Friday, November 16, 2012

Digital manuscript of the week: Düsseldorf Ms. B 5, Johannes de Rupescissa, Vademecum in tribulatione

New this week from the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf - appearing via their RSS feed just this morning, in fact - is a complete digital facsimile of Ms. B 5. The brief contents list Pierre d'Ailly as one author represented in this theological miscellany, but what then caught my attention was another author: Johannes de Rupescissa. The digital facsimile doesn't identify the text, but it's located almost at the end of the manuscript (359v-362r), always a promising place to find prophetic texts. A quick scan confirms that the text is a shortened version of the Vademecum in twenty 'intentions,' with the completion of tribulation redated from 1370 to 1470. The Düsseldorf manuscript catalog identifies this as a copy of the Vademecum not mentioned by Bignami-Odier or other secondary literature on Rupescissa, so this is an important document on the reception of Rupescissa in Germany in the fifteenth century.

But the real significance of this digital edition is that it is, to my knowledge, the only digital facsimile of any Vademecum manuscript. It's bad enough that the only printed edition of the complete Vademecum is Edmund Brown's from 1690, but there isn't even easy access to any of the most important manuscripts. Hopefully one of the libraries that owns one of the manuscripts from the 1350s or 1360s will provide a digital facsimile before long.