Ms. Codex 1053: Bible

For this week’s Coffee With A Codex we took a look at Ms. Codex 1053, a Bible in 2 volumes (Old and New Testament) with prologues, probably written in England in the 13th century.

Ms. Codex 1053, volume 1 and volume 2

The binding is stamped leather, probably pigskin, with remnants of two braided leather ties on the lower cover of each volume.

The bible text is written in 2 columns of 50 lines, with puzzle initials at the start of each book and smaller colored initials (alternating red and blue) at the start of each chapter. Titles of the biblical books, also written in alternating red and blue letters, appear at the top of the pages.

The order of the manuscript has many similarities to the Paris bible; despite its name, the Paris bible is a genre of bible and not a bible made in Paris. The use of teal for the contrasting flourishing of red initials, as illustrated in the middle image in the gallery above, suggests that Ms. Codex 1053 has English origins.

At the end of the New Testament there is a section on the Interpretation of Hebrew names (in the same hand as the Bible) and that is followed by a highly abbreviated set of capitula lists for most of the Old Testament (in a slightly larger, less formal hand). In a Paris bible we would expect to see the capitula lists at the start of the Old Testament books, not at the end of the book.

Ms. Codex 1053 contains a number of marginal notes, representing a variety of hands and written over time, which implies that this book was used well past the 13th century.

Find out more about Ms. Codex 1053 by reading the full record on Franklin: https://franklin.library.upenn.edu/catalog/FRANKLIN_9940245653503681

We host Coffee With A Codex every Wednesday at 12pm ET / 5pm GMT on Zoom. For a schedule three weeks ahead, visit our main page here.

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