Illuminated manuscript on vellum.
[Paris, c. 1250].
One of the first six books to enter the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Bible Collection in 1963, this thirteenth-century manuscript was also the earliest Bible in the collection. It is a fine example of the “Paris Vulgate” tradition, which was established in the late twelfth century when theologians at the University of Paris compiled a highly authoritative recension of St. Jerome’s Latin Bible. Whereas earlier Bibles almost invariably had appeared in multiple volumes, with the books in no canonical sequence, thirteenth-century Parisian scriptoria began producing single-volume manuscripts of the new Paris Vulgate in unprecedented quantities. Intended for individual rather than institutional use, these portable Bibles were often richly illuminated. In the exhibited manuscript, eighty illuminated initials containing biblical scenes introduce the various books of the Bible, including the exhibited image of the Six Days of Creation in the initial “I” beginning Genesis 1:1.