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Nicholas Bozon's 'Treatise on the Passion', in the William Herebert Collection

Nicholas Bozon's 'Treatise on the Passion', in the William Herebert Collection

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1325

Shelfmark: Additional MS 46919

Item number: f.38r

Length: 23.7

Width: 16.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A friar of the Franciscan community of Hereford, William Herebert lectured for the Franciscan schools at Oxford, becoming the 43rd Reader in Divinity to the Friars Minor. Sometime before his death in 1333, he assembled this book of miscellaneous texts in French, English and Latin. The items range from cookery and medicinal recipes (such as a remedy for a lame horse) to prayers for services, sermons and theological works. His book would have been a must-have for a travelling preacher, which was the job description of a friar. The heading written in red at the top of the page identifies this poem as a 'treatise on the Passion by Brother Nicholas Bozon of the Order of Friars Minor.' The poem represents the Passion allegorically, using characters and events symbolically. It begins by speaking of a king raising an army for battle, but it becomes clear that the king is Christ and the battle is the Passion. The lively presentation of a theological subject would probably have been helpful to a preacher in communicating the ideas to a lay audience.

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