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Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, by Haymo of Halberstadt

Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, by Haymo of Halberstadt

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Egerton MS 2782

Item number: f.1r

Length: 35.3

Width: 26

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

This manuscript contains a commentary on the Book of Isaiah by the 9th-century bishop of Halberstadt, Haymo. A student of the Anglo-Saxon master, Alcuin, at Tours and friend of Hrabanus Maurus, who wrote an important poem on the cross, Haymo was typical of the theological writers of his age in that writing something original was of no importance to him. His commentary on Isaiah and other works condense, paraphrase and compile earlier writings. His main themes where the moral and mystical meanings of scripture, which allowed him to follow the advice of his friend, Hrabanus, and stay out of controversy. The first page of the manuscript has a 14th-century inscription identifying the author and title, adding that it belonged to the monks' refectory or dining hall at St Edmund's Abbey (Bury St Edmunds). A great monastery such as that of Bury St Edmunds would have had books of biblical commentary in its library and also in the refectory. This was because it was required that the Bible or commentaries on it be read aloud during meals. Haymo would be an appropriate choice because of his reliable use of totally orthodox, traditional authors such as Jerome and Augustine.

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