Category Archives: Holcot’s Commentary on the Sentences

An Overlooked Manuscript of Robert Holcot’s Commentary on the Sentences: Basel, Universitätsbibliothek, ms. A. XI. 36.

The most comprehensive list cataloging the manuscripts of Robert Holcot’s commentary on the Sentences is that provided by Katherine Tachau and Paul Streveler in Seeing the Future Clearly: Questions on Future Contingents by Robert Holcot (PIMS, 1995), 36-38 (see the list, here). They list 48 extant manuscripts of Holcot’s commentary.

Today (while looking through the library catalog of the Basel University Library) I found an entry for Robert Holcot listed as a commentary on the Sentences. The library record (here) indicates that the manuscript contains 153 folios and that the commentary is found on folios 1ra-122ra. Further, the record provides an incipit (i.e., Utrum quilibet viator existens in gratia, assentiendo articulis fidei, mereatur vitam aeternam) that is consistent with other versions of Holcot’s commentary (e.g., Lyon 1518, Troyes 634, Mazarine 905; although not Oriel 15, which, if I remember right, begins De obiecto actus…). I speak of other versions, only because Holcot’s commentary on the Sentences is preserved in numerous manuscripts that often retain radically diverse orderings of the questions (this has led Tachau and Streveler to offer a “Proposed Ordering of the Questions”, 197-199). Again, according to the library record, the colophon gives a date of January 2, 1429.

While it is premature to assert that this is definitively another manuscript containing Holcot’s commentary on the Sentences, it seems probable at this point to assume that it is. I will (probably) be in Basel this spring working on another project and should be able to confirm the attribution at that time. More to come.