NEW! Handsome and Relatively Old French Folio Bible with Capitula
Early Thirteenth-Century Bible from France. Single folio on vellum. Northern France or just possibly England, ca. 1200: 323 mm x 230 mm (justification 223mm x 136 mm). Double column, 60 lines. Ruled in plummet below top line. Pricking still evident in inner margin. Decoration: Alternating red and blue initials in chapter numbers and running heads; alternating two- and one-line capitula initials (apparently). While the feature of “below top line” might suggest that this manuscript dates to post ca. 1240, the time when writing in France more or less switched over from “above top line,” the layout is extremely primitive. The chapter numbers “hanging” in the margins were added later, since the inks are quite different and the imprecise letter-formation is clearly casual. The manuscript has been updated. Text: From Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), 46.6 in saxis … 51, but the verses are largely effaced on the verso. The most curious aspect of this folio, which must be antecedent to the new Paris chapter numbering from ca. 1230, is the two-line initials that punctuate the text for no apparent reason, often separating sections with empty line-ends as well. These represent the old capitula divisions of Sirach, for which there are 127 capitula in 51 chapters. Furthermore, evidence of confusion in the chapter divisions can be found in the transition from chapter 46 to 47, where half of the first verse of 47 has been assigned to the end of 46. The chapter number situated between the two large initials offers a compromise on the beginning of the chapter. Condition: lifted from a binding, and with considerable losses on the verso, which is largely illegible. The recto is toned, stained, and overwritten with sixteenth-century (?) annotations, now mostly illegible even under UV light, that record its use as a flyleaf; slight cockling. Despite these defects, this leaf is highly desirable, since scriptural texts with formats antecedent to the standard chapters introduced by the University of Paris Masters are quite rare.