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Olivi in Berkeley

Patrick Nold

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1MS Berkeley Robbins Collection 88 is largely unknown to modern scholarship. Once belonging to the Franciscan convent of San Bartolomeo in Foligno, this small format manuscript contains extracts from Bonaventure’ Legenda Minor of St Francis, a glossary of Latin words, miscellaneous sermons by Franciscan preachers such as Bertrand de la Tour, and a series of papal bulls concerning mendicant pastoral privileges. Additionally, it contains two texts by Peter of John Olivi: his eighth quaestio on evangelical perfection and a confessio clarifying this theory. A full description of the manuscript can be found at:​library/​robbins/​manuscriptsframe.html.
The relevant information concerning Olivi is below. It is notable that towards the end of the first text (on fol. 245r) there is a change from paper to parchment and from one column to two, apparently without a change of scribal hand.


5) fol. 191r-259v

2<Petrus Johannis Olivi, Questio VIII de perfectione evangelica>

 Inc.: “In nomine domini nostri ihesu christi incipiunt questiones de consilio euangelice paupertatis. Primo queritur an status altissime paupertatis sit simpliciter melior omni statu divitiarum…”
Exp.: “de aliis nobilibus circumstantiis eius. Explicit.”
(Ed. J. Schlageter, Das Heil der Armen und das Verderben der Reichen. Petrus Johannis Olivi OFM. Die Frage nach der höchsten Armut, Werl, 1989, [“Franziskanische Forschungen”, 34].)

5.a) fol. 259vb-260ra

3<Petrus Johannis Olivi, Confessio>

Inc.: “Utrum [sic for Usum] pauperem sic intelligo includi in voto nostre regule. Quod quemdam rerum usum simpliciter reicit et interdicit…”
Exp.: “Ego illud abhorrerem et pro viribus exterminarem.”

4Olivi’s clarification of his theory of usus pauper to the Franciscan Chapter General of 1292. The text is preserved in Ubertino da Casale’s tract Sanctitati apostolicae (ed. H. Denifle & F. Ehrle, Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters, 2, 1886, p. 400-402). The text can also be found interpolated into Olivi’s own Tractatus de usu paupere (ed. D. Burr, Florence-Perth, 1992, p. 146-147, n.) in a single manuscript (MS Capistrano, Biblioteca Convento S. Giovanni, 26 (H).

5A similar incipit (inc. “spiritum pauperies sic intelligo includi”) for a confessio de usu paupere seems to indicate that this text occurs as well in MS London BL Add. 54240 on fol. 156v (cf. The British Library Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts. New Series, 1966-1970. Part. I. Descriptions (London, 1998), p. 89).

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Patrick Nold, « Olivi in Berkeley », Oliviana [En ligne], 2 | 2006, mis en ligne le 27 juin 2006, consulté le 26 avril 2018. URL :

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Patrick Nold

Martin-Grabmann-Forschunginstitut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.

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