J Duns Scotus, Quaestiones Quodlibeta, and Tractatus de Primo Principio, 15th century.

Scope and Content

A 15th century copy of two works by John Duns Scotus, Quaestiones Quodlibeta, and Tractatus de Primo Principio.Pp.1-122, incipit "Cuncte res difficiles ait salomon", consisting of 21 questions on the nature of God, forming Quaestiones Quodlibetales.Pp.123-138, incipit "Primum rerum principium mihi credere", being de Primo Principio, an attempt to prove the existence of God using reason.The strengthening parchment strips in the quire centres are from a document in French addressed to the Council of the city of Bruges (Belgium).

Administrative / Biographical History

John Duns Scotus was born in Duns in the Scottish Borders, trained with his uncle at the Franciscan friary in Dumfries and joined the Franciscan Order at the age of 15. He studied and then taught at the University of Oxford, lecturing on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, and in 1302 went to lecture in Paris. The following year he was exiled from Paris for supporting Boniface VIII against the king of France, Philip IV, in a dispute over taxation of church property. After the death of Boniface, Duns Scotus returned to Paris to complete his lectures on the Sentences; revised versions of these lectures appeared as Ordinatio, while discussions of quodlibetic questions appeared later as Quaestiones quodlibetales. In 1307 he moved to Cologne to teach in the Franciscan house there but died the following year. He was an important theologian and philosopher, founding an influential form of scholasticism known as the Scotistic School. He was known as Doctor Subtilis for his intricate methods of analysis, particularly in defending the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Commin, Catalogue 147, item 9, in 1956.


Call number used to be ms1815

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database, available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: quarter bound in brown calf with marbled boards (by Cockerell, 1961). Paper: 28.7x39.5cm. Illuminated initials. Each page ruled into 2 columns of 58 lines with pinholes still visible.Slight worm damage from p.95 to end though text unaffected.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

Ker and Piper ascribe this manuscript to the Low Countries.




Fully described in N R Ker and A J Piper, Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries Oxford, 1992, Vol.IV (Paisley to York) pp.252-253.

Geographical Names