Sermon Collections (1)

Illuminated initial H of Prologue with partial border
Gonville and Caius Coll. MS 591/720, f. 1r
Jacobus de Voragine, Sermones dominicales
England, ca 1400

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College

The fame of the Dominicans as preachers resulted in the naming of their order Ordinis fratrum praedicatorum, and their training as preachers is stipulated in their Constitutions. Although they must on occasions have preached in the vernacular, most of the medieval manuscripts of their sermons are in Latin. If the sermon was preached in the vernacular the friar extemporised from the Latin text. The largest numbers of such sermon collection manuscripts are those by Guilelmus Peraldus (ca 1200–1271) and Jacobus de Voragine (ca 1228–1298). Some manuscripts contain single sermons or smaller collections for various occasions by several Dominican authors including Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. Jacobus de Voragine is more famous for his hagiographic writings, above all the Golden Legend (written ca 1263–1267), than his sermons. He was born ca 1228, entered the Dominican order in 1244, was prior of Asti in Piedmont (ca 1266), provincial of Lombardy 1267–1277, and again in 1281–1286, and finally archbishop of Genoa 1292–1298, as he is named in the rubric at the head of this page in the manuscript. It contains sermons for the Sundays of the year. Other collections by him contain sermons for Lent and for saints’ days and feastdays. The book was produced in England ca 1400 as evidenced by the style of the decoration of the ornamental initial and partial border.

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