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The Beginning of St Paul's Letter to the Romans, with Commentary, in a Copy of the Pauline Epistles With Explanatory Notes

The Beginning of St Paul's Letter to the Romans, with Commentary, in a Copy of the Pauline Epistles With Explanatory Notes

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1240

Shelfmark: Harley MS 3249

Item number: f.2v

Length: 36.2

Width: 23.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

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In the middle ages, the Bible was read aloud as part of church services and during daily prayers, and it was privately for theological study and personal devotion. A variety of aids were developed for these different kinds of reading. For theological study, surrounding the text from the Bible with explanatory notes and / or words written between its lines to help the reader understand obscure or difficult vocabulary and grammar. This is called 'glossing'. This manuscript contains St Paul's Epistles with commentary glosses. It belonged to the Franciscan convent at Oxford. One of the new orders of preaching friars, the Franciscans were part of the scene at medieval universities. The beginning of the Epistle to the Romans is at the large letter in the second column, which bears a picture of St Paul (shown as a bishop) speaking to figures who wear the type of cap associated with Jews in the middle ages--Paul speaks of delivering the gospel to Jews and gentiles in Rome. Only a brief bit of the letter to the Romans is written--in larger handwriting--on the page. The smaller writing surrounding it is the commentary. In the part to the right of the larger writing of the scripture, quotations from Romans 1 are underscored, the commentary on those words following. Further notes were written in the margins by a later reader or master.

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