« AnteriorContinuar »
the transcription of manuscripts, the framing of annals, and teaching the schools.
It is reasonable, therefore, to believe that the same aptitude for writing and illuminating which characterised the Irish foundations of St. Columba was manifested in his Pictish monasteries, and that we ought to expect the production of copies of the Gospels in the one as well as in the other.
If it should be suggested that the Irish missionaries, to whom so many of the monasteries in Pictland owed their foundation, probably carried with them copies of the Gospels, and that the Book of Deer may have been one of them, it may be answered that the time for such importations had passed away, and that the intercourse between the churches, originally so close, had been greatly interrupted before the date ascribed to that book.
The comparative abundance of illuminated copies of the Gospels by Irish scribes still remaining, with the almost total want of any Scotch examples, may at first sight suggest the idea that the Book of Deer also should be ascribed to Irish hands. But the circumstances which in Scotland attended the ecclesiastical revolution of the sixteenth century, resulting in an entire breach with the past, led to such a ruthless destruction of the books in any wise associated with the ancient church, that not merely are we without specimens of the books of the early Celtic church of Alba (if we except the Book of Deer) ; but, even of all that enormous number of service-books used in the offices of the later church of St. Margaret and her sons, we have scarcely a trace beyond a stray volume saved by some happy and rare accident,1 so that the absence of these later books might with equal justice be adduced as an argument for disbelieving their native character, which, however, is beyond doubt.
1 As in the case of the missal and other of Arbuthnott, which were probably resservice-books of the church of St. Ternan cued from destruction by the lord of the manor, and now belong to his descendant, written in different ink, and by a different
I think, therefore, we may assume that the Book of Deer was the production of a native scribe, if not of a scribe of the monastery of Deer itself.
The careful facsimiles of the manuscript prepared by Mr. Gibb exhibit the stained and worn appearance of its pages, and prove that the volume has been much in use.
For two centuries it would appear that nothing was added to the original book, for the credo and colophon (fol. 85, PI. xviii.) seem to have been written at the same time as the Gospels.
The fragment of an office for the Visitation of the sick is in a considerably later hand, while the entries in the vernacular Gaelic of Alba, of grants to the monastery, appear to have been inserted at various times in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.1
In another chapter (" Celtic Polity ") I have suggested the historical circumstances which probably gave rise to written notices of grants at this period and not earlier; and it seems likely that similar causes may have led to those records of grants in the Irish language, of the same date, which appear in the Book of Kells.1
the Viscount Arbuthnott. We have many hand, from those going before, and it was
references in the accounts of the king's obviously engrossed before the last seven
treasurers, and elsewhere, to the breviaries words of the previous note were crowded
and missals written by the monks of Cul- in. The marginal entries on Plate vi.
ross and St. Andrews. appear to have been written at one time,
1 It would seem that the legend of except the last two lines, which, judging
the foundation of Deer, and the grants from the colour of the ink, have been
down to that of Gartnait Mac Can- added when the grant of Colbain the mor
nech (Plates iii. iv. and v.), were writ- maer on the following page was recorded
ten at one time. That of Gartnait is (Plate vii.)
The writing of the Gospels is all in one uniform hand. The illuminated figures of the Evangelists are designed with different degrees of elaboration—that of St. John being finished with most care. The ornamental borders are in some cases only partially. completed (Plates viii. xii. and xiii.)
Occasionally words omitted in the body of the page have been inserted on the margin in the same hand as the rest, the omission being indicated by a mark like that on the margin of Plate xx. (•/.) At times the concluding words of a sentence are written on the line above it, where room had been there left.
The ordinary ink is of a dark brownish colour, and tolerably uniform. In the Celtic grants a marked difference occurs in the colour of the two portions represented on Plates v. and vi.
The writing of the book extends across the page, and the fines are continuous, in which respect its appearance differs from the Gospels of Lindisfarne, where the lines are of unequal length.
The pages generally show marks of horizontal ruled lines, drawn by some sharp instrument, and the writing hangs from, instead of resting on these, a feature in which this manuscript agrees with the second part of the Book of Armagh. On this point Dr. Beeves remarks: "This was a peculiarity of Oriental writing, and was adopted by the Irish for convenience, inasmuch as the upper part of many of their letters (as p, 5, p, p, c,), coincided better with a horizontal line than the lower."1
1 The Book of Kells is one of the are of the eleventh and twelfth centuries,
earliest of the Irish Gospels, and is ascribed (The Miscellany of the Irish Arch. Soc.,
to the hand of St. Columha himself. The vol. i. p. 127.) charters of endowment of the House of Kells
The style of punctuation adopted is exactly reproduced in the printed sheets. Most of the initial letters of paragraphs are capitals, slightly daubed with paint of various colours. In printing, these are represented by ornamental types. Where no paint has been applied to these letters, they are represented by plain types.
The volume contains the first six chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel, and the seventh down to the twenty-second verse, of our common mode of division; the first four of St. Mark's, and the fifth to the middle of the thirty-fifth verse; the first three of St. Luke's, and the first verse of the fourth; with the whole of St. John's; and it obviously never contained more.
The first seventeen verses of St. Matthew's Gospel are treated as a prologue, followed by the inscription "Finit prologus • Item incipit nunc Euangelium secundum Mattheum" (p. 2).2
1 Adamnan's Life of St. Columba, Preface, p. xx. note.
* Mr. Westcott thus describes the Gospels of Deer in his valuable article on the Vulgate in Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible," voL iii. p. 1695:—"Very many old and peculiar readings, nearer Vulgate than a [Gospels in Cambr. Univ. Libr. K. k. 1. 24. Sax. viii. ?], but very carelessly written. No Ammonian Sections or Capitula."
This last statement requires a very slight qualification, inasmuch as a solitary exception occurs in the first chapter of St. John (p. 38), where by the letter u (v), there
inserted, is to be understood that here commences the fifth Ammonian Section which belongs to the third canon of Eusebius, thus indicating that the substance occurs in the three Evangelists—St . Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John.
This is the only reference of the kind which occurs in the volume, and it would seem that the letter had been inserted or copied by the scribe without any comprehension of its original meaning. Its occurrence (which was first pointed out to me by Mr. Bradshaw) is worthy of notice in judging of the source from which the Book of Deer mav have been derived.
(2.) The Vers1on Of The Gospels, Early Latin Versions—Version Of St. Jerome—" 1rish" Gospels—
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DEER CODEX—ITS COLLATION WITH THE VULGATE.
At a very early period in the history of the Christian Church various Latin versions of the Gospels were in use, one of which, as revised by ecclesiastical authority in Italy in the fourth century, was distinguished by the name of Itala. Other recensions were made for private use, in which changes were introduced to suit the taste or caprice of the scribe or critic; and from an intermixture of all these, such a corruption of the text took place as to call for an authoritative revision of the current Latin texts by the help of the original Greek.
This was accordingly accomplished by St. Jerome towards the end of the fourth century. His text, however, was not generally received in the Church for some time. In the fifth century it was adopted in Gaul by Eucherius of Lyons, Vincent of Lerins, Sedulius, and Claudianus Mamertus, but the old Latin was still retained in Africa and Britain. At the close of the sixth century, Gregory the Great, while commenting on St. Jerome's version, acknowledged that it was admitted equally with the old by the Apostolic See. But the old version was not authoritatively displaced, though the custom of the Roman Church prevailed also in the other churches of the West. In the seventh century the traces of the old version