Saturday, 24 December 2016

Two More Leaves from the "Hastière" Bible

As recently as October, I wrote about some leaves and cuttings from a Bible that I refer to as the "Hastière Bible", and noted that "more will doubtless surface". Les Enluminures have kindly contacted me to let me know that they have recently acquired two more leaves from the Bible.

One leaf opens in the usual prologue to I Samuel (which begins "Viginti et duas litteras", Stegmüller no.323) and continues to I Samuel 1:21 ("|| canone. Machabeorum primum ... Ascendit autem ||").

The other contains from Judith 15:11 ("|| in eternum. ...") to the end of Judith, followed by the first of the usual prologues to Esther: "Librum Hester ... non possunt" (Stegmüller, no.341).

The subjects of both historiated initials are unusual. That to the Esther prologue, shown at the top of this post, presumably illustrates its opening words ("Librum Hester variis translatoribus constat viciatum quem ego de archivis Hebreorum revelans verbum e verbo pressius transtuli") with an angel interceding between Esther (identified by her crown) and a Jew (identified by his pointed headgear and the yad, or Torah pointer, in his hand), with the text on a lectern between them.

The other initial apparently shows a Jewish priest at an altar, addressing a group of Jewish men and two women: they are perhaps the people named in the opening words: "Fuit vir unus de Ramathaimsophim, de monte Ephraim, et nomen eius Helcana, filius Hieroam, filii Heliu, filii Thau, filii Suph, Ephratheus, et habuit duas uxores nomen uni Anna et nomen secundae Fenenna". The priest is presumably Heli who, in verses 12-17, sees the barren Anna praying for a son, and tells her to "Go in peace".

I have now updated my list of known leaves and cuttings here.

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