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Meaning - to the maker

Writing and painting sacred texts were seen by monks as acts of meditation, during which the scribe might glimpse the divine. It was a high calling but very hard work.

Imagine what it must have been like to undertake the eye-straining, back-aching task of making the Lindisfarne Gospels by hand, in a hut on an island in the wild North Sea.

It would have been cold and tiring. Monks attended eight church services every day and night, displayed humility by manual labour, prayed and studied. If the artist-scribe was Bishop Eadfrith, he would have carried a heavy administrative burden as well. The Lindisfarne Gospels would have taken him at least five years to complete.

When it was finished it was a book to see and be seen. But it was also the maker's personal 'opus dei' - a work for God.

 



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