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Psalm 68 With Crucifixion, In The Wycliffite Bible

Psalm 68 With Crucifixion, In The Wycliffite Bible

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1210

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 104

Item number: f.354r

Length: 40.5

Width: 24.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

This famous copy of an English translation of the Bible was probably made just before or about 1408 when copying, possessing and even reading the Bible in English were banned. John Wycliffe (c. 1330-1384), an Oxford professor who held the Bible as the supreme authority over the clergy or even the pope, inspired his followers to write the first complete English translations of the Bible. This one is decorated with cuttings from earlier Bible manuscripts, possibly to make up for not being able to commission pictures for a text which was already or about to be outlawed. The cuttings appear to come from manuscripts made in the North Midlands.

The cuttings were pasted over the conventional, contemporary decoration of the early 15th-century Bible. From the Book of Psalms, this page has Psalm 68 (69, "Save me, O God"), with the historiated initial of the same psalm showing the Crucifixion which was taken from an early 13th century psalter. In the upper margin, the book of the Bible is identified with the title 'Sauter' (Psalter) and the first words of Psalm 68 in Latin are written in the margin by the beginning of the psalm, which is translated "God make thou me saaf."

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