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EVRARDUS DE VALLE SCHOLARUM (EVRARD DE VOULAINES), Summa sermonum de estis et de sanctis, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
EVRARDUS DE VALLE SCHOLARUM (EVRARD DE VOULAINES), Summa sermonum de estis et de sanctis, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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EVRARDUS DE VALLE SCHOLARUM (EVRARD DE VOULAINES), Summa sermonum de estis et de sanctis, in Latin, DECORATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[France, Paris, late-13th or early-14th century]
250 x 170mm. 220 + ii + 3 + iii leaves, COMPLETE except for final blanks and part of the final added quire, collation: 1-1812, 193 (of 6, iv-vi cancelled blanks), 202 (medieval paper bifolium, probably former flyleaves), 213 (apparently of 6, i-ii, v, and most of the blank vi missing) catchwords throughout, leaf signatures frequently visible, the main text ruled in plummet for two columns of 48 lines, justification: 195 x 125mm, written in dark and lighter brown inks in a medium-grade gothic bookhand, lemmata underlined in red, capitals stroked in red, running headers in red, paraphs in red or blue, each sermon starting with a two-line initial alternately blue with red penwork flourishing, or vice versa, the text opening with a large FOUR-LINE PUZZLE INITIAL IN RED AND BLUE, WITH RED AND BLUE PENWORK, and with a red and blue border extending the full height of the page, medieval repairs to the vellum, frequent medieval 'Nota' marks and symbols (some wear and creasing especially at the beginning and end, the upper outer corners of the first and last few quires with rodent damage, not affecting the text, otherwise sound and legible throughout). MEDIEVAL SEWING on seven double or slit thongs, now severed at the joints and re-bound in 1830 in pale blue silk over pasteboards, without spine covering, endleaves with watermark 'Hall 1830' (some wear).

PROVENANCE:
1. Written around the end of the 13th century, and thus not long after the death of the author.
2. John Newton, 15th-century England: inscribed 'Johannes Neuton' in plummet in the lower margin below the start of the first sermon to the Assumption of the Virgin. It may have been Newton who had the text by Rolle added on the final blank leaves. Coincidentally, Hope Emily Allen, Writings Ascribed to Richard Rolle... (Oxford, 1927) p.243, records a copy of the Emendatio vitae bequeathed by dominus Johannes Newton, Master of Sherburn Hospital (1409-1427).
3. Thomas Vowler Short (1790-1872): the front pastedown inscribed 'Thomas Vowler Short Student of Christ Church Oxford 1831', and the front pastedown inscribed 'King William's College, Library. 1845.'. Short presumably bought it for '£3. 13. 6', the price inscribed in the upper margin on the first page.

CONTENT:
This handsome and professionally produced manuscript contains approximately 150 sermons arranged in one sequence according to the temporale and sanctorale, from All Saints (1 November) to Sts Simon and Jude (28 October), including the translation of Genevive (patron of Paris), Victor (to whom the royal abbey in Paris was dedicated), the Crown of Thorns (relics at the Ste-Chapelle, Paris), and Denis (patron of Paris). Most feasts have two sermons, except for Christmas Eve, the Assumption of the Virgin, and Francis, which have three each. The text begins 'Letabor ego super eloquia tua. Psalmus. Super eloquia divina letandum est triplici ratione...' and ends '...ihesus christus qui vivit et regnat per omnia secula seculorum amen'.
Evrard was an Augustinian canon who studied theology at the university of Paris in the third quarter of the 13th century, and was thus a contemporary of Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura, whom he may well have known. He later joined the newly established congregation of the Val des Écoliers (Valley of Scholars), founded by four pious professors of theology, at Ste-Catherine, Paris; became its Prior probably in the 1260s and died probably after 1280 (see Catherine Guyon, Les Ecoliers du Christ: l'ordre canonial du Val des Ecoliers, 1201-1539, 1998, pp. 228-29, with references to older literature including Glorieux, Répertoire des maitres en théologie). The sermon collection was published as Sermones de Sanctis, attributed to Hugo de Prato Florido, in 1485 and in numerous editions thereafter.
The final two 15th-century English leaves contain a fragment of
RICHARD ROLLE's Emendatio vitae, chapters 6-8 (from 'purgari aut post hunc... ' to '... docent in scriptis suis', equivalent to Rüdiger Spahl, ed., De emendatione vitae: Eine Kritische Ausgabe des lateinischen Textes von Richard Rolle..., 2009, p.194 line 14 to p.206 line 23). The text is arranged in twelve chapters, equivalent to twelve stages or steps in the spiritual life, from conversion to contemplation.

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Annegret Pettigrew

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