Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Art Newspaper on the Garima Gospels

THE ART NEWSPAPER on the Garima Gospels:
Discovery of earliest illuminated manuscript

Revised dating places Garima Gospels before 650—none from Ethiopia previously dated before 12th century By Martin Bailey

By Martin Bailey | From issue 214, June 2010
Published online 14 Jul 10 (Features)

What could be the world’s earliest illustrated Christian manuscript has been found in a remote Ethiopian monastery. The Garima Gospels were previously assumed to date from about 1100AD, but radiocarbon dating conducted in Oxford suggests they were made between 330 and 650AD.

This discovery looks set to transform our knowledge about the development of illuminated manuscripts. It also throws new light on the spread of Christianity into sub-Saharan Africa.

The Garima Gospels are preserved in an isolated monastery in the Tigray region, set among mountains at 7,000 feet. No other Ethiopian manuscripts can be dated from before the 12th century. So the Garima Gospels represent a unique survival of an early Christian text in sub-Saharan Africa—pre-dating all others by more than 500 years.

More please.