Friday, June 12, 2015

I guess the Devil needs a Bible too

THE LARGEST MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPT: The mystery of the 'Devil's Bible': Sinister drawing inside 'cursed' medieval manuscript that legend says was drawn by Lucifer himself.
  • The mysterious Codex Gigas has a full-page colour image of the Devil
  • Legend has it that a monk made a deal with the devil to create the text
  • Handwriting analysis has revealed that the text was written by one scribe
(Ellie Zolfagharifard, Daily Mail)
Legend has it that a monk from the Middle Ages was sentenced to being walled up alive for breaking his monastic vows.

To avoid punishment, the monk promised to write, in a single night, a book containing all human knowledge. As midnight approached, the monk became desperate and turned to Lucifer for help, offering to make a pact to finish the book in exchange for his soul.

Lucifer agreed and signed the work by adding a self-portrait of himself. In the colourful image, he is placed against an empty landscape framed by two large towers.

So what did all human knowledge consist of back then? Let's see:
The Codex Gigas contains five long texts along with the complete Bible.

The book begins with the Old Testament, and it is followed by two works by Flavius Josephus who lived in the first century AD.

It ends with the New Testament and the last of the long works is a Chronicle of Bohemia by Cosmas from Prague.

Josephus would probably be pleased that his works were considered essential human knowledge, but I don't think he would have approved of the context.

A more detailed description of the contents, as well as other information about date etc., is found on the Codex Gigas Wikipedia page.

About half of the codex consists of the entire Latin Bible in the Vulgate version, except for the books of Acts and Revelation, which are from a pre-Vulgate version. They are in the order: Genesis–Ruth; Isaiah–Daniel; Hosea–Malachi; Job; Samuel and Kings; Psalms–Song of Solomon; Wisdom of Solomon; Wisdom of Jesus; Esdras; Tobit; Judith; Esther; and Maccabees. Between the Testaments are Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews and De bello iudaico, as well as Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia Etymologiae and medical works of Hippocrates, Theophilus, Philaretus, and Constantinus. Following a blank page, the New Testament commences with Matthew-Acts, James-Revelation, and Romans-Hebrews. Following the picture of the devil, Cosmas of Prague's Chronicle of Bohemia, a list of brothers in the Podlažice monastery, and a calendar with necrologium, magic formulae and other local records round out the codex. The entire document is written in Latin; in addition, it contains Hebrew, Greek, and Slavic alphabets (Cyrillic and Glagolitic).