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JEAN GERSON, DE MYSTICA THEOLOGICA

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Y.1

Contents

Theologia mystica speculativa (fols.3r-25r), Theologia mystica practica (fols.26r-42r), Annotatio doctorum qui de contemplacione locuti sunt (fols.42v-43r), preceding the colophon.

See A. Combes, Ioannis Carlerii de Gerson De Mystica Theologia, Thesaurus Mundi, Bibliotheca Scriptorum Latinorum Mediae et Recentoris Aetatis (Lugano, 1958). This manuscript was unknown to Combes. It represents an early copy of the first version of the text, issued by Gerson in the spring of 1408.

f.2v 'Rubrica primi libri sequenti'. Notes that the treatise contains 44 'consideraciones' and lists the 8 'partes' into which it is divided.

f.3r 'Incipit Tractatus de Mistica theologia seu Contemplacione Speculatiue et practice Editus a Reuerende patre et domino domino Johanne de gersonno Cancellario ecclesie parisiensis In sacra pagina professore eximio / Scriptor cum domino viuat A m e N'.

Begins: 'Astrinxit me promissio nouissima illud aggredi ...'

f.25r Ends: '... et quibus impeditur doctissime tradiderunt / Superest vt de practica theologie mistice in sequentibus prosequamur'.

f.26r Begins: 'TRactantes in lectionibus nostris iam a multo quamuis ...'

f.41v Ends: '... subinde dic gratulabundus Dilectus meus michi et ego illi Explicit Ihesus Maria'.

There follows the 'ANnotacio doctorum aliquorum qui de contemplacione loquti sunt' beginning 'Mangnus Dyonisius edoctus a paulo ...' and ending (f.42r) '... que omnia dinumerare non nostrum est Explicit'.

f.42r Colophon: 'Explicit tractatus de Contemplacione ...' etc., with the attribution to Gerson as in the incipit on f.3r. Continues 'Et pertinet ad monasterium venerabile fratrum celestinorum Beati Anthonii de ambianis Scriptus per manum fratris Victoris Herdinc In ordine predicto professi ...' etc. 'Explicit Liber de Mistica theologia'.

Later additions

On f.1r, originally blank, a medieval inscription consisting of four or five words, now mostly smudged and erased, apparently a memorandum of some kind, beginning 'Item Deux ...'. There are also modern booksellers' notes in pencil, mostly erased.

On f.1v, otherwise blank, 'ex Libris Ludovici Antonii Morel presbiteri', in a later post-medieval hand.

At the head of f.3r, in an early but post-medieval hand, 'Celestins d'amiens'.

At the foot of f.43v, which is otherwise blank: 'Iste liber est Celestinorum de Ambianis Jhesus Maria Joseph Johannes magdalena', in a hand of the later fifteenth century.

Date

Early fifteenth century (see below, Handwriting).

Material

The leaves are of membrane, 235 x 160mm, mostly of good quality, with a suede-like texture. Within the quires, the sheets are so disposed that hair side faces hair, and flesh flesh. Apart from some grime around the edges, the leaves are generally in good condition, and the text is undamaged. Little or no cropping appears to have occurred.

Number of leaves

43ff., of which the first was a blank flyleaf. There are two modern paper flyleaves at either end (see below, Binding). An accurate modern foliation has been added in pencil to the top right-hand corners of the rectos.

Mise-en-page, decoration

The text is written in a single column, 35 lines to a page. In the Theologia mystica speculativa (ff.3r-25r) the ink is pale brown, but in the Theologia mystica practica (ff.26r-42r) it is very dark brown, which may suggest that the two stints of copying were carried out at different times, possibly depending on the supply of a separate exemplar for the Theologia mystica practica (see above, Collation). The only parts written in red are 'Incipit ... viuat A m e N' on f.3r, and 'Explicit ... theologia' on f.42r.

An eight-line initial in blue and red ink, with flourishing extended to the foot of the inner margin, stands at the beginning of the text on f.3r. There is a four-line blue and red initial on f.4r, and a three-line blue and red initial on f.26r. Alternate blue and red two-line initials mark the main divisions of the text throughout. The headings of the consideraciones are underlined in red and marked alternately with blue and red capitulum marks. Quotations, the names of auctoritates, and other important features of the text are underlined in red. Capital letters within the text are touched in a yellow-brown wash throughout.

Handwriting

By one scribe throughout, who identifies himself as Victor Herdinc, Celestine of Amiens (see above, f.42r, colophon). He writes a consistent and practised hand modelled on the type of script generally described as littera cursiva formata, as found in dated French manuscripts of the early fifteenth century. Judging also by the quality of its text, and the probable circumstances of its transmission to the Celestines via the author's brother, MS Y.1 may have been copied quite soon after the date of completion in 1408. A distinctive feature of Herdinc's hand is the calligraphic flourish consistently added to the descender of 'g'.

Punctuation

Minor pauses are marked by rather faint virgulae, and a punctus, positioned on the line, occasionally appears at the end of a section.

Correction

There are occasional interlinear corrections (mostly the rectification of minor omissions) inserted by the scribe himself. More important corrections, supplying a line or so, appear on ff.15v and 34r, keyed to the insertion point in the text by red symbols added at the rubrication stage.

Collation

I10, II12 (+ two, ff.24 and 25, inserted after 12) | III8, IV10.
The first two quires are occupied by the Theologia mystica speculativa, but in order to complete this first part of the text the scribe chose to add two singletons after the twelfth leaf of the second quire; the reverse stub of the first is visible between f.11v and f.12r, and of the second, between f.33v and f.34r. The third and fourth quires contain the Theologia mystica practica. It seems possible that exemplars for the two parts of the text were received in separate instalments, a suggestion which gains some support from the marked change in the colour of the ink between f.25r and f.26r (see above, Mise-en-page). Paper guards (perhaps inserted at the time when the modern binding was executed, see below) are visible here and there in the gutters.

Catchwords; quire and leaf signatures

Catchwords, decorated with a few penwork flourishes, appear on ff.11v and 33v. No quire or leaf signatures are visible.

Pricking and ruling

There is a ruled pencil frame, 175 x 125mm, within which are lines also ruled in pencil, thirty-five to the page. Prickings for the line ruling are visible at the outer edges of most leaves.

Marginalia

On f.31v, 'Nota', and on f.32r, a special symbol, both in red, added with the other rubrication mentioned above.

Occasional notae, drawings of pointed hands, symbols etc. added by later users of the manuscript on ff.5r, 15v, 17v, 24r, 28v, 29r, 29v, 30v, 32r, 36r, 36v, 37v, 38v.

Binding

Fairly recent; strong membrane over heavy card(?). Two modern paper flyleaves at either end (no watermarks). Paper guards inserted here and there within the quires.

Secundo folio

'magnificare se homo super terram'.

Provenance

The Celestines of Amiens: see colophon and the inscription on f.43v.
'Ludovici Antonii Morel presbiteri' (f.1v) ?s.xviii/xix.
Unknown French book dealer, s.xxin, whose typed description is at present kept inside the front cover of the manuscript. A price in English currency, £25, has been added by hand.
Maggs of London; see their Catalogue 542 of 1930, where Y.1 was item no.127.
G. Udny Yule (1871-1951), statistician, Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, who probably bought the manuscript (along with other items in his collection which were certainly from that source) direct from Maggs.
Given to the Library of St John's College in September 1939, together with other manuscripts and rare books collected by Yule (see below).

Bibliography

I.C. Cunningham & A.G. Watson (eds.), Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries by N.R. Ker. V Indexes and Addenda (Oxford, 2002) no. 115.
J. C. T. Oates, 'The G. U. Yule Collection of the Imitatio Christi in the Library of St John's College', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 1 (1949-53), 88-90.
R. Beadle, 'Dated and datable manuscripts in Cambridge libraries', English manuscript studies 1100-1700 3 (1992), 244-245.

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