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Diagram, in Bede's 'About the Tabernacle'

Diagram, in Bede's 'About the Tabernacle'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Additional MS 38817

Item number: f.2r

Length: 26.1

Width: 17.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Bede (ca. 673-735), star author of the twin monastery of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow, is most famous for his 'History of the English Church and People,' but he wrote other books, too, most of them on the bible. In the middle ages, one of his most influential works was on the description of the Tabernacle built in the desert by Moses, in Exodus 24-31. Inspired by earlier writings such as Augustine's on the Church, Bede produced a detailed explanation of each element of the Tabernacle as a sign of the Christian church, its beginnings, present-day situation, and future. He intended it as an aid for theological contemplation of scripture within Christian history. "About the Tabernacle" was well-known outside of England, the earliest manuscript copies of it being from 9th-century Carolingian centres. This later extract was probably made at Kirkham abbey, Yorkshire, to accompany a copy of Bede's 'History'. The extract is illustrated with a diagram of the Tabernacle, each part labelled. It vaguely resembles the earlier picture in the Codex Amiatinus, a great copy of the Bible made at Monkwearmouth-Jarrow during Bede's lifetime and now in the Laurentian Library, Florence.

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