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Expositio in orationem dominicam

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Exposition on the Lord's prayer

In the short prologue to his Expositio in orationem dominicam (Explanation of the Lord's Prayer), Vincent of Beauvais argues that the Lord has often exhorted us in the Gospels to pray urgently and without ceasing. According to Vincent, there is no more useful, sweeter and effective prayer than the Lord's Prayer dictated and administered to us from the mouth of God Himself. Vincent wants to explain the text, according to the teachings of the Doctors of the Church, to the simple faithful who are continuously saying the Prayer’s words but have no understanding of their deeper meaning. Vincent expresses the pious wish that all who read this little work on how to pray will help him with their prayers to the Lord.

The work consists of eighteen (long) chapters. After an introduction (1-2), Vincent explains that there are seven requests to God in the text of the Lord's Prayer (3-6) and which seven gifts are involved (7).

 

Vincent then explains how to prepare to pray in general (8), what gestures are appropriate (9-10), and the places where and times when to pray (11-12). He explains for whom one can pray (13), what one can pray about and what the form of a prayer should be (14-15), what urgent reasons there are to pray (16-17) and, finally, causes why a prayer is not being answered (18).

List of surviving manuscripts

Key

 

I - Additional information on the speculum text as present in the manuscript, or on other texts present in the manuscript, or on material damage; D - Date of the manuscript; P - Country, region or place of production; if available, information on the scribe(s) of the manuscript; O - Medieval and pre-modern owners of the manuscript; L - Hyperlink to digital facsimiles of the manuscript; R - Reference to manuscripts listed in other parts of the inventory, with which this manuscript at the time of its production constituted a set of volumes. Manuscripts that have been collected into a set by a single medieval collector (library) within several decades, are indicated with cf.

9 surviving manuscripts of the Expositio in orationem Dominicam are known today:

  • Brussels, Bibliothèque royale, 8327-42, ff. 104r-120v

    • I: The text belongs to the second part of a composite ms. This part also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: 14th century.

    • P:

    • O: A Dominican friar (fol. 1r: Liber fratris Brunonis (?) Ordinis Predicatorum); Jesuit house at Antwerp; Bollandists (S.J.) at Antwerp.

  • Engelberg, Stiftsbibliothek, 309, ff. 12r-34v

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: 14th century.

    • P:

    • O:

  • Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, clm 11360, ff. 1r-74v

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: 14th century.

    • P:

    • O: Petrus Allardi; cl. Polling O.Can.Reg.

  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, lat. 14889, ff. 1r-20r

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: 14th century.

    • P:

    • O: Paris, cl. St. Victor Can.S.Aug.

  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, lat. 14958, ff. 122r-141v

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: 13th century.

    • P:

    • O: Paris, cl. St. Victor Can.S.Aug.

    • L: A monochrome facsimile (microfilm) is available for consultation in the Gallica database.

  • Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, lat. 15988, pp. 219r-243r

    • D: 13th century.

    • P:

    • O: Paris, Sorbonne.

    • L: A monochrome facsimile (microfilm) is available for consultation in the Gallica database.

  • Semur-en-Auxois, Bibliothèque municipale, 29, ff. 83r-124v

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: ca. 1400.

    • P:

    • O:

    • A digital facsimile (microfilm) is available for consultation in the Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux of the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes at Paris.

  • Troyes, Bibliothèque municipale, 1538, ff. 151r-174r

    • D: 14th century.

    • P:

    • O:

  • Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ottob. lat. 19, ff. 1r-24v

    • I: The ms. also contains Vincent's Tractatus in salutatione beate Virginis Marie ab angelo facta.

    • D: 14th century.

    • P:

    • O:

Editions before 1700

No early editions of this treatise have been made.

 

Modern editions and translations

Latin text

  • Wimmer. A. [ed.], Beati Alberti Magni episcopi quondam Ratisbonensis Tractatus de forma orandi, Regensburg 1902.

Image: Semur-en-Auxois, Bibliothèque municipale, 29, f° 83r

For studies on the Expositio in orationem Dominicam

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