Bibles, Picture

[Picture Bibles] Manuscript books in which copious illustrations with short accompanying texts, or commentaries, made up an almost complete Bible. Among the earliest, the "Bible Moralisee" (in allusion to the moral lessons frequently interspersed), or "Bible Historiee," a work of the 13th century, is preserved in sections in the Bodleian Library (Oxford), the British Museum, and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. The whole consisted of 630 pages, illuminated on one side only, and comprising about 5000 illustrations. Each page contained two columns of four pictures each, alternating with two columns of appropriate text. Many offered a comparative study of Old and New Testament incidents. The numerous existing copies of such Bibles show how widely they were distributed in the ages before the invention of printing made reading a common accomplishment.

New Catholic Dictionary

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