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Book of Sparks, by Defensor

Book of Sparks, by Defensor

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1180

Shelfmark: Royal MS 6 D.v

Item number: f.46v

Length: 33

Width: 22

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

This manuscript has treatises and other writings which were of interest to members of religious communities. The treatises, concerned with the contemplative life and its focus on Bible study, were influential to the development of the ideals of monasteries. It belonged to Rochester cathedral priory where the canons, monks and priests probably read it as part of their private devotional study.

The little known about the author of the treatise to which this page belongs comes from its preface. Defensor was a monk at Liguge, near Poitiers in France, who wrote the 'Book of Sparks' (Liber scintillarum) under the direction of his teacher, Ursinus, sometime between 632 and about 750. The 'sparks' are the short quotations from the Bible and writings of church fathers appearing in each section of Defensor's treatise. The preface, however, is missing from this manuscript. On this page, there are several instances of Defensor's 'referencing' his sources: "Hilarius dixit", "Gregorius dixit" ("Hilary said", "Gregory said"). He cites them, he says, so that his work will not be considered apocryphal (without authority).

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