The Text of the Middle French 'Evangile De Nicodeme' from Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS F. Fr. 15219

By O'Gorman, Richard | Medium Aevum, Fall 1992 | Go to article overview

The Text of the Middle French 'Evangile De Nicodeme' from Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS F. Fr. 15219


O'Gorman, Richard, Medium Aevum


In the introduction to his edition of the Evangile de Nicodeme (Geneva, 1973), Alvin Ford lists among his |Trois Paraphrases' (p. 27) a copy of the apocryphon preserved in Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, MS f. fr. 15219, ff. [37.sup.r]-[40.sup.r]. An examination of this manuscript revealed that the text of the Evangile de Nicodime has nothing in common with the two British Library copies with which it is grouped;(1) but it does indeed seem to be a |paraphrase' of that portion of the narrative from the deposition from the Cross and entombment of Christ by Joseph of Arimathea to the letters of Carinus and Leucius entrusted to Pilate. The author attributes this text to the |cronique frere vincent': that is, to Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum Historiale,(2) a work that did in fact provide the direct model for the account found in this manuscript. Although he compresses considerably Vincent's account of the events taken from the Evangelium that he incorporated into his universal history (unless he derived it from a truncated Latin exemplar of the Speculum different from that printed at Douai in (1624), there is no doubt that the French redactor worked directly from a text of Vincent of Beauvais's Speculum.(3) A few examples will suffice to prove the dependence on the Latin text:

Vincent de Beauvais's Seculum Historiale

respondit loseph, quoniam me reclusistis in die parasceue ad vesperum: dum starem in oratione in die sabbati nocte media suspensa est domus in qua eram in quatuor Angulis: & vidi lesum sicut fulgorem lucis, & prae timore cedidi in terram: & tenens manum meam eleuauit me de terra, roreque perfudit me [p. 242b]:

Haec audientes, omnes gauisi sunt: Et euntes Annas, & Caiphas, Nicodemus, & loseph, & Gamaliel, non inuenerunt eos in sepulchris: sed ambulantes in Arimathiam inuenerunt eos ibi in oratione, flexis genibus: & osculantes eos cum omni veneratione, & timore Dei perduxerunt eos Hierusalem in sinagogam:

lesu Christe Domine Deus, resurrectio, & vita mortuorum, permitte nobis loqui mysteria, quae per mortem crucis tuae operatus es, quia coniurati sumus per nomen tuum.

BN MS f. fr. 15219 i s

Certes, fist Joseph, comme vous m'eustes mis en prison come je feusse en oroison la nuit apres le sabbat aussi comme a l'eure de minuit je vy, la maison ou je estoye, laquelle se tenoit en aisnes en I'air. Et tantost vy Jhesus entrer qui estoit luisant comme lumicre. Et comme je feusse cheuz a terre de paour, [f. [38.sup.v]] il me print par la main et me conforta:

Ces choses oves, ilz se leverent, c'est assavoir [f. [39.sup.r] Annas Cayphas, Nicodemus, Joseph, et Gamalies, et alerent aux tumbeaux et ne trouverent mie les corps. Apres ilz alerent a Abarimatie et les trouverent a genoulx en oroison. Adonc ilz les viserent a grant reverance et devocion et les menerent a Jherusalem en la signagogue;

Sire Jhesucrist, qui est Dieu, la resurrecion et la vic des mors, laisse nous dire a ses hommes les secretz que tu as fait par ta mort, car nous sommes conjurez de par ton nom.

BN MS f. fr. 15219 is a medium-size codex of 212 folios, measuring 238 mm x 170 mm, written on quires containing paper (quires 1-3) and quires that mix paper and vellum (quires 4-15). It is bound in eighteenth-century leather (repaired in 1974) with Enseignemens de Salomon and fleurs-de-lys stamped on the spine. On f. [I.sup.v] there is the following table of contents.

I [degree] La table de Salomon en vers ou les enseignemens de ce prince a son fils

Roboam sur les influences de la lune. 2 [degrees] Petit traite des visions et apparitions. 3 [degrees] Les fables d'Esope, traduite en francois. 4 [degrees] Exemples tires de l'ecriture et des peres pour l'instruction des Chretiens. 5 [degrees] La lettre d'Abgaire a nostre Seigneur, avec la reponse de Jesus-Crist. 6 [degrees] Extrait des cas des nobles hommes et des nobles femmes tire de Boccace. …

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