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Oxford-Paris-Londres

Our four Bibles are the following:

1. Codex Vindobonensis 2554 (Vienna)
Only one of the Bibles moralisées listed above shows God working. It is Codex Vindobonensis 2554. The illumination we saw shows God in the process of creating the world. Each folio has a recto-verso arrangement. In other words, when opening the Bible, one sees the Old Testament (Ancien Testament) on one side and the New Testament (Nouveau Testament) on the other side. All represent the Book of Genesis.
God or Christ is represented on f 1v.
« Ici crie Dex ciel et terre, soleil et lune et toz elemenz ».
He God created heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, and all the elements.
It was made in France in approximately 1215 – 1230.
The text is in Old French, not Latin.
It contains 246 folios (bound)
Illuminations measure 34.4 x 26 cm (h & w) (haut & large)
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

Dieu, architecte de l’univers, f 1v 2554 (Vienna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (1)
Dieu, architecte de l’univers, f 1v (Vienna) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Codex Vindobonensis 1179
Codex Vindobonensis 1179 is also housed in Vienna. Scenes are represented on both sides of the book and represent the Old Testament, on one side, and the New Testament on the other side. Images represent the Book of Genesis.
God or Christ is represented on f 1v.
It was made in France in approximately 1225
It contains 130 folios (bound).
It is the smallest of our four Bibles.
Illuminations measure 43 x 29.5 (h & w) (haut & large)
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

The St. Louis Bible – The Pantocrator, God the Son, as the Creator of the universe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (3)

3. The Bible of St Louis or the Toledo/Pierpont Morgan Library de New York, M. 240.
Under the illumination depicting God, we La Bible de Saint Louis – Christ en tant que Créateur de l’Univers (The St. Louis Bible – The Pantocrator, God the Son, Creator of the universe).
Images represent Genesis.
God the Son is represented on f 1v.
It was made in France between 1220-1230 or 1240.
It contains 224+222+31+153 parchment folios bound in four volumes.
Illuminations measure 34,4 × 26 cm (h & w) (haut & large).
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

4. Bible moralisée Oxford-Paris-Londres  
Under the illuminated portrayal of God, one reads Christ en gloire. Le frontispice du volume d’Oxford.
It is a copy of the Toledo/Pierpoint Bible moralisée or the St Louis Bible.
It is classified as Bodl. 270b, Lat. 11580, Harley 1526-1527
It was made in France between 1230 and 1240
Illuminations measure 40 × 27,5 cm (h & w) or (haut & large)
The volumes belonged to John Thwayte in the 16th century and later to Sir Christopher Heydon (1561-1623). Sir Christopher Heydon gave the folios to the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Its French owner was Pierre Séguier, who bequeathed his illuminations it to his grandson Armand du Cambout. The folios were then housed in the abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Since the French Revolution, the French folios have been kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Oxford has folios from the Book of Genesis up to the Book of Job, which constitutes 1728 miniatures in medallions. The Bibliothèque nationale de France is home to 1776 miniatures, from the Book of Job and the Book of Malachi. The British Library houses 1408 folios from the Books of Maccabees and the New Testament.
It is listed in the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

Comments

The Bible of Toledo/Pierpoint is considered the superior Bible. However, unlike the Vienna Bibles, it shows God the son as Creator of the Universe. It, therefore, reflects the dogma of the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost. The Vienna Bibles show God, the architect. In this respect, Vienna Bible Ms 2554, God seems to be at work. This depiction of working is often shown. It may seem literal and naïve, but it is convincing. In Ms 1179, God’s face resembles the face portrayed in Ms 2554. F 1v of the Toledo and Oxford manuscript depict a Christ en gloire, a Majestic God Who nevertheless holds a compass and a world resembling the world of related depictions. It is clearly stated that Christ, as One in three Gods, has created the world.

BLANCHE DE CASTILLE

Blanche de Castille ordered Bibles 1779, 2554 for her husband, but Louis VIII the Lion, born on 5 September 1187, died on 8 November 1226. He reigned for less than four years. The Bible of St. Louis/ToledoMorgan were bought for Louis IX, France. The Oxford-Paris-British Library Bible was ordered for Marguerite de Provence, Louis IX’s wife.

RELATED ARTICLES

God the Architect (19 February 2021)
The Bible of Saint Louis, Toledo (22 February 2021)

Sources and Resources

Wikipedia, Britannica, Facsimiles of the Bibles

List of the Bibles Moralisées

  • Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis 1179 (1220-1226)
  • Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Codex Vindobonensis 2554 (1220-1230)
  • Oxford-Paris-London (ca. 1233)
    • Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ms. Bodley 270b
    • Paris, BnF, Ms. Latin 11560
    • London, British Library, Harley Ms. 1526-1527
  • Toledo-Morgan (ca. 1233)
    • Toledo, Cathedral of Toledo, Bible moralisée (Biblia de San Luis), 3 volumes
    • New York, Morgan Library and Museum, M. 240 (fragment)

(See Bible of St Louis, Wikipedia)

The Bible of St Louis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
27 February 2021
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