A Diagram in the 'Philosophy of Solomon', in a Miscellany
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
This mid to late 12th century manuscript belonged to St Augustine's abbey, Canterbury. It contains an assortment of writings which might have been of interest to a theological writer working in an important monastery such as St Augustine's. Detailed expositions on grammar and the meanings of obscure words found in scripture, recipes for gold and colours for illuminating, a homily for Palm Sunday and a letter of spiritual counsel to a monk are included. It probably would have been used as a reference for writing theological commentaries and sermons and in producing materials for paintings in manuscripts.
A treatise on the 'Philosophy of Solomon' appears to be notes taken from several sources comparing the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with the three branches of philosophy (moral, natural and inspective or theoretical) and the three books of Solomon. A reader-friendly diagram lays out the three categories, arranged in arched columns, each with a portrait head of the appropriate patriarch over it. In the upper margin, Elizabeth I's astrologer, John Dee--who once owned the manuscript--inscribed his name.