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Psalms 97 and 98, in a Bible with Duplex Psalter

Psalms 97 and 98, in a Bible with Duplex Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1300

Shelfmark: Additional MS 40006

Item number: f.245r

Length: 22

Width: 15.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Written in England at the end of the 13th century, this bible manuscript was owned in the 15th century by the community of English nuns of St Brigitta (or Brigittines) whose house, Syon, was originally located near Twickenham. Single volume bibles were rare in the early middle ages, but the great monasteries began to have large opulently decorated bibles made for their chapter houses by the 12th century, to show off to visitors. This bible is less impressively produced, probably having been made for theological study. It contains a 'duplex psalter' or the Book of Psalms in two Latin translations, called the Hebrew and the Gallican. Arranged in two columns, the two versions of Psalms 97 and 98 are very easily compared and one can see how such a presentation would aid study in a period when texts could have variations and errors. The beginning of Psalm 98 ('Sing to the Lord a new song') is marked with a large beginning letter. The two Latin translations were done by St Jerome in the late 4th century. He wrote the Gallican version in 389, a translation of the Hexapla. It was adopted by the Gallican (French) church under Charlemagne, giving it its name. In 393 Jerome wrote his final translation of the Psalms directly from the Hebrew, which appears here in the left column.

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