Commentaries by St Jerome (d. 420) on the Bible could be found in the collections of many monastic libraries in England and on the Continent. A book made in France during the 9th century contains St Jerome’s commentaries on some of the Pauline Epistles that form part of the New Testament and that are composed of letters attributed to the Apostle Paul. The Epistle to the Galatians begins with two large initials, side by side, which complement each other. The loop of the ‘P’ contains a remarkably dynamic portrayal of a human figure with animals, birds and fish, linked to one another in a never-ending chain, mirroring the interlace patterns in the initial ‘I’ that appears next to it.
The manuscript was in the library of the Abbey of Saint Martial of Limoges by the eleventh century. An inscription and notes recording donations to the Abbey were added at this time, and in the 13th century an antiphon and response (short sentences sung or recited before or after a psalm), with musical notation on the opening pages.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Damian Fleming
- Christian religion and belief, History and learning
In this survey Damian Fleming explores the early medieval Christian experience of Hebrew as a sacred and practical language.