Bible of Saint Vincent Ferrer

ms. 304 - Archivo de la Catedral (Valencia, Spain)

Alternate Titles:

La Biblia de San Vicente Ferrer, Bibel des Heiligen Bonifacius Ferrer

Facsimile edition
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Codiology

Alternate Titles

La Biblia de San Vicente Ferrer
Bibel des Heiligen Bonifacius Ferrer

Type
Extent / Format

994 pages / 19.0 x 14.0 cm

Origin
Date
Around 1275
Style
Genre
Language
Former owners

Saint Vincent Ferrer (1350 – 1419)

Short description

The bible that Saint Vincent Ferrer always bore with him during his numerous preaching tours. The template for the first translation of the Bible into a Romance language (through Bonifatius Ferrer, the brother of the saint). Plus, a true relic! The Bible of Saint Vincent Ferrer, housed today in the Valencia Cathedral, is all of this. The precious manuscript from the 13th century accompanied Saint Vincent Ferrer, an influential preacher from Valencia and counselor to numerous kings and popes during the time of the Great Western Schism, while on countless journeys and served him as a resource for is missions and sermons. Notes from the saint’s own hand in the margins attest to this use. This historically significant and valuable specimen of a Gothic bible is adorned with splendid initials and miniatures.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Bible of Saint Vincent Ferrer

The bible that Saint Vincent Ferrer always bore with him during his numerous preaching tours. The template for the first translation of the Bible into a Romance language (through Bonifatius Ferrer, the brother of the saint). Plus, a true relic! The Bible of Saint Vincent Ferrer, housed today in the Valencia Cathedral, is all of this. The precious manuscript from the 13th century accompanied Saint Vincent Ferrer, an influential preacher from Valencia and counselor to numerous kings and popes during the time of the Great Western Schism, while on countless journeys and served him as a resource for is missions and sermons. Notes from the saint’s own hand in the margins attest to this use. This historically significant and valuable specimen of a Gothic bible is adorned with splendid initials and miniatures.

The Valencian Saint

Saint Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419) was a Dominican from Valencia, who was active as a preacher across all of southern Europe. He maintained a close connection with the anti-popes in Avignon and was, among others, a confessor of (Anti-) Pope Benedict XIII. He was eventually called to be an itinerant preacher by a vision and was active as such in Spain, Southern France, and Upper Italy. Vincent Ferrer later reappeared in Spain, where he wielded great political influence as preacher and particularly as confessor to the kings of Aragon. Thus Vincent was **significantly involved in the historical events surrounding the Council of Constance and the cessation of the Great Western Schism. As the composer of theological writings and a charismatic preacher, he prophesied the imminent end of the world. Vincent Ferrer, around whom numerous legends twined, was already sainted in 1455.

The Personal Bible of the Saint

Since at least the 16th century, there has been a precious bible stored in the archives of the Valencia Cathedral whose history is closely tied with Vincent Ferrer. The 994 page strong manuscript is a 13th century work, probably originating from Paris ca. 1275. It served the Spanish itinerant priest and influential counsellor of the Kings of Aragon and several Popes as private reading and an example for his sermons. The manuscript contains interesting and historically valuable marginal notes from the hand of the saint himself. The bible has the character of a relic, it was surely the precious manuscript that the saint bore with him during his preaching tours.

Book Adornment Shining Like Gold

The text of the bible is recorded in gorgeous, uniform Gothic script and is adorned by large initials and precious miniatures. The initials, which stretch across the whole page and simultaneously frame the text, are composed of artful blue arabesques on shimmering gold leaf. Small animals and mythical creatures enliven these ornamental elements. Such animals, e.g. dogs hunting rabbits, are sometimes found again as marginal decorations next to or below the text. Additionally, two miniature pages adorn the small precious manuscript.

Historical Significance

Furthermore, the Bible of Saint Vincent Ferrer with its Latin text was the template for a groundbreaking development, the famous Spanish Bible translation of his brother. Bonifatius Ferrer (1335-1417), the older brother of the saint, completed a Spanish translation of the Holy Scriptures called the Biblia Valencia. This was the first translation of the Vulgate into a Romance language. Consequently, the Bible of Saint Vincent Ferrer not only represents a historically significant artifact, but can also be appreciated as a true relic of the saint from Valencia.

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