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Medieval Medical Recipes : Origen, Sermons on Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, translated into Latin by Rufinus of Aquileia

Medieval Medical Recipes

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Cambridge, University Library, MS Add. 5368 (hereafter MS Add. 5368) is a 12th century manuscript made at the Cistercian Abbey of Waverley in England and contains groups of sermons on the first three books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus) by the early Christian writer and theologian Origen of Alexandria (b. ?185, d. ?253). Origen was a prolific author and was one of the first significant editors of the Old Testament; he achieved fame in Late Antiquity for a comparative study of the Old Testament known as the <i>Hexpla</i>, which presented six popular editions of the Old Testament in Hebrew and Greek in parallel columns and noted their significant similarities and differences. The <i>Hexpla</i> became one of the foundation texts of the Great Library at Caesarea, and was used by later biblical scholars Eusebius (b. ?260, d. ?340) and Jerome (b. ?342-347, d. 420) in their own important works on refining, editing, and translating the text of the Bible.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Origen wrote hundreds of homilies in Greek covering almost every book of the Bible, and these homilies quickly became popular among early Christians. When Latin emerged as the shared language of formal education, politics, and trade in western Europe, it also became an important language for the administration and practices of the Christian Church in those regions, and many of the most important early Christian texts in Greek were quickly translated into Latin. The translations of many of Origen's homilies from Greek into Latin were undertaken by Rufinus a monk and theologian who lived in Aquilea in what is now Italy. Rufinus's translations of Origen's homilies were enormously popular throughout Latin Christendom and hundreds of copies of fragmentary and complete versions of sets of the homilies have survived.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>MS Add. 5368 was made in the second half of the 12th century at the Cistercian Abbey of Waverley in Surrey, within the first century of the Abbey's foundation. Waverley was the first Cistercian house in England and was founded in 1128 by William Giffard, bishop of Winchester (1100–1129). William invited thirteen monks from the Cistercian abbey of L'Aumône in France to fill his new foundation and to live in community as one abbot and twelve monks (modelled after Jesus and the twelve apostles); as such, Waverley was a daughter house of L'Aumône and by extension a grandaughter house of Cîteaux, the spiritual home of the Cistercian Order. Despite its status as the first Cistercian foundation in England, Waverley was not a rich abbey and suffered damage from several natural disasters and various ecclesiastical and secular power struggles. Waverley met its end during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; it was identified as a candidate for dissolution in the first phase in 1536 due to its low income, and small number of inhabitants. The Waverley Abbey site was given to William Fitzwilliam and was quickly dismantled, with the stones finding their way into several local building projects including Loseley Park, a grand home a few kilometers east of the Abbey site. Very few books from Waverley Abbey have survived, but the following items have been identified and were all probably produced within the first century of the Abbey's existence: <ul><li><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://searcharchives.bl.uk/IAMS_VU2:LSCOP_BL:IAMS040-001103185'>London, British Library, Cotton MS Vespasian A.xvi</a></li><li><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://medieval.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/catalog/manuscript_1551'>Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 527</a></li><li><a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/99113159343506421'>Princeton, University Library, Garrett MS 71</a></li></ul><br /> John Leland (b. ?1503, d. 1552) visited Waverley on his tour of all of the libraries in religious houses in England and Wales (c. 1533-1536) and recorded five books from what may have been a larger library collection, but none of the books noticed by Leland have been identified among extant collections of medieval manuscripts (see the <i>Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues</i>, vol. 3, for further details). </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>MS Add. 5368 has an unusual physical appearance when compared with many other surviving medieval manuscripts, a reflection of the considerable damage sustained in the centuries since it was made. The entire volume has signs of water damage, and most of the extant leaves exhibit some staining and cockling, although as the water damage has been expertely treated in 2023 and 2024, the cockling is now much less apparent. One of the <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(1);return false;'>original boards</a> for the binding is still present, but the other is gone entirely, as is one or more of the final quires. It is not clear when the loss of the lower board and the final quires occured. The original medieval covers over the boards are almost entirely gone except for a <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(362);return false;'>fragment of the cover</a> (now stored separately) made from tawed skin that originally covered part of the <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(361);return false;'>spine</a>; due to the extent of the damage to the volume researchers have a rare opportunity to see the original sewing structure of a medieval book as the back is entirely exposed. The volume as a whole is very delicately written in a neat 12th century protogothic minuscule, but on relatively poor-quality parchment</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Sarah Gilbert<br /> Project Cataloguer for Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries<br /> Cambridge University Library</p>


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