Medieval manuscript leaves (not all that they seem)

>We have several leaf books in special collections, and for an excellent introduction to this class of book, see Joel Silver’s article in Fine Books and Collections Magazine:

One of these is a collection of leaves from “famous” Bibles, assembled and annotated by Otto F. Ege, lecturer at the Cleveland School of Art, in 1930s. The first three in the series are in manuscript.

This is a leaf from an Armenian Bible (SUPPOSEDLY ca. 1121 AD). According to the description, it is a “fifth century translation by Mesrop written in the Hatian alphabet of thirty-eight characters (Iron writing) on early paper of the Near East. The Monophystic doctrine and many other “heresies” in the Armenian translation were a source of continual controversy with the Greek and Roman churches.” ACTUALLY, according to a colleague who knows at the Pierpont Morgan Library in NYC, this is a 17th century manuscript! Don’t believe everyhting you read! You can see that someone did a bit of censorship in the lower right hand corner–I wonder if it was a date reference??

Here is a leaf from a small manuscript Bible (ca. 1240 AD). “The Latin Vulgate version, usually attributed to St. Jerome, is here executed in angular Gothic script, eleven lines to the inch, on finest vellum. These small portable Bibles were produced in great numbers by the Dominicans (1250-1275) in the early days of the Sorbonne. It has been calculated that in the year 1250, it would have taken the earnings of a day laborer for fifteen years to purchase a manuscript Bible of this type.”

Finally, leaf from a manuscript Bible produced in Paris, ca. 1340 AD. This Latin Vulgate version is “written in Gothic script, seven lines to the inch, on fine vellum. The calligraphy and ornamentation on this page deserve close inspection. This form of writing is in marked contrast to the minute, much abbreviated and angular text of the preceding century.”

1 thought on “Medieval manuscript leaves (not all that they seem)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.