The book contains the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John: the four Evangelists. Recounting the life and teachings
of Jesus Christ, the Gospels are the core of Christian belief
as contained in the Christian Bible.
The Lindisfarne Gospels is written in Latin, using the Vulgate version made by
St Jerome, who died in about 420.
It also contains the oldest surviving translation of the Gospels into the English
language. In around 950-960 Aldred, a member of the Community of St Cuthbert,
added his Old English translation between the lines of Latin.
The book opens with a decorative ‘carpet page’, followed by St Jerome’s
Prefaces (letters explaining his translation and describing the Evangelists)
and the Canon Tables.
Each Gospel is introduced by preliminary matter (authorship, content and instructions
for readings on particular holy days). It opens with a portrait of the Evangelist,
a carpet page and an ‘incipit’ (or beginning) page, with the first
words elaborately ornamented.