(Abbey of St. Oyan at St.-Claude du Jura, France: ca. 1175). 245 x 158 mm. (9 3/4 x 6 1/4"). Single column of text with two columns of gloss, text column with 26 lines in a fine proto-gothic book hand.
Verso with scant remnants of mounting tape in a couple of places along one edge. See Gwara, Handlist no. 77. Upper margin of fore edge unevenly trimmed away (but no text lost), a dozen-and-a-half small, round wormholes (touching just a couple letters), light soiling to edges and other minor imperfections, but still IN FINE CONDITION, the vellum very clean, and the ink dark and legible.
The most important innovation in biblical scholarship during the 12th century was the development of the "Glossa Ordinaria" to the Bible. Drawing on the whole earlier tradition of biblical exegesis, but especially that of Latin patristic writers like Augustine and Jerome, scholars working in the French cathedral schools of Laon and Paris systematized this material in an apparatus of marginal and interlinear glosses arranged around the relevant biblical passages. The present leaf, showing a particularly beautiful and regular script, is a lovely example of one such work. The biblical text, appearing in the center column, is differentiated by larger lettering, and gloss appears interlineally and in a column on either side of the main text, all in smaller lettering by the same hand. Scott Gwara notes that the parent manuscript was formerly in the Medieval library of St. Oyan at St.-Claude du Jura, a Benedictine monastery founded as the Abbey of Condat around 425 and later known as St. Oyen (after an obscure saint who served as Condat's fourth abbot). In the 13th century it was renamed St.-Claude. By the 20th century, the manuscript was in the collection of William L. Clements (d. 1934), the bulk of which was sold by his estate between 1934-37. The manuscript was then acquired and dismembered by biblioclast Otto Ege around 1939. Gwara notes that the manuscript was incomplete by the time it reached Ege (containing only 80 leaves), but was "otherwise in excellent condition." The present leaf certainly attests to this assertion, being extremely clean, bright, and with comfortable margins. (ST17586)