Ms Typ 202


Bede the Venerable (673-735), Expositio in Lucam Abbey of Gladbach
(Germany, North Rhineland-Westphalia), 2nd quarter of the 12th century

The drawing on fol. 1r shows Bede presenting his work to Bishop Acca of Hexham (ca. 660-740/742). Revered as a saint after his death, during his lifetime, Acca assembled a large library, from which he lent books to Bede that the latter employed in composing his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. Several of Bede's commentaries on scripture, including that on Luke, are dedicated to Acca.   Bede's commentary on Luke enjoyed enormous prestige and served as the principal source for the Glossa ordinaria's commentary on the Evangelist.  This particular copy comes from the large library of the Benedictine abbey of Gladbach, founded in what is now the city of Mönchengladbach in the late ninth century by archbishop Gero of Cologne. The facing end leaf, is a fragment of an 11th-century bible bearing the book of Judith from the Vetus Latina. In addition to the opening figural drawing, the manuscript also contains seven large initials (one of which, on fol. 1v, can be seen showing through the opening folio from the other side). These intricate initials testify to the unity of text and image, writing and decoration, in many monastic books of the early and High Middle Ages.