About the biblical text in glossed bibles

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If the Gloss is a commentary on the Bible, how to identify which version of the biblical text was used in the manuscript and printed in the editions of the Gloss? 

  • The medieval Bible is a library: it is a collection of books put together, of which the number, order, prefaces, annexs, decoration, divisions and even the text vary more or less from a witness to another.
  • There is no such thing as an official text of the Latin Bible before the Council of Trent (16th Century). 
  • The text of the Bible, used in the glossed bibles ans medieval biblical commentaries, is not stable and may vary from a manuscript to the other depending: 
    * on erudite textual revisions: Alcuin, Théodulphe, the revised text of some religious orders (cistercians, dominicans), the Bible called "parisienne" (starting from the 13th c.), the Sixto-Clémentine edition.
    * on habits connected to cultural or geographic areas: Iberian Peninsula, British Isles, Gaul, Germani worl, Italy...
    * on chronological periods: Carolingian reform and its consequences in the 9th-10th centuries, establishment of the 'university text' in the 13th-14th Centuries, etc.
  • In the manuscripts and printed editions of the glossed Bible, one must distinguish:
    * the central biblical text
    integrally copied, around which the glosses are written, imputable to the copist of the manuscript or to a model, independent from the tradition of the Gloss text;
    * the marginal biblical text, quoted in fragments by authors, imputable to the author of each quoted fragment.
    The two versions can differ, depending on the origin of the texts used.
  • The modern critical reference editions of the Latin Bible do not give the biblical text that was in use during the High Middle Ages, but a tentative reconstruction of the primitive text established bu  St. Jerome in the 4th Century.
  • For a scientific work on the medieval Bible, it is necessary 
    * to note down each and every variant of the biblical text
    * to identify its origin, using the critical apparatus of the moden critical editions of the Latin Bible.