A 12th-Century Fragment of Anselm’s ‘Cur Deus Homo’

January 31, 2017 in Manuscript Studies, Reports, Uncategorized

Verso of the Leaf and Interior of the Binding, Detail: Lower Right-Hand Corner, with the Mitered Flap Unfolde

Verso of the Leaf and Interior of the Binding, with the Mitered Flap Unfolded.

Tied Down

Fragmentary Leaf with Part of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo
Book II, Chapters 17–18 or

18a–b
(sumpsit eam . . . Nam cum uirg[/initatis melior])
in Latin on vellum
measuring at the most circa 307 mm tall × circa 182 mm
< written area (including ascenders and descenders)

circa 233 mm tall × 148 mm wide
with each column circa 65 mm wide

flanking the intercolumn of circa 18 mm wide >
laid out in double columns of 35 lines
written in brown ink in skilled ProtoGothic script
without embellishments

Continuing our series on Manuscript Studies, our Principal Blogger, Mildred Budny (see Her Page) reports the discovery of a reused fragmentary vellum Latin manuscript leaf extracted from a copy of Anselm’s masterwork Cur Deus Homo.  Whether as a text on its own or in the company of other texts, it was made probably in about the third quarter of the 12th century, to judge by the script, perhaps in France.  Norman, maybe?  Identifying the text and its sequence makes it possible to recognize which side of the leaf was the original recto, and which the verso.  The fragment joins the select known cast of 12th-century manuscript witnesses to this significant philosophical–theological text.

Anselm’s texts mostly took the forms of meditations or dialogues. Already our blog has showcased a manuscript with another text by Anselm: A New Leaf from ‘Otto Ege Manuscript 41’, which formerly contained a copy of the Prayers and Meditations. Now we focus upon one of his principal dialogues, cast between master and follower, as they debate the natures of divinity and necessity.

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