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Cyprian's 'Testimony to Quininus'

Cyprian's 'Testimony to Quininus'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 217

Item number: f.131v

Length: 24.6

Width: 15

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Books of all types on the Bible and theology were important to the monks of the Middle Ages. This manuscript, which belonged to the Cistercian abbey at Fountains in Yorkshire, contains a collection of the works of the Early Christian writer Cyprian. It would have been a scholar's book, read as part of the daily programme of Bible study. Images would not have been necessary, especially for the Cistercians, an order which had no objections to beauty but shunned elaborate decoration as distraction. Early in his writing career, Cyprianus produced two works in the form of monologues addressed to friends. The second of these, 'Testimony to Quininus', is an argument for Christianity and could be seen as a treatise 'Against the Jews', since the passing away of the old law was a main point. His method is to group excerpts from scripture under headings to demonstrate how they can no longer hold true in the sense of the old law but are to be seen as fulfilment in Christianity. On this page, each of the passages begins with a large initial for phrases such as '"According to Isaia."

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