St Jerome made several translations of the Psalms into Latin. One of these is known as the Hebraicum because it was made directly from the Hebrew version. The other two were translated from the Greek and were more widely used in the Medieval Church. An early fragment of the Hebraicum version, perhaps copied in southern England or Wales in the ninth century, is found in this manuscript. Decorated initials, some with animal heads, mark the beginnings of Psalms.
The Psalter fragment has been bound together in a compilation with three other texts of different origins. One is a 12th-century copy of the Song of Songs in Latin with a commentary, preceded by two short prayers for the purification of salt and water to be used in consecration, exorcisms and death rituals. The other two parts of the compilation are collections of sermons and prayers in French in a cursive script from the 15th century.
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.