THE LINDISFARNE GOSPELS (Facsimile)
(Facsimile Edition of the 8th Century Original)
The Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John from the Vulgate Bible translation of the Greek text. The manuscript was produced on the island of Lindisfarne in Northumbria, England, in the late 7th century or early 8th century. The Gospels consists of 259 folios (518 pages) on calf parchment. It is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art, a style that combined Anglo-Saxon and Celtic themes, what is now called Hiberno-Saxon art.
The Lindisfarne Gospels is presumed to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721. Current scholarship indicates a date around 715, and it is believed they were produced in honor of St. Cuthbert. The Lindisfarne Gospels is richly illustrated in the insular script style, and were originally encased in fine leather binding covered with jewels and precious metals made by Billfrith, the Anchorite, in the 8th century. During the Viking raids on Lindisfarne starting in the 10th century, the cover was stolen.
Of special interest on the text is the interlinear translation into Anglo-Saxon (Old English) added word-for-word between A.D. 950 and 1000 between the lines of the Latin text by the monk, Aldred, Provost of Chester-le-Street. This is believed to be one of the most important sources for the early form of English spoken before the Norman Conquest in the 11th century.
The Lindisfarne Gospels was later moved to Durham Cathedral and stolen during the dissolution of the monasteries, ordered by Henry VIII, and was later acquired in the early 17th century by Sir Robert Cotton from Robert Bowyer, Clerk of the Parliaments. Cotton's library came to the British Museum in the 18th century. Later moved to the British Library in the early 19th century, the famous work is now on display to the public in the library.
This facsimile copy of the Gospels in the Boatwright Library was purchased in 1997 through gift monies from the Milberg Fund, the Friends of the Boatwright Memorial Library, and Library Special Acquisitions.