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Job on the Dunghill, in Job and the Sapiential Books, With Explanatory Notes

Job on the Dunghill, in Job and the Sapiential Books, With Explanatory Notes

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Royal MS 3 C.vi

Item number: f.3r

Length: 34.7

Width: 24.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Medieval Christian theologians had to understand Old Testament books such as Job in terms of Christianity. This need gave rise to a tradition of explanatory notes called the 'glossa ordinaria'. In some Bibles especially for theological study the glossa ordinaria were written around the biblical text in a frame-like arrangement. Additional notes on particular words would be written between the lines. These notes remained standardised through centuries of use. This copy of Job and the sapiential books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus) with the glossa ordinaria belonged to the Franciscan convent at Canterbury. The typical layout of a page with the glossa ordinaria can be seen with the first page of the Book of Job. The biblical text is written in the centre column in large writing with the gloss in smaller letters in the margin and yet smaller ones between the lines. A beautiful picture of Job on the dunghill with his wife behind decorates the first letter of the biblical text.

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