Mary Dove

title.none: Gilbertus Universalis, Glossa Ordinaria (Mary Dove)

identifier.other: baj9928.0602.021 06.02.21

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Mary Dove, University of Sussex,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2006

identifier.citation: Gilbertus Universalis. Alexander Andree, ed. and trans. Glossa Ordinaria in Lamentationes Ieremie Prophete: Prothemata et Liber I. Series: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell International, 2005. Pp. xiv, 323. ISBN: 45.00 91-7155-069-0.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 06.02.21

Gilbertus Universalis. Alexander Andree, ed. and trans. Glossa Ordinaria in Lamentationes Ieremie Prophete: Prothemata et Liber I. Series: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell International, 2005. Pp. xiv, 323. ISBN: 45.00 91-7155-069-0.

Reviewed by:

Mary Dove
University of Sussex

Alexander Andree's edition and translation of the first chapter of the Glossa ordinaria on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, together with the prefatory material, is only the second part of this "formidable attempt to organise all important knowledge on the Bible into one standard work" (1) to appear in a modern critical edition (the first was Mary Dove's edition and translation of the Glossa ordinaria on the Song of Songs, CCCM CLXX, 1997). If editions continue to appear at the current rate (and that is probably being over-optimistic), the whole of the Gloss should be available by about the middle of this millennium-by which time it will certainly need editing all over again.

Such a gloomy note, however, is not an appropriate way of welcoming Andree's meticulous contribution to knowledge of the text of the Gloss. Those who have studied Gloss manuscripts know how hard it can be to ferret out the exact relation between individual glosses (particularly interlinear glosses) and the words of the biblical text, and the benefit of an edition with a translation is that the editor shows the reader how s/he interprets the meaning of each and every gloss. (Of course a translation is invaluable for readers without Latin, too). Let us hope that other editors of the Glossa ordinaria will follow the example set by Andree and Dove. The Glossa ordinaria on Lamentations was compiled by a Breton, Gilbert of Auxerre, Bishop of London from 1127 until his death in 1134. Andree suggests that Gilbert, nicknamed "the Universal," taught alongside Anselm at Laon, and that the Glossed Bible was completed at Laon or Auxerre rather than (pace Margaret Gibson) at the Abbey of St Victor. As well as glossing Lamentations, Gilbert glossed the Pentateuch and (in all probability) the Major and Minor Prophets. The main source of the Gloss on Lamentations is the mid-ninth-century commentary of Paschasius Radbertus; in turn, Radbertus's main source was the commentary of Hrabanus Maurus. Andree demonstrates in detail how Gilbert rewrites Radbertus rather than simply reproducing or summarising him. Taking hints from his source, Gilbert makes Lamentations the occasion for "an exercise in classroom [Ciceronian] rhetoric" (75), specifically an exercise in tropes expressing conquestio, lament and indignatio, righteous anger, but also in prosopopoiea, as when Jerusalem speaks for the first time "as if having received some life-bringing spirit" (Lam. 1:11, pp. 228-9).

The marginal glosses in Glossed Lamentations are even more extensive than those in the Glossed Song of Songs, and are far more systematically ordered. Each verse is interpreted historice, according to the literal-historical sense (primarily the misfortunes of the Jewish people), allegorice, in relation to the church past, present and future, and moraliter, in relation to the soul. Because Lamentations is an alphabet-poem, and a letter of the Hebrew alphabet heads each verse of the Latin text, the literal meaning of the Hebrew is always the first interlinear gloss (so "Aleph" is glossed "doctrina," Lam. 1:1). Otherwise, the literal meaning of the Hebrew original is scarcely an issue for Gilbert: the Glossed Bible was compiled a century before Christian scholars began to take Hebrew biblical-textual scholarship seriously.

Andree has discovered that the text of Glossed Lamentations survives in two recensions, the later of the two, the version transmitted in the first printed edition of the Glossa ordinaria (Rusch's edition of 1480/1), probably standard in MSS written after 1200. This is analogous to the situation with the Glossed Song of Songs, though the differences between pre-1170 and post-1170 texts of that book are not nearly so considerable. As with the Glossed Song of Songs, the earliest MSS have a quite different mise-en-page from the later MSS (contrast Andree's plates I and II). Consensus readings from the later recension of Glossed Lamentations are included in the apparatus criticus and in an appendix, but the first recension, Gilbert's work, is the text Andree edits. Intriguingly, "there seems to have been a resistance in England against the second recension" (125). The edited text of the first recension is based on five manuscripts, including the oldest extant dated MS of any part of the Gloss, Kassel Universitatsbibl. 2o Theol. 6, written in Riechenberg in 1131. Two of the best MSS are English, and one was almost certainly written in Hereford, as was the MS selected to provide the base text of the Glossed Song of Songs in Dove's edition. Like Dove, Andree attempts to reproduce the elements of the Gloss format, separating out biblical text, interlinear glosses and marginal glosses. Andree also identifies "middle glosses," short glosses "which seem to live a life of their own" (154) because their position is variable. Dove determines whether such glosses are interlinear or marginal in accordance with the consensus of the best MSS: is it not preferable to maintain that there are just two kinds of glosses in the Glossa ordinaria? Two parts of the Glossed Old Testament are now available to medieval scholars and students in Latin and English. It would be particularly helpful to have an edition of the Glossed Gospels, would it not, but we are nevertheless grateful to Andree for his part in bringing the Glossa ordinaria back from the distorting pages of Migne to accurate textual life.