Trinity Hall : Stephanus Langton super xii Prophetas

Trinity Hall

<p style='text-align: justify;'> This mid-thirteenth-century manuscript is a collection of texts with a theological and devotional theme written in at least three hands. It contains extracts of works by Stephen Langton, William de Montibus, and Bede, as well as Alan of Tewkesbury’s letters of St Thomas Becket.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The manuscript begins with a <i>Commentary on the Twelve Minor Prophets</i> (fol. 1-47b) by Stephen Langton (c.1150-1228). Langton was Archbishop of Canterbury (1207-1228) and was a prolific writer, particularly of commentaries on the Bible. The Twelve Minor Prophets is a ‘book’ of the Hebrew Bible that contains the books of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. This is followed by Langton’s commentary on Isaiah (fols.70b-86b) written in a different hand. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Next there are extracts of three works by William de Montibus (c.1140–1213) a theologian from Lincoln, who was a contemporary of Stephen Langton. The first, Montibus’ <i>Simultudinarian</i> (fol 70b-85b), is a collection of similitudes arranged in alphabetical order and intended for students and preachers to easily find examples to support their argument. A palimpsest of a fragment of an eighth or ninth-century book of benedictions is on Quire 10, fol. 78-83. It is written in Anglo-Saxon Majuscule verging on Minuscule. The script is almost illegible. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> This is followed by Montibus’ <i>Numerale</i> (fol. 102b-107) an introduction to basic theological topics organised numerically from one to twelve; and <i>Speculum penitentis</i> (fol. 108-112) is practical work on penance and confession. There are also a selection of his proverbs and quotations. These works were intended as practical aids for the medieval preacher. In the same section is part of a commentary by Bede (c. 673–735 CE) on the Old Testament book of Tobias (Tobit).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The final section of the manuscript (fol. 113ra-192vb) is a collection of Thomas à Becket’s (c.1119/1120-1170) letters compiled by Alan of Tewkesbury (b. before 1150-1202) These are written in a different hand to the previous section. The different script and decoration, as well as the numeration of its gatherings, suggest that the letters were originally a separate item which has been bound together with these other works.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Alan of Tewkesbury was a monk at Christ Church, Canterbury. He compiled Becket’s letters between 1174-6 and 1180-84 from a variety of earlier collections. These letters are arranged in chronological order and are prefaced by John of Salisbury's life of St Thomas, supplemented by Alan's own prologue. This manuscript contains several letters of Becket to Pope Alexander III (c.1100/1105-1181) and other bishops. It also contains 167 letters and it breaks off abruptly mid-sentence at the end of fol. 192vb.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The medieval provenance of the manuscript is unknown but it belonged to Robert Hare (d. 1611) in 1562 and he donated it to the College. </p>


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