The ‘Italian’ Biblia Parisiensis

  • S. XIII2; parchment; mm 230 × 160; ff. I + 467 + I’
  • San Daniele del Friuli, Biblioteca Civica Guarneriana, 248

The ‘Guarneriana’ codex is quite a precocious and very correct witness of the success had in the Italian area by the bible model named Parisiensis after the University where it had its origin.

This little-format and painstaking codex is a good evidence of the fact that the historiographers’ category of Biblia Parisiensis does not merely frame manufactured products of the north-western France, but it rather defines a material and textual Bible paradigm employed on a larger scale. In fact, the biblical text scheme is herein now contrived according to the standard tuned in the Paris of the first university ferment: therefore a Bible complete of all its books, with a new and sharpened corpus of prefaces to each of them, an organic and shared system for the verse numeration, a glossary of Jewish names «Aaz apprehendens» at the close of the New Testament. If the text is the updated model of the scientific Bible that since the Thirties of the thirteenth century, after taking its first steps from the Île de France, had become all around nearly the only possible one, the body of the ‘Guarneriana’ codex, its material facies is, however, of a neat Italian production. Albeit lavishly widespread throughout the codex in brush-painted initials of a certain value, the decoration still remains rather sober; the only exceeding exceptions are a long vertical background drawing on f. 4vb that houses six tiles for the six days of the creation, closed at the bottom by a crucifixion scene, and, on f. 376vb, the initial of the gospel according to John inhabited by an eagle, the Evangelist’s symbol. These miniatures of a recognizable Bologna matrix are, as usual, the most consistent evidencing means for the location of this codex in Bologna, the other great European university capital, together with Paris. The codex came to the ‘Guarneriana’ collection through monsignor Giusto Fontanini; that is certified by the owner’s notice on f. 1r, dated to 1730, which states the codex belonging: «Iusti Fontanini archiepiscopi Ancyrani».

f. 2r, initial of the dedicatory epistle

f. 2r, initial of the dedicatory epistle

ff. 4v-5r, explicit of Jerome’s dedicatory epistle to Padinus, and initial of the Genesis

ff. 4v-5r, explicit of Jerome’s dedicatory epistle to Padinus, and initial of the Genesis

Leave a Comment