John of Freiburg, Summa Confessorum f.2r
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
In the 12th century, John of Freiburg was lector (reader) at the Dominican house at Freiburg. The Dominicans were a preaching order who were concerned with dogma. Beginning by indexing an important work on penance by Raymond of Penafort, John carried out the ideals of his order by expanding Raymond's book into a larger 'Summa Confessorum' (roughly translated as 'Concise Book on Confession and Penance') so that it included a huge range of material, arranged alphabetically. An aid to preachers and teachers which put the latest theological ideas into simpler form, it proved successful. More than two hundred manuscripts of it survive. This manuscript of it belonged to the abbey of St Albans, where it would have been used as a reference for composing sermons and teaching.
The 'table of contents' giving the section numbers for a long list of titles ends on this page. The rubric (title in red) near the end of the second column tells the reader the the 'Summa Confessoris', Title I, begins, "compiled by John of Freiburg, lector and brother of the order of preachers" (Dominicans). The decoration of the initial letter and border are conventional for the 14th century.