Book of Kells: History of world’s most famous medieval manuscript rewritten after dramatic new research

David Keys

Source: Independent

February 7, 2018


New research is rewriting the history of the world’s most famous early medieval manuscript – a lavishly illustrated 1,200-year-old copy of the Gospels known today as the Book of Kells.

It had always been assumed that the work – which includes 150 square feet of spectacular coloured illustrations – was conceived and created as one book, containing all four Gospels.

But a detailed analysis of the texts has led a leading expert on early medieval illuminated manuscripts, Dr Bernard Meehan of Trinity College, Dublin, to conclude that the book was originally two separate works that were, in the main, created up to half a century apart.

Dr Meehan's new hypothesis suggests that the last part of the Book of Kells(namely St John’s Gospel) and the first few pages of St Mark’s Gospel were created by a potentially quite elderly scribe on the Scottish island of Iona sometime during the last quarter of the eighth century.

...Read the rest at Independent.

David Keys


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