Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 12 June |
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

The “Codex Amiatinus” is the earliest surviving manuscript of the complete Bible in the Latin Vulgate

CODEX,AMIATINUS

Remi Mathis | CC BY-SA 4.0

Daniel Esparza - published on 11/11/19

It is also considered to be the most accurate copy of St. Jerome’s original translation.

Although we do not know much about St. Ceolfrid, we know at least a few key things: we know for sure he was the Anglo-Saxon abbot of St. Paul’s Monastery in England, we know he was French, and we know that he was the warden of Bede the Venerable. Also, we know he commissioned three copies of the Bible somewhere in the late 7th century. One of these three copies is the invaluable Codex Amiatinus, the earliest surviving copy of St. Jerome’s 4th-century translation of both the Hebrew and the Greek Bibles (that is, both the Old and New Testaments) into Latin. This translation is what we know as the Vulgate.

The Codex Amiatinus is considered the most accurate copy of St. Jerome’s original translation. In fact, this is the copy that was was used in the revision of the Vulgate by Pope Sixtus V in the late 16th century. It is currently preserved in the Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, and is considered one of the most valuable Christian manuscripts in the West.




Read more:
This monk helped save ancient manuscripts from ISIS

What we know of Ceolfrid, in fact, we get from Bede’s own Ecclesiastical History of England. In it, he states the Benedictine monk Ceolfrid commissioned three large Bibles from the abbey’s scriptorium. Two of these copies were placed in each of the twin churches of the monastery (in Wearmouth and Jarrow), and the third of which was intended as a gift for the pope. These Bibles were copied from another codex, the Codex Grandior, which is now lost. But of the three texts, only the copy that later came to be known as the Codex Amiatinus survives.

CODEX,AMIATINUS
PD

The codex features two major illuminations, a portrait of the Old Testament prophet Ezra and a depiction of Christ in Majesty. Ezra is shown writing a manuscript on his lap, seated before an open book cupboard containing a Bible in nine volumes. The illumination is among the oldest images in the Western world to show a bookcase and the bindings of books.

Completed by seven different scribes, it was presented to Pope Gregory II by associates of Ceolfrid, who died on his way to Rome in 716.

The manuscript is so rich in Byzantine influences that for a long time it was considered to be Italo-Byzantine (as if it had been produced in Ravenna) rather than of English origin.

Tags:
ArtMedieval
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
3
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
4
BIEDNY CZŁOWIEK
Daniel Esparza
Were Jesus and Joseph really carpenters?
5
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Offer your heart to Jesus with this prayer
6
RAIN
Kathleen N. Hattrup
3 three-word prayers to turn your day around
7
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.