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Origen, Commentary on the Song of Solomon f.64r

Origen, Commentary on the Song of Solomon f.64r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1130

Shelfmark: Harley MS 101

Item number: f.64r

Length: 26.6

Width: 18.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

Medieval Christian theologians had to explain the Old Testament in terms of the church. Origen, who lived in 3rd-century Alexandria and Caesarea, accomplished Christian explanations of books of the Old Testament by discussing it as allegory--seeing the persons and events as symbols for Christian doctrine. The 'Song of Solomon' ('Cantica canticorum') presented challenges because it was a love poem. Origen explained it as an expression of love between the church ('Ecclesia') and her bridegroom (Christ). Later monks such as those at the Benedictine Abbey of the Blessed Virgin in Reading were able to read the Song of Solomon without problems.

Medieval theological manuscripts usually give the reader help in finding locating a place in the book. In this one, pages ending and beginning a section ('book') are inscribed at their outer edges with the section numbers. This page begins the 3rd section of Origen's commentary on Song of Solomon 2:13 ("Come my beautiful one"). Origen's citation of the first verses are marked with the squiggly marks in the margin ('citation marks'). Because the scribe left out a line, it had to be added in the margin.

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