In memoriam: Peter Gumbert

On August 18th, 2016, Dr. Peter Gumbert (born January 23, 1936) passed away. Until his retirement in 2001, Gumbert was full professor of Latin Paleography and Codicology at Leiden University, a position he held from 1979. He was a prominent student of medieval manuscripts, whose reputation had spread far beyond the Netherlands.

Deep knowledge

Gumbert possessed an unusually deep knowledge of medieval paleography and codicology, fields that study the script and materials aspects of medieval books. Moreover, he enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others, including those outside the discipline of manuscript studies. He made a significant contribution to the study of Middle Dutch literature by dating important manuscripts and providing a methodology for understanding composite manuscripts.


His publications and sharp mind turned Gumbert into a prominent scholar with an international reputation. The majority of his publications appeared in English. He co-founded the Gazette du livre médiéval and was elected as member of the Comité international de paléographie latine. Even after his retirement Gumbert published actively. A week before he passed away he finished his last book, which will appear later this year.


In 1997 Gumbert was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and in 2011 he was knighted for his significant contribution to the study of the medieval manuscript.

Last Modified: 29-08-2016