Re: [textualcriticism] Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture
- It is a nice book. Here is a brief introduction/review:
This book has been published to coincide with a British Library
exhibit on Sacred Texts from Christianity, Judaism and Islam: Sacred:
Discover what we share. Other volumes dealing with Hebrew Manuscripts
and Qur'an Manuscripts complete the trilogy. After a brief and
helpful introduction (by SM), this book consists of 142 lovely full
colour photographs of manuscripts held in the British Library. The
book lives up to its blurb: 'Spanning the entire manuscript era, from
the 2nd to 16th centuries, this lavishly illustrated history traces
the evolution of Bible manuscripts - from the first Greek fragments
unearthed in Roman Egypt to some of the last vernacular Bible
produced in Renaissance Europe before the total dominance of printing.'
"Bible Manuscripts" means actually "Christian Bible Manuscripts"
(since Hebrew Manuscripts have their own book in the series). Of
Greek New Testament manuscripts there are some of the early papyrus
manuscripts (e.g. P5, P18), two of the most important complete Greek
Bible manuscripts of all (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus),
as well as a few minuscules (699, 640, 113). The vast majority of
manuscripts offered, reflecting something of the weight of material
in the West and hence within the British Library, are Latin texts;
although Old English, Old Saxon, Syriac, French, Serbian, English,
Dutch, German, Catalan, and Church Slavonic are all represented, as
is the Harley Trilingual Psalter in Greek, Latin and Arabic. The
majority of the photographs, as is common in these sorts of
collections, are of pages with decorations, canon tables, portraits
etc. and not always a lot of biblical text.
In each page or opening most of the space is given to the photograph,
with only a few lines of text below given to brief comments on the
selection and the manuscript from which it comes. There are no
references to fuller discussions, although a general selection of
books for 'further reading' is offered at the back. This collection
is very useful and interesting for thinking about the history of the
influence and the illustration and interpretation of the Bible. For
example it is notable that manuscripts of the Apocalypse produced a
high proportion of interesting illustrations, especially considering
the relative lack of manuscripts of the text of the Apocalypse.
Indices of biblical citations, manuscripts and a general index (of
subjects, locations, languages etc.) will aid reference to the pictures.
At 21:16 03/06/2008, you wrote:
>New book:Peter M. Head, PhD
>"Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture"
>Hardcover: 159 pages
>Publisher: British Library
>Amazon Price: $23.10
>Before the invention of the printing press the import of the
>Christian Bible as a material book was inestimable. Revered
>by the faithful, labored over by scribes and artists,
>studied by scholars, and coveted by the rich and powerful,
>an actual copy of the book took on iconic significance.
>Surviving manuscripts of the Bible, therefore, not only
>reveal the remarkable history of a massively influential
>text but also allow scholars to map the development of the
>book prior to the advent of machine printing.
>The British Library's collection of Bible manuscripts is
>incomparable in its depth and breadth, preserving landmark
>editions from the second century up to modern times.
>Lavishly illustrated in full color, Bible Manuscripts
>outlines how the Bible was preserved and passed down over
>the past two millennia. With expert curators Scot McKendrick
>and Kathleen Doyle as guides, this book offers an
>unparalleled opportunity to experience the whole of the rich
>tradition of Biblical manuscripts.
>About the Author
>Scot McKendrick is head of Western manuscripts at the
>British Library. His previous books include Flemish
>Illuminated Manuscripts, 1400-1500 and Bible as Book:
>Transmissions of the Greek Text, both published by the
>Kathleen Doyle is currently working on the Digital Catalogue
>of Illuminated Manuscripts project at the British Library.
>Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
>Yahoo! Groups Links
Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament
36 Selwyn Gardens
Cambridge CB3 9BA