002: The Making of the Bibles Moralisées: Volume II: The Book of Ruth (Making of the Bible Moralisees)

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9780271019192: 002: The Making of the Bibles Moralisées: Volume II: The Book of Ruth (Making of the Bible Moralisees)
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AWARD WINNER - 2002 OTTO GRUNDLER PRIZE for the best book in Medieval Studies, sponsored by The Medieval Institute

The Bibles Moralisées are by far the richest and most complex attempt at biblical illustration ever undertaken. Seven of them survive today, made primarily for the kings and queens of France between the early thirteenth and late fifteenth centuries. John Lowden's pioneering two-volume study brings new material to light and offers a wholly new approach to understanding the Bibles, which contain literally thousands of figures.

Volume I, based on exhaustive codicological analysis, considers the making and the later history of use of each of the manuscripts. Volume II investigates in detail the treatment of one portion of the Bible, the Book of Ruth, in all the manuscripts. Discussion is supported by many new photographs in color and black and white. Together the two volumes challenge conventional wisdom about both the Bibles Moralisées and the relationship of word and image in medieval culture.

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About the Author:

John Lowden is Reader in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He is the author of Illuminated Prophet Books: A Study of Byzantine Manuscripts of the Major and Minor Prophets (1988) and The Octateuchs: A Study in Byzantine Manuscript Illustration (1992), both from Penn State Press.

Review:

“(T)he indispensable foundation on which all future scholarship on these manuscripts will depend.”

—Joan A. Holladay, The Medieval Review (TMR)



“John Lowden’s ambitious new study of the most opulent and complex manuscripts produced during the High Middle Ages is a brilliant, groundbreaking work. For the reader who has been engaged in anyway with moralized Bibles, a careful reading of this detailed and densely argued text will be rewarded with an array of major revisions touching almost every aspect of the existing scholarship.”

—Suzanne Lewis, CAA Reviews



“John Lowden’s impressive powers of analysis and interpretation have been fully engaged with remarkably fruitful results in this important study. His research sheds important new light on virtually every major aspect of each codex individually and on the Bibles Moralisées as a genre of medieval manuscript illumination overall. This brilliant scholarly work will become the benchmark by which all subsequent studies on the Moralized Bibles will be measured.”

—Jaroslav Folda, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill



“This admirable work makes a major contribution to history—of art, of biblical exegesis and of many aspects of mediaeval religion and society.”

—R.P.R. Murray, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament



“This is a masterly study, bringing codicological analysis of the extant books into place with art history and theology. The information is diverse and complicated and Dr. Lowden has been allowed the luxury of two volumes and many plates to tell his story. He writes extraordinarily well, with a compelling sense of discovery and logical progression from chapter to chapter.”

—Christopher De Hamel, Apollo



“These two handsome and extensively illustrated volumes offer a pioneering general study of the seven known bibles moralisees, today divided into thirteen individual manuscripts and spread among libraries in six different cities. . . . This is an extremely interesting and readable study, telling a story fascinating to both historians and bibliographers.”

—Janet Backhouse, Ecclesiastical History



“Lowden has provided us with an excellent introduction to the Moralized Bibles.”

—Laura Light, Manuscripta



“One of the most important studies of medieval manuscript illumination published in many years, Lowden's work sets a new standard for interpretive codicology. In these two volumes, Lowden has laid the foundation for all future scholarship on the Bibles Moralisées.”

—Jeffrey Hamburger

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