Cambridge, University Library Ii.2.11 Exeter documents; "West-Saxon Gospels': OE "Gospel of Nicodemus': OE "Vindicta Salvatoris" with 130. Exeter Cathedral 3501 (ff. 0-7)

Main Article Content

Matthew T. Hussey


100. Cambridge, University Library Ii.2.11

Exeter documents; "West-Saxon Gospels":

OE "Gospel of Nicodemus': OE "Vindicta Salvatoris"

with 130. Exeter Cathedral 3501 (ff. 0-7)

[Ker 20; Gneuss 15]

HISTORY: A complete copy of the West-Saxon translation of the Gospels along with the OE apocryphal "Gospel of Nicodemus" and "Vindicta Salvatoris''. Written in Leofric of Exeter's scriptorium in the third quarter of the llc by a single scribe whose work is identifiable with Exeter, whether part of the foundation of canons there, as suggested by Drage (1978), or as part of the bishop's household, as suggested by Bishop (1955: 197-99) and Treharne (2003 and 2009). Formerly it held a record of Leofric's donations to the Exeter foundation written by a nearly contemporary hand (now in the "Exeter Book" of OE poetry [130]) that lists 'peos englisce cristes boc' (ed. Lapidge 1994: 132-39; Conner 1993: 226-35). The book was designed and produced for Leofric's episcopal library in Exeter, likely around 1050- 60 (Treharne 2003: 160-61). Based on a close a nalysis of variations in the wording of pericopes and OE rubrics in CUL Ii.2.11, Lenker has argued that the liturgical headings were not part of the original translation of the Gospels; however, as an integral aspect of the book's design, Roman Latin pericopes from a Continental capitulary were integrated into the Exeter copy (Lenker 1999: 143). These pericopes often cite the synoptic parallels of the OE text they head; Lenker (1999: 173) suggests that "the combination of the vernacular gospels with the liturgical system is related to the homiletic tradition. A homilist could thus have used the text of the West Saxon Gospels for translation of the Gospel of the day into OE:' It seems then that the manuscript is designed for homiletic use, rather than liturgical reading, and fits best in the JElfrician tradition of vernacular exegetic homilies (Lenker 1999; Liuzza 1998: 10-ll and 14-15; Treharne 2003: 165). The text of the Gospels was corrected or altered sporadically in the later l lc, and a direction was added on f. 40r in the second half of the 12c, probably in Exeter. Liuzza notes that the text of the W-S Gospels seems to have been not often cited or used in the later llc and 12c, apart from its being copied a number of times in copies that show signs of later study and use (Luizza 1998: 5-6). The manuscript does not appear in either the 1327 or 1506 Exeter inventories (Conner 1993: 239) but nonetheless it appears to have remained in Exeter until 1566, when the Dean ofExeter, Gregory Dodds (also ' Dodde' or 'Dodd; dean 1560-70; on Dodds see Radford 1955: 6), gave the book to Matthew Parker, as a 16c inscription on the 15c flyleaff. [ix] verso reports. It has been suggested that Dodds' donation may have been a return of favor, as Parker had supported Dodds' promotion to Dean (Conner 1993: 249) and in 1566 gave him a vote of confidence in the aftermath of criticisms of Dodds' learning by appointing him to preach at St. Paul's (Graham 1994: 434). Parker had an edition of the W-S Gospels published by John Day under John Foxe's name as a part of his Anglican project to establish ancient precedent for translating the Bible into the vernacular (Conner 1993: 249; Liuzza 1998: 4-5). The note on f. [ix] verso suggests Parker probably had the book rebound the same year as the gift of 1566 (Graham 1994: 434). Graham (1994) has shown that it was Parker who had leaves removed from CUL li.2.11, when it was rebound, and bound those leaves in a confected quire into the "Exeter Book" ( described with the "Exeter Book" [130], details in the note to the "Collation:' below). CUL li.2.11 was bound by the "MacDurnan Gospels Binder", who worked on several volumes for Parker (Graham 1994: 444); two of the front flyleaves from this binding remain- an old parchment leaf with 15c accounts glued to a sheet of paper in an artificial bifolium, which bears Dodds' donation inscription. The vellum sheet of 15c accounts, with Parker's crayon note, 'past this side to the bord; comes from sheets of records that Parker used in other rebinding projects, including the confected quire now appended to the beginning of the 'Exeter Book' (Graham 1994: 444-48). Parker bequeathed the manuscript to the Cambridge University Library in 1574, along with 24 other manuscripts (inscription top off. 2r; Oates 1986: 96-119; Graham 1994: 431). It was rebound in 1949 (Ker, Cat. 31 and Liuzza 1994: xvii give 1940, but this is a misreading of the modern pastedown's inscription; cf. Graham 1994: 444, n.65). The old Parkerian binding is now kept separately.

Article Details

Manuscript Descriptions