WRITING THE BIBLE: FROM 7TH CENTURY NORTHUMBERLAND TO 21ST CENTURY MINNESOTA

WRITING THE BIBLE: FROM 7TH CENTURY NORTHUMBERLAND TO 21ST CENTURY MINNESOTA


good evening everyone and welcome to the 2017-2018 lectures and catholic experience and i want to extend a special welcome to any of you who might be here at Saint Charles University for the first time very happy to have you with us this evening I want to begin the evening by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of the neutral Anishinaabe and holder nashoni people’s the university is situated on the haldeman tract the land promised the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River my name is Cristina Vanina I’m the associate dean here at st. Jerome’s University and I coordinate the lecture series before we actually get started if you could just make sure that whatever electronic devices you have with you are on some kind of status so that they don’t make any noise for the rest of us that would be great thank you in his book word and image well there Michael patella tells us that it was back in 1996 that the monastic community at st. John’s Abbey in Collegeville Minnesota pondered how they might mark the coming of the new millennium the community wanted something that could draw on the 1500 year old Benedictine tradition while simultaneously enlivening the Christian tradition the idea of sponsoring a handwritten and illuminated Bible seemed to fit both criteria and the monks of st. John’s hoped that this project could reignite the fires of artistic imagination one of the biggest tasks for the community at st. John’s was to make clear why in an age when even the commercial printing press is facing an uncertain future why would anyone want to embark on a project using vellum ink goose quills to produce something that could be obtained by the click of a button the community identified six things that they hoped for this project they wanted the st. John’s Bible to glorify God’s Word to give voice to the unprivileged to ignite imagination to revive tradition to discover history and to foster the arts the Most Reverend Roland Williams former Archbishop of Canterbury expresses the value of this st. John’s Bible project in this way we tend to read greedily and hastily as we do so many other things this beautiful text shows us a better way this project not only revives the ancient tradition of the church sponsoring creative arts it also offers an insight into that lost skill of patient and prayerful reading this evening we are fortunate to have with us dr. Lisa fakin Davis to help us to understand this long tradition of writing the Bible by hand Lisa received a PhD in Medieval Studies from Yale University in 1993 she has catalogued medieval and renaissance manuscript collections throughout the United States and has published five books and numerous articles in this field the boston globe tells about some of the unexpected places where dr. davis has found medieval manuscripts in reno she found a 15th century french prayer book with gold leaf that was once owned by a Welsh actor turned missionary in South Dakota she discovered a 600 year old leaf from another book with a prayer meditating on the final seven statements uttered by Jesus and in Boulder Colorado she found a rare image of the martyrdom of Saint Eustace who was boiled in a hollow bronze Idol shaped like a calf in 2016 dr. Davis co-created the major exhibition beyond words illuminated manuscripts in Boston collections and this exhibit exhibition was at the Houghton library at Harvard University the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in addition to serving as executive director of the medieval Academy of America she regularly teaches an introduction to manuscript studies at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information science please join me in welcoming dr. Lisa Fagan Davis to speak to us on the topic writing the Bible from 7th century Northumberland to 21st century Minnesota dr. Davis thank you so much for that lovely introduction and thank you to your president and to professor but nice key and your student for this very warm welcome I hope you all take the opportunity to visit the exhibition outside of manuscript rec similes and also of the actual st. John’s Bible there’s a volume right outside as well that’s you should definitely take a few minutes to take a look at all right let’s see if this is going to work there we go excellent the st. John’s Bible of which this is the first page represents there we go all right is that better now there we go now I think we’re good and everyone hear me all right yes okay the st. John’s Bible represents an extraordinary a handwritten manuscript of the Bible in English produced in 21st century Wales and in ministry the st. John’s Bible there it is represents an extraordinary achievement a handwritten manuscript of the Bible in English produced in 21st century Wales and Minnesota beautifully illuminated skillfully written in seven magnificent volumes but the tradition of writing the Bible by hand reaches back 2,000 years to the earliest fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls in particular the model for the st. John’s Bible grows out of the Western monastic tradition established by Benedictine monks in Northumberland and Ireland after the retreat of the Romans and exported to the European continent in the early Middle Ages as we follow the development of this model over the course of a thousand years we will observe how geopolitics literacy and liturgical practice directly impacted the format size illustration and content of the handwritten Bible first a little context Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts represent the largest surviving body of evidence for every aspect of intellectual history in Europe from the fourth to the sixteenth centuries in them are preserved extraordinary images and often unique texts of importance to scholars in many disciplines including classics comparative literature history language and so on as well as the history of business law medicine and science in fact pre 1600 manuscripts are the primary resources for the study of every aspect of intellectual spiritual and artistic life in the Middle Ages and Renaissance on the continent of Europe you can observe the development not only of the book arts but of literature of music science and commerce all by studying the history of the book and even by studying the history of a single book the Bible Bibles were often designed for procession and display as sacred ceremonial objects they weren’t just books to be read and so the grandest Bibles preserves some of the greatest art of the Middle Ages illuminated with real gold sparkling and glowing they are stunning works of sacred Beauty it is easy to understand why they inspired divine awe and reverence throughout what follows it is extremely important to remember that we are talking about hand made books not books that were mechanically printed the word manuscript literally means written by hand every aspect of a medieval manuscript from preparing the parchment and ink and quill to writing and illustrating and sewing and binding was done by a human being by a craftsperson each manuscript therefore is completely and utterly unique representing a significant investment of time and resources there are other implications of course human beings are by nature imperfect and every manuscript includes textual errors of some kind these errors can help scholars determine how different copies of a particular text are related to one another in biblical scholarship transmission errors in the earliest manuscripts can have major theological implications now people tend to think of the Middle Ages as one long dark homogeneous millennium during which nothing changed nothing happened nothing progressed and everyone was just sitting around in the mud biding their time waiting for the Renaissance to arrived so they could start painting now his work such as these clearly demonstrate that perception is simply not so our story begins way back in the year 312 ad when the Roman Emperor Constantine saw a vision of a crucifix in the sky and was inspired to convert to Christianity 68 years later Emperor Theodosius officially made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire at that time the Roman Empire was massive stretching from what is now Syria in the east all the way around the Mediterranean through Sterne europe essentially as far as the Scottish border not you’ll notice in the upper left corner there into what is now Scotland and Ireland this is a very important detail so keep it in mind for a few minutes the division of the Empire into East and West followed by the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in the year 410 combined to bring about the end of this massive era of the Roman Empire in the middle of this geopolitical turmoil we are told the Bible was first translated from Greek into Latin and Aramaic into Latin by this institution’s patron Saint Jerome technically Jerome’s Latin wasn’t the first Latin but it was a significant improvement over the slightly earlier version known as the old Latin like the Year 400 isn’t old enough I could not help noticing of course that the arms of st. Jerome’s University includes a lion at the top this is quite appropriate as st. jerome is usually depicted in medieval art with his saintly attribute lion as you look at these you may wonder if anyone in the Middle Ages had ever actually seen a lion the one in the lower left is my absolute favorite st. Jerome was born in Dalmatia around the Year 347 and died in Bethlehem in the year 420 he is known as one of the four Latin fathers of the church alongside saints Agustin Ambrose and Gregory the Great he spent four years in the desert in the Syrian desert as a hermit mortifying his flesh and elevating his spirit through study and meditation legend tells us that he once encountered a lion with a fawn in its paw as you see in the lower left corner his kindness in tending to the lion proved him to be a man of good character who loved God’s creatures and so he was rewarded with a vision of Christ on the cross because of this episode he became associated with a lion in art and even when he is depicted at work in his study the lion is rarely far away Jerome’s work established the Latin text of the Bible known as the Vulgate work that would endure for a thousand years during the tumultuous centuries that followed the division and defeat of the Roman Empire in the fifth century Christianity continued to slowly spread throughout Europe by means of Catholic missionaries sent by the Pope in Rome this is the period often but erroneously called the dark ages don’t ever use that term around me it was a time of recovery certainly but hardly bereft of beauty and learning as we will see the light stayed on in Rome certainly but also with the outer reaches of the British Isles where monks and Irish and northern Abbey’s continue to create exquisite works of art in handwritten books when Pope Gregory the Great sent a monk named Agustin not the Saint Augustine of Hippo but a different Agustin to Britain in the year 597 to convert the anglo-saxons that monk is said to have brought with him a manuscript now known as the Gospels of st. Augustine this sixth century gospel book now belongs to Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University given to the library by its patron the Reformation archbishop Matthew Parker the manuscript includes several illustrations including this portrait of Saint Luke enthroned surrounded by scenes from his Gospels and watched over by his attribute a bull the illustrations are magnificent certainly but it is the text of the Augustine Gospels that was critically important as it brought the Gospels to Britain and served as a model for other great gospel books of the early medieval period these early gospel books are massive as much as two feet high they are not the sort of books meant for cozying up in a comfy chair on a rainy afternoon these are books for procession for display and veneration to be read from aloud in church from a lectern by a priest or another efficient literacy during this period was primarily the domain of monks and nuns priests and confessors and reading was usually allowed precisely because most members a church congregation would have been illiterate in early books like the st. Augustine Gospels chapter and verse divisions did not yet exist instead the text is written in logical phrases of format known as Pecola at Kamata or as manuscript scholar Christopher Hamel puts it by pauses and clauses with line divisions indicating where a reader would logically pause for breath or effect during the early Middle Ages the New Testament was almost always circulated in a volume separate from the Pentateuch prophets Salter and other Hebraic books a manuscript of the whole bible rare but not unheard of in the early Middle Ages is called a pan decked from the Greek word meaning a book of everything the earliest surviving complete pan decked is this enormous book the Codex omnia Thainess written around the Year 730 it is gigantic nearly 2 feet high and comprised of more than a thousand pages although it now resides in the Laurentian library in Florence Italy it was written in northern England in the great Abbey complex of where methey ro the evidence suggests it was brought to Italy from England by a group of monks who were accompanying their abbot on a journey to Rome where this manuscript was to have been a gift to the Pope the abbot died enroute and rather than face the long and difficult journey back to England the monks apparently gave up and lived at their years in the small Abbey of San Salvatore a on Monte Amiata outside Florence from whence the manuscript gets its name the journey of the codex omnia tynus from the british isles south to italy was thus exactly the opposite of the road taken by the earlier Augustine Gospels which traveled from the south to the north omnia tynus is one of the earliest manuscripts known to have been produced in the British Isles and is thus extremely important as a textual and art historical witness the manuscript begins with this quite famous full-page illustration of a saint sitting with feet resting on a low stool writing in a book open on his lap presumably writing words of prophecy the two lines of text at the top of the page identify him in fact as the Old Testament prophet Ezra there are several really striking features of this image first take a look at that massive bookcase open behind him don’t ever let this is another preconception I’m gonna bust tonight don’t ever let anyone tell you that Durer invented perspective art don’t let anyone tell you that artists in the Middle Ages didn’t understand perspective or three-dimensionality because obviously they did that bookcase has depth and it has heft the books of the case are stored horizontally rather than upright which is how books were in fact typically shelved during this period Ezra’s book is open on his lap for writing rather than resting on a desk and he is shown as right-handed as scribes always were if you were born left-handed you would have been forced to use your right hand instead the text begins with this extraordinary image gold letters written on purple stained parchment purple being even then the color of luxury and authority about three-quarters of the way through the manuscript we find another magnificent full-page illustration this one of Christ enthroned in majesty suspended in the firmament with flanking angels in the corners the four evangelists are illustrated with their saintly attributes Matthew with an angel John with an eagle Luke with a loop with the winged Bowl and mark with a winged lion these attributes recur throughout biblical illustrations and we will encounter them on nearly every stage of our journey today the scripted text and illustrations of these great early bibles such as omnia teenis and the Augustan gospels had a major influence on the next generation of biblical manuscripts among them some of the most famous manuscripts in the world such as the late eighth century book of kells from ireland itself a gospel book and there is a facsimile of the book of kells right outside for you to look at after the lecture these great books add a distinctly Celtic aesthetic to the Bible with their magnificent fractal-like carpet pages and not work incorporating elements from stone carving and metalwork the incredible intricacy and detail make some of the pages almost illegible this book was about looking and venerating not necessarily about reading oaths were taken on it legal documents signed with the book itself as a witness to the Gospels the Book of Kells adds st. Jerome’s index of people in places of the Bible as well as a series of Canon tables charts that identify places where the various gospel narratives correspond these additional sections help make the Bible of reference work allowing preachers and theologians to mine the text for their sermons and commentary later innovations such as the division of the text into chapter and verse as well as visual cues will make the Bible even easier to access and navigate in the seventh and the eighth centuries missionaries from Irish and English monasteries traveled to the European continent to establish monastic communities new monasteries need books liturgical books theological treatises and Bibles and so they brought manuscripts with them as the new monasteries became self-sustaining they established crypt aurilla and began copying their own manuscripts at this point these scribes and artists begin to incorporate their own local artistic and paleographic all flavors heliography meaning script establishing distinctive styles of script and illumination these localized styles win so far as to include different versions of the very alphabet by which I mean the letter forms these scribes are all using the same 26 letter Latin alphabet but the appearance of the letters could be quite dip from one place to the next when Charlemagne was crowned King of France and in the year 800 Holy Roman Emperor he needed to unite his empire one of the most pressing problems he faced was that this variety of writing styles used across the realm made communication exceedingly difficult since letter writers at one end of the Empire might not even be able to read what was being written by someone at the other end this made Charlemagne’s task of unifying his empire particularly challenging and of course it is also extremely challenging for modern scholars to read these things you could probably do it but the rest of us can he can do it with the help of a scholar named Al Cohen shown here in a portrait from the 12th century charlemagne standardized the alphabet from this mess difficult to this the direct ancestor of the familiar letter forms that we still use today known as Caroline or Carolingian script now that’s worth repeating the shape of these letters you can draw a direct line from that to Times New Roman font it is a direct descendant of the letter forms invented by Charlemagne’s buddy alka when more than a thousand years ago that’s pretty outstanding as far as having an impact over the course of a thousand years so under al Cowen’s direction scribes at the abbey of saint-martin of tor perfected this graceful and legible script and copied dozens of giant Bibles using the new style these Bibles were shipped to every part of Charlemagne’s realm and monks in these script Orio were instructed to learn the new lettering by copying these great Bibles as part of this standardization the format piccola at Komada was replaced by paragraphs marked with initials in color and the elaborate carpet pages and complex opening cartouche –is worse preceded by a descending hierarchy of large initial followed by capital letters slightly smaller and then finally leading the reader into the primary text this format developed more than a thousand years ago is still the one that book designers use today Bibles weren’t only made for monks of course the late 10th century gospels of holy roman emperor otto the third is clearly a manuscript made for royalty from its jewel-encrusted binding to its elaborate carpet pages to full-page miniatures covered with heavy glittering gold leaf this portrait of a wild-eyed Saint Luke and raptured by a vision his bowl above and his lap covered with books is a personal favorite of mine innovations in the 12th century make the Bible even more navigable for preachers and theologians who found themselves increasingly in need of an efficient way to locate particular phrases and paragraphs to help make their rhetorical points this elaborate 12th century masterpiece known as the Winchester Bible includes a series of prologues before each book of the Bible some of which are attributed to Saint Jerome himself each prologue in each book begins with what is called an inhabited or historiated initial within which are illustrated scenes from the book they introduce the initials thus do double duty as illustrations and letters that descending hierarchy of script including additional elaboration in the form of alternating use of color leads the reader from the initial to the opening words and into the body of the text the elaborate rubric above this initial the one we’re literally right above it where it’s alternating blue and green and red takes a little bit of effort to decode it says in Kip Utley Barbara finit REE Jeremiah prophet I here begins the book of Baruch scribe of Jeremiah the Prophet at bar roof is sometimes referred to as having been the amanuensis or secretary of the Prophet Jeremiah the first letter of the text to this carnivalesque H has been cleverly divided into two registers which taken together depict the third verse of the book of Baruch which reads Baruch read the text of this book aloud to Jew Konya son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and to all the people who had come to hear the reading so here we see Baruch sitting in the upper left corner with his finger marking his place in the book reading aloud to the enthroned King Jack onea who is crowned and unfortunately leaning on his arm looks a little bit bored the crossbar of the H is the floor of this royal chamber and below it we see the people gathered in a castle courtyard to listen to Baruch read his prophecy almost any letter of the alphabet can be used this way and in this particular manuscript they are delightfully so in this letter are the Prophet Jeremiah is shown below prophesying his words recorded on in an unfurled scroll like a speech bubble in a comic book inspired by the vision of Christ in the register above this late 12th century example adds another element to the increasingly complex page layout of Bibles extensive commentary in the margins and even written between the lines this particular image is the beginning of Paul’s epistle to the Romans it is a particular feature of the epistles that every one of them in Latin begins with the letter P how loose a tradition developed whereby even in bibles that are minimally Illustrated each of these epistolary peas is historian with a depiction of Paul preaching or delivering his epistle in this case we actually have three different scenes from halls life at the top of the P inside the bowl Paul is shown preaching to the Romans inspired by the Holy Spirit in the form of the dove descending from above in the middle in the center of the stem of the letter the artists use the vertical constraints to show Paul being lowered in a basket over the walls of Cyprus as he tries to escape the Romans who are searching for him finally at the bottom we see the end of the story as Paul is about to be beheaded by a soul sword wielding Roman soldier in this case the artist has both filled the empty space in the letter as well as using the shape of its solid form to frame the images this is a rather creative way of using letter forms that don’t surround empty space turning them into decorative elements that do double duty as initials and illustrations if we go back to the Winchester Bible we will see an example where this artist does the same thing exemplifying a tradition that would last for centuries the depiction of scenes from the book of Genesis in roundels within the vertical bounds of the first letter of the first book of the Bible the eye of in principio in the beginning the in principio initial of the Winchester Bible is acknowledged as a medieval masterpiece so much so that its artist is known as the master of the Genesis initial these seven roundels take us on a narrative journey from creation through the old and new testaments all the way to redemption the multicolored rubric begins in kippot Liebherr genesis the reader then must turn to the spectacular full-length multi registers stack of roundels within the letter i before continuing with n principio Craiova deus caelum at teram in the beginning god created heaven and earth the text then continues with the Bible’s fine and legible book hand so let’s take a moment and walk through these beautiful roundels at the top we see God drawing Eve from Adam side as he sleeps I find the musculature of these figures to be particularly impressive next we encounter the ark afloat Noah accompanied by his family is reaching through an open window to welcome back the empty beaked the waters after all have not receded and floating in the depths we can actually make out the bodies of those left behind at the left a raven waits for the scavenging still to come once the waters recede third is the sacrifice of Isaac Abraham honestly the man with the sword holds Isaac in place on the altar with his left hand preparing to sacrifice him with the sword in his right an angel holds back the deadly sword blow with his left hand and with his right hand he gestures towards the scapegoat that is to be offered in Isaac’s stead in the fourth position Moses stands on an ethereal cloud like Mount Sinai his arms outstretched towards God who offers him the tablets of the Ten Commandments next Samuel anoints and crowns David as king here at prefigurement of Christ as king the Nativity is next the infant snugly swaddled beneath the gaze of an ass in a bowl as Joseph looks on and the Virgin reclines after her Labor’s this series culminates with the end of days as Christ sits in judgment as we look at the entire page again we can observe the penultimate step towards easy reference of biblical passages here in the 12th century the addition of standardized chapter numbers there is more typical and less masterly are the in principio initials such as these depicting the seven days of creation at one end of the story and the crucifixion at the other even if there is no other illumination in a particular Bible you can count on finding an extended an extended his story a ‘td initial I at the beginning of the book of Genesis some of these are so elaborate that they almost don’t look like the letter I anymore but they do indeed represent at the beginning of the beginning in this late 12th century manuscript from tois in France the genesis medallions are beautifully abstract and wonderfully evocative of the verses they illustrate in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God here a dove moved upon the face of the waters day two and God said Let there be firmament in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters and God made the firmament and divided the waters here you see God’s hand doing the dividing which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament and it was so day three and God said let the earth bring forth grass the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind whose seed is in itself upon the earth and it was so day 4 and God said let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to decide to divide day from night and God made two great lights the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night and he made the stars also day five and God said that the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life and the fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven day 6 and God said let us make man in our image after our likeness so God created man in his own image in the image of God created he him male and female he created them it is worth noting that in this very unusual depiction of the creation of Eve from Adam’s side she is only partially formed being drawn from Adam as unformed clay to be molded by god these Genesis initials persist in handwritten Bibles even as the format and function of the holy book adapted to changing social structures in the 13th century literacy was on the rise as universities were established in places like Oxford in Paris and Venice more and more people outside of the clergy and Nobles were becoming educated and were learning to read more and more people need and want their own books including their own personal Bibles and so the Bible shrinks transitioning from the giant processional ceremonial books displayed on church lecterns to small books written in a script so minuscule as to be nearly illegible these books are for individual use and are eminently portable often stored in wrappings with a knot at one end for easy carriage or to be tucked into a sash at the waist known as girdle bindings mass produced by the thousands in France these little books are known as Paris Bibles although they weren’t all made in Paris they’re about this big as small as they are in this case only six inches high and four inches across many are heavily illustrated with miniature jewel like historian initials created with tiny horsehair brushes by artists of extraordinary skill even if you couldn’t read Latin you could study these images and meditate on the contents of the Bible and so bibles become personal portable objects for individuals to hold and venerate and examine and read this is a seismic transformation maybe you don’t need a priest or a clergyman to interpret the Bible for you maybe you could read it yourself you can draw a straight line from these small personal Bibles to the next development people start to ask a logical if radical question if I can own a Bible and I can read the Bible in Latin in my house why can’t I read it in my spoken language why can’t I read the Bible in English or German or Dutch or French or Italian or Spanish this notion was not only radical it was downright heretical the text of the Latin Bible was sacred not populist it was dangerous enough to allow people to own their own little Bibles what might happen if they could actually read the Bible in the vernacular this idea was a huge threat to the power of the clergy in late medieval life that threat became real when the Bible was translated into Middle English in 1384 in a series of translations made under the direction of John Wickliffe Wickliffe opposed the privileged status of the clergy and believed that by baking the Bible available to the common folk in their own language he could disrupt the church’s power struggle while rich folks could Commission elaborate copies of the Wickliffe ID Bible many of the surviving manuscripts are humble books made for the common folk inexpensive and accessible but even in a humble copy the Genesis initial is still big and bright as in this manuscript currently at Oxford University’s Bodley and library here is how the first few verses of the book of Genesis sounded when they were heard in English for the very first time 633 years ago in the beginning the gold model not to have Boehner and ever thought for softer the air of thought was he dead learned by the DA Kinesis wilder and on the fast sold data and the Spirit of the Lord was bartering on the white trous God’s Idol except Ahmad allah sawas Maud God said light be made and light was made it’s a direct order I love that Wickliffe slaw lured followers persecuted arrested and often executed started a populist tide that would culminate in the Protestant revolution did I say revolution I met Reformation it was a revolution the tradition of writing the Bible by hand came to an end soon after Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and produced his famous 2 volume Latin Bible in the 1450s but even as fewer handwritten Bibles were produced printed books continued to be hand illuminated like this particular Gutenberg Bible well into the 16th century hiring illuminator was expensive however and by the late 16th century wood cuts and engravings had all but replaced hand illumination the mechanical revolution was complete let’s stop and take a breath and just think about how far we’ve come in 40 minutes we’ve covered the development of the Latin Bible from Jerome all the way to Gutenberg a journey of more than a thousand years although other faiths continue to write the Bible by hand such as Ethiopia and Coptic Bibles or Jewish Torah scrolls the Catholic Bible would be transmitted in print almost exclusively for the next five hundred and fifty years fast forward to the late 20th century in the small town of Collegeville Minnesota the Benedictine monks of st. John’s Abbey live and work according to the ancient rule of st. Benedict worshipping in a church that is utterly modern they are the stewards of the hill museum and manuscript library or Himmel to those of us who know this beloved institution Hemel was established in the 1960s with the mission to preserve European monastic manuscript collections initially by photographing them onto microfilm today however their mission is truly urgent as their collaborators on the ground race against the likes of Isis to preserve early Christian libraries in Syria and other high-risk areas but back in the summer of 1998 the collection was focused on monastic collections in Austria and Germany that summer a young scholar working on her first book spent two weeks at the library studying Austrian manuscripts on microfilm but an even more momentous event than my research trip to him all if you can believe that occurred that year that was the year that the st. John’s Bible was commissioned the first great handwritten Bible to grace the Western world in five centuries the scribe of the donal Jackson had dreamed of creating a hand illuminated Bible ever since he was a child in Wales at st. John’s University a committee of artists medievalist the illusions biblical scholars and art historians known as the Committee on illumination and text reflected carefully on each of the seven volumes before they were written how would they be illuminated which verses would they emphasize in different script and in different colors like their monastic predecessors the artisans who worked on the st. John’s Bible wrote with feather quills on calfskin illuminating the pages with gold and colours the majestic and stunning volumes completed in 2007 show the influence of medieval Bibles in their format iconography script and layout but with an entirely modern interpretive framework bringing it to new generations and increased appreciation of these inspirational words and images thank you [Applause] alright so Lisa’s willing to answer some questions we have two people that can bring a microphone to you I’ll let you no questions at all I’ve answered all the things I’ve told you everything you could ever want to know anyone know oh yeah sorry oh yeah yeah so the the Paris Bibles she’s asking about the the manufacturer of the Paris Bibles so those are yes those are manuscripts they’re all made by hand in the 13th century so this is way before printing this is 200 years before printing was developed and so when you think about how small they are they’re literally this big there’s probably a leaf there are several leaves outside in fact you’ll be able to see there are real live manuscript pages outside that you can look at afterwards yes and there are some of these Paris Bibles so you’ll be able to see exactly how tiny they are in real life they are minuscule they’re 50 lines of text written on a page this big I don’t know how anyone could write them much less read them they did have magnifying glasses magnifiers did exist at the time so perhaps that was how they did it but they are really extraordinary in the their craftsmanship precisely because they are so minuscule I mean how are you gonna shrink the entire Bible down into something portable they’re really thick like a real one of these Bibles so the pages are like this but they’re like this thick they’re like bricks I don’t know how you know they’re said to be portable but it’s not like you could put it in your pocket and carry it around with you but yes they are to answer the short answer is yes they’re made entirely by him so one of the things that I should have mentioned that’s a good question thank you she’s asking who made them by the time we get to the universities when universities start to develop and I’m sorry that I left this out because it’s extremely important so I’m glad you asked book production transitions from the monasteries to professional workshops so while monks are still making books you also have Fergus Falls workshops and the ones in Paris were actually right near notes Adam on the on the island where notes Adam is was where all the booksellers were and they had professional scribes sitting there in their workshops just cranking out these Bibles day after day by the hundreds by the thousands I mean it was really incredibly popular they were literally sellers and everyone had to have one and so those were being made by professionals not by not by Mike’s at that point yes right well because they were the ones who they were sacked by the Visigoths you know I mean that’s that’s really the reason is that because they weren’t part they weren’t ever really they weren’t incorporated into the Roman Empire so they weren’t part of the collapse of the Roman Empire they just kept budding along as they had been doing before outside of the influence and outside of all of this turmoil that was happening as the Romans retreated and things were kind of chaotic for a few hundred years on the continent and in the South of England but way up there in the north nobody was really paying attention and they would just sort of left to their own devices so they could continue to do this work without interference from these these Raiders and the Goths and the Visigoths and these tribes that were coming in and sowing such chaos elsewhere I saw another hand yes sir yeah so that’s a really thority and delicate question because it touches on theology in Scripture and it’s it’s complicated and so there are for example I believe it’s I believe it’s omnia teenis where someone has gone through and made annotations early very early about different readings where the old the old Latin someone thought was better than and as opposed to Jerome’s and they kind of combined them and made choices about which translation they think is more accurate and I’ll give you one example that that is pretty important which is the Aramaic term that Jerome translates as a virgin in Aramaic is a little more nuanced it could mean a young it could just mean a young woman and so by making that choice Jerome made you know was affiliating the story of Jesus’s birth with the Isaiah prophecy which is pretty clearly referring to a virgin will conceive and bear a son so that’s one example where you have theologians going back and sort of thinking about how the choices you make in the translation can impact the interpretation of the text and have major theological major theological implications here yes sir well so there is a theologian in England called named Steven Langdon who is traditionally credited with setting up the modern divisions into chapter and verse and that was in the early 13th century but we do see it earlier than that in the 12th century and it and so nobody really knows who was the first person to establish it although Steven Langdon in like I said in the 13th century made some particular decisions and choices that do get handed down as canonical so you know sort of in the 13th century is when it really gets set the way that we know it today sorry say it again yes yes so these these manuscripts whether it’s in a scriptorium or in a professional workshop are produced almost on an assembly line so you have one person who’s making the parchment well go back even further you got somebody killing the cow and getting it making parchment is a disgusting messy business don’t Google it on you’ll find videos on YouTube it’s disgusting and so you’ve got sub guy killing the poops cap you’ve got someone else skinning it and making a parchment someone else is making the ink someone else is making the colors the scribe the artist someone else is sewing it up and putting it in a binding you know so you have all these different people who there there are there are places where we we can where we think describe an artist or the same person but that tends to be in earlier monastic manuscripts so say like that portrait I showed you of Charlemagne and alkalyn that was done by a 12th century monk in Austria who I wrote my dissertation about which is why I like that image that’s why was it he’ll see it all comes back round and so that that image was almost certainly also that the scribe and the artists were the same person but it’s typically different people doing all the different pieces and certainly when you get to the professional workshops you you have all different people specializing in different parts of book making that’s not I saw another hand yes no not really specifically not in the in the earlier period we can guess you know people think about how long it took him to do the st. John’s Bible it took 10 years you know to do those seven volumes wouldn’t necessarily have taken 10 years but it you know what you think about well so omnia tynus a thousand pages for one thing that’s a lot of animals so pages are this big you know that could be 500 animals that gave their lives to make the skins for that book so there’s those resources there’s all the ink there’s the quills there’s the the person power it was that book probably took a year you know if you think imagine how long it would take you to write the entire Bible just by yourself you know we do have more certain records in the professional workshops because they were paid by the page or you know so we do have a sense of for those how long it might have taken and so one of those little Bibles it could take weeks and weeks because you had multiple people working on it but it was still it still was a great a huge effort oh yeah yeah yep my my hand hurts give me some wine don’t touch my butt sure you have those are great so there’s a lot of examples of well there are a few different styles so of monks at the end of their labor after they’ve written the entire book and it’s months and months they’ve been working on it they might write something like it’s really called my hand hurts please God give me some wine or it’s too dark in here I can’t see a thing or if you touch this may you be cursed for eternity don’t steal my book don’t touch this book you know there’s a lot of those and some of them are really hysterical that the the punishments that they’re going to bring down on your head if you so much as touch this book you know I’ve seen there’s one where again this is my my Austrian monk who wrote he was the librarian at the this Abbey and he wrote a whole list of the books that they had and at the top he said if anyone takes any books from my library I will strike you from the book of the living so the book where the monks wrote their names when they professed he would strike them from it he would literally delete if you touched his books so there there are quite a lot of examples and some of them are pretty entertaining but it makes you realize just how much they cared about these books how much they put into them that they you know that they left these sort of threatening notes in the back not just this is my book it belongs to me but I worked really hard on this so hands off yeah yes sir yes yep yep so not all of them but many of them were so they would have and there are some examples that survived today there are some examples of medieval chained libraries that still exist that where the books are still in fact chained to the lecterns or chained to the shelves you would have the binding and at the top of the binding you would have a little metal has to which the chain would be attached and then it would be chained to the Shelf so you would have to with you know it’s like the the reference library reference books that aren’t that don’t circulate you know these were not circulating libraries and the books were valuable the books were they needed them especially liturgical books and Bibles you know the monks couldn’t couldn’t pray without them and so the books would be attached so that no one could steal them yeah in the back yes definitely yeah there are there are plenty of examples where we know obscure Toria in nunneries where the women where the artists there are some women you’re not supposed to technically or where it’s really supposed to sign your name to your work because you’re not supposed to be doing it for your own credit you’re you’re you know in a monastic script or yeah you’re creating these books for the glory of God and for your Abbey not so that people will know that you are the great artist or the great scribe but there are places where people have snuck their name into a margin or hidden it in an initial there’s a manuscript at the Walters Art Museum I believe where the name of the nun she’s she’s drawn the letter Q where she is the crossbar of the Q she’s drawn a portrait of herself sort of clinging to the the circle of the queue and it says Clarissa on it so we know her name and there are other examples of that where we where we have particular particular names but there were definitely women who were engaging in book production who were scribes and and artists yes so it depends so sometimes a manuscript would be copied and there would be lots of space left in the margins and that would be specifically so that an owner could put in little marginal things little pointing hands saying hey look at this little notes about about things that they thought were particularly interesting so that was one way that that happened another was if the manuscript was specifically designed to have marginal commentary somebody’s commentary on the particular text so the example I showed you where it was Paul’s the Epistle to the Romans that was a very specific text that was probably copied at the same time as the book so that this Bible was intended to have that marginal commentary so it worked both ways yes sir well so if you look at this manuscript right here there are no abbreviations right I mean if you look at that the what what he’s referring to manuscripts scholar that he is because parchment is really valuable and scribal time is a valuable resource scribes start abbreviating letters abbreviating words and there are actually resources that we can use to unscramble those abbreviations but in these are the Emmanuel scripts they’re not really thinking that way yet they’re they don’t abbreviate words at all and there isn’t even in a punctuation you know punctuation actually develops as a way to help people who are reading out loud to give them a visual cue to when you’re supposed to stop when do you take a breath if it’s a question mark that tells you when you read it aloud you have to raise your voice at the end so those you know so that was the that was why punctuation was invented was to help you read things out loud and at the same time as book production rolled Bulls along and through the monastic period so starting and say you know like you know like the eighth century maybe you start seeing words being abbreviated and I suspect I’m talking off the cuff here I don’t know for sure but I suspect that has to do with the ramping up of monastic book production as they’re trying to write more books and so they start abbreviating so that they can do the job faster I don’t know that for a fact but I’m guessing yeah exactly and it takes less space you use less parchment and so you save money on your cows and sheep yes sir yeah so the Gutenberg was the Gutenberg Bible is in Latin it is in Latin but at the same time as Gutenberg was printing his Latin Bible you were seeing you started to see Bibles being both handwritten and printed in spoken languages in the vernacular languages but Gutenberg I believe only printed in Latin don’t quote me on that I don’t know that for sure we’d have to ask the Internet is that true yeah I think outen Berg only worked in Latin but there were printers in the 1500s who were printing things in French and we’re printing in German and other and other languages a little bit slightly later right when what’s Martin Luther’s dates that’s right weird we just we’re at the 500th anniversary right now right so there we go so we can work our way backwards so we’re in the you know the the 16th century so right you know when all of this is going on yeah yeah yeah well I mean I I’m I don’t I’m not an expert on modern Catholicism so I I couldn’t answer that question everyone in this room probably knows better than I do who lived through that my personal feeling is yeah I’m I’m all for making the text accessible and and comprehensible I do love it in Latin I have to say I really like Latin I like singing Latin liturgy but I also appreciate the importance of of everyone understanding what it is they’re praying and what it is everything I think that’s extremely important yeah yes yeah so um I’ve been do it let me I could go back hold on let me just flip backwards and I’ll show you yeah sorry so she was asking about so if we go back to let’s go back I gotta go back a little bit we gotta flip through those going back back back more there we go okay so when we look at that so that is is sort of the first generation of Carolingian script so that’s like classic Alcuin inspired text but there are still letter forms that are kind of unfamiliar to us like there’s no round s for example there’s only that long s that you see in kind of antique looking printing round s you could actually write a whole book about the letter s in the Middle Ages I find it really really interesting that I am a paleo Griffin art but I think the letter S is really fascinating but if you look in the upper right corner there at that goth shulk is the name of the artist so let’s go back there that’s 12th century and you know by the time you get to sort of Romanesque we’re you know we’ve got the round s we’ve got more more familiar letter forms you know so it sort of progresses kind of through the 11th century and into the into the 12th century I thought I saw another hand yeah mmm okay so if we go back let’s see if we can observe that so there’s Kells let’s go back to a text page all right so there’s only a China so there’s no punctuation there that is just the the division of the lines tell you right and so that’s the late six the seventh century so if we move into so there’s that if we move let’s get past that I don’t know if I even had a good text page from the book of kells but Kells I believe does not have punctuation either and that god only knows what that is no that doesn’t have any punctuation you know so here we are in the 12th century and we’re we we have real punctuation by the time we get to the 12th but it starts to develop in kind of the 10th century sort of the 9th 10th century in the Caroline era and by the time you get to the Romanesque period which this is in the 12th century you have consistently used punctuation so in this manuscript which is not a Bible I just throw it in there because I like this portrait of Charlemagne and Alcuin we have real punctuation we have periods you’ve got semicolons you might even have question marks somewhere so that you know that’s like real punctuation there’s a great book about the history of punctuation called each shoots and leaves that I really recommend if you haven’t read it it’s brilliant is really a terrific book I would also just as long as I’m recommending books if you’re interested in medieval manuscripts the the greatest manuscript scholar in the world is a gentleman named Christopher – Hamill who lives in England and he has just published a book he published it in England last year it just came out in North America called meetings with remarkable manuscripts and it’s about his personal encounters with the Codex omnia Tanis and the state Agustin Gospels the book of kells which he got to sit down and just sort of page through one day because he’s Christopher – Hamill I really recommend it he’s a wonderful writer it’s got lots of pictures and really interesting stories about what it’s like to work with this kind of material any more questions yeah well so in the it varies over the course of the thousand years but initially they they need them for for the use of the abbey so they have to have liturgical books they need they need breviary they need graduals they need Evangel areas they need lectionaries they need Salters they need all these different kinds of books in order to conduct their services every day you know they’re praying the hours eight times a day they’ve got mass once a day they’ve got all these special rituals and processions and all these things you know they need a ritual for baptism they need a ritual for burials so they’ve got all these different books and they have to make them in-house because there’s no work there’s no other way to get them as you get a little bit later on you start to find some places for example there’s a nunnery in in Harlem in Holland that was making books to sell as a way to raise money and that’s much later that’s in the 15th century so as you get a little further along you do find monks and nuns making books to sell to the outside world because they’re competing with these professional script Oriya for business as it were so it’s sort of you you get both of those models yes yes yes no and I will tell you why if we let’s jump ahead and look at that Torah scroll for a second sorry hang on we’ll get there keep going keep going keep going nope there we go okay so there’s a tour at the top the thing about Torres is there it is almost impossible to tell how old a torah is by looking at it I can tell you how old a Latin manuscript is just by looking at it by looking at the style of the handwriting that’s what I’m trained to do by looking at the handwriting and the illumination I can tell you this manuscript is from the early 14th century that one’s from the eight century that’s that’s what I do Torah scrolls look exactly the same by Jewish law they have to you have to copy it exactly the same if you make one mistake you got to burn it and start over and so the the there is no similar development in the Hebrew Bible it’s always written in a scroll and the letters the shape of the letters the words have to be exactly the same as the one that you’re copying from so it’s extremely Hebrew paleography is a whole different ballgame from Latin paleography yeah exactly the same yeah always you can tell if something is Sephardic versus Ashkenazic from kind of the style but in general it’s you have to copy it exactly the same as the exemplar now you’re working from do we have time for another one oh okay we’re uh uh who has an ask a question yet hmm well I mean I suppose eventually I mean there are thousands of Torah scrolls in the world right now thousands and thousands tens of thousands hundreds of thousands I have no idea how many Torah scrolls there are in the world and I suppose if you trace them all back 2,000 years they would go back to to the original and original I I couldn’t tell you certainly we don’t have a whole Torah that goes back that far we have little bits you know the Dead Sea Scrolls for example but and other other little goodies of fragments but there’s you know there’s no whole text of the Hebrew Bible that that it survives well that’s what you were supposed to do but you at the earliest you know see I wouldn’t I wouldn’t trust myself to get this right but my my understanding is that the the oldest known Scrolls of the Hebrew Torah are only from maybe the 10th or 11th century they don’t go back very far there’s just they don’t there’s nothing that survives so it’s extremely difficult to you know it’s all speculation we really have no way to to trace it back any further than that because the the manuscripts just don’t survive yeah yep it makes it makes the job of someone who is cataloging the manuscript really hard is that what you’re getting at sure yeah no that that seems quite plausible to me We certainly have examples so for example I’ve seen manuscripts where the style of the script I would swear is French but the illumination is clearly Italian like you could bet your life on it and so then you’re stuck with well is this an Italian artist working in France is it a French scribe who traveled to Italy so there are all sorts of there are definitely things like that happening where people moved around and settled somewhere else and they learned a new style or they didn’t so you do see those kind of combinations happening that that definitely throw a curveball into the scholarship and you have to kind of think outside the box and start thinking about different scenarios and what what might have been possible definitely so I didn’t really talk about Byzantium at all because number one that is not my field I I really don’t I wouldn’t feel confident talking about that but but I do know that artistically it’s a whole different tradition and of course writing in Greek is a whole different tradition you know this of the Septuagint and so on is a whole different tradition of biblical scholarship and I really wouldn’t be I wouldn’t want to speculate because I I don’t I don’t study Greek manuscripts so I’m afraid I couldn’t answer maybe someone else in the room who who can answer that question I’m sorry all right thank you all so much so I’d like to invite forward dr. student Winiarski co-director of medieval studies and a member of our history part department to formally thank our speaker so it’s my great pleasure as Professor Van Dien says to thank dr. Lisa Fagan Davis on behalf of the University for providing us with a delightfully illuminated talk that took us from Jerome to Guttenberg to Minnesota’s Himmel and on to the st. John’s Bible and and her talk did a wonderful job of placing the st. John’s Bible in it’s very long and rich historical context would you please join me in giving her a very warm Waterloo welcome thank her and now do please join us outside we have many of the students from the medieval dragon lab representing our Medieval Studies program who will show you some original documents if you’d like to hold a real page for a medieval book and we’ve brought some for you and you can then cross the hall and see the st. John’s Bible and connect history in your own your own perception plugs for things that you can do but I want to say a couple things before we leave and you before you head out there and enjoy all the all that’s out there for you first of all we send out regular emails about upcoming speakers if you’re not currently on our mailing list and you want to receive information about this lecture series as well as other lectures and events taking place at st. Jerome’s over the year please make sure you can go to the welcome table and sign up and we can get you on our list every year st. Jerome’s University is pleased to be able to present a program of speakers to the community and make them available to you and we are able to do this because of the generosity of many partners and supporters if you would also like to support the lectures there are some donation envelopes at the Welcome Table and this evening I want to extend our thanks in particular to the John Devlin family for the special fund that is helping to support tonight’s lecture there are a number of under fairly traded products available for sale in the atrium by our social justice committee so you might want to stock up for some stocking stuffers or such things our local independent bookseller Wordsworth books is here again with us this evening so you can visit their table and again as Steven said if you didn’t get a chance on your way in please visit the manuscripts that we have on exhibit and then I’m gonna do my best ugh find some I’ll get over there and I’ll open up the st. John’s Bible and bring that out for you on the other side so you can go from medieval to twenty-first century the next lecture and Catholic experience is going to take place on Friday December the 8th and it is entitled the artist as preacher sacred art and the eye of the beholder father Eric Hollis from st. John’s University will be here to help us consider the profound insights that artists such as calligraphers and illuminators can offer us especially what those illuminations and the Saint John’s Bible communicate to us the next day Saturday December the 9th father Hollis will be giving a pre concert talk as part of the Handel’s Messiah concert being presented by the grand Philharmonic choir illuminations from the st. John’s Bible are going to be projected in the center in the square as the Messiah is being sung that evening so you may want to visit the center in the square box office to purchase your tickets for this amazing event that’s closing out our year with a st. John’s Bible the first of this year’s Bridges lectures will take place Wednesday November 22nd at 7:30 p.m. and the title of that lecture is perfumery the art and science of smell Luca Turin and Saskia Wilson Browne are going to deal with the questions what exactly is fragrance and how might we discuss and theorize the sense of smell so you can visit the bridges lectures website for more information of that upcoming lecture and finally I want to thank all of you for coming this evening it’s wonderful to have you with us as always and thank you for the all the ways in which you spread the word about our lectures and events I look forward to seeing you back in December for now have a safe trip home and good night [Applause]

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