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John Hancock (1671–1752)
Commonplace Book
Manuscript, 1687
MS Am 121
Houghton Library
Of Christ
A Description of Christ's Person by Publius Lentulus President of Judea, under Tiberius Caesar, written In a letter to Rome.

There lives in these our dayes, a man of great virtue named Jesus Christ, who is yet living among us, and of the Gentiles is accepted for a Prophet of truth; but his own Disciples call him the Son of God . . .
Commonplace books were often filled with short quotes, longer passages and transcriptions, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Their functions ranged from personal anthologies to aids to memory. Each commonplace book was unique to its creators.

The Reverend John Hancock, grandfather to the renowned signer of the Declaration of Independence, and author of the present commonplace book, was the longtime Puritan minister of Lexington, Massachusetts.

Publius Lentulus, who is now understood to be a fictitious person, was said to have written his widely circulated letter to the Roman Senate.