Thomas Gascoigne, libraries and scholarship

R. M. Ball

Cambridge Bibliographical Society Monograph no. 14

Thomas Gascoigne graduated DD at Oxford in 1434 at the age of thirty. Unusually, he remained a resident member of the University for the rest of his life, serving as Chancellor in 1443/4-1445, engaged in the study of theology and compiling his Liber de veritatibus. His approach to theology is through the Bible as interpreted by the Fathers and kindred writers - a distinctive approach which he was prepared to defend in the controversies of his day. To do theology like this means to study books, and Gascoigne is extraordinarily informative about the books he used. He gives copious references, and many of the actual volumes he used survive. So what he tells us can show how it was possible to pursue patristic theology with the resources available in fifteenth-century England, and shed light both on Gascoigne's own scholarship and the libraries he used. The aim of this work is to do this, first through discussion of Gascoigne's reading, books and libraries, and scholarship; and then in a different way through systematic lists of works cited by Gascoigne in his writings, and books owned, libraries used, and manuscripts annotated by him. These show him as a reader of more than 300 patristic and medieval works, a reader in some thirty libraries, and a zealous and informative annotator of his own and library books, so that in very many cases he can be connected with a particular copy of a work he cites.
Published for the Cambridge Bibliographical Society by Cambridge University Library, 2006
xii+160 pp.; ISBN: 0-902205-62-5 ISSN: 0575-6782; Price: 12.00

Copies are available from the Society at the University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR.