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Psalm Commentary, result 1 of 1
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Commentarius super duas quinquagenas Psalterii
height 28 cm
width 19 cm
Artist/Author: Honorius of Autun, ca. 1080-ca. 1156
Provenance and Prior Publication: Bequest of John Wilson. Publication: Seymour De Ricci, with the assistance of W. J. Wilson.
Further Object Details: 19th-century binding; several hands and ink colors (various browns and reds). Honorius Augustodunensis, Expositio in Psalmos. Pap. (XVth c.), 288 ff. (28 x 19 cm.), the first two blank.
Belonged to Charles Clay, M. D., of Audenshaw Lodge, Audenshaw near Manchester, and to the Rev. R. R. Hutton, rector of Barnet (Herts); his sale (London, 18 May 1883, n. 662) to Hutton; later to Rev. Robert Rosseter Hutton rector of Barnet, Herts; his sale (London, 4 July 1888, n. 402) to E. Parsons. - Obtained (15 Sept. 1891) from B. F. Stevens.
Quoted from Seymour De Ricci, with the assistance of W. J. Wilson, Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, II, New York: The H. W. Wilson Company, 1937, p. 125.
Kevin Wahlquist, Medieval Portland Capstone Student, Summer 2005:
This 574 page manuscript contains a commentary on the first one hundred psalms by Honorius Augustodunensis. It was written on paper in an early cursive script with contemporary bindings, and is possibly a 14th-century English work. The very informal cursive script with suggests University Hand with a Secretary influence. Variation in duct (the distinctive mannerisms of a particular scribe) and size suggest multiple scribes or perhaps the slow mastery of a more continental script. The ink color ranges from black to olive/brown with very crude rubricating and decorated initials.
This medieval manuscript has a modern binding in purple morocco leather. Boards are plain except for a tooled border around the edge consisting of three very fine lines forming concentric rectangles. It has three single raised cords on the spine. The pages are thick folio with rough edges. A heavy watermark is visible in the outer folia. Plummet ruling marks 2 columns with 1" side margins and .5" in between columns. The top margin is 1" while the bottom is 2". The book consists of gatherings of 8 folia. Flyleaves have prominent watermark while it is less visible (and sometimes missing entirely) from inner quires. The watermark resembles an elongated treble crown with an inscribed circle near the base. While the binding and the flysheets contain notations claiming this is the work of 14th-century English scribes, there is reason to doubt that assessment. The informal, cursive hand is consistent with extensive use of abbreviations in University book hands of the 13-14th centuries. Early sections are in a very splayed hand with short, rounded ascenders, and letter forms consistent with continental or Secretary script. None of the manuscript shows a strong calligraphic effort but later sections contain extensive otiose markings, and very even duct that suggests either eventual mastery or multiple scribes. The later, more fluid sections strongly resemble Bastard Secretary scripts which dominated England in the 15-16th centuries. It could also indicate that the manuscript is the product of continental scribes. It bears strong resemblance to work of Teutonic scribes from the 14th century. Later sections of the manuscript also employ a extensive use of a double-hyphen (=) to indicate words broken at the end of a line. This might also indicate a later date of origin.
The author of this work is known as Honorius Augustodunensis or Honorius of Autun, a prolific and influential 12th-century writer who produced most of his works between 1106-1125 AD, roughly corresponding to the rule of Henry V of Germany.[sentence fragment] A contemporary and avid supporter of Saint Anselm, it is believed Honorius spent a brief period in his early career at Canterbury and neighboring diocese. His most influential works derive, however, from his time at Regensburg. Without external biographical sources, most of what is known about Honorius is taken directly from his writings. His audience was predominantly southern German and Austrian and he is considered instrumental in establishing the views of St. Anselm in that region. Honorius, like Anselm, was a vocal participant in the Investiture Controversy of the late 11th-early 12th century and sided with the Papacy.
Honorius is the author of 22 major works and approximately 10 additional minor works. They can be divided into four broad categories: polemical works in the interests of ecclesiastical reform, liturgical works for the service of the clergy, cosmological works, and texts produced in his role as a scholasticus engaged in theological and exegetical teaching. The Expositio Psalterii falls within this last group along with a commentary on the Song of Songs which recasts that work as the poetical dialogue between Christ and His Church.
The Expositio Psalterii is a massive work not believed to exist in any complete form. Rather than demonstrating original scholarship, Honorius openly acknowledges his intent to make the writings of earlier Church Fathers more widely known. Some of the early codices contain marginal references to Honorius' sources and its epilogue contains a disclaimer to inform the reader of the original sources. It should be noted that Gerhoh of Reichersberg, an influential German theologian, a century later borrowed from Honorius' commentary extensively for his own commentary on the Psalms.
Although there is evidence that Honorius spent some of his early career in England, relatively few manuscripts of his works are found there. Although an authoritative catalogue of extant manuscripts isn't available, a thorough catalogue by V.I.J. Flint shows no record of any of the manuscripts of Expositio Pslaterii to be in England. Flint's catalogue indicates that one other manuscript containing the commentary on the first 100 psalms exists in Vienna. A brief correspondence with the librarian revealed that the Vienna manuscript differs dramatically from this one. It is heavily illuminated with extensive historiated initials and inhabited margins (particularly flowers and dragons). Valerie Flint indicates that Honorius was wont to give copies of manuscripts to friends and that many of the English manuscripts have inscriptions to that effect. While it is certainly plausible that this codex is one of these, the paleography suggests a later date.
Suggestions for Further Reading:
Endres, Joseph Anton. Honorius Augustodunensis. Kempten Muenchen: J. Kasel, 1906.
Flint, Valerie I. J. Ideas in the Medieval West : texts and their contexts. London: Variorum Reprints, 1988.
Geary, Patrick J. Readings in medieval history. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2003.
Grieve, Hilda E. P. Examples of English handwriting, 1150-1750 : with transcripts and translations. [Essex, Eng.]: Essex Education Committee, 1954.
Parkes, M. B. English cursive book hands, 1250-1500. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1969.
Preston, Jean F, and Laetitia Yeandle. English handwriting, 1400-1650 : an introductory manual. Asheville, N.C: Pegasus Press, 1999.
Multnomah County Library, John Wilson Special Collections
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