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Letters of Peter, in Bede's 'Commentary on the Catholic Epistles'

Letters of Peter, in Bede's 'Commentary on the Catholic Epistles'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Harley MS 3864

Item number: f.26r

Length: 27.5

Width: 19

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The best-selling house author of the monastery of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow, the Venerable Bede (c. 672-735) is most well-known for his 'History of the English Church and People.' He wrote a number of biblical commentaries as well, including one on the Catholic Epistles. This copy belonged to the library of Durham Cathedral, where his tomb is still located. On this page, the commentary on the Letters of James ends, as indicated by the title in red with first letter green ("explicit"), and the Letters of Peter begin ("incipit"). The text of the letters of Peter begin with a large, colourful first letter. Lacking electronic searching, medieval students and teachers needed all the help they could get from enlarged and coloured letters to find the place they wanted in a book. Also, as seen here, it was not uncommon to make notes in the margins. A librarian has added marginal notes as a kind of running subject index: "On charity", "In the time Peter went to Rome", etc.

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