As I have noted previously, Beryl Smalley defended the general reliability of the Basel 1586 edition of Holcot’s commentary on Wisdom. Further, she also argued that Balliol 27 was “close to an autograph” copy of the work being corrected against the book of the Master (i.e., Holcot’s personal manuscript copy). Questions remain, however, regarding the reliability of the 1586 edition. As I (and Jeff Witt) continue to work on the text it is clear that there are numerous discrepancies between Balliol 27 and Basel 1586.
Consider lectio 44 (Basel 1586, p. 155; Balliol 27, fol. 72ra). Balliol 27 and Basel 1586 agree about the first paragraph, beginning with “Postquam Spiritus Sanctus probavit adulterinae” and ending with “Secunda pars ibi: immortalis. Tertia pars ibi: cum praesens est.” Thus, in the images below you note that the end of the first paragraph of the Basel text (left) is consistent (basically) what what is highlighted in Balliol 27 (right). However, to find the section of Balliol 27 that corresponds with the beginning of the second paragraph of the Basel text one has to skip about 34 lines of text (in Balliol). The reader will note that the second highlighted section of Balliol 27 reads: “est advertendum, quod ad hoc, quod castitas coniungalis debito modo feruetur, tria requirit, vi-… etc.” This picks up the Basel text (absent Circa primum) with the second paragraph. The upshot: everything between the highlighted sections of Balliol 27 is missing from Basel 1586 (I have yet to find this section of text anywhere in lectio 44). Perhaps Basel 1586 is not as reliable as Smalley first imagined. [NB: an almost identical omission is found in a French manuscript (Troyes 907, fol. 44va) that preserves the text as found in Basel 1586.]