Taking Off the Gloves & the Pacman Ghost

On another chilly morning I found myself in the library of the country house.  This time round the milder weather, a small heater and the running around of Joe (one of the family’s dogs) brought much comfort to the investigation.  But the frozen landscape still made for a scenic walk from Innerleithen.

In-depth investigation of the manuscript turned out most revealing (and a nice support to the project’s rationale of inferring from the manuscript evidence on medieval Scotland).

Following the arrival of the Bible to Culross, notes in several hands were made.  A fifteenth-century hand added the opening words of 1 Sam 25 (‘mortuus est autem Samuel’), which are lacking in the original.  This is a testimony to an active reading of the biblical text at Culross, and to the existence of an additional Bible in the Monastery.  Such a discovery is not a complete surprise, given the known activities at Culross.  However, the lack of any library record makes any discovery of importance.

Several corrections to chapter divisions likewise support this hypothesis.  As I’m growing quite anal about chapter divisions and their fluctuation (with thanks to Paul Saenger, the fons et origo of this obsession), it was good to see the attention given by medieval readers to these divisions, in an image of Exodus 16.  

A keen interest in the hymns and poetry of the Bible is also a mark of this Bible.  This

can be traced to the original scribe, as in the previous image, in which the Song of the Sea (Shirat haYam, Ex 15) was written  in alternating red and blue initials.  This layout is usually reserved for the Psalms, and only rarely applied to other biblical hymns.  The poetry of the Bible, and its role in the liturgy, continued to be a source of interest to subsequent readers of the this Bible.  One such reader added a list of the Gallican Canticles at the end of 2 Paralipomenon.  This list (I thank Laura Light for her assistance in its identification) employs an interesting reference system, one that makes use of book, chapter and page identification.

Lastly, a symbol which I like to call ‘The Pacman Ghost’ appears at the very end of 2 Paralipomenon.  It identifies the place of the apocryphal Prayer of Manasses

(oratio Manasses) which is supplied in full at the very last folio of the manuscripts.  Such feature appears at times in Late Medieval Bibles, as in Huntington Library, HM 51, fol. 376v.  But you must agree that the similarity between the manuscript and the computer game cannot be easily dismissed!


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