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The Book of Wisdom, in Job and the Sapiential Books, With Explanatory Notes

The Book of Wisdom, 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.213r

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 page layout for the glossa ordinaria can be seen on the first page of the Book of Wisdom. The scriptural text begins with the large, decorated letter in the centre column, in larger handwriting. The glossa ordinaria is written on either side of the biblical text, its smaller handwriting allowing the scribe to position it more or less next to the relevant bit of scripture. The broad outer margin was meant for additional notes on the notes--like the one to the right--added by theologians as they studied.

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