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Oct 17 2007

Illuminated Manuscripts at Oglethorpe

by Heather O

Facsimiles of the illuminated manuscript masterpieces the “Book of Kells” and the “Lindisfarne Gospels” will be on display October 26-28 in the Oglethorpe University Philip Weltner Library. See: Oglethorpe Press Release

Kells At Trinity College in Dublin over 500,000 visitors each year crowd around for a glimpse of the original “Book of Kells” one vellum page at a time. The manuscript contains the Four Gospels and includes prefaces, summaries of the gospel narratives, and concordances of passages compiled in the fourth century by Eusebius of Caesarea. At one time encased in a gold cover inset with precious stones; the “Book of Kells” totals 680 pages with only two pages devoid of any decoration, and may have taken up to 30 years for Columban monks to finish the intricate Celtic designs. The origins surrounding the “Book of Kells” have been debated by scholars for centuries with at least 5 different theories on where and when the creation took place; with most scholars agreeing that the book was completed sometime around 800 AD.

Lindisfarnesml Housed in the British Library, the “Lindisfarne Gospels” is not only an artistically striking example of illumination but it also shows the glimpse of an England between cultures and religious thought. Completed around 721 AD at the Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon elements blended with the Roman, Coptic and Eastern traditions to create the Northumbrian manuscript. Unlike most illuminated manuscripts, the Lindisfarne Gospels can be attributed to a single monk who was bishop of the priory from 698 and 721. An Anglo-Saxon translation was added around 970 making it the oldest surviving version of the gospels in English.

More Illumination? Check out these titles in your library.

The Book of Kells by Bernard Meehan

The Book of Kells : reproductions from the manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin with a study of the manuscript by Françoise Henry

A history of illuminated manuscripts by Christopher De Hamel 

The illuminated books of the middle ages by Henry Noel Humphreys

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