635G de Lyra, Nicolas. 1270-1340
Postilla super Actus Apostolorum, Epistolas Canonicales et Apocalypism.
The codex begins
Incipit praefatio sancti Hieronymi pr-bti De corpore epist bean Pauli apopot..
Folio, 11 3/4 X 7 3/4. Manuscript on Paper 386 leaves, ca 1460 in several hands (see below), This copy is bound in later full vellum. $65,000
The Postillae constitute the
first Christian Bible
commentary to be printed.
The literalist approach led
Nicholas to *Rashi, whom he
often cites by name
(Salomo). In this he had been
anticipated by the Victorine
scholars, especially by
*Andrew of Saint Victor
whom he quotes (G.Calandra, De… Andreae Victorini… in Ecclesiasten (1948), 83–85). However, Nicholas, who records his perusal of a controversial tract hebraice scriptus (“written in Hebrew”; see Hailperin in bibl., p. 140), used Rashi directly as well. In addition he read some rabbinic material in Raymond *Martini’s Pugio Fidei. Soon after his death, Nicholas’ Postillae were available in virtually every library in western Christendom. Nicholas had abiding influence (Hailperin, p. 282f.). Wycliffe acknowledged his indebtedness to Nicholas in his (later) English version of the Bible (c. 1388). *Luther was particularly dependent on him, especially on Genesis. In his commentary to Daniel, Abrabanel controverts Nicholas’ christological exegesis.
[A full physical of the hands and decorative initals are available on request]
Thus begins the Pauline epistles :(two columns) fol 6 Romans
fol 19 first Corinthians
fol 31 second Corinthians
fol 39 Galations fol 43 Ephesians fol 47 Philippians fol 50 Colossians
fol 54 Laodocians
fol 53 first Thessalonians
fol 56 second Thessalonians
fol 57 first Timothy
fol 60 second Timothy
fol 63 Titus
fol 64 Philemon
fol 65-80 Hebrews
fol 80-97 John revelation( Apokalypse)
fol 98 James Apocalypse
fol 100 first Peter Apocalypse
fol 106 first-third John
fol 109 Jude
fol 111 preface to Acts
fol 113 Acts fol 146 ( new hand / single column)fol 146-170 (at 162 text switches to two columns [ Same hand]Postill (de Lyra?) Sup explanm Romans
fol 170-242 Paul vocatus Apls’- thessalonians
fol 242 Paul Secundum
fol 288 Quatuor
fol 353 Explicit postilla Apocalypum.fol 353 Incipit Postilla of Nicolai de Lyra sup apocalipsum-
fol 383 -Explicit Postilla of Nicolai de Lyra sup apocalipsum (End )
Nicholas was born at Lyra in Normandy 1270 and he died in Paris in 1340. The report that he was of Jewish descent dates only from the fifteenth century. He took the Franciscan habit at Verneuil, studied theology, received the doctor’s degree in Paris and was appointed professor at the Sorbonne. In the famous controversy on the Beatific vision he took sides withe the professors against John XXII. He laboured very successfully both in preaching and writing, for the conversion fo the Jews. He is the author of numerous theological works, some of which are yet unpublished. It was to exegesis that Nicholas of Lyra devoted his best years. In his second prologue to his monumental work “Postilla perpetu in universam S. Scripturam” after stating that the literal sense of Sacred Scriptureis the foundation of all mystical expositions, and that it alone has demonstrative force, as St. Augustine teaches, he deplores the state of Biblical studies in his time. The literal sense, he avers, is much obscured, owing partly to the unskilfulness of some of he correctors, and partly also to our own translation (the Vulgate) which not infrequently departs form the original Hebrew. He holds with St. Jerome that the text must be corrected from the Hebrew codices, except of course the prophecies concerning the Divinity of Christ. Another reason for this obscurity, Nicholas goes on to say, is the attachment of scholars to the method of interpretation handed down by others, who, though they have said many things well, have yet touched sparingly on the literal sense, and have so multiplied the mystical senses as nearly to choke it. Moreover, the text has been distorted by a multiplicity of arbitrary divisions and concordances. Hereupon he declares his intention of insisting, in the present work, upon the literal sense and
of interspersing only a few mystical interpretations. Nicholas utilized all available sources, fully mastered the Hebrew and drew copiously from the valuable commentaries of the Jewish exegetes, especially of the celebrated Talmudist Russia (Rashi).
“The Pugio Fidei” of Raymond Martini and the commentaries of St. Thomas Aquinas were also influences. His (Nicholas de Lyra) is lucid and concise; his observations are are judicious and sound, and always original. The Postilla soon became the favourite manual of exegesis. The solid learning of Nicholas commanded the respect of both Jews and Christians.
Luther owes much to Nicholas of Lyra, but how widely the principles of Nicholas differed essentially from Luther’s views is best seen from Nicholas’s own words:
“ I protest that I do not intend to assert or determine anything that has not been manifestly determined by Sacred Scripture or by the authority of the Church.. Wherefore I submit all I have said or shall say to the correction of Holy Mother Church and of all the learned men.’.
(Prol. secund in Postillas…)
Nicholas taught no new doctrine. The early Fathers and the great schoolman had repeatedly laid down the same sound exegetical principles, but owing to adverse tendencies of the
times, their efforts had partly failed. Nicholas carried out these principles effectively, and in this lies his chief merit – one which ranks him among the foremost exegites of all times.╙ (Catholic Encyclopedia , Vol. XI, Thomas Plassman, p. 63)