Who wrote Paris, BnF, latin 2342? The identity of the Anonymus Beccensis revisited

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Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, latin 2342 (hereafter MS Lat. 2342) is a codex that has long fascinated scholars, though precious little is known about the specific circumstances of its production . In its present form, the manuscript is a compendium of eleven Latin works (Appendix 1), over half of which are otherwise unattested and probably represent original compositions. Most of them were written by a single scribe, presumably the author himself. Many attempts have been made to identify this author/scribe, but all we know is that he was almost certainly a monk at the abbey of Le Bec in Normandy (dép. Eure, cant. Brionne) during the first half of the twelfth century, which is why he is commonly referred to as the Anonymus Beccensis . This article offers a fresh study of the composition and authorship of MS Lat. 2342 divided into three sections. The first section provides a holistic codicological and palaeographical discussion of MS Lat. 2342 which for the first time considers the entire book, rather than concentrating on individual segments. The second section builds on this discussion by developing a ‘profile’ of the Anonymus Beccensis that includes his education and the authorities he used and cited most frequently. The final section explores some intriguing similarities between this ‘profile’ and the life and career of one particular monk of Le Bec who – as I shall argue – presents a potential match for the person who wrote MS Lat. 2342. In preparing this study, I have benefited from consulting the manuscript both in situ and through the digital facsimile made available by «The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200».
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrance et Angleterre
Subtitle of host publicationmanuscrits médiévaux entre 700 et 1200, actes du colloque Paris, 21-23 novembre 2018
EditorsFrancesco Siri
PublisherBrepols Publishers
ISBN (Print)978-2-503-58772-1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2020

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