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    Sale 7548

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    12 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 24

    PETRUS JOHANNES OLIVI O.F.M. (1248-1298), Principium in sacram scripturam, III, I; Collationes super sententias Petri Lombardi; Epitome ethicorum Aristotelis, in Latin, MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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    PETRUS JOHANNES OLIVI O.F.M. (1248-1298), Principium in sacram scripturam, III, I; Collationes super sententias Petri Lombardi; Epitome ethicorum Aristotelis, in Latin, MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
    [southern France, 14th century]275 x 210mm. Composite manuscript of 67 leaves: 112, 211(of 12 lacking i), 3-412, 5-610, catchwords in lower margins of final versos, 45-50 lines in two columns written in brown and black ink in several gothic and semi-cursive bookhands, red underlining, text capitals touched red ff.9v-12, spaces for large initials, frequent annotations, maniculae, linking marks (lacking one leaf after f.12, one bifolio loose ff, staining and wear to several leaves, worming to ff.36-57, blank right column of f.57 cancelled). 18th-century Italian half sheep and patterned paper over pasteboards, the spine lettered in gilt 'XIX JNCE SERM S. SCR MS.' (scuffed).


    1. The origin in southern France indicated by the scripts gains some support from the trimmed note on f.57v in a 15th-century hand relating to domina jacoba valaraugue and her husband, perhaps a name derived from Valleraugue in the Cévennes in southern France, dated to July anno xx. It is, however, not clear when the three parts of the manuscript were brought together.

    2. Perhaps from the Dominican convent of San Domenico, Gaeta (see lot 16): bound uniformly with the manuscript from Gaeta (lot 22) and eleven others and with similar inscriptions: 'B.4. espositiones seu sermones in Jeremia et profetas et in Cantica' (f.1) and 'Foglie * 66 Segnato N. AP' (end pastedown); similar brief 19th-century description in French on two leaves loosely inserted in volume

    3. HSA B1456; Faulhaber, pp. 82-3, 89-90, 656-7.


    Petrus Johannes Olivi: Principia generalia in sacram scripturam, ff.1-9v: III f.1, I f.6v.
    Collationes super Sententias Petri Lombardi, lacking one leaf after f.12, ff.9v-47: in a second hand [I]ndica mihi in qua via habitet lux. Job. 38. habitans in carcere tenebroso... f.9v; in a third hand, [N]on est talis mulier super terram...Judit.11. Sicut dicit valerius maximus... f.45; blank, apparently former flyleaf from damage, f.47v.
    Collationes, in a fourth hand with different ruling and untrimmed pricking, opening [F]ons ortorum puteus aquarum... cantica .4. Emmanationis divine sapientie..., ff.48-57.
    Epitome ethicorum Aristotelis, imperfect, opening in Book II, ...studiosum esse propter difficile esse... and breaking in Book IX ...in operacione propria homini que est felicitas..., ff.58-67v.

    THIS MANUSCRIPT WAS UNKNOWN TO ANTONIO CICERI, PETRI JOHANNIS OLIVI OPERA, CENSIMENTO DEI MANOSCRITTI, COLLECTIO OLIVIANA I, 1999, WHO LISTS EACH OF THESE TEXTS IN ONLY THREE OTHER MANUSCRIPTS. The rarity of Olivi's works was the desired result of the condemnation of his views as heretical. Trained at the University of Paris, Olivi, a leader of the Spiritual Franciscans, successfuly defended himself against accusations of heresy during his life but in 1299 the General Chapter of the Franciscan Order decreed that his writings should be burnt and, in 1318, completely forbade them. The provenance from a Dominican convent helps to explain this manuscript's survival. All five Principia accepted as genuine have been edited by D. Flood and G. Gál, Peter of John Olivi on the Bible, 1997.

    Peter Lombard's four books of Sentences, composed c.1150, became a fundamental text for theological students throughout Europe (see lot 22). The custom of introducing a commentary on the Sentences with a collatio, or academic sermon, seems to have been originated by Peter Aureol at the University of Paris in the early 14th century. The usual form of the collation, as in the present lot, is to open with a scriptural quotation, which is then reiterated, and to incorporate summaries in leonine verse, emphasised here by spacing and marginal drawings. The text was used, as shown by the marginal additions, including numerous annotations of authorities -- among them Rabimoyses, Maimonides, accorded special decoration, f.22. At an early date, a further collation was added by the third hand to complete the quire to a similar format. This gathering was the final one in what was probably its original binding, since the damage apparently caused through the final leaves by metal binding attachments has been corrected in a similar hand.

    The collations by the fourth hand, opening with two on the Song of Songs are in an independent gathering with different ruling and untrimmed pricking. The note on its final verso supports an origin in southern France for the gathering. The similar layout and absence of large initials make it possible that it was planned to be added to ff.1-47; the worming of its final leaves shows that it once closed a bound volume.

    The imperfect copy of a summary of Aristotle's Ethics clearly belonged to a separate volume. Interest in Aristotle had continued to accelerate since the 12th century when his works became readily accessible in Latin. This epitome, written in a fifth, semi-cursive, hand, possibly French, on a different ruling, was presumably already fragmentary when the texts were brought together, possibly only in the 18th-century binding campaign in an Italian Dominican convent, perhaps at Gaeta.

    This composite manuscript exemplifies a conventual library, with many texts composed or copied by members of the order, where rare works, like those by Petrus Olivi, might survive alongside the staples of medieval study, like Aristotle, and anonymous scholarly exercises upon them, like the collations on Peter Lombard.

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