Coxe MS. 5
Nicholas Love, The Mirror of the Life of Christ, in Middle English with Latin passages and rubrics
illuminated manuscript on parchment

[England, 15th century, first half]


THE COLLEGE'S FINEST MANUSCRIPT IN MIDDLE ENGLISH

 Nicholas Love's The Mirror of the Life of Christ
Click here to see a flat image of these pages
 

The Meditationes de Vita Christi (Meditations on the Life of Christ), often falsely attributed to St Bonaventura (d.1274), was one of the most popular 14th-century Franciscan works on the life and death of Jesus. About 1400 Nicholas Love (d. c.1424), the Prior of the Carthusian monastery at Mount Grace, in North Yorkshire, translated it into English and expanded it by the inclusion of passages rejecting various controversial positions held by the Lollards.

The volume opens with a list of its chapters, divided into seven parts according to the days of the week. Then comes a preface in Latin explaining that passages attributed to Bonaventura are marked in the margin with a 'B' and those by the translator with an 'N'(icholas). This is followed by another Latin passage, recording that the original text of the work was submitted about 1410 to Thomas Arundel (d.1414), Archbishop of Canterbury and a vigorous opponent of the Lollards; Arundel not only approved the text, but commanded its dissemination, which contributed to its popularity and its survival in more than 60 manuscripts.

The manuscript was given to the College in 1695 by Philip Stubbs, M.A., a Fellow.

Text kindly provided, especially for this exhibition, by Peter Kidd