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Treatise of the World's Creation
This manuscript, which contains a Tractatus de creatione mundi (Treatise on the World's Creation) from the Book of Genesis followed by a narration of the Passion of Christ (folios 99r–128v), is one of the most significant examples of late-13th-century Sienese illumination. The pictures, partly watercolor drawings and partly proper illuminations, were made by an extremely sophisticated Sienese artist who was heavily influenced by Transalpine miniaturists and active from around 1290 through the next decade. The illustrations, sketched by a fast, concise hand, stand out for their strikingly smooth ...
The Seville Bible
Biblia hispalense (The Seville Bible), also known as the Toletanus Codex, is a manuscript from the first half of the tenth century, in Latin written in lower-case Visigothic script by at least four copyists. The titles also appear in Hebrew, and there are notes in Arabic in the margins. The manuscript consists of booklets of eight sheets each, on parchment, with the text in three columns of 63–65 lines. Included are the texts of the Old and New Testaments, with a preface, prologues, and commentaries by Saint Jerome, Saint ...
Miroslav’s Gospel is a liturgical work that is considered the most important and the most beautiful of Serbian manuscript books. It was created around 1180 by two student monks for Duke Miroslav, the brother of Stefan Nemanja, grand prince of the medieval Serbian state of Rascia. Written on parchment in Cyrillic uncial (the Cyrillic script that developed from Greek in the 9th century), it is a monument to early Serbian literacy. The work is decorated with approximately 300 stylized miniatures of outstanding beauty, and is representative of a group ...
The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre: Whereunto is Prefixed a Discourse Declaring not Only the Lawfullness, but Also the Necessity of the Heavenly Ordinance of Singing Scripture Psalmes in the Churches of God
The Bay Psalm Book, as this work is commonly known, is the first book printed in British North America. The Reverend Jesse Glover imported the first printing press to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638, some 18 years after the first English settlers landed at Plymouth Rock. A London printer, Stephen Daye, came with the press and established a printing office in Cambridge. The following year, the residents of the colony asked John Eliot, Thomas Welde, and Richard Mather to undertake a new translation from the Hebrew of the Book ...
Jean Fouquet (141?-80?) was the greatest French painter of the 15th century. His genius is reflected in his illustrations of Jewish Antiquities, which Fouquet created for Jacques d’Armagnac, the Duke of Nemours. Fouquet traveled to Italy as a young man, where he learned to paint with great precision of detail and to use aerial perspective, but he continued to draw upon his native Touraine for many aspects of his art, especially forms and color. In these illustrations, his depiction of the siege of Jericho evokes a city on ...
The Codex Gigas (or Devil´s Bible) is a large 13th-century manuscript from Bohemia, one of the historical Czech lands. Renowned for its size and its striking full-page rendition of the devil (found on page 577), it contains a number of parts: the Old and New testaments, two works of Josephus Flavius, Isidore of Seville´s Etymologies, the standard textbook for teaching medicine in the Middle Ages known as Ars medicinae (The art of medicine), the 12th-century Chronica Boëmorum (Chronicle of the Bohemians) of Cosmas of Prague, and a calendar ...
Verin Noravank Gospels
This beautifully illuminated gospel book was copied in 1487 AD at the Monastery of Verin Noravank in Armenia. The exact location of the monastery is unknown, although, since the late 1980s, it has been associated with the ruins of the Monastery of Arates (Aratesivank) of Siwnik. Verin Noravank was in close contact with the better-known Noravank of Amaghu, with which it has often been confused. Fewer than 15 manuscripts are known to have been copied at Verin Noravank. As was customary with most Armenian manuscripts, the Verin Noravank gospel contains ...
Apocalypse of Saint John
This work, printed in Germany in 1470, includes part of the text of the Apocalypse of Saint John, the last book of the Christian Bible, also known as the Book of Revelation. The book is based on letters written to church members in Asia Minor that describe Saint John’s heavenly visions and revelations. It tells the story of the great heavenly warfare between good and evil, Christ’s return to earth, the punishment of the wicked, and the reward of righteousness. This edition of the Apocalypse is a superb ...
The Marvelous Address: The Revelation of the Beloved (Disciple)
This 18th-century manuscript is a copy of a commentary on the Book of Revelation (also known as the Apocalypse of Saint John), a work by the 18th century writer Yūsuf al-Bānī entitled The Marvelous Address: The Revelation of the Beloved (Disciple). The text is Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac script), and very clearly written, but the title is also written in Arabic script at the beginning of the book. There are also notes in Arabic script, for example, at the bottom of page 3 and in the margin of page 4 ...
Gospel Book from the Bamberg Cathedral (Reichenau Gospel)
The gospel from the cathedral of Bamberg is one of the most important masterpieces of book painting from the Benedictine abbey on the island of Reichenau in Lake Constance in southern Germany. In the 10th and 11th centuries, this abbey was the site of what was probably Europe’s largest and most influential school of book illumination. Book production reached its artistic peak between around 970 and 1010–1020, a period known as the Ottonian Renaissance (after Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III, German kings and Holy Roman Emperors ...
Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany, around 1400, the son of an aristocratic family with ties to the local metalworking industry. He lived in Strasbourg (in present-day France) for a time, where he carried out experiments with moveable metallic type made from a mold. By the mid-1450s, he had perfected a system of printing with moveable type that he used to create what became the world’s most famous book, the Latin translation of the Bible (Vulgate), generally known as the Gutenberg Bible. Scholars have thoroughly researched all aspects ...
The Ottheinrich Bible is the earliest surviving illustrated manuscript of the New Testament in the German language. The work was commissioned around 1430 by Ludwig VII, the Bearded, Duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. The text was written, presumably in Ingolstadt, in a monumental script consistent with the highest calligraphic standards. The text was then sent to Regensburg for illumination. Only about one-fifth of the miniatures were completed, however, before work was stopped. Sometime before 1530, the Count Palatine Ottheinrich acquired the Bible and commissioned the artist Mathis Gerung to complete the sequence ...
Letter to Philocrates
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The noted educational reformer, grammarian, and priest Neofit Rilski (1793–1881) was the first to translate the New Testament into modern Bulgarian. Rilski’s translation was critical to religious education, as most Bulgarians could not understand the existing translations of the Bible into Church Slavic. Financed by the Protestant British and Foreign Bible Society and sanctioned by the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Ilarion, Metropolitan of Tŭrnovo, the translation was a milestone in the Bulgarian National Revival and in the efforts of Bulgarians to achieve religious autonomy from the ...
Commentary on Song of Songs; Letter on the Soul; Letter on Ascesis and the Monastic Life
This 14th-century manuscript is a collection of translations into Arabic. At the beginning is the Commentary on the Song of Songs, originally in Greek, by Gregory of Nyssa (died 394), brother of Basil the Great and, with him and Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the three so-called Cappadocian Fathers. Next comes one of the many pieces of philosophy in Arabic attributed to Hermes the Sage, A Letter on the Soul. The manuscript concludes with a letter of Isaac of Nineveh (active, end of the seventh century) on asceticism and monasticism ...
The Song of Solomon
This work is a modern artist’s edition of the biblical Song of Songs, traditionally attributed to King Solomon. The Song of Songs has been interpreted in different ways, ranging from literal interpretations that focus on human love between a man and a woman to those that see it as a divine allegory of God’s love for the Jewish people. This edition, by Israeli artist Tamar Messer, emphasizes the connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The text is in Hebrew and English. The original silk ...
The Haftarah of Jonah
This work is an artist’s edition of the Book of Jonah, one of the twelve later or minor prophets in the Hebrew Bible. In the Jewish tradition, a haftarah is a reading from the prophets, which takes place on the Sabbath, festivals, and holy days. With its emphasis on the theme of repentance, the Book of Jonah has become a traditional part of the synagogue service on the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This haftarah was created with original etchings and a ...
The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles
The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, also known as the Apostle, is the first dated imprint published on the territory of present-day Ukraine. Written in Church Slavic, the liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, and other Slavic-speaking countries, it was printed in 1574 at the Saint Onuphrius Monastery in Lviv by Ivan Fyodorov (circa 1510-83). One of the fathers of printing in the East Slavic region, Fyodorov graduated from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, and later worked in Moscow, where he published liturgical works using ...
The Lower Sorbian Testament of Miklawuš Jakubica, 1548
This 669-page manuscript contains the complete translation of the New Testament into Lower Sorbian by Pastor Miklawus Jakubica. It is one of the most important cultural documents relating to the Sorbian people of eastern Germany and an important source for the study of the West Slavic languages. Completed in 1548, Jakubica’s translation, which includes many colorful illustrations of flowers, trees, and animals, has never been printed. As the groundwork for his translation, Jakubica used Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German, as well as the Latin Vulgate ...
Stories of the Prophets
Qisas al-anbiya (Stories of the prophets) by the 12th-century Persian writer Ishaq Ibn-Ibrahim al-Nishapuri contains the history of the prophets up to Muhammad, recounted on the basis of the Qur’anic narration. It includes stories drawn from the biblical traditions of the Old Testament as well as material on the pre-Islamic prophets of the Arabian Peninsula. This splendid and richly illuminated manuscript containing 22 miniatures was copied in Shiraz (in present-day Iran) in 1577, at the time a center of the arts in Safavid Persia. The manuscript once belonged to ...
This 1635 Gospel concordance in Armenian was written, illuminated, and bound at the Holy Savior's Monastery in Nor Jugha (now called Julfa), the Armenian quarter of Isfahan (in present-day Iran). Isfahan was at that time the capital of Safavid Persia. The book is finely illuminated with four portraits of the evangelists, along with vignettes, headpieces, and decorated initials that are either zoomorphic or anthropomorphic in form. The miniatures on the first seven pages are later additions by a different hand. The manuscript is one of the highlights of the ...