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The Practice of the Bible in the Middle Ages: Production, Reception, and Performance in Western Christianity

Edited by Susan Boynton and Diane J. Reilly

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Paper, 376 pages, 26 halftones, 9 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-14827-6
$29.50 / £20.50

July, 2011
Cloth, 376 pages, 26 halftones, 9 tables
ISBN: 978-0-231-14826-9
$89.50 / £62.00

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Chapter 11 The Bible and the Individual: The Thirteenth-Century Paris Bible

Laura Light

The transformation of the Bible in the thirteenth century was a European-wide phenomenon that in many respects represents the beginning of the Bible as we know it today. For the first time in the Middle Ages, thirteenth-century Bibles were, like modern Bibles, usually pandects, that is, books that contained the complete Old and New Testaments in one volume. Thirteenth-century Bibles, like modern Bibles, varied in size, but many were very small indeed. Finally, for the first time in the Middle Ages, in the thirteenth century Bibles were copied in significant numbers, making them much more widely available to individuals than they had been earlier. These developments are true of Bibles produced everywhere in Western Europe. The history of the Bible known as the Paris Bible, in contrast, is the story of one particular type of Bible, defined in terms of its text, that was very important in Paris and for the development of the modern Bible.

The number of thirteenth-century Bibles surviving from Paris that belong to the same general textual type—that are, in other words, examples of Paris Bibles—is remarkable. We will examine what this means, beginning with a description of the Paris Bible, and explore the questions of its origin and use in the thirteenth century. It is, however, also important to remember that the tendency to see the history of the thirteenth-century Bible exclusively through the lens of the Paris Bible distorts the history of the Latin Vulgate during these years; the histories of the Bible in England, Spain, Italy, and indeed in the rest of France, although they have received less attention, are important in their own right and are areas that deserve further research.

The importance of Paris both as a large and vibrant urban center and, more particularly, as a center for commercial book production forms the background of our discussion. Together these factors made the Paris Bible possible. The Capetian kings made Paris their capital, and as royal power grew, so did the city. During the reigns of Louis VII (1137–80), Philip Augustus (1180–1223), and Saint Louis (1226–70), building projects included the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the royal chapel (Sainte-Chapelle), and new walls encircling the city, all testifying to the city’s unique importance and wealth. Paris was known throughout Europe as a center of learning. In 1210 William the Breton proclaimed: “In that time the study of letters flourished in Paris. Never before at any time or in any part of the world, neither in Athens nor Egypt, had there been so many scholars. The reason for this is not only the special beauty of the city and its affluence but also the freedom and special privileges that King Philip and his father before him conferred upon the scholars.” The University of Paris attracted students and masters from everywhere in Europe; its faculty of theology was certainly preeminent.

All these factors—the presence of the monarchy and the members of the royal court, the wealth and security of the city, and the flourishing university—made Paris the home of the most important commercial book trade in Europe in the thirteenth century. This fact is crucial to the understanding of the history of the Paris Bible. The Paris Bible was a product of the commercial book trade, a book purchased by students and masters from the university (including many from the new mendicant orders), as well as by other members of the church, the monarchy, and the court, and by many others who did business in Paris.

The designation Paris Bible is directly based on the observation that numerous Bibles copied in Paris in the thirteenth century share certain common features. It is, in other words, a description of a common type of Bible. Some knowledge of the methodology used by historians of the medieval Vulgate is a necessary preliminary to our discussion of the thirteenth-century Bible. Scholars begin by asking which books of the canon are included and in what order they are arranged. In contrast to today’s Bible, medieval Bibles were arranged according to many different orders. Samuel Berger, the great nineteenth-century historian of the medieval Bible, recorded 212 orders in an appendix to his Histoire de la Vulgate pendant les premiers siècles du moyen âge.

Next, historians of the Bible examine the prologues. In medieval Bibles the majority of the biblical books were preceded by nonbiblical prologues. Some of these prologues were by the translator of the Vulgate, St. Jerome, or circulated in the Middle Ages attributed to him. Other prologues were even older; some were more recent. Their content also varied, ranging from Jerome’s discussions of his translations to introductions to the actual content of the biblical book. The reference tool used to identify prologues is Stegmüller’s Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, which provides the opening and closing words of approximately 560 prologues, each identified by a number. Stegmüller’s Repertorium was designed to bring together information from many sources. It was not intended to be the final word on the topic or to contribute new research. There are prologues that were not included in the Repertorium, and the notes on the authors and editions of prologues, are not, and were not intended to be, authoritative. The study of biblical prologues requires careful attention to details. Many begin with identical or very similar phrases, and since it is sometimes impossible to identify prologues only from their opening words, it is good scholarly practice to record both the beginnings and endings of prologues.

It is also important to examine how the text of the Bible is divided into chapters. Many different systems of chapters were used in manuscripts of the Bible during the Middle Ages. Most manuscripts dating before c. 1230 also included lists at the beginning of each biblical book, known as capitula lists, that summarized the contents of the book, chapter by chapter, and provided the reader with a summary of the text. These lists originally corresponded to the actual chapter divisions found in the accompanying biblical book. Later in the Middle Ages, however, because of the complexities of transmission, even this basic agreement cannot be taken for granted, and manuscripts can include capitula lists that are unrelated to the actual divisions found in the biblical text.

The order of the books, the prologues, the chapter lists, and the chapter divisions throughout the Bible are the essential extrabiblical elements studied by historians of the medieval Bible. They provide a window into what the users and makers of any given Bible considered to be important and can also point to the origin of the Bible. Textual families—that is Bibles descending from a common exemplar or exemplars—tend to share the same order, choice of prologues, and chapters. This evidence, however, has to be weighed carefully. Scribes sometimes introduced changes into the manuscripts they were copying. Exact, uniform copies are relatively rare in the world of the manuscript Bible, and small differences do not mean two Bibles are not related. Conversely, manuscripts with similar (or even identical) orders, prologues, and chapters do not always have a real textual affinity. All these external textual features could—and did—circulate independently of the actual biblical text. Moreover, before the thirteenth century, pandects were relatively rare. Most Bibles were multivolume, and the circulation of single books such as the Psalms, or groups of related books, such as the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, or the Prophets, was numerically more important during most of the Middle Ages than the circulation of the complete Bible (whether in one or many volumes). Consequently, many Bibles have different parent manuscripts for different biblical books and for different parts of the accompanying extrabiblical apparatus.

Studying the actual text of the Bible presents challenges. We are, however, fortunate to have good critical editions to guide our work. In a manuscript culture, any written text is likely to change slightly in successive copies. These textual alterations can be caused by many factors: scribes made simple copying mistakes and misread their exemplars or inadvertently skipped words or lines of the text. The influence of the scribe’s memory also played a part. When copying a text that you know well, it is easy to copy what you think is correct rather than copying your exemplar word for word. Much of the Bible was known to medieval scribes through the liturgy, which sometimes included versions of the Bible predating Jerome’s Vulgate translation. All these errors inadvertently introduced changes into the text. Scholars throughout the Middle Ages also corrected the text with varying outcomes. Critical editions record the differences in the surviving manuscripts. By comparing these differences, it is possible to reconstruct the original text. Critical editions of the Latin Vulgate include the Oxford edition of the New Testament, which was begun in 1898, and the critical edition of the Old Testament prepared by the Benedictine monks of the monastery of St. Jerome in Rome; the first volume appeared in 1926 and the last in 1994. The formidable research into the text of the versions predating Jerome by the Vetus Latina Institute at Beuron has resulted in a number of superb editions; their research (still in progress) often touches on the history of the Vulgate. The Bible is a long text. Collating—that is, comparing the readings of the text, word by word with the critical edition of the Bible, and/or other manuscripts—is time-consuming indeed and impossible from a practical point of view. A common solution is to focus either on short passages in a small number of biblical books or on selected “test” readings, known to be textually interesting, from a wider range of different books. These solutions allow us a certain degree of insight into the biblical text but are not perfect.

Since the late nineteenth century, historians of the Bible have recognized that many of the Bibles copied in Paris during the thirteenth century share certain common characteristics. These characteristics allow us to identify Bibles that we can call examples of the Paris Bible. The order of the books in Paris Bibles is almost identical with that of the modern Bible, with the exception that the Pauline Epistles follow immediately after the Gospels and before Acts: Octateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth), 1–4 Kings, 1–2 Chronicles (followed by the Prayer of Manasses, Stegmüller 93.2), Ezra, Nehemiah, 2 Ezra (= 3 Ezra), Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms, the Sapiential books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus), the Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets), 1–2 Maccabees, the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, Acts, the Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse.

This order, which was new to the history of the Latin Vulgate (Bibles copied before the thirteenth century were not arranged in this way), groups all of the historical books at the beginning of the Old Testament, thus emphasizing the literal sense of the text and the importance of biblical history. The only exception are the two books of Maccabees, which recount events closest in time to the New Testament and are placed at the end of the Old Testament. It was an order that was well suited to the way the Bible was studied in the schools starting in the second half of the twelfth century. The popularity of the Historia Scholastica by Petrus Comestor (died c. 1178), for example, a convenient retelling of biblical history, similarly testifies to the importance placed on studying the literal and historical sense of the biblical text (on the interpretation of the Bible, see the chapters by Harris and van Liere in this volume).

Paris Bibles also include a set of sixty-four prologues. These prologues are important because they circulated together as a set found in numerous Bibles with little variation. It is the number of Bibles with these same prologues (more than the actual prologues included, most of which are found in earlier manuscripts) that sets them apart, both from earlier medieval Bibles and from Bibles copied elsewhere in Europe during the thirteenth century. This set does include, however, six prologues of special interest that are not found in manuscripts of the unglossed Vulgate before the thirteenth century: the prologue to Ecclesiastes, “Memini Me” (Stegmüller 462) from Jerome’s commentary on Ecclesiastes; the prologue to Amos by an unknown author, “Hic Amos” (Stegmüller 513); two prologues to Maccabees by Rabanus Maurus, “Cum sim promptus,” and “Memini me” (Stegmüller 547 and 553); the prologue to Matthew, “Matheus cum primo” (Stegmüller 589), which is a revision of the longer prologue by Jerome to his commentary on the Gospels; and the prologue to the Apocalypse, “Omnes qui pie” (Stegmüller 839). The origin of these prologues has never been investigated thoroughly, but there is a link between them and the prologues in the Glossa ordinaria. The Glossed Bible was created by twelfth-century schoolmen who gathered together the most important commentaries on the various books of the Bible and arranged them alongside the text of the Bible.Glossed Bibles typically include many more prologues before each biblical book than does the Paris Bible, but the new prologues to Ecclesiastes, Amos, and Matthew circulated first in twelfth-century Glossed Bibles.

The Paris Bible is also associated with the use of chapters that differ only slightly from the chapters still used today. Traditionally, Stephen Langton, who taught in the Paris schools from c. 1180 until 1206 when he left to become archbishop of Canterbury, has been considered the author of the new chapters; new research calls this attribution into question, however. Chapter divisions themselves were not new, and many different systems of chapters circulated in earlier manuscripts. Earlier chapters, however, were used primarily to aid in reading and analyzing the biblical text. The practice of identifying biblical citations by book and chapter, which continues to be the primary use of biblical chapters today, dates only from the middle of the twelfth century. These first references were to one of the older systems of chapters. Early in the thirteenth century, references to modern chapters and to older chapters are found in the writings of Paris theologians. From around 1225, references to modern chapters are common. As the practice of using chapters as the means of identifying citations (and conversely, of finding citations) became more widespread, it was inevitable that one system replaced the many in circulation. The modern chapters are found as early as the opening decades of the thirteenth century in some Parisian Bibles that also include older chapter divisions. In Bibles copied after c. 1230, modern chapters are typically the only chapters used.

The final extrabiblical element associated with the Paris Bible is the text known as the Interpretation of Hebrew Names, usually found at the end of the Bible after the Apocalypse. The widespread circulation of this text, not only in examples of the Paris Bible but also in Bibles produced throughout Europe after c. 1230, may seem odd from a modern perspective. It consists of interpretations of thousands of transliterated names found in the Bible—that is, the literal meaning of the name in Hebrew or its allegorical significance—and provided users of the Bible with a handy key to unfamiliar names to be used in biblical commentaries and sermons. The version beginning, “Aaz aprehendens vel apprehensio” (“Aaz [who is mentioned in Nehemiah] means taking hold, or seizing upon”) is traditionally attributed to Stephen Langton and is based on a work by St. Jerome, though considerably expanded and reorganized in complete alphabetical order. With only a few exceptions, the Interpretation of Hebrew Names is found in Bibles only after c. 1230; earlier versions are found in nonbiblical manuscripts.

It is more difficult to study the actual text of the Bible, and most research on the text of the Paris Bible has been based on a comparison of a small number of selected passages in many manuscripts or, alternatively, by studying longer passages in only a few Bibles. Real progress in our understanding of this aspect of the Paris Bible, and indeed, of the text of the late medieval Vulgate as a whole, depends on future scholars who are willing to study carefully the text of many Bibles through actual collations of representative sections of the biblical text. Nonetheless, one can cautiously observe that Bibles with the extrabiblical characteristics associated with the Paris Bible often, although by no means always, circulated with an identifiable text that was descended in part from three important earlier biblical recensions: the ninth-century Alcuinian and Theodulfian Bibles, and the Italian recension, which circulated in Italy in the tenth and eleventh centuries. (On the early text recensions, see van Liere’s chapter in this volume.) Twentieth-century scholars, including Niels Haastrup and Rainer Berndt, have demonstrated that the text found in examples of the Paris Bible was not a new text created in the thirteenth century but simply the textual type current in the schools, which had also circulated in many twelfth-century Glossed Bibles and commentaries.

In the critical edition of the Old Testament Vulgate, three manuscripts were chosen as examples to represent this text, which the prominent member of the commission, and the editor in chief of the Pentateuch,, Henri Quentin, called the “University Bible”: Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine MS 5, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France MSS Lat. 16719–22, and BNF MS Lat. 15467. These Bibles were chosen by the Benedictine editors for reasons that can almost be considered random: the Mazarine manuscript was likely chosen because it includes a note that allows us to date it before 1231; Lat. 16719–22 is an important corrected Bible from the Dominican Convent of St. Jacques in Paris, and the third Bible, Lat. 15467, is also dated, 1270. They are examples of a textual type and should not be regarded as the source of the Paris text or as more important than many of the other hundreds of manuscripts that could have been chosen. Nonetheless, they teach us valuable lessons about the circulation of the Paris text and illustrate the fact that it was not confined only to Paris; the earliest of the three manuscripts, Mazarine 5, is English. Moreover, they also show that the Paris text circulated in Bibles without the extrabiblical elements of the Paris Bible (Mazarine 5 is arranged in a different order and includes other prologues; the Dominican Bible, Lat. 16719–22, also does not include the exact set of Paris prologues). Lastly, although all three of these Bibles can be grouped together in the same general textual family, their texts do differ. Too little attention has been paid to the introductions to the later volumes of the Benedictine Vulgate, which include a careful reassessment of the text of these three Bibles. The editors concluded that the text of Lat. 15467 most accurately reflected the common Paris text; the text of Mazarine 5 was possibly closer to the text of twelfth-century Glossed Bibles, and the text and the marginal notes in Lat. 16719–22 were both the product of Dominican efforts to correct the Bible.

The evolution of the Paris Bible was a two-stage process. The first Bibles with most of its characteristics were produced in Paris c. 1200. These new one-volume Bibles, the proto-Paris Bibles, were among the most important products of the commercial booksellers, scribes, and illuminators who were establishing themselves in the city. They are arranged according to the new order of the biblical books and include a related set of prologues (not identical to the Paris set of sixty-four, but notably including the six new prologues). An examination of selected test passages indicates their text is the text that circulated in copies of the mature Paris Bible. They do not include the Interpretation of Hebrew Names.

The chapters used in this group distinguish them from the mature Paris Bible. In common with earlier manuscripts of the Vulgate, their text is divided according to older chapters, and they include capitula lists at the beginning of the biblical book. Indeed (and this is rare in the history of the Vulgate), they include the same set of capitula lists from Genesis to the Apocalypse, with little variation. This set was new, created for the proto-Paris Bible from new capitula lists, revisions of older lists, and unrevised older lists. I know of no Bibles from this period that are divided only according to modern chapters, but some include both older chapter divisions and modern chapters. This is a feature found not only in some proto-Paris Bibles but also in Bibles that are textually unrelated to the mature Paris Bible.

Proto-Paris Bibles were the product of a significant revision of the Vulgate, including the creation of a new order of the biblical books, a new set of prologues, and a new series of capitula lists. Their biblical text, like the text in the mature Paris Bible, was not new, but one current in the schools and found in manuscripts of the Glossed Bible. We do not know the exact circumstances surrounding the creation of this Bible, but it was a success. The overall number of Bibles copied in Paris in the opening decades of the thirteenth century is significant, although certainly smaller than the remarkable number of Bibles copied after c. 1230. I have studied twenty-seven Bibles from this period; fourteen are examples of the proto-Paris Bible, and another five are closely related; the remaining eight are unrelated. These eight Bibles, although outside our present focus, are evidence of the innovation and experimentation that characterize this period.

The transition to Bibles that are examples of the mature Paris Bible can be found as early as the end of the 1220s and the early 1230s. They were the result of only minor changes to the proto-Paris Bibles: slight changes in the set of prologues, the addition of the Interpretation of Hebrew Names at the end of the Bible, and, most importantly, the exclusive use of modern chapter divisions. Three Bibles from these years, a Bible sold at Sotheby’s, Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal MS 70, and Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery MS 60, are among the earliest examples of Parisian Bibles divided only according to modern chapters; the capitula lists and older chapter divisions of proto-Paris Bibles are absent. The earliest dated example (although not the earliest surviving example) of a Bible with all the features of the mature Paris Bible is Dôle, Bibliothèque municipale MS 15; we know this Bible was copied in 1234 because it was signed and dated by its scribe, Thomas.

There is a remarkable increase in the number of Bibles copied in Paris after ca. 1230. We lack a definitive survey of all these Bibles, but the number included in Robert Branner’s study of thirteenth-century illumination in Paris gives an idea of the volume of production. Branner identified seventeen complete one-volume Bibles that he dated c. 1200–30; he found over one hundred that he dated approximately between 1230 and the middle of the century, and around sixty that he dated from the 1230s and later. These represent only a fraction of the Bibles copied in Paris in the thirteenth century. There are illuminated Bibles that were unknown to Branner, and, more importantly, Branner was interested only in Bibles with painted initials.

Since the nineteenth century, scholars have noted the relative uniformity observable in Bibles copied in Paris after c. 1230. The number of Bibles that include the features we have associated with the Paris Bible is an important development that is unprecedented in the earlier history of the medieval Vulgate. Equally important, however, is the fact that the texts of many Bibles copied in Paris show significant variations. This is demonstrated in the sample of sixty-nine Parisian Bibles studied here. All the Bibles studied include the new order of the biblical books—with only one exception (and one Bible that includes Ezra 4–6)—and all include the modern chapters. The Interpretation of Hebrew Names is found in all but ten of the Bibles. Interestingly, this text circulated independently of the Paris prologues and the characteristic text; there are “typical” Paris Bibles without the Interpretations, and unrelated Bibles that include them. Thirty-three Bibles are typical examples of Paris Bibles and include the new order, the set of prologues, modern chapters, and the characteristic readings. An additional eighteen Bibles are closely related and differ only in the prologues included (although they all include the six “new” prologues). Seven Bibles were copied from exemplars differing from the Paris Bible in important respects; all but one includes the new order, but they do not include the Paris prologues, nor the textual variants characteristic of the Paris text. The remaining eleven Bibles are difficult to characterize simply, but in general are mixed, with some features of the Paris Bible and others that are unrelated. Five of these Bibles include the Paris prologues but lack some of the characteristic readings, serving as important reminders that extrabiblical characteristics are not always a reliable guide to the biblical text.

The pattern of circulation seen in the texts of these Bibles is key to understanding the Paris Bible. Roger Bacon, the thirteenth-century Franciscan scientist and social critic, refers to the Paris Bible as the “Bible in common use, that is, of Paris” (“exemplar vulgatum, hoc est parisiensis”). Moreover, he links the origin of this Bible with the commercial booksellers (booksellers he describes scathingly as illiterati et uxorati, “illiterate and married”) and complains that they were completely unconcerned with the quality of the text. The Paris Bible was not a Bible established to bring uniformity to the Bibles used in the Paris classroom, and it was certainly not an “official” Bible in any sense of the term. It was simply the most common Bible copied in Paris and a significant commercial success. The pattern of textual uniformity, together with an important degree of textual diversity, can be explained most easily if we remember the sheer quantity of Bibles copied in Paris after c. 1230. Every Bible had to be copied from a preexisting copy; in the context of such rapid production, a relative degree of uniformity was inevitable, but it was never a requirement. Although this scenario is only hypothetical, we can perhaps imagine that someone—a master from the theology faculty, a student, or a former student, possibly a Franciscan or Dominican—commissioned a Bible from a Paris bookseller and specified that it include the features we associate with the Paris Bible. This Bible, whose text and other features answered the needs of scholars, preachers, and collectors, proved to be much in demand, and in the context of a flourishing commercial booktrade it was inevitable that numerous similar Bibles would be produced.

The Paris Bible was thus a product of the commercial booktrade. It is also true that thirteenth-century theologians were interested in the text of the Bible, and aware that the text in various manuscripts differed. The Franciscans and Dominicans were especially active in this respect and produced a number of biblical correctoria, manuals listing variant readings from Latin Bibles as well as comparing these readings with the biblical text as it is transmitted in patristic writings as well as in Hebrew and Greek Bibles. The correctoria are important, but they were most likely used primarily as exegetical tools by commentators and preachers. They were collections of useful variants rather than guides for producing new, corrected Bibles.

The Paris Bible is a descriptive term denoting a certain textual type; copies vary widely in terms of size and other details of their physical presentation. The Bible copied in 1234 mentioned earlier (Dôle 15), for example, is an example of the remarkable thirteenth-century invention, the “pocket Bible.” It is a small, compact volume, copied on extremely thin, almost translucent parchment, and measures only 158 x 105 (written space, 110 x 70) mm. Many other Bibles copied in Paris in the thirteenth century were larger, and the sample of Bibles studied here suggests no one format was dominant. These Bibles also differ in the amount of decoration they contain, varying from very expensive volumes with exquisite historiated initials to much humbler manuscripts with simple pen initials marking the beginning of the biblical books.

The Paris Bible, as well as other textually related Bibles copied in Paris (and indeed, throughout Europe in the thirteenth century), was embraced and used by many segments of society. Paris Bibles were owned by the very wealthy members of the court and church hierarchy and were treasured for their beauty and the holiness of their text. Paris Bibles were also used by the masters and students of the Paris schools and by the mendicant friars, the Franciscans and Dominicans, who needed Bibles they could bring with them on their travels.

The use of the Paris Bible by students and masters in the theology faculty needs to be treated carefully. The Bible used in the classroom throughout the thirteenth century was almost certainly the Glossed Bible. Classroom lectures and commentaries on the Scriptures started with the Bible and its accompanying commentary and added another layer of interpretation on top of that base. Nonetheless, we need to remember that the same students and masters who studied the Bible and its accompanying gloss were also using the Bible in preaching and disputations (it also seems probable that students who could not afford to own a multivolume set of the complete Bible with the gloss did own one-volume unglossed Bibles). The one-volume Bible was searchable; it was, in other words, not only a book to read and to meditate upon but also (and perhaps more importantly) a book to use to find the passage needed for a sermon or commentary. The thirteenth century is known for new tools such as the biblical concordance, other indexes to the Bible, and alphabetical distinction collections (guides to the figurative meanings of biblical words) that reflect the new pastoral mission of the Church and the promotion of preaching as a means of meeting the challenge of heresy. The one-volume Bible was the most important of all these tools and, as such, was used not only by the mendicant friars, but also by the church as a whole, including the secular masters and students of theology (on preaching from the Bible see Poleg’s chapter in this volume).

The Paris Bible never became the only biblical text copied in Paris, and it was certainly not the only Bible copied elsewhere in Europe; indeed, although the modern chapters and the Interpretation of Hebrew Names and, to some extent, the new order of the biblical books, are found in Bibles copied throughout Europe, the influence of the new set of prologues and the characteristic text was much less. The Paris Bible was a text, however, that was destined to have an enduring place in the history of the Vulgate. The text printed by Johann Gutenberg (c. 1400–68) in the Gutenberg Bible (printed in Mainz around 1453–55), which was not only the first printed Bible but the first book printed with movable type, is a direct descendant of the Paris Bibles of the thirteenth century. Moreover, the text of the Clementine Bible of 1592, which remained the official text of the Roman Catholic Church until 1979, is also essentially an example of a Paris Bible.


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About the Author

Susan Boynton is associate professor of historical musicology at Columbia University and author of Shaping a Monastic Identity: Liturgy and the History at the Imperial Abbey of Farfa, 1000-1125.

Diane J. Reilly is associate professor of art history at Indiana University, Bloomington, and author of The Art of Reform in Eleventh-Century Flanders: Gerard of Cambrai, Richard of Saint-Vanne, and the Saint Vaast Bible.

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