University Libraries Exhibits The King James Bible Virtual Exhibit The Medieval Bible Four leaves from the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (ca. 1220-25)

Four leaves from the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (ca. 1220-25)

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  • These four leaves all come from a single early-thirteenth century transitional Paris Bible that was sold at auction and broken up in 1981. Over the past thirty years, OSU has collected over 180 of the Bible's original 440 leaves. Transitional Paris Bibles are rare and important witnesses to the evolution of the Scriptures. Prior to this period, complete single-volume Bibles were extremely uncommon, but the rise of the universities in the late-twelfth and early-thirteenth centuries increased the demand for Bibles and necessitated the creation of a more compact format that would allow the entirety of Holy Scripture to appear between a single set of covers. In addition to its smaller size, the transitional Paris Bible introduced other innovations such as the reordering of the books of the Bible (reflected closely by today's traditional ordering of the canon); the inclusion of exegetical prologues before each book; revised chapter lists at the head of each biblical book; and the introduction of the Glossary of Hebrew names, a scholarly tool that explained the meanings of problematic Hebrew words.

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    Four leaves from the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (ca. 1220-25)


    Clockwise from top left: Opening of St. Jerome's Prologue to the Book of Genesis; beginning of 2 Peter; Exodus 20:4—22: 2; opening leaf of the "Interpretation of Hebrew Names."
    Paris, ca. 1220-25.




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    SPEC.RAR.MS.LAT.14, 2
    SPEC.RAR.MS.LAT.14, 395
    SPEC.RAR.MS.LAT.14, 23
    SPEC.RAR.MS.LAT.14, 404


    The Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

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    “Four leaves from the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (ca. 1220-25),” The Ohio State University Libraries Exhibits, accessed June 16, 2019,
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