The great Anglo-Saxon scholar, Bede (b. c. 673, d. 735), is often ranked alongside the Church Fathers for his widely-copied and studied biblical commentaries, in which he demonstrates his skill in interpreting and presenting the complex ideas in Scripture. In his explanation of the Gospel of St Luke, he quotes verses from the biblical text, followed by a phrase-by-phrase commentary, based on earlier scholars like St Augustine. In the preface he reveals that, in addition to his impressive body of work, he did his own writing and copying.
This early 11th century copy that was in the library of the abbey of Saint-Martial, Limoges in the 15th century, has a large initial, ‘B’, made up of entwined beasts, at the beginning of the commentary. This is the only large initial, though there are spaces left for two others, and the Gospel verses and commentary are not clearly distinguished, though Gospel quotations usually begin with a bolder initial.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Jaakko Tahkokallio
- History and learning
Throughout human history, one of the main functions of story-telling has been to create and strengthen shared identities that hold communities together. Jaakko Tahkokallio explores the historical works of leading medieval writers.