Category Archives: Holcot’s Distinctiones Bibliae

Lambeth 221 and Basel A II 26: Some Manuscript Notes (Holcot)

Robert Holcot is alleged to have written a work called the Distinctiones Bibliae. As I note here, Sharpe (1475, p. 555) lists the Distinctiones Bibliae as an authentic work of Robert Holcot. Whether or not this work should be attributed to Holcot is far from certain, although at present there is no reason to dismiss the work as spurious.  Sharpe notes that the incipit of the work is Abominabitur autem Deus tales and that it should be distinguished from Eustasius de Portu’s Distinctiones Holcot with an incipit Abicere debemus.

I have recently been working through Lambeth 221. Between folios 55vb and 154rb the manuscript contains three distinct (I think) texts. The first (ff.58vb–145vb) is a distinctiones collection that, following Sharpe et al., should be attributed to Eustasius de Portu (incipit Abicere debemus). Following that text is another work (ff. 146ra–148vb) that seems to be an incomplete text that provides a term/name from the Bible and gives some indication where to find that term (like a biblical index). Finally, the third text (ff. 146ra–148vb) is the work, again following Sharpe and others, that should be attributed to Holcot (incipit Abominabitur autem Deus tales). However, this work seems to be a table keyed to another text, and not an independent collection of distinctiones.  To help clarify the problem, I have now consulted Basel A II 26.  Here are a few notes (related to Holcot) about the content. There are four texts in this fourteenth-century ms. (which originated from the Dominican House in Basel) that are relevant to Holcot’s corpus:

(1) Robert Holcot, Super librum Ecclesiastici (prologue). Folios 104ra–105va.

Header: Principium Holkot in Ecclesiasticum.
Incipit: Omnis sapientia a domino deo est (eccl. 1:1), magister et dominus Gundisalinus libro suo de ortu scientiarum…
Explicit: Principium Holkot in librum Ecclesiasticum.

This work was also printed in Venice (1509) where the corresponding text (the prologue) is designated as lectio 1 (ff. A 2ra–A 3rb).

(2) Robert Holcot, Super librum Ecclesiastici (Eccl. 1:1-38).

IncipitOmnis sapientia… (Eccl. 1:1), Beatus Augustinus 4 De doctrina Christiana, c. 12
ExplicitAttende [in] illis…circa primum est notandum.

As noted above, this work was printed in Venice (1509) and is found there as lectiones II-XIV (ff. A 3rb–B 4vb). The version found in the Basel ms. is incomplete and breaks off midway through what is lectio XIV in Venice 1509.

(3) Robert Holcot, Moralitates. Folios 138rb–140va.

In marg.: Moralizatio ymaginum dearum etc.
Incipit: Theodosius de vita Alexandri. Rex sicilie alexandrum ad convivium invitavit.

This work collects 20 of Holcot’s Moralitates. The individual moralizations are noted in the margin. I have confirmed that the moralizations are consistent with those found in the Basel edition of Holcot’s Moralitates (though I have not checked every instance).

(4) Eustasius de Porto (?), Collationes moralitatum postillae Roberti Holcot per ordinem alphabeti dispositae. Folios 230ra–255vb.

Header: Collationes seu distinctiones moralitatum postille magistri Roberti Holkott abreviate et per ordinem alphabeti abstracte per fratrem Eustasium de portu usque ad litteram.
Incipit: Abicere. Abicere debemus divicias temporales quia repellunt veritatem.

This text, as noted above, is claimed to be by Eustasius de Porto (by Sharpe and others). The collection of distinctiones here is consistent with the collection found in Lambeth 221 discussed above.  The list of terms begins with Abicere and concludes (in Basel A II 26) with the term Gratiarum on folio 255vb. Thus, this work corresponds with the text found in Lambeth 221, folios 58va–90rb. Unlike the Lambeth manuscript, the Basel version of Eustasius’s work is incomplete and does not contain the work (alleged to be by Holcot) with the incipit Abominabitur autem Deus tales. This takes us no further towards understanding the relationship between (or authorship of)  Abicere debemus and Abominabitur autem Deus, but at least we have a few more data points.

A fellow colleague and friend, Marjorie Burghart, shared the list of terms from Lambeth 221.  Here I add to her list the foliation for Basel A II 26 (of course, the majority of the work is hers).  Lambeth 221-Basel A.II.26 (Table of Terms).