Manuscript Bible from England

Creating a manuscript Bible was a complex and time-consuming task. By the thirteenth century, most Bibles were copied by scribes from an exemplar, or master copy, and were produced in greater quantity than before to meet the demand for the text. Although the larger lectern or folio Bibles lent themselves to elaborate decoration and illumination, smaller, hand-held Bibles, such as this thirteenth-century English copy, were more modest in appearance and more affordable for the clergy and students who acquired them. Several copyists were responsible for transcribing this manuscript Bible, all of them writing in an extremely small cursive form of “blackletter” known as littera textualis currens that allowed more than 700 words per page.

Biblia latina (Bible in Latin). England, thirteenth century. Manuscript on vellum. Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

Call number: Rosenwald #2

Manuscript Bible from England

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