Manuscript Lectern Bible leaf, c.1300

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A large and magnificent leaf including passages from the Book of Exodus



Recto:  50 lines of Latin text written in two columns in a gothic bookhand on high quality vellum.  Ruled in red, some versal initials touched in yellow.  Two fine illuminated three-line initials in blue, black, salmon and white, detailed with burnished gold begin Chapters 23 and 24.  Chapter numbers and heading [EXO]DUS in blue and red.  A bar border of blue, black, salmon and white runs the length of each column of text.  Radiating into the margins are decorations of ivy leaves in blue and red finished with burnished gold.  The bar border of the right column terminates with a dragon’s head.  Scholars’ notes in  gothic bookhands in the right margin.


Verso: As Recto, with one illuminated initial, one chapter number, one bar border and an extremely delicate pen decoration touched with salmon in the centre space.


Source:  Paris, France


Date:   c. 1300-1325


Content:  The leaf is from the Old Testament Book of Exodus.  Accompanying notes contain selections of the content which includes Moses on Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments, the design of the Ark of the Covenant, the design of menora and “divers laws and ordinances” including warnings against usury and bribery.  


Condition:  This superb leaf is in very good/fine condition.  There is very minor age-related browning at the edges and a repaired tear on the binding edge of Recto which is masked off by the mat.  Verso has a slight stain in the left column of text, but not obscuring it in any way.  The vellum of this 700 year old leaf is in particularly fine condition.

 The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 405x270 mm. Text and illuminated area : approx.  345x215 mm.  Mat size: approx. 590x445 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame.  Certificate of Authenticity.


References:  Two very similar, but not as splendid, leaves can be seen at:


Item No:  MBI 011

Containing the Book of Exodus - all of Chapters 23 & 24 with sections of Chapters 22 & 25


Recto begins part way through Chapter 22: Verse 20 and ends at Chapter 24: Verse 3.

Verso continues Chapter 24 and ends at Chapter 25: Verse 31.


Some selections of the text:

Beginning with the last word in the first line of Recto (Ch 22:21) the text reads:


Advenam non contristabis neque adfliges eum advenae enim et ipso fuistis in terra egypti; viduae et pupillo non nocebitis. Si laeseritis eos vociferabuntur ad me et ego audiam clamorem eorum. 

Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.  Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear them.


22: 25: Si pecuniam mutuam dederis populo meo pauperi qui habitat tecum non urgues eum quasi exactor nec usuris opprimes.

If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.


23: 8: Nec accipias munera quae excaecant etiam prudentes et subvertunt verba justorum.

And thou shalt take no gift, for the gift blindeth the wise and perverteth the words of the righteous.


23: 9: Peregrino molestus non eris scitis enim advenarum animas quia et ipsi peregrini fuistis in terra egypti.

Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the heart of a stranger seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.


24: 12: Dixit autem dominus ad moysen ascende ad me in montem et esto ibi daboque tibi tabulas lapideas et legem ac mandata quae scripsi ut doceas eos.

And the Lord said unto Moses, come up to me into the mount and be there, and I will give thee tablets of stone and a law and commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them.


25:10-12: arcam de lignis setthim conpingite cuius longitudo habeat duos semis cubitos latitudo cubitum et dimidium altitudo cubitum similiter ac semissem. et deaurabis eam auro mundissimo intus et foris faciesque supra coronam auream per circuitum. et quattuor circulos aureos quos pones per quattuor arcae angulos duo circuli sint in latere uno et duo in altero.

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood, two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half breadth thereof and a cubit and a half high thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.  And thou shalt cast four golden rings for the ark, and put them in the four corners thereof, and two rings shall be in the one side of it and two rings in the other side of it. 


25: 16:  ponesque in arcam testificationem quam dabo tibi 

And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I will give thee.

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