Books for professional use
BPL 1956 (Germany, 1507): S. Augustini regula (The rule of St. Augustine), parchment, 60 fols., 139 x 94 mm, 1 col., 17 lines.

This manuscript was in the possession of the Abbey of Arnstein in Germany (see fol. 60v), whose members belonged to the order of the Norbertines. The Norbertines adhered to the Rule of St. Augustine which, amongst other things, prescribes chastity, poverty and obedience. Whenever a person entered the convent he or she vowed to follow these rules. This manuscript contains the Rule of St. Augustine as well as general rules concerning the admission of new members to the Order, blessings for sacred garments, and a calendar.

The calendar in this manuscript contains tables to determine the dates of Easter, which is celebrated on or after the first full moon following the spring equinox. The scribe usually wrote down the year in which he finished copying the manuscript in the computus circle, helping modern readers determine the date of production. The computus circle on fol. 60v in this manuscript reads “M.V. hundert und vii”, which tells us it was created in 1507. Even though the main texts in this manuscript are written in Dutch, the rubrics are written in German. There are parts of the text that were meant to be sung. These parts are written on musical staff-lines.

(Gumbert, 2009, p. 114)


  1. Mistakes are made in a split-second. Even scribes who carefully copied their text, a few words at the time, would ultimately make mistakes. Can you give three examples in this manuscript where a part of the text was corrected? Note how the mistakes were corrected.
  2. Up to 1200 most manuscripts were produced by monastic scribes, whereas after this date it became increasingly common for lay (i.e. non-clerical) individuals to be involved in book production. Does the manuscript in front of you provide any clues as to the potential background of the scribe? If you were forced to speculate, what would your verdict be and why?


  1. Gumbert, J. P. (2009). Illustrated Inventory of Medieval Manuscripts in Latin script in the Netherlands. Verloren.