This large four-volume Bible was purchased from the bookseller Edwards of Halifax in 1794 for what was then the enormous sum of twelve guineas. It is a first edition of the Latin Bible with the Glossa ordinaria, the standard Bible commentary of the later eleventh and early twelfth century, composed by Anselm of Laon, Ralph of Laon and Gilbert of Auxerre.
The layout preserves the traditional manuscript format, distinguishing the Biblical text from the Glossa ordinaria surrounding it, and from the interlinear gloss, which usually consists of definitions or paraphrases of specific words. The significance of the Library’s copy is indicated by the binding of red leather with the arms of Jacques Auguste de Thou (1555-1617), one of the greatest book collectors of all time, and his second wife, Gasparde de la Chatre, whom he married in 1602. De Thou identified the author of the manuscript notes of the Bible as Guillaume Budé, hence each volume has the legend Gul. Bvdaeus propria manu recensuit (‘with notes in the hand of Guillaume Budé’).
Budé (1467-1540) was the most influential of the French humanist scholars at the beginning of the sixteenth century and corresponded with most of the leading scholars of the day, including Erasmus and Thomas More. His annotations are both remarkable and beautiful and make extensive use of the pointing finger or manicule.