Ezra (starts on f. 140v), Ezra (starts on f. 141r), Nehemiah (starts on f. 144v), First Esdras (starts on f. 150v), Prologue to Tobit (starts on f. 156r), Tobit (starts on f. 156v), Prologue to Judith (on f. 160r), Judith (starts on f. 160r), Prologue to Esther (on f. 164v), Esther (starts on f. 165r).

Wisdom Books: start on f. 169r. They are composed of: Prologue to Job (starts on f. 169r), Job (starts on f. 169v), Psalms (starts on f. ), Prologue to Proverbs (starts on f. 178v), Proverbs (starts on f. 179r), Prologue to Ecclesiastes (starts on f. 186r), Ecclesiastes (starts on f. 186v), Song of Songs (starts on f.189r), Wisdom (starts on f. 190v), Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (on f. 196r), Ecclesiasticus (starts on f. 196r).

Prophets: start on f. 212v. They are composed of: Prologue to Isaiah (on f. 212v), Isaiah (starts on f. 212v), Prologue to Jeremiah (starts on f. 231v), Jeremiah (starts on f. 232r), Lamentations (starts on f. 255v), Prologue to Baruch (on f. 258r), Baruch (starts on f. 258r), Prologue to Ezekiel (on f. 261r), Ezekiel (starts on f. 261r), Prologue to Daniel (starts on f. 281r), Daniel (starts on f. 281v).

Twelve Minor Prophets:: start on f. 289v. They are is composed of: Prologue to the Twelve Prophets (on f. 289v), Prologue to Hosea (on f. 289v), Hosea (starts on f. 289v), Prologue to Joel (starts on f. 292r; there are two prologues), Joel (starts on f. 292v), Prologue to Amos (on f. 293v; there are two prologues), Amos (starts on f. 293v),Prologue to Obadiah (starts on f. 295v; there are two prologues), Obadiah (starts on f. 296r), Prologue to Jonah (on f. 296v; there are two prologues), Jonah (starts on f. 297r), (Prologue to Micah (on f. 297v), (Micah (starts on f. 297v), Prologue to Nahum (on f. 299r), Nahum (starts on f. 299r), Prologue to Habakkuk (starts on f. 299v; there are two prologues), (Habakkuk (starts on f. 300v), Prologue to Zephaniah (starts on f. 301r), Zephaniah (starts on f. 301v), Prologue to Haggai (starts on f. 302r), Haggai (starts on f. 302v), Prologue to Zachariah (on f. 303r), Zachariah (starts on f. 303r), Prologue to Malachi (starts on f. 306r), Malachi (starts on f. 306v).

Maccabees:: starts on f. 307r. It is composed of Prologue to Maccabees (starts on f. 307r; there are three prologues), First Maccabees (starts on f.307v), Second Maccabees (starts on f. 319r).

Gospels: start on f. 326v. They are composed of: Prologue to the Gospel of Matthew (starts on f. 326v; there are two prologues), Gospel of Matthew (starts on f. 327r), Prologue to the Gospel of Mark (starts on f. 337v), Gospel of Mark (starts on f. 338r), Prologue to the Gospel of Luke (starts on f. 344v; the first prologue is in fact the beginning of the gospel itself), Gospel of Luke (starts on f. 344v), Prologue to the Gospel of John (on f. 355v), Gospel of John (starts on f. 355v).

Pauline Epistles: start on f. 365r; each letter is preceded by a short prologue. They are: Letter to the Romans (starts on f. 365r), First Letter to the Corinthians (starts on f. 369r), Second Letter to the Corinthians (starts on f. 374r), Letter to the Galatians (starts on f. 377r), Letter to the Ephesians (starts on f. 378v), Letter to the Philippians (starts on f. 380r), Letter to the Colossians (starts on f. 381r), First Letter to the Thessalonians (starts on f. 382r), Second Letter to the Thessalonians (starts on f. 383r), First Letter to Timothy (starts on f. 383v), Second Letter to Timothy (starts on f. 385r), Letter to Titus (starts on f. 386r), Letter to Philemon (on f. 386v), Letter to the Hebrews (starts on f. 387r).

Acts of the Apostles:: starts on f. 390r and is preceded by a prologue.

Catholic Epistles:: start on f. 402r. They are preceded by a prologue and are composed of: Letter of James (starts on f. 402v), First Letter of Peter (starts on f. 403v), Second Letter of Peter (starts on f. 404v), First Letter of John (starts on f. 405v), Second Letter of John (on f. 406v), Third Letter of John (on f. 406v), Letter of Jude (starts on f. 406v).

Book of Revelation: starts on f. 407 and is preceded by a prologue.


Script fair, with good wide margins. There is not much ornament, but see for example the scroll design in the initial letter of Genesis (f. 3r) or the leaf design in the initial letter of the Book of Ruth (f. 70v). The verse initials are black touched with red; chapter initials plain red, inset.


No illumination.


  • Creation: 14th century


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.


2 bound MS volume

Custodial History

A Dutch Bible. There is an inscription on the fly-leaf of the second volume in a contemporary hand: Liber monasterii Sororum ordinis praedicatorum in Westeroy prope Tyelam ('Book of the monastery of the Dominican sisters of Westeroy, near Thiel'). The same hand wrote the following verse on the second fly-leaf of the first volume: Dum male fecisti, mox inspice wulnera Christi. Flecte genu plora, crucifixum saepe adora ('As soon as you have done wrong, contemplate the wounds of Christ. Bend your knees, weep, always adore the crucified Christ').

On f. 231r an inscription (possibly by the same hand, but more cursive) has been added in the margin: Weestroyen anno 13, huc asportatus ('Removed to Westeroy in the thirteenth year'). The same hand has written Weestroyen ('Westeroy') on f. 3r, in the first volume. The specific Dominican house mentioned has not been identified.

There are a descriptive title in pencil, possibly by John Cochran, Laing's signature, and a note to the effect that the manuscript is described in John Cochran's Catalogue as number 6. It fetched £15.15 at Cochran's sale (see Sale Catalogue of John Cochran, 108 Strand, London, 1837, n. 6).

Previous reference

Laing 1

Physical Facet

Material: Vellum.

Binding: Oak boards covered stamped leather. Two clasps in each volume with straps missing. Rebacked.

Collation: Volume 1: a12-k12, l14, m12-t12 = 230. Volume 2: a12-p12, q3 = 183.


volume 1: 31 cm x 23 cm

volume 2: 30.20cm x 23.20cm


Secundo folio: usque ad Egiptum.

Foliation and number of lines to a page: ff. 413 (the two volumes are foliated continuously), double columns, 35-45 lines to a page. A contemporary list of contents pasted in the front endpaper of the second volume records the original foliation, of which not a trace now remains in either volume.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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