Skip to main content

Nicholas de Lyre°


NICHOLAS DE LYRE ° (incorrectly Lyra ; c. 1270–(not before)1349), Bible commentator and theologian. A 15th-century allegation of his Jewish extraction lacks all basis. Born in Lyre, near Evreux, Normandy, Nicholas joined the Franciscan Order at Verneuil (c. 1291) and subsequently studied in Paris. He held the position of professor of theology at the Sorbonne until he was appointed Franciscan provincial of Burgundy in 1325. He wrote controversial studies against Judaism (e.g., De Messia … ad Judaei argumenta, De diversis contra Judaeos …) and produced a commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences, which, together with the Bible, constituted the basis of Western theological studies. His importance, however, lies in Postillae Perpetuae, which he composed from 1322 to 1330 (published in Rome, 1471–72).

These works form a continuous commentary on the entire Bible, with priority accorded to the literal meaning, while other senses ("moralitates") are relegated to 35 substantial appendixes. The Postillae constitute the first Christian Bible commentary to be printed. The literalist approach led Nicholas to *Rashi, whom he often cites by name (Salomo). In this he had been anticipated by the Victorine scholars, especially by *Andrew of Saint Victor whom he quotes (G. Calandra, De… Andreae Victorini… in Ecclesiasten (1948), 83–85). However, Nicholas, who records his perusal of a controversial tract hebraice scriptus ("written in Hebrew"; see Hailperin in bibl., p. 140), used Rashi directly as well. In addition he read some rabbinic material in Raymond *Martini's Pugio Fidei. Soon after his death, Nicholas' Postillae were available in virtually every library in western Christendom. Nicholas had abiding influence (Hailperin, p. 282f.). Wycliffe acknowledged his indebtedness to Nicholas in his (later) English version of the Bible (c. 1388). *Luther was particularly dependent on him, especially on Genesis. In his commentary to Daniel, Abrabanel controverts Nicholas' christological exegesis.


L. Wadding, Scriptores Ordinis Minorum (1967), 178–9; R. Bellarmin, De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis (1613), 213 (list of works); Catholic Encylopedia, 11 (1913), 63 (incl. bibl.); je, 8 (1904), 231; ej, 10 (1934), 1263; B. Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (19522), 185, 355; G.W.H. Lampe (ed.), The History of the Bible in the West, 2 (1969), 219; H. Hailperin, Rashi and the Christian Scholars (1963), passim.

[Raphael Loewe]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nicholas de Lyre°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 25 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Nicholas de Lyre°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (March 25, 2019).

"Nicholas de Lyre°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved March 25, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.