Beleth, John (DNB00)


BELETH, JOHN (fl. 1182?), the author of the often-printed 'Rationale divinorum officiorum,' is somewhat hesitatingly claimed as an Englishman by Pits. According to Tanner, however, his cognomen was Anglicus. He is said by Henricus Gandavensis (d. 1293) to have been rector of a theological school at Paris. Albericus Trium Fontium (fl. 1241) describes him under the year 1182 as flourishing in the church of Amiens (Chron. Alberici apud Leibnitz, ii. 363). Possevinus, apparently quoting from Essengrenius, has assigned him a very different date — 1328 — which has been adopted by Pits, and, according to Oudin, by some later writers. The latest author quoted by Beleth seems to be Rupert Tuitiensis, who died in the year 1135 (see Rationale, c. 123). The chapter in the 'Rationale' on the feast of the Invention of St. Stephen, instituted in the fifteenth century (Migne), is evidently a late insertion. Besides the 'Rationale,' two other works have been attributed to Beleth — a collection of sermons, and a treatise entitled 'Gemma Animæ.' The 'Rationale' seems to have been printed several times during the course of the sixteenth century, and at various places. In later years it has been issued in Migne's 'Patrologiæ Cursus,' vol. ccii. Many manuscripts of this work used to exist in England. Pits mentions two in the private libraries of Baron de Lumley and Walter Cope. Tanner adds two others, to be found respectively in the Royal Library at Westminster (now in the British Museum), and in the Bodleian at Oxford.

[Pits, 869; Possevinus, Apparatus Sacer, i. 825; Fabricius, Biblioth. Lat. iv. 56; Oudin De Scriptor. Ecclesiast. ii. 1589; Du Boulay's Historia Univers. Parisians, ii. 749; Tanner, and authorities cited above; a list of the various editions of the Rationale is given by Fabricius.]

T. A. A.