Medieval (Gothic)
about 1250–1300

Place of Manufacture: Europe, Northern France


Overall (page dimensions): 17.9 x 13.2 cm (7 1/16 x 5 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera and ink on parchment; bindings of French red morocco leather over boards with gilding and compartments with brown morocco leather

Not On View





A Bible with 471 folios (ff.) and 7 leaves:

ff. 1 - 426v: Bible, Old and New Testaments, most with the common prologues: Pentateuch; Joshua; Judges; Ruth; Kings I-IV; I Chron.; II Chron.; Ezra; Nehemiah; Tobias; Judith; Esther; Job; Psalms; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; Cantica Canticorum; Sapientia; Ecclesiasticus; Isaiah; Jeremiah; Lamentations; Baruch; Ezechiel; Daniel; Minor Prophets; Hosea; Joel; Amos; Obadiah; Jonah; Micah; Nahum; Habbacuc (called “Baruch”); Zephaniah; Haggai; Zacharias; Malachi; Maccabees; II Macc.; Matthew; Mark; Luke; John; Romans; I Cor.; II Cor.; Galatians; Ephesians; Phillipp.; Laodicians.; Collosians; I Thess.; II Thess.; I Timothy; II Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Hebrews; Acts; Canonical epistles; James; I Peter; II Peter; I John; II John; III John; Jude; Apocalypse.

ff. 426v - 464: Jerome’s index to the Bible
f. 464v: [blank]
ff. 465 - 469v: III Ezra
ff. 470 - 471v: 15th-century additions: summary of epistle and gospel lections for temporale; list of books of the Bible in order (possibly a mnemonic).

2 columns of 50 text lines in Latin. Boundings lines brown plummet, doubled and full-length to all edges, writing lines are in brown plummet and do not cross intercolumnar space, prickings preserved in lower margin for bounding lines.

Sixty-nine 2- to 10-line historiated initials with grotesques, flora and fauna in colors, bar extensions into margins, historiated as follows: f. 1: 8-line historiated [F] showing Jerome writing, in blue and salmon with bar extending length of outer margin; f. 3: full-length [I] historiated with the seven days of creation in seven roundels; f. 20 (Ex.): Man and Moses in doorway; f. 33v (Lev.): Offering; f. 43v (Num.): Moses holding tablets, head of God in clouds; f. 57 (Deut.): Man watching Moses place the tablets in the ark; f. 71 (Joshua): Joshua holding scroll speaks to God, three men stand behind him; f. 79 (Judges): head of God, two seated men; f. 89 (Ruth): Elimelech and Naomi with infant and child; f. 91 (I Kings): Anna and Elcana praying; f. 103v (II Kings): David orders beheading of Amalekite; f. 113v (III Kings): Attendant brings Abishag to David; f. 125v (IV Kings): Ahaziah falling from the tower; f. 136v (I Chron.): three Israelites seated; f. 147v (II Chron.): God addressing Solomon; f. 160 (I Ezra): Cyrus overseeing the construction of Jerusalem; f. 163v (Neh.): Nehemiah giving gold cup to Artaxerxes; f. 168v (Tob.): Tobit and the swallow; f. 172v (Judith): Judith beheading Holofernes; f. 177 (Esther): Esther receiving the scepter from Ahasuerus; f. 182 (Job): Job on dungheap observed by his wife and two others; f. 191 (Psalm 1): David with harp; f. 194 (Ps. 26): David with book, addressing God; f. 196 (Ps. 38): David debating the devil; f. 198 (Ps. 52): the fool; f. 200 (Ps. 68): two compartments, God above and David naked in a boat on the water below; f. 202 (Ps. 80): David playing the bells; f. 204v (Ps. 97): three monks singing at a lectern; f. 206v (Ps. 109): Trinity; f. 211 (Prov.): Solomon teaching seated crowd; f. 217v (Ecclesiastes): Solomon with youth; f. 220 (Cant.): Virgin and child; f. 221v (Sap.): Solomon with soldier; f. 226v (Ecclesiasticus), elderly Hebrew sitting beneath a fruit tree; f. 240 (Isaiah), Isaiah sawn; f. 256 (Jerem.): Jeremiah with boiling cauldron; f. 275v (Lam.): Jeremiah laments Jerusalem; f. 277v (Baruch): Baruch writing; f. 280 (Ezech.): Ezechiel in bed with vision of the tetramorph; f. 298 (Daniel): Daniel in the lion’s den; f. 305v (Hos.): Hosea and Gomer; f. 308 (Joel): Joel preaching to crowd; f. 309 (Amos): Amos with sheep and head of God; f. 311 (Obad.): Obadiah seated, addressing crowd; f. 311v (Jonah): two compartments, Jonah on the boat above, and being spit out by the whale below; f. 312v (Micah): Micah with scroll outside city; f. 314 (Nah.): Nahum preaching; f. 315 (Hab.): Habbakuk holding a rock and a vase; f. 316 (Zeph.): Zephaniah holding a scroll, speaking to God; f. 317 (Hagg.): Haggai standing with book; f. 318 (Zech.): Zechariah holding scroll, speaking to God; f. 322 (Mal.): Malachi with scroll, preaching to a tonsured and robed man; f. 323 (Macc.): Knight on horseback; f. 334 (II Macc.): Seated man with staff, standing man with spear; f. 342 (Mt.): tree of Jesse; f. 352 (Mk. prologue): winged lion; f. 352v (Mk.): Mark; f. 359 (Lk.): Zechariah censing the altar; f. 370v (John): John with scroll; f. 379v (Rom.): Christ and Paul; ff. 384, 388, 391, 392, 393v (I Cor., II Cor., Gal., Eph., Phillip.): Paul delivering the epistle to a crowd; 394v (Laodic.): Paul enthroned; ff. 395, 396, 397 (Col, I Thess., II Thess.): Paul delivering the epistle to a crowd; f. 397v (I Tim.): Paul dictating, scribe writing; ff. 398v, 399v, 400 (II Tim., Titus, Phil.): Paul delivering the epistle to a crowd; f. 400v (Heb.): Paul preaching to the Hebrews; f. 404 (Acts): Ascension; f. 416 (James): James; f, 417 (I Peter): Peter enthroned, holding key; f. 418 (II Peter): Peter standing, holding key; f. 419 (I John): John, tonsured, writing; ff. 420, 420v (II and III John): John seating reading epistle; f. 420v (Jude): Jude standing, reading epistle; f. 421 (Apoc.): John writing with buildings in background (7 churches of Asia?); f. 465 (III Ezra): Josias kneeling with cup before king. Two-line filigree intials throughout alternating blue with red or vice versa.

Binding: Mid-18th-century gilt-rolled and -tooled French red morocco over boards, spine gilt in compartments with brown morocco leather label gilt-stamped “BIBLIA/ MANUSCRIPTA,” gilt fillet board edges and turn-ins, flyleaves 2 and 3 and their counterparts at the end of the manuscript are old paper with watermark “AMOSIN/ FIN” in front and “FARGE MD” in back, all edges gilt.


f. 464: Colophon: "Dextram scribentis Benedicat lingua ligentis. Finito libro sit laus et Gloria cristo. Gloria iesu."

French dealer's notes presenting the manuscript and describing the printing process, dated 1744, on f. i (parchment flyleaf); Bookplate of Matthias Bruen (1793 - 1829, New York City, NY) with arms and motto "Fides scutum" inside front cover; late nineteenth-century English notes (possibly Bruen's) on second paper flyleaf; MFA bookplate inside front cover.


1744, with a French dealer [see note 1]. Matthias Bruen (b. 1793 - d. 1829), New York [see note 2]; by descent to his daughter, Frances Davenport Bruen (Mrs. Charles C. Perkins; b. 1825 - d. 1909), Boston [see note 3]; 1909, to her son, Charles Bruen Perkins (b. 1860 - d. 1929) and his wife, Elizabeth Ward Perkins (b. 1873 - d. 1954), Boston; 1922, sold by Elizabeth W. Perkins to the MFA for $1500 [see note 4]. (Accession Date: March 2, 1922)

[1] Notes found on the parchment flyleaf. [2] Bookplate of Matthias Bruen with arms and motto "Fides scutum" inside front cover. [3] From 1895 until 1909, this manuscript was on loan to the MFA from Mrs. Charles C. Perkins. Following her death, ownership was transferred to her son and heir Charles B. Perkins. [4] MFA accession numbers 22.375-22.379 were purchased together for $1500.

Credit Line

Frank S. Adams Fund