In the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah, the prophet warns King Zedekiah of the destruction of Jerusalem. This copy of St Jerome’s Commentary on Jeremiah contains an image of the prophet standing before the king. He holds a scroll with Hebrew letters written on it, a reminder of the importance St Jerome placed on the studying of the Veterum hebraicum (Old Hebrew) texts to gain a better understanding of the scriptures. At the beginning of the commentary is an initial ‘P’, in which Jerome is portrayed with his head in a lion’s mouth, illustrating the tradition that recounts that he tamed a lion by removing a thorn from its paw.
Copied in southwestern France in the first half of the twelfth century, the manuscript was owned by the abbey of Moissac, a wealthy institution with a renowned scriptorium on the pilgrimage route to Compostela. On the final pages, following Jerome’s commentary is a short hymn for the feast of St Nicholas on 6th December, with twelfth-century musical notation.
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.
- Article by:
- Damian Fleming
- History and learning, Christian religion and belief
In this survey Damian Fleming explores the early medieval Christian experience of Hebrew as a sacred and practical language.