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Cultural Interactions:

Studies in the Relationship between the Arts

Judith A. Kidd
Scenes and characters from the Old Testament appear frequently in
Western medieval art, yet the study of their significance is a neglected
area of iconography. A common literature for both Jews and Christians,
the Hebrew Scriptures had an especially broad appeal for the Church of

Behind the Image: Understanding the Old Testament in Medieval Art

the Middle Ages. Many sections of medieval society identified with the
Hebrews of the Old Testament and sought from them direct models for
leadership, moral behaviour and even art itself. Most of the imagery in
medieval art derived from close study of the biblical texts and from the
retelling of these stories in contemporary poetry and drama.

This interdisciplinary study of art history and theology takes a thematic

approach to the ways in which the Church drew on the ancient texts, focusing
on the topics precedent, word, time, typology and synagogue. The introduction
given here to the vast scholarly and literary hinterland behind the art, with
insights into the thought processes from which the images emerged, not
only brings fresh perspectives to specific sculptures, wall paintings, stained
glass and liturgical objects, but facilitates a better understanding of Old
Testament iconography wherever it is encountered.

Judith A. Kidd read Theology at Kings College London and, after a

Goldsmiths Company scholarship to study religious art in French and
Behind the Image
Spanish Catalonia, pursued her interest in iconography with a research
degree in the Art History department of Bristol University. She subse- Understanding the Old Testament in Medieval Art
quently taught at Wycombe Abbey and North London Collegiate and has
published articles combining the two areas of theology and art history. Judith A. Kidd

ISBN 978-3-0343-0993-6

www.peterlang.com Peter Lang

Cultural Interactions:
Studies in the Relationship between the Arts

Judith A. Kidd
Scenes and characters from the Old Testament appear frequently in
Western medieval art, yet the study of their significance is a neglected
area of iconography. A common literature for both Jews and Christians,
the Hebrew Scriptures had an especially broad appeal for the Church of

Behind the Image: Understanding the Old Testament in Medieval Art

the Middle Ages. Many sections of medieval society identified with the
Hebrews of the Old Testament and sought from them direct models for
leadership, moral behaviour and even art itself. Most of the imagery in
medieval art derived from close study of the biblical texts and from the
retelling of these stories in contemporary poetry and drama.

This interdisciplinary study of art history and theology takes a thematic

approach to the ways in which the Church drew on the ancient texts, focusing
on the topics precedent, word, time, typology and synagogue. The introduction
given here to the vast scholarly and literary hinterland behind the art, with
insights into the thought processes from which the images emerged, not
only brings fresh perspectives to specific sculptures, wall paintings, stained
glass and liturgical objects, but facilitates a better understanding of Old
Testament iconography wherever it is encountered.

Judith A. Kidd read Theology at Kings College London and, after a

Goldsmiths Company scholarship to study religious art in French and
Behind the Image
Spanish Catalonia, pursued her interest in iconography with a research
degree in the Art History department of Bristol University. She subse- Understanding the Old Testament in Medieval Art
quently taught at Wycombe Abbey and North London Collegiate and has
published articles combining the two areas of theology and art history. Judith A. Kidd

www.peterlang.com Peter Lang

Behind the Image
Cultural Interactions
Studies in the Relationship between the Arts

Edited by J.B. Bullen

Volume 30

Oxford Bern Berlin Bruxelles Frankfurt am Main New York Wien
Judith A. Kidd

Behind the Image

Understanding the Old Testament

in Medieval Art

Oxford Bern Berlin Bruxelles Frankfurt am Main New York Wien
Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.
Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche
Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the
Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013954290

ISSN 1662-0364
ISBN 978-3-0343-0993-6 (print)
ISBN 978-3-0353-0559-3 (eBook)

Cover Image: Daniel, Job and Noah crowned by Angels, Canterbury

cathedral, north choir aisle window, detail, twelfth/thirteenth century.
Photo: John Sells. With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter,

Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2014

Hochfeldstrasse 32, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
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All rights reserved.

All parts of this publication are protected by copyright.
Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the
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This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and
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This publication has been peer reviewed.

Printed in Germany
For John, Flo, Ben, Tottie and Philip

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1

Chapter 1
Precedent 27

Chapter 2
Word 53

Chapter 3
Time 89

Chapter 4
Typology I 135

Chapter 5
Typology II 165

Chapter 6
Synagogue 201

Epilogue 229

Bibliography 233

Index 247


Plate 1 Crucifixion with Typological Scenes, Canterbury Cathedral, Corona

Redemption Window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells. With
kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.

Plate 2 Adam, Eve and Serpent, St Botolphs Church, Hardham, West Sussex,
chancel wall painting, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

Plate 3 Eve created from Adam and Noah receiving the Dove into the Ark, Genesis
Initial, Winchester Bible, folio 5r, detail, twelfth century. Photo: Sonia

Plate 4 Front of Enamelled Cross from the Meuse Region with Typological Scenes,
second half of the twelfth century. Photo: The Trustees of the British

Plate 5 The Magi with Prophets and Old Testament Scenes, Canterbury Cathedral,
north choir aisle window, detail, twelfth/ thirteenth century. Photo: Sonia

Plate 6 David as Acrobat, Lincoln Cathedral, south transept window, detail, thir-
teenth century. Photo: Matthew Taylor. With kind permission of the Dean
and Chapter, Lincoln.
x Illustrations


Fig. 1 Adam, Eve and the Serpent, Amiens Cathedral, west front, thirteenth
century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 13
Fig. 2 The High Priest worships before the Ark ofthe Covenant, Canterbury
Cathedral, Corona Redemption window, detail, thirteenth century.
Photo: John Sells. With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter,
Canterbury. 18
Fig. 3 The Ark of the Covenant, Laon Cathedral, west front, thirteenth
century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 19
Fig. 4 The Chariot of Aminadab, St Philips chapel window, Abbey of St
Denis, Paris, detail, twelfth century. Photo: Sonia Halliday. 21
Fig. 5 The Ark of the Covenant, Oratory of Germigny-des-Prs, apse
mosaic, ninth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 22
Fig. 6 Daniel in the Lions Den, Amiens Cathedral, west front, thirteenth
century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 38
Fig. 7 Noah and his Wife after the Flood, Chartres Cathedral, north aisle
window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind
permission. 39
Fig. 8 Joseph receives Benjamin into his Palace, Bourges Cathedral, ambu-
latory window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling,
by kind permission. 43
Fig. 9 Joseph rides in his Chariot, Auxerre Cathedral, ambulatory window,
detail, thirteenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind permission. 43
Fig. 10 Jerome translates the Vulgate, Paris, Bibliothque nationale, MS.
latin 1, fol. 3v, ninth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 56
Fig. 11 Moses horned, with Synagogue, St Peters church, Southrop,
Gloucestershire, font, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 65
Fig. 12 Marcoul under Solomons Feet, Chartres Cathedral, north porch,
thirteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 71
Illustrations xi

Fig. 13 Adam and Eve outside Eden, All Saints church, East Meon, Hamp
shire, font, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 73
Fig. 14 Adam catches the Blood from Christ on the Cross, Chartres Cath
edral, Redemption window, north aisle, detail (modern glass). Photo:
Stuart Whatling, by kind permission. 75
Fig. 15 Christ rescues Adam from Hell, St Mary Magdalene church,
Eardisley, Herefordshire, font, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 76
Fig. 16 Joseph, Asenath and unidentified figure on the left, Chartres Cath
edral, north porch, thirteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 78
Fig. 17 Genesis Initial, Winchester Bible, folio 5r, Winchester Cathedral
Library, twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. Reproduced by
kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Winchester. 90
Fig. 18 Six Ages of the World, Canterbury Cathedral, north choir aisle
typology window, detail, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: John
Sells. With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury. 97
Fig. 19 Six Ages of Man, Canterbury Cathedral, north choir aisle typology
window, detail, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells. With
kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury. 99
Fig. 20 Creation Sequence, Laon Cathedral, west front, thirteenth century.
Photo: J.A. Kidd. 101
Fig. 21 Creator God with Compasses, Great Malvern Priory of St Mary
and St Michael, Worcestershire, creation windows, detail, fifteenth
century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 104
Fig. 22 Creator God imagines Man, from the Creation sequence, Chartres
Cathedral, north porch, thirteenth century. Photo: Sonia Halliday. 106
Fig. 23 Aminadab and Aram, two of the Generations panels, Canterbury
Cathedral, west window, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: John
Sells. With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury. 109
Fig. 24 Tree of Jesse with Annunciation, Notre-Dame-la-Grande, Poitiers,
west front frieze, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 111
Fig. 25 Tree of Jesse, Lambeth Bible, Lambeth Palace Library MS. 3, fol. 198r,
twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. With kind permission
of Lambeth Palace Library. 113
xii Illustrations

Fig. 26 Priest and Levite pass the Wounded Man, with four Old Testament
scenes, Bourges Cathedral, Good Samaritan window, detail, thir-
teenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind permission. 117
Fig. 27 Christ returns at End of the Age, church of St Mary Magdalene,
Vzelay, narthex tympanum, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 125
Fig. 28 Creation with Seasons and some Labours of the Months, Gerona
Cathedral Treasury, Tapestry detail, eleventh/ twelfth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute. 128
Fig. 29 Byrhtferth s Diagram, from St Johns College, Oxford, MS. 17, fol.
7v, eleventh century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 131
Fig. 30 Michal lets David down through the Window, Canterbury Cathedral,
Corona Redemption window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: John
Sells. With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury. 154
Fig. 31 Announcing of the Birth of Isaac, Altarpiece of Nicholas of Verdun,
Klosterneuberg, twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 160
Fig. 32 The Annunciation, Altarpiece ofNicholas ofVerdun, Klosterneuburg,
twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 160
Fig. 33 Announcing of the Birth of Samson, Altarpiece of Nicholas of
Verdun, Klosterneuburg, twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 160
Fig. 34 Visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, Altarpiece of Nicholas of
Verdun, Klosterneuburg, twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 162
Fig. 35 The Baptism of Christ with Exodus and Spies, Biblia Pauperum,
fifteenth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 172
Fig. 36 The Annunciation with Eve and Gideon, Biblia Pauperum, fifteenth
century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 174
Fig. 37 The Nativity with Moses and Aarons Rod, Biblia Pauperum, fifteenth
century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 176
Fig. 38 Souls in Heaven with Job feasting and Jacobs Ladder, Biblia
Pauperum, fifteenth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 181
Fig. 39 Christ and Moses, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 67r, twelfth/thirteenth
century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 187
Illustrations xiii

Fig. 40 Christ as High Priest, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 67v, twelfth/thirteenth

century. Photo: Warburg Institute. 188
Fig. 41 Abraham with Sarah and Hagar?, church ofNotre-Dame, Gargilesse-
Dampierre, Indre, capital, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 193
Fig. 42 Synagogue at the Feet of Jerome, Chartres Cathedral, south porch,
thirteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 203
Fig. 43 Synagogue crowned with Basilisk, church of St Seurin, Bordeaux,
south porch, thirteenth/fourteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd. 208
Fig. 44 Synagogue flees from the Crucifixion, abbey church of St Gilles,
Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, Gard, west front, twelfth century. Photo:
J.A. Kidd. 213
Fig. 45 Crucifixion with Synagogue and Ecclesia, Hortus Deliciarum,
vol. 2 fig. 234, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.
Bibliothque nationale, Paris. 224

A number of people have contributed to this study, not only by specific

support within its diverse areas but in the chance remark and the casual
In particular, I should like to thank those who have assisted with trans-
lations and with the pictures. Trudi Morrissey has carried out the ground-
work for obtaining permission to reproduce some of the images and has
helped with the Latin verse. Jane Hornblower has also willingly shared her
knowledge of Latin and Joanna Campbell her insights into the German lan-
guage. I have met kindness and generosity from Stuart Whatling, Matthew
Taylor and John Sells, who have offered their photographs to be included
in this publication and from the staff at Sonia Halliday Photographs, for
whom no research has been too much trouble. Elena Greer has provided
encouragement from the start of the project and Adrian Campbells pro-
fessional expertise in computer technology has seemed like rocket science
to someone who has been immersed in the medieval world.
Without the generous hospitality of the Warburg Institute library in
London and the help of its photographic department, this book would
not have seen the light of day.

Western medieval art is both compelling and remote. It attracts with its
architectural innovations and its stone incised with surface pattern, which
gradually gave way to more naturalistic forms, the intensity of colour in
enamel work, manuscripts and wall painting and the display of its confi-
dent vision in stained glass windows. At the same time it can be difficult to
access. There is a certain mystery to its often unidentified figures and images.
The artists were mostly anonymous and even where they did indicate their
names, such as Mateo at Santiago de Compostela and Giselbertus at Autun,
we know nothing else about them. They were to a large extent constrained
by artistic tradition, their iconography the selection and meaning oftheir
subject matter was largely determined for them, especially in the theologi-
cal programmes of important religious centres. Until the later centuries they
were not offering their own impressions of the world but conveying visually,
in monumental and more private art, pictures which had their ultimate
roots in words and doctrines. From what may be termed the beginning of
the Middle Ages, the time of Charlemagne who was crowned Emperor by
the Pope in the year 800 in Rome, through to the fifteenth century when
artist personalities had emerged, imagery was inspired largely by religious
teaching and had an ecclesiastical context. Now it reflects perceptions of
minds distant in outlook, when even incursions into classical philosophy
or natural and physical science rarely caused world views to stray far from
their biblical and doctrinal inheritance.
Old Testament literature takes the thought further back, through his-
tory, saga and legend, to the vivid verbal imagery of early creation stories
in which human nature, from the beginning of Genesis, seemed willing to
jeopardise its well-being for a perceived gain. The books span a thousand
years of writing and present an even longer stretch of time in their record-
ing of oral tradition alongside contemporary chronicles. They offer insights
into the lives of tribes of the Middle East with their unfamiliar family and
2 Introduction

religious customs; they reflect the problems experienced by the Hebrew

people who made transition from desert wanderings to settled agricultural
and urban societies. They also mark a progress through the generations in
which new ideas, practices or forms of expression impinged on existing
traditions. The Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires
all influenced these people who survived them. Earlier, lesser known cul-
tures also helped to shape Old Testament beliefs, either by absorption or
by deliberate rejection. Abraham, the nomad in the land of Canaan, willing
to sacrifice his promised son Isaac in a ritual still accepted centuries later by
other, enemy, nations surrounding the Hebrews, became the precedent for
a shunning of child sacrifice. Many ofthe animal and agricultural offerings,
though, that became mainstream requirements in the Law codes ofLeviticus
and Deuteronomy were probably adapted from tribes in Canaan. These re-
applications and adoptions continued throughout the Old Testament, as
new situations inevitably moved ideas forward and as the Hebrews adjusted
to changing circumstances. When the royal line of David began in about
1000 BCE Before the Common Era there was no internal national
model for an hereditary succession of kings. Some of the developing bibli-
cal attitudes towards monarchy may have been influenced by neighbouring
countries, including Egypt: enthronement formulae and ideas of the rela-
tionship between God and king are found in the Psalms, where the ruler
in Jerusalem, for example, is addressed by God as his son (Psalm 2v.7).
Art in the Old Testament was also eclectic. When King Solomon built
his temple he summoned a certain Huram from Phoenicia, a craftsman
skilled in making objects of gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone and wood, who
worked with blue, purple and red cloth and with linen, as well as in engrav-
ing (2 Chronicles 2v.14). The temple design and the motifs of winged crea-
tures, palms and gourds have been shown be part of a more general artistic
repertoire of the Middle East. Colour terms were borrowed from other
languages: Ezekiels description of the likeness of God above the heavens
on a throne of lapis lazuli contains a local Babylonian word, unique in
the Old Testament, for the resemblance of amber which shone from the
seated figure (Ezekiel 1v.27). Hebrew terms for the blue, purple and red of
the cloth worked by Huram, which were to some extent interchangeable
and which have been widely discussed by biblical scholars, were possibly
Introduction 3

adapted from Ancient Near Eastern words for offerings or tribute. Canaan
itself, the Promised Land, was the land of the purple, the dye extracted
from shellfish along its coasts. Artistic expertise was shunned only in the
making of human images or idols to be worshipped. Such practices were
forbidden in the Ten Commandments and condemned by the prophets.
Isaiah ridiculed the craftsmen who expended their energy for this purpose.
A metalworker softens his material over a fire, then swings a hammer to
shape it, but his creation, in contrast to Gods fashioning of the universe,
leaves its maker exhausted. A carpenter measures wood, outlines a figure of
a man with chalk and carves it with his tools. He can then bow down to his
idol, the work of his own hands, while he uses the same material, provided
by nature, to make a fire for warmth and cooking (Isaiah 44vv.920).
Even a cursory glance at medieval art indicates that this ancient world,
fixed in the pages of sacred Scripture, was of great significance to the Middle
Ages. Some of its most familiar images come from the Old Testament.
Abraham about to sacrifice his son Isaac is almost commonplace on
cloister capitals, at church entrances or in interior sculpture and stained
glass. So, too, are Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden beside the serpent
coiled around a tree. The ancient kings feature prominently. Solomon fre-
quently receives the Queen of Sheba or pronounces his judgement between
two women who claimed the same baby. David appears in many guises,
such as slayer of Goliath, musician with harp or bells and as the first king
in the genealogical tree leading from Jesse, his father, to Christ. Prophets,
too, individually or in ranks, sometimes holding attributes, like Habakkuk
with his watch tower, display key sayings from their oracles on sculpted
or painted scrolls. Artefacts of already amalgamated traditions took on
further meanings in the Church. Censers for use in Christian liturgies
were cast in the shape of Solomons temple, where offering of incense had
also formed part of the worship. The font at Saint Barthlemys church in
Lige is a large tub-like container seated on oxen, a replica of the bronze
Sea, or tank, in Solomons temple, made to store water for cleansing both
the priests and places where animals had been ritually slaughtered (1[3]
Kings 7 v25). Now it contains the water of Christian baptism.
Some images hold a less obvious connection to the Old Testament
but nonetheless have their roots in its literature. Christ seated in glory,
4 Introduction

surrounded by the winged man, ox, lion and eagle, appears throughout
Western medieval art. The creatures followed a visual descent from the
early Christian art of Rome to the Carolingian revival, then flourished in
twelfth-century Romanesque art. Their literary route is usually traced back
to the New Testament book of Revelation, where they are the four living
creatures constantly participating in the worship of heaven (Revelation 4).
Here, however, they had been adapted from Ezekiels inaugural vision of the
moving throne of God upheld by the living creatures, each of which had the
four faces of human, lion, bull and eagle, a form known as the tetramorph
(Ezekiel 1). In their separate appearances of the New Testament version
they came to be identified by Christian scholars with the Gospel writers
because of their number and their closeness to the divine presence. They
are usually portrayed holding books or scrolls as they turn towards the
glorified Christ in a mandorla. Tetramorph versions, where the four faces
are attached to a single figure, are rare in the West unless they illustrate
Ezekiels description, though they were occasionally painted in manuscript
initials to the Gospels to imply the unity of the four books.
Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon when he saw his vision, which seems
to have been influenced by the winged, hybrid, forms found in Assyrian-
Babylonian sculpture. Although the creatures as Gospel writers were based
on the New Testament book of Revelation, questions were being asked
in the nineteenth century about possibilities of direct links between the
Ancient Middle East and medieval art, especially the Romanesque. Such
associations were not always specifically focused on the Old Testament;
they incorporated the fantasy two-headed beasts often carved on capitals,
affronted creatures and the half-human, half-fish designs. Where a human
figure stood or was seated between two lions in the ancient art, a corre-
spondence could be made with Daniel in the lions den: where there was
a struggle between man and beast the combat suggested the exploits of
Samson or David. There are examples of two humans, one on either side
of a tree, which might be considered to have anticipated Christian images
of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, an idea that gained plausibility
from some instances of the former Middle Eastern art in which a serpent
coiled around the central tree trunk. Many examples have been given by art
historians who, notably in the 1920s and 1930s, explored the possibility of
Introduction 5

a relationship between the ancient and medieval forms as a partial expla-

nation for the twelfth-century upsurge in curious creatures. These, it was
suggested, had been prompted by an awareness of the East promoted by
the Crusades and discovered in the portable objects of metal craft and
textiles carried by returning crusaders. Some scholars also wished to trace
a thread of similar images from Mesopotamia through various cultures,
such as Egyptian and Etruscan and into the Byzantine world, adapted or
reapplied as they migrated westward but still ultimately recognisable as
being of ancient origin.
There was a curiosity about the East during much ofthe Middle Ages.
It was where the Garden of Eden was believed to be situated, where mon-
strous animals lived and the place from which the ruler Prester John would
come to bring peace. Medieval interest in the Old Testament, though, did
not generally search for accurate geographical factors, any more than it was
concerned with reproducing authentic background details of the daily lives
of its heroes. The mappa mundi in Hereford cathedral, dating from about
1300, placing Jerusalem at the world centre, the Garden of Eden in the East
at the top of the circle and Christ, outside the circumference, presiding over
his creation in judgement, illustrates an essentially theological world view.
It has been the task of modern biblical study from the nineteenth cen-
tury onwards to identify the foreign influences on practices and descriptions
in the Scriptures and to attempt to understand the ancient writings within
their own context or setting in life. Twentieth-century approaches to the
Bible have also accelerated the process in which Old Testament books are
variously treated as secular literature, as folklore and anthropological data
or as prose and poetry to be analysed in the same way as the works of play-
wrights, novelists or poets. The medieval outlook did not have the benefits
of advanced archaeology, nor were its scholars concerned with discoveries
of different literary strands in the books of Moses, for example, or with
any editorial stamp on the texts. How the books came to be written was
not an issue. Its interests were encouraged by belief in the whole Bible as
communication of the divine word while the sacred books provided, to a
large extent, their own terms of reference. Study concentrated on looking
into the texts to discover their hidden meanings, rather than attempting
to understand the situations of their writers.
6 Introduction

By the time of the upsurge in church building and decoration in the

late eleventh and twelfth centuries, disciplines of analysing the biblical
literature fell into four main categories. History was the sense of Scripture
which took the literature at its face value, describing simply what hap-
pened, rather than exploring the lives of Josephs family in the Nile delta
region or the upbringing of Moses, for instance, against a background of
Egyptian civilisation. Allegory looked beyond the accounts and descrip-
tions to find strata of meanings concealed in the surface story. The Ark of
the Covenant, made in the wilderness to house the stone tablets on which
the Commandments were written and to serve as a reminder of the divine
presence, came to stand for the Church or the Virgin Mary. Similarly the
love poetry of the Song of Songs became the expression of Gods relation-
ship with his bride, either the Church or the Virgin crowned as Queen.
Tropology was the moral significance which could be extracted by the
individual reader from a verse or story. Anagogy was the spiritual and
uplifting understanding which the scholar and mystic could find through
contemplation of the sacred texts.
Thus the modern reader of the Old Testament has to suspend familiar
ways of thinking when looking at medieval imagery, while the historian of
more recent art has to enter a world of conformity to developed and con-
tained religious ideas which inspired the visual output. Some iconography
is straightforward, such as the prophets carrying scrolls. At the entrance
to Saint Peters abbey at Moissac in south-west France, Isaiah, with the
announcement that a virgin will conceive and bear a son, is placed next to
scenes of the birth of Christ in the sculpted frieze to his left. Sometimes an
Old Testament figure beside a Gospel scene was drawn directly from the
New Testament text, where a comparison had already been made between
the former and latter Scriptures. Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilder-
ness was likened in Saint Johns Gospel to Christ raised on the cross ( John
3v.14) and Jonah in the whale to Christs three day wait for the Resurrection
(Matthew 12v.40). In the Redemption window at Bourges cathedral, for
example, Moses and the serpent appear beside the Crucifixion and Jonah
making his exit from the whale beside the Resurrection. These juxtaposi-
tions of Old and New Testament episodes, however, are accompanied by
others not found in the New Testament. The observer is confronted by
Introduction 7

a more complex selection of imagery, dependent on early Christian and

medieval analysis of the biblical texts. So too, when Samuel anoints David
above the west rose window of Rheims cathedral, dressed as the High Priest
descended from Aaron rather than as the wandering seer, there is appar-
ently more to the imagery than an extract from the first book of Samuel.
Old Testament people and themes have been adapted to the interests of
the Church.

The Biblical Perspective

Alongside these reapplications, the different terms of reference and the

diversity of meaning extracted from the fixed canon of Scripture, there is
a constant factor, namely the belief that the progression of Old Testament
history is intimately bound up with salvation. Adam and Eve, yielding
to the serpent in what is frequently described as the Fall of Man, forced
a situation which required a reconciliation of humanity and the world
with God. The early chapters of Genesis were often depicted in narrative
sequences, illustrating not only creation but the aftermath of expulsion
from the Garden of Eden with the first murder, of Abel by his brother
Cain, and the punishing flood occasioned by a general state of depravity.
On isolated capitals also, Adam and Eve beside a snake in a tree presented
a reminder of the need for the rescue of humanity, which the Church
believed had been made by Christ. The Old Testament was an integral
part of that scheme of redemption.
The first humans had disobeyed Gods command not to eat the fruit
of a particular tree in Eden and were expelled from Paradise. After many
generations, Abraham the Hebrew, obeying the divine call to leave his
country for another land and being willing to offer his son Isaac as a sacri-
fice, marked the start of the way to reconciliation. Several centuries later
his descendants through Isaac and his grandson Jacob, who was otherwise
known as Israel, formed themselves into a tribal confederacy which took
8 Introduction

its identity from its lineage and its allegiance to the God of Abraham. A
formal covenant had been made by Moses on Mount Sinai as a response to
the Exodus, when the Hebrews had escaped from slavery in Egypt: they were
assured of continued divine guidance and protection if, for their part, they
kept the Law summed up in the Ten Commandments. After the conquest
of Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, they moved towards nation-
hood by establishing their own monarchy. Kings David and Solomon set
up their political and religious centre in Jerusalem, which was to remain
the seat of the line of David until it was overrun by the Babylonians at the
start of the sixth century BCE. Exiled to Babylon, their monarchy, temple
and land lost, the Hebrews were forced to reflect on their history, the bind-
ing nature of the Mosaic covenant and their relationship to the rest of the
world. Some fifty or so years later, Cyrus the Persian, conqueror of Babylon,
allowed all captives to return to their homelands, thus the Hebrews reset-
tled in the Promised Land, building a new temple in Jerusalem but not
re-establishing the monarchy. Having already outlived the Assyrian and
Babylonian empires, now given a second chance to keep their covenant,
they came to see a worldwide, divine purpose in their continuity. They
were set apart, a chosen people.
This idea of election had the important implication, suggested already
in the promise to Abraham, that through them the rest of the world would
be blessed (Genesis 12v.3). The revelation of God entrusted to them would,
they believed, at some future time come to be recognised by everyone. An
anointed leader, that is a Messiah or a Christ from the Hebrew and Greek
respectively, descended from the line of King David, would not only usher
in a new age but would restore the harmony between God and mankind
that had been lost when Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden.
Christianity and the New Testament emerged from the belief that Jesus
was that anointed person, with a message to be taken out from Jerusalem
to the ends of the earth. Contemporary Hebrews, by now known as
Jews, probably from the territorial name of Judaea, were divided. Some
accepted his life and teaching as the fulfilment of prophecy and history,
while others rejected the claims made by the Early Church and contin-
ued to anticipate a future ruler. Two separate religions based on the same
Scriptures of the Hebrew people developed: Judaism, still attached to the
Introduction 9

legal requirements of the Law of Moses and to the importance of Hebrew

ancestry; Christianity, extending the message of universal redemption to
non-Jews, the Gentiles, in the belief that the messianic era had arrived.
This latter religion, based on the idea that a new covenant sealed by the
death of Christ had replaced the former, gradually created a further canon
of sacred literature, the New Testament. The Scriptures common to both
faiths became known as the Old Testament.
The Jews continued to see themselves as the chosen people, whereas
Christianity preached that their former role had served its purpose and
that they had now been superseded by the Church. In his Gospel, Saint
Matthew referred several times to the ecclesia, which translates from the
Greek as Church and which means literally called out. If a dispute could
not be settled in front of two or three witnesses as Mosaic Law demanded,
for example, then the problem should go to the ecclesia, the new authority
which had replaced it (Matthew 18v.17). History and election had moved
forward. There had been a regrouping of those entrusted with the ongoing
divine revelation.
From its beginning Christianity had searched the Hebrew Scriptures
for what are called proof texts to support its claims. During the second
century of the Church, with continuing debate and fluctuating hostility
between Jews and Christians, the quest for evidence of fulfilment of the
Old Testament was extended beyond the more obvious prophetic oracles,
the old Law and Psalms, many of which had already been quoted in the
speeches of the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles and the Gospel accounts
of Christs life. According to developing Christian scholarship, individual
people or episodes, even objects, were deemed to have concealed hidden
truths about events to come in the New Testament. The wood of the cross
was understood to have been foreshadowed in the Tree of Life in Eden
and in the rod with which Moses divided the Red Sea and struck the rock
in the desert to draw out water. All of the Old Testament came to be seen
as containing veiled meanings pointing to the future, including improb-
able verses not originally associated with any New Age but which now,
in the light of the Gospels, were considered to have yielded up their full
10 Introduction

Interpreting Medieval Imagery

This perspective is important for understanding the frequent appearance

of Old Testament scenes and individuals in medieval art. The imagery may
sometimes seem less relevant to the teaching of the Church than pictures
from the Gospels or Book of Revelation and can be passed over as merely
peripheral to the main issues. Christianity needed the Old Testament to
corroborate its message that a new era had arrived. Gospel episodes set
beside their anticipations in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as those in the
Bourges Redemption window, became important and succinct expressions
of that necessity to convey the authenticity of the Churchs message in
public art. As the Jewish-Christian debate continued in the Middle Ages,
ecclesiastical authority had to be confirmed within the context of divine
intention and purpose expressed in the Old Testament; the long view, back
to the creation, indicated that the Church had not set itself up arbitrarily
to supersede the Hebrew people.
Relationships between the two religions came to be summed up by
the female personifications of Synagogue and Ecclesia, the former often
presented as a defeated figure. Ecclesia was triumphant, crowned, hold-
ing a chalice and banner of victory; Synagogue was often downcast and
blindfolded, clutching a shattered standard while fleeing from the picture
space. They appeared together in different contexts, usually on either side
of Christ on the cross, which marked the historical divide between the
old and new regime. Where the tablets of the Law of Moses slip from
Synagogues hands, her defeat indicates the end of the legalistic covenant
established on Mount Sinai; when she carries instruments associated with
the passion of Christ, such as a spear and sponge on a stick, she has become
the representative of her ancestors who had called for his Crucifixion.
Her covered eyes suggest blindness to truth. In the south porch of Saint
Seurins basilica in Bordeaux her crown sits at her feet while a basilisk, a
serpent-like creature with legs, curls around her head (Fig. 43), linking her
perhaps to Eve and suggesting a wilful disregard for the divine command.
Introduction 11

Synagogue did not always feature in a pose of defeat, however, and even
though the Hebrew texts helped to define portrayals ofher, it is important
to separate this figure from more general uses ofthe Old Testament in medi-
eval art. Interpretation of biblical imagery solely under Synagogues shadow
can become too narrow. The Church respected the ancient literature for its
intrinsic value and used it in a number of different ways. The Psalms formed
an integral part of the liturgy and monastic offices. Scholarship established
concepts of the nature of time based on the Genesis story of the creation
of the cosmos. These in turn featured in manuscript initials to the biblical
book, delineating the eras of salvation history. Precedents for relationships
between political and religious establishments, for moral behaviour, even
for art itself were found in what was considered its authoritative texts.
Those characters who had received approbation during the centuries before
Christ were no less able to inspire than those who filled the pages of the
New Testament. Heroes such as Noah and Joseph, who appear frequently in
art, had already been singled out in the epistle to the Hebrews as examples
of faithfulness which had won Gods approval (Hebrews 11v.2). Bezalel,
the wilderness artist, who had made the High Priests garments and the
Tabernacle and who features in the windows of the Sainte Chapelle, Paris,
was cited by a medieval practitioner of the arts as role model for his con-
temporary craftsmen. A major concern of the Church was to ensure correct
conduct among its people. There are many extant portrayals in medieval
art of the consequences of wrongdoing, lurid scenes of punishment where
miscreants fall or are pushed into wide, open-mouthed monsters depicting
hell, or images of vices cowering at the feet of personified virtues. Visual
homilies expressing acceptable moral standards taken from the rich source
of Old Testament example were also in the interests of the Church.
Other non-partisan thought which transferred into art included reflec-
tions on creation, mans place in the universe and on the human lot. One
of the key pursuits in some of the twelfth-century schools was to reconcile
the beginning of Genesis and parts of the Old Testament Wisdom litera-
ture with Platos philosophical ideas of creation. The revelation that God
had formed all things in measure, number and weight (Wisdom 11v.21)
fitted well with interest in classical mathematics and views on the physical
structure of the universe. Since the name Adam in Hebrew means mankind,
12 Introduction

he could become the centre of diagrams exploring the nature of the world
and mans place in it, his life bound by the seasons and constant circular
movement of the celestial bodies. Job too, who was sometimes interpreted
as a prefiguring of Christ, could be used as an example of a more immedi-
ate humanity. He features on a series of capital scenes at the cathedral of
Pamplona and in a similar sequence from La Daurade Abbey, now in the
Muse des Augustins, Toulouse, where his moral rectitude, maintained
through suffering, is rewarded. The divide which he comes painfully to
acknowledge is one between creator and creature, not that between Jew
and Gentile.
Further, there is a slim line generally between propaganda and state-
ment of belief, just as there is between a call to conversion and implicit
denigration of any targeted attitude. The Church was obliged to present its
teaching of redemption against the background of preparation for Christs
life, otherwise its message would be suspended in some sort of historical
vacuum. Events in the New Testament and the emergence and develop-
ment of the Church had not been the outcome of random situations but
part of a process, believed to have been not only foreseen but ordained by
God. To place the Church in its time context was inevitably to draw on
the same Scriptures as those adhered to by the Jews, but that did not nec-
essarily imply in its images an overt or concealed condemnation of those
who held that the Messiah was still to come.

Meaning and Nuance

Embellishments made to Old Testament stories, through additions to a

scene or by attributes or gestures given to its characters, can often steer
interpretation beyond the general thrust of the image. In the south bay
of the main faade of Amiens cathedral, below the Virgin and Child, is a
depiction of the Fall of Man. Eve, beside a female-headed serpent, tastes
the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as she offers some
to Adam, who clutches his throat. The human-faced tempter seems to have
appeared in art in the early thirteenth century, possibly connected to the
half-woman, half-fish sirens of Romanesque capitals who were thought to
Introduction 13

lure men to destruction. At Amiens, Eves face almost touches and reflects
that of the serpent (Fig. 1). Adams action seems to have been based on
scholarly discussion of the nature of his fault. The Latin word gula, mean-
ing throat, was also used figuratively for gluttony. Adams downfall, due
to greed in accepting the forbidden fruit when there were plenty of other
edible options in the Garden of Eden, was the result of this deadly sin.

Fig. 1 Adam, Eve and the Serpent, Amiens Cathedral, west front, thirteenth century.
Photo: J.A. Kidd.
14 Introduction

Where Old Testament scenes surround a New Testament episode,

in the Redemption windows at Chartres or Bourges or Canterbury, for
example, they not only convey the biblical time context of preparation and
fulfilment but help to focus attention on particular meanings conveyed in
the central picture. In the Corona window at the east end of Canterbury
cathedral, the Crucifixion of Christ is surrounded by four Old Testament
prefigurings (Plate 1). One of these is the killing of the Passover lamb and
the daubing of the Hebrews doorposts with its blood (Exodus 12). The
lamb was the offering they ate as they were about to escape from slavery
in Egypt, while the houses marked with its blood were passed over by the
angel of death. Although links between the Passover lamb and Christ had
already been made in the New Testament, there is an extended commentary
in the Canterbury images. The two juxtaposed pictures convey the idea of
the Crucifixion as a sacrifice and as the prelude to a new life which brought
freedom, this time from sin. Within the Old Testament picture extra fea-
tures have been added to adapt it to its Christian theological context. On
the lintel the mark in blood is a letter T. This sign, the Hebrew letter Tav,
was to be placed on the foreheads of the faithful in Jerusalem according
to Ezekiels vision of the imminent destruction of the city (Ezekiel 9v.6).
Christian commentators believed this character to have been written at one
time in the shape of a cross and associated it with the Passover and Christs
sacrifice. Those who bore it would be saved. Below this sign, blood from
the lamb flows into a chalice, held respectfully by a genuflecting man. It
is a christianised version of an Old Testament scene which also links the
image to the liturgical heart of the Mass. At the most sacred moment of
worship, the priest re-enacted Christs sacrifice and transformed the wine
in the chalice into the blood of the new covenant.
Some iconography is more controversial. One area of difficulty lies in
the interpretation of Old Testament characters wearing hats as a deroga-
tory way of indicating the Jewish people. This distinguishing item, often
used when representing the Jews, was taken from their own practice of
covering the head in everyday life as well as when praying or studying
the Law. In the sculpted frieze of Salisbury cathedrals Chapter House,
a narrative sequence depicting the Creation to Moses receiving the Law
on Mount Sinai, hats are worn by the main Genesis characters in most of
Introduction 15

their individual scenes. Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph all
sport a variety of headgear which seems to have been of great significance
to the sculptor. Cain, the son of Adam who killed his brother Abel, wears
a round hat with a small knob on the top similar to those which featured
in German art of the Meuse region from about the mid-twelfth century. It
is a variation of the Judenhut, the Jewish hat, usually brimmed and with a
tall centre section or spike, frequently depicted in later Romanesque images
and beyond and used in the Salisbury frieze to identify Josephs brother
who casts his younger sibling into a pit. Well-rehearsed commentary on the
Genesis story held Cain, the murderer of Abel, to represent the Jews, while
the victim, who had made the acceptable offering of a lamb, anticipated
Christ. When Cain, wearing his hat, makes his unacceptable offering, car-
ries out his crime against the hatless Abel, then is confronted by God who
asks him about his brothers whereabouts, there is possibly the innuendo
that he does represent the Jews who killed Christ.
Other inhabitants of the Salisbury sculpture, such as Noah and Joseph,
albeit with their differently styled head coverings, were usually viewed in
Christian thought as virtuous characters. Hats of similar style to Cains
are worn by two men at the feet of Christ in the Holy Sepulchre Chapel
painting in Winchester cathedral, attending to the crucified body. One of
these is probably Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Jewish
Council who had asked for Christs body so that he could place in his own
tomb (Matthew 27v.59). There are obvious differences in these near con-
temporary examples from the thirteenth century of medium, model and
subject matter; moreover Cain may identify the Jews collectively while
Joseph of Arimathea represents himself. They illustrate, though, that the
hat was not always defamatory and that interpretation cannot always be
reduced to simple formulae.
Inscriptions, often a single line or Latin couplet, if they are not too
damaged or over zealously restored, can support a pictorial allusion or iden-
tify a particular slant in the iconography. Another of the Old Testament
scenes surrounding the Crucifixion in the Canterbury Redemption window
is that of the Hebrew spies returning from Canaan with a bunch of grapes
on a pole (Numbers 13v.23). The fruit hangs from the horizontal bar,
making a T shape, as the body hangs on the cross above it. Grapes suggest
16 Introduction

the wine described by Christ at the Last Supper as his blood and thus share
some of the same Eucharistic connotations as the lambs blood and chalice
in the Passover scene. A few words around the semicircular frame of the
picture, condensing longstanding commentary on the episode, point to
the figures as representatives of Jewish and Christian attitudes. The first
spy, the Jew, has his back to the hanging grapes, indicating that he does not
wish to see the meaning of Christs crucifixion; the second, the Gentile,
looks towards the grapes, thirsting to benefit from them. This is a state-
ment that the Hebrews, preceding Christianity historically, ignored the
significance of the event which drew the Gentiles towards the Church.
Although at Canterbury little visual distinction was made between the
spies, variations on their portrayal can be found in other examples where
there is no inscription accompanying the image. Sometimes the front spy
wears a hat, suggesting in this case that he may represent contemporary
Jewry; occasionally, though, he looks back over his shoulder. On the base
of a crucifix from the abbey of Saint Bertin, now in the museum at Saint
Omer, northern France, both spies wear hats and stand looking at the bunch
of grapes. Beyond the broad significance of the Old Testament image as a
foreshadowing of the Crucifixion, there are hints of particular meanings
in individual examples.

Multiple Meanings

As the above examples indicate, much medieval art reflects in some way
the findings of commentators on the biblical texts. Some Old Testament
passages lent themselves more readily than others to all four of the broad
medieval categories of study history and allegory, moral and spiritual or
satisfied more easily the quest to find prefigurings of New Testament epi-
sodes. This suggests that the same story or object, with multiple meanings
in scholarly exegesis, might be explained in the art in a number of different
ways. The visual context can often direct interpretation, not only in the
considered juxtapositions ofOld and New Testament scenes at Canterbury,
but in less obvious settings. Selection of episodes, too, from a long biblical
saga may indicate a predominant message to be drawn from the story. The
Introduction 17

stained glass narratives of Josephs adventures from the book of Genesis,

in Chartres, Rouen, Bourges and Auxerre cathedrals, for instance, were
history, but they differ in emphasis. Josephs rise to power marks the cul-
mination of the saga at Auxerre, while at Bourges there is an emphasis on
the family that ends with Joseph welcoming his younger brother Benjamin
into his palace. Any depiction of the story may also point to the central
figure himself as a foreshadowing of Christ, rejected by his own people,
sold for (twenty) pieces of silver, falsely accused, but in spite of everything
finally triumphant.
One object which was interpreted and portrayed in a number of
ways in the Middle Ages was the Ark of the Covenant. It had been con-
structed by Bezalel and his helpers to carry the tablets inscribed with the
Ten Commandments and was also the portable throne of God, approached
by Moses when he communicated with the deity in the wilderness (Exodus
25vv.1022). It preceded the Hebrews into the Promised Land and eventu-
ally came to be housed in the most sacred section of Solomons temple, the
Holy of Holies, which only the High Priest was permitted to enter once a
year on the Day ofAtonement. When the Babylonians destroyed the temple
in the early sixth century BCE it was lost. The history of the Ark was its
journey from wilderness to temple, through various adventures recorded in
the Old Testament. In its moral sense it came, for some Christian writers,
to signify conscience. The mystical interpretation ranged from emphasis
on the two cherubim set on its lid, whose wings might allow the soul to
fly towards heaven, to the progressive stages of meditation practised by the
contemplative which could be discerned in the stages of the Arks construc-
tion. It acquired various allegorical meanings, including Christ himself, the
Church and the Virgin Mary. History and allegory, as well as the idea of
the Old Testament episode or object prefiguring an event associated with
the Gospels or the Church, transferred most readily into art.
In the fifth century nave mosaics at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome,
the Ark is carried across the River Jordan and around the walls of Jericho
as recounted in the Book of Joshua; in the Exodus window of the Sainte
Chapelle it is made by Bezalel. At face value these examples retell Old
Testament narratives. The entry of the High Priest into the inner sanctuary
of the temple had already been interpreted in the Epistle to the Hebrews
18 Introduction

as a prefiguring of Christs ascension into heaven (Hebrews 9v.24). Thus

in the Redemption window at the East end of Canterbury Cathedral the
Ark is censed by the High Priest beside Christs Ascension, that is his
entering heaven, the real sanctuary (Fig. 2). Where it is detached from
an historical scene or from Old to New Testament correspondences and
used allegorically, the setting may guide interpretation. The ARCA DEI is
identified on the left bay of the West front of Laon Cathedral where it is
one among other Old Testament images associated with the Virgin Mary
(Fig. 3), represented beside scenes from the Nativity. At Amiens the Ark
sits above the statue of the Mother of God on the west front, placed here
between Moses and Aaron. It might be interpreted as an allegory of the
Virgin and an anticipation in the Hebrew Scriptures of the future status
of the mother of Christ, reflecting commentary and sermon that helped
to encourage a growing devotion to her.

Fig. 2 The High Priest worships before the Ark of the Covenant, Canterbury
Cathedral, Corona Redemption window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells.
With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.
Introduction 19

Fig. 3 The Ark of the Covenant, Laon Cathedral, west front, thirteenth century.
Photo: J.A. Kidd.

The Ark of the Covenant also indicates the lengths to which allegory
was sometimes taken, especially if several biblical references combined to
produce extended meanings. In one of Abbot Sugers windows at the Abbey
of Saint Denis in Paris, the Ark is labelled QUADRIGA AMINADAB,
the chariot of Aminadab (Fig. 4). Here it contains the pot of manna
and Aarons rod, additions taken from the New Testament epistle to the
Hebrews (Hebrews 9v.4). It is carried on four wheels and surrounded by
the four heads of the upholders of the moving throne from Ezekiels vision,
representing the Gospel writers. God the Father rises above it, extending
his arms to support a crucifix. The term chariot of Aminadab came from
20 Introduction

the accepted Latin version of the Song of Songs used in the Middle Ages:
I knew not; my soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab. Return,
return O Sulamitess, return, return, that we may behold thee (Song of
Songs 6vv.1112). Commentary on the verse linked Aminadab to the
owner of the house where the Ark was kept temporarily when David was
bringing it to its permanent home in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6v.3).
This already complex image had lent itself to further interpretations.
When Solomon built the temple, the Ark was placed with great ceremony
in the most holy area, with two large cherubim, made of olive wood covered
in gold, overarching it (1 Kings 8). At Saint Denis the chariot has arrived
at a further new beginning, the new covenant. An inscription states that
the altar of the cross of Christ is established on the Ark of the Covenant,
bringing something greater as the former regime ends. The separate living
creatures of the New Testament book of Revelation, firmly established
as the Gospel writers, replace the tetramorph of Ezekiels vision and the
moving throne has now travelled to the era of the Church. In the moralised
Bibles of the thirteenth century, where image and text sat side by side, the
chariot sometimes carried bishops and was followed by monks: the Church
was being guided on the right tracks by its leaders. The Sulamitess of the
Song of Songs was often identified as Synagogue, troubled at the approach
of the chariot: according to some commentators this was the vehicle which
could carry the Jews to Christ.
Occasionally the visual context may provide little help in interpreta-
tion and there may be no relevant inscription. The Ark of the Covenant
guarded by two large angels fills the apse of the oratory at Germigny-des-
Prs, about fifteen miles east of Orleans (Fig. 5). It was built during the
reign of Charlemagne by Theodulph, one time bishop of Orleans and
Abbot of Fleury, the present Saint Benot-sur-Loire, a short distance away.
This much discussed mosaic and the building have been restored to such
an extent that the authenticity of the iconography has been questioned,
but without any definitive evidence for what it might have replaced being
put forward. The Ark here is closed and overshadowed by two large angels,
like those placed by Solomon in the Holy of Holies, their wings touch-
ing each other and spread out to the walls of this inner temple (1[3]Kings
6v.27). It is less complicated than the chariot of Aminadab, but there is no
Introduction 21

appropriate inscription which relates to it and the image is isolated in the

apse. Assuming that this was the original subject, clues to its significance
might be found in commentary and in contemporary debate. Bede, the
Anglo-Saxon scholar who had died in 735 and whose works were known to
the Carolingian centres, wrote two volumes on the wilderness Tabernacle
and Solomons temple in which he described the Ark as an allegory of both
Christ and the Church.

Fig. 4 The Chariot of Aminadab, St Philips chapel window, Abbey of St Denis,

Paris, detail, twelfth century. Photo: Sonia Halliday.
22 Introduction

Fig. 5 The Ark of the Covenant, Oratory of Germigny-des-Prs, apse mosaic,

ninth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.

In Theodulphs time there was extensive controversy over the use of

images. This focused on whether Christ, the Virgin and the saints should
be depicted at all, as well as on the differences between those pictures
which served as decoration or instruction and those which were adored by
Christians. The mosaic has been frequently interpreted against this imme-
diate historical background. The Ark was a crafted object actually ordered
by God in the wilderness, therefore an acceptable Old Testament precedent
for the use of artifacts and images in worship. It also avoided the portrayal
of holy people in art, which might have given offence. The setting over the
altar at Germigny-des-Prs may possibly connect the earthly liturgy to the
worship of heaven, since the entry of the high priest into Solomons Holy of
Holies was paralleled to Christs entering heaven, the true sanctuary. This
position, immediately above the place where the priest said Mass, may also
hint at those other Carolingian debates which centred on the Presence of
Christ in the consecrated bread and wine. It is less probable that the Ark
Introduction 23

here reflects its association with the Virgin Mary as it does at Laon and
Amiens. This link had been made already by the early Fathers of the Greek
Church but, although the style of Theodulphs mosaic suggests a Byzantine
model, its prominent position in the apse and its early ninth-century date
anticipate, rather than coincide with, the interests of Western writers and
popular devotion to the Virgin.
Interpretation of medieval iconography, therefore, can be far from
straightforward, though fortunately the Ark of the Covenant is an extreme
example, chosen to highlight some of the issues. Different senses attrib-
uted to Scripture, many and various meanings offered on biblical texts by
Christian scholars through the centuries, together with the possible signifi-
cance of any local circumstance, sometimes make it difficult to determine
a dominant motive in the selection of a particular subject. It is tempting
to read preconceived notions of meaning into an image and, perhaps,
inevitable to form conclusions based on partial knowledge and evidence.
Even to come as close as possible to the minds which created the picture
leaves scope for different interpretations. In addition, there is always the
difficulty for the modern observer of finding an unbiased starting point
from which to unpack the iconography.
What may be seen as an inherent ambiguity in the image today may
have been understood as an informed and subtle condensing of different
strands of thought in the Middle Ages. Confusion still surrounds the
purpose of much medieval art: whether the sculptures and stained glass
of cathedrals and pilgrim centres served originally as a focus for sermons
which expounded on their meanings, whether the Latin inscriptions were
translated and the complex theology explained to congregations, is unclear.
The layman and pilgrim would not, in any case, have seen the art displayed
in restricted areas of large churches and cathedrals such as Chapter Houses.
Our access to many of the writings, both scholarly and popular, behind
much of the imagery can bring its own problems, of translation as well as
of assumed knowledge of what was available to programme makers and
artists. We are hampered, too, by partial images and by reconstructions
which have sometimes rearranged the settings of stained glass panels, for
instance, and we are perhaps offered a distorted view of the popularity of
certain topics by the chance survival of examples of the art.
24 Introduction

The following chapters approach medieval iconography on the basis of the
ways in which the Old Testament itself was viewed in the Middle Ages. They
are intended to serve as an entrance into a vast subject and, in coming from
a general background of the overall importance of the Hebrew Scriptures
to the Church, to offer a fuller understanding of the imagery wherever it is
encountered. The division of themes was chosen to incorporate key areas of
usage of the Old Testament and to illustrate the versatility of what is often
a neglected area in non-specialist books. Other visual references might
sometimes have been made, though it is inevitable that where extensive
picture series exist, such as at Chartres and Canterbury, or in the printed
block-books, there is more scope for selection. Much has been omitted in
the interests of an overview, while a more detailed study of some examples
has been included to clarify the points. Each subject and each image might
have been pursued further. Footnotes to the chapters will help the reader
inclined to follow up specific areas of interest.
Chapter 1 looks at what was often an unhindered correspondence
between biblical text and image, that is the function of precedent to authen-
ticate contemporary claims or practices of the medieval Church. Part of a
saga, a single event or a quotation, was extracted from the Old Testament
for various purposes to justify art, to offer role models or to express the
relative positions of sacred and secular power. Inspiration here depended
on the belief that all of Scripture, not only the New Testament, had the
authority to indicate what was acceptable or otherwise to the God who
directed or responded to human situations from the creation onwards.
Chapter 2 acknowledges that most of medieval imagery was the
result of interpretation of biblical texts. It offers a brief introduction to
translations and to commentary and analysis which came to form a body
of material considered almost as authoritative as the Bible. This scholarship
took the image beyond its surface meaning and lay behind certain visual
distinguishing features such as the horns of Moses. In addition, and some-
times mingled with more erudite comment, were what have been called
popular extensions to biblical stories that carried the narratives beyond
the Scriptures and invented sequels or introduced new characters. Such
Introduction 25

events and people, like Marcoul or Markoff, the fool in Solomons court,
which developed outside the canonical literature, are also important for
understanding medieval art because their inclusion in the imagery might
challenge an otherwise secure interpretation.
Chapter 3 looks at the importance of time. The Church stood
between Genesis and final judgement, fulfilling the Old Testament but
also waiting for a completion to the New Age. Time began at creation,
according to Christian thought. The six days which saw the making of
heaven and earth and their furnishings were deemed to have set in place a
pattern both for historical epochs and for the span of human lives. Salvation
history was seen to have been punctuated by six eras, marked by events such
as the giving of the Law to Moses and the Babylonian exile, as it progressed
towards the New Age and final redemption. Each persons lifespan was
potentially determined by the blueprint of six progressive stages, moving
from infancy to old age. On the fourth day of the Genesis narrative, sun
and moon had set in motion circular time, providing the framework for
mans activities in the fields and for his worship through the liturgical year.
Time was at the core of Church teaching and of medieval art, whether
expressed in creation sequences, by prophets with their scrolls proclaiming
the future, in the single capital of Adam and Eve beside a tree in Eden or
heaven and hell on the west walls of church buildings.
Chapters 4 and 5 deal with typology, the study of people and events
seen, in the light of the New Testament, to have been foreshadowings
of the Gospels and the Church. This, too, was concerned with time but
demanded a different way of thinking about it which provided seemingly
limitless and strained interpretations of specific Old Testament stories and
people. In presenting a message that something greater had arrived with
Christianity it was used sometimes to shame the Jewish position, though
in the New Testament it had started out as comparison to illustrate aspects
of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. Typology was so important
in manuscript, liturgical and monumental art that it requires two chapters.
The first looks at the meaning of typology and explores the subject in more
detail than is usually offered in books on medieval art. It highlights the
importance of the verse in fine-tuning interpretation and considers a list
of Old Testament types with explanations, drawn up around the year 1200,
26 Introduction

possibly intended as a compendium for artists, though it was not itself

illustrated. In the second chapter on typology, one of the best known col-
lections of types, the so-called Bible of the Poor, is discussed. This brought
together some ofthe more commonplace subjects of medieval art and, in the
printed form of the fifteenth-century block-book, allowed the full weight
of the Old Testament to promote piety as well as to present doctrine. The
last section on typology looks at uses of the word that extend its meaning,
to allegory, to the single figure with dual meaning and to the context of
the image in church buildings in which the type appears to complement,
for instance, an aspect of liturgical practice rather than to present a more
straightforward juxtaposed New Testament scene.
Finally, Chapter 6, which might have been entitled The Hidden Old
Testament, explores Synagogue and Ecclesia in more detail. Old Testament
texts, although seldom overtly displayed here, contributed to the visual
imagery of Synagogue. The Hebrew Scriptures, as common ground between
Jews and Christians, formed the basis of polemic and marked a starting
point for persuading Synagogue that she should convert to the younger
religion. In many ways this figure epitomises the possibilities and pitfalls
of interpreting the Old Testament in medieval art. Behind the subject,
the attributes and varying contexts lie centuries of written scrutiny. She
raises difficulties of how far specific historical and social issues, as well as
theological ones, might have determined the choice of iconography and,
in her particular case, whether local factors caused her appearance to take
on a more aggressive and unsympathetic aspect. Her depiction witnessed
to the belief that although the Old Testament had been overtaken by the
New, its history and ideas were still intimately bound up with the present.
Chapter 1


When Gervase of Canterbury wrote his eye-witness account of the dev-

astating fire at his cathedral in 1174, he likened it to the Fall of Jerusalem
and the grief of on-lookers to the Lamentations of Jeremiah.1 It was part
of a medieval sense of identity to find parallels to contemporary situa-
tions within the Scriptures, that is to make connections with a people
whose successes and disasters were familiar through liturgy, lectionaries and
detailed biblical study in the monasteries and schools. The Old Testament
not only contained a rich collection of human experiences, but allowed
comparisons to be made to the fortunes of those who had lived under the
protection or punishment of the God now worshipped in the Church. A
precedent was, simply, something that had happened before. When it was
acknowledged within this religious context it offered added dimensions and
gained enlarged perspectives. An echo of the present moment within the
books of Scripture linked contemporary events with those believed to have
taken place under divine control. There was a bond with the people who
had lived within the bounds of an earlier stage of sacred history, who had
struggled at times to make sense of their condition but who had eventually
come to realise an overall purpose in their varying fortunes. A modicum of
comfort might be found and raw emotion tempered through comparison
with their previous experiences.
Precedents also offered points of reference for actions undertaken by
the Church, such as the Crusades, or in conflicts relating to the balance of
power, such as those between bishop and monarch. Groups setting out on
the first Crusade took on the role of a people called to liberate the Holy

1 Elizabeth B.G.Holt, A Documentary History of Art, vol. 1 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton

University Press, 1957), 54.
28 Chapter 1

Land as the Hebrews had conquered their Promised Land.2 Even when
their attempts foundered, the Old Testament still provided a comparison
used in the corporate prayers of Western Christianity: O God the hea-
then have come into thy inheritance (Psalm 78v.1).3 Inspiration came
from the pages of Scripture but also arguable justifications of the status
quo. Sayings or stories could be plucked from their original contexts and,
since the many centuries of Old Testament history contained changing
political and social circumstances, opposing attitudes attracting divine
approval might be found in the Scriptures. It was Samuel, the seer-priest,
who received divine instruction to make Saul king over the tribes of Israel
and Zadok the priest who anointed Solomon, a son of David, as king.
Solomon then exerted his authority as monarch in deposing the existing
High Priest in favour of Zadok.
Old Testament precedent, brought into the present, could also inject a
sense of authority or sanctity into its counterpart. When King Alfred began
his Law for the Anglo-Saxons he aligned it with the God-given command-
ments of the Hebrew covenant, The Lord spoke these words to Moses.
He was addressing a people who were presented in their vernacular poem
Exodus as having taken on the collective identity of the Hebrews.4 At the
consecration of one of Alfreds successors, King Edgar, the liturgy requested
that he might be strengthened with the faith of Abraham armed with
the fortitude of Joshua and beautified with the wisdom of Solomon.5 The
Anglo-Saxon king would not merely follow previous examples but would
absorb their qualities, as he responded to his divine calling and took on
the mantle of his biblical predecessors.
Later English monarchs seem to have been drawn to Joseph, whose
story of achievement of high office contained both personal appeal and

2 Paul Rousset, Les origines et les caractres de la premire croisade (Neuchtel:

Baconnire, 1945), 1856.
3 Amnon Linder, Raising Arms: Liturgy in the Struggle to liberate Jerusalem in the
Late Middle Ages (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 3.
4 C.Michael Kauffmann, Biblical Imagery in Medieval England, 7001550 (London:
Harvey Miller, 2003), 367.
5 Kauffmann, Biblical Imagery, 36.
Precedent 29

precedents for leadership. Edward I had scenes from the Genesis saga
embroidered on a cape and Henry III decorated one of his palaces with
a series of paintings of Josephs life.6 It was not only this Old Testament
characters administrative abilities that made him a model ruler but also his
moral integrity. Appointed eventually by Pharaoh to oversee the distribu-
tion of food in Egypt, Joseph had also remained faithful to his God. His
adventures, sparked by intrigue and the jealousy of his brothers, ended in
the reward of high position, a reversal in fortune for the perpetrators of
his expected downfall and, finally, a reconciliation with his family through
which they all enjoyed prosperity (Genesis 3747). The wide appeal of the
Joseph saga accounts for its popularity in medieval art and many different
lessons could be extracted from the sequence of events. In a stained glass
window of the saga at Auxerre cathedral, Josephs rise to power is empha-
sised; in Bourges cathedral, a window of the same Genesis story highlights
the family relationships.
The Old Testament as precedent offers one of the most direct cor-
respondences between image and scriptural text. This was because a verse
or story extracted to justify contemporary actions, or to serve as a model,
required no further explanation. Art itself was justified by reference to the
wilderness tabernacle and to the splendour of Solomons temple as well as
to certain Psalms which spoke of the beauty of the House of God. There
are exceptions. Occasionally a figure was adapted to suit a particular mes-
sage: Gideon, the pre-monarchic Hebrew leader famed for his bravery in
overcoming the enemy, wears a crown in a window of the Sainte Chapelle,
Paris, which alters his original status. In the portrayal of Josephs story,
there is the possibility that elements of extra-biblical writings and scholarly
debate, discussed in the next chapter, might creep in. Generally, though,
medieval perceptions of Old Testament characters and situations serving
as precedents for contemporary society offer a straightforward introduc-
tion to the art.

6 Tancred Borenius, The Cycle of Images in the Palaces and Castles of Henry III,
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 4 (1943), 4050.
30 Chapter 1

The Visual Arts

In spite of lingering perceptions that the Old Testament and subsequent

Judaism denied themselves any kind of image, a looking back to prec-
edent was an important backdrop to medieval artistic activity. A detailed
twelfth-century manual On Divers Arts, written by a practitioner named
Theophilus, encouraged craftsmen to recall the wilderness artists.7 Endowed
with wisdom, understanding and knowledge (Exodus 31vv.210), by the
same Spirit which now inspired in the medieval workplace, they had been
responsible for the Ark of the Covenant, Tabernacle and priestly vestments.
Theophilus used the fuller list of seven gifts of the Spirit, found in Isaiahs
reference to a future Davidic ruler: the artist had wisdom, understanding,
counsel and fortitude, knowledge, godliness and fear of the Lord (Isaiah
11vv.23). This last, for instance, would enable him to ascribe his talents
appropriately, realising that of himself he is nothing; wisdom would cause
him to acknowledge that all created things, including the materials used
in his profession, came from God. His practical knowledge was for public
benefit, while the spirit of counsel would enable him to share his talent
with anyone wishing to learn. Bezalel and his helpers in the wilderness had
been working with fine linen and embroidery and in gold, silver, bronze,
marble, precious stones and wood (Exodus 35v.35; 31vv.45). The medieval
craftsman practised the same skills and used similar resources.
Towards the middle of the twelfth century a well-known patron of
the arts, Abbot Suger of Saint Denis near Paris, summoned artists from
different parts of Christendom to embellish his new abbey church. He
made a case for luxury and for liturgical extravagance with a simple argu-
ment from Old Testament ritual:

If golden pouring vessels, golden vials, golden little mortars, used to serve, by the
word of God or the command of the prophet, to collect the blood of goats or calves
or red heifer, how much more must golden vessels, precious stones and whatever is

7 Theophilus, On Divers Arts, translated John G. Hawthorne and Cyril S. Smith (New
York: Dover Publications, 1979), 7780.
Precedent 31

most valued among all created things, be laid out, with continual reverence and full
devotion, for the reception of the blood of Christ.8

Here precedent indicated a principle that should be reapplied. Expense

and beauty were part of correct worship, which recognised that only the best
was to be offered to God. Even a more austere Judaism after the destruc-
tion of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans in 70 ce had maintained a
command to beautify. The Jew should make the Law beautiful by fulfilling
its teaching and the written text should be presented in choice materials.
In the second century of the Christian era, a certain Rabbi Ishmael stated
that he would have the scrolls written with beautiful ink and a beautiful
pen by the hand of a practised scribe and wrapped in beautiful silk.9 Abbot
Sugers reasoning extended to gold and jewels on a monumental scale.
Apart from what remains at Saint Denis, there are other commissioned
artifacts still extant, including a jewel-studded chalice in Washington, a
rock crystal vase, a sardonyx jug and a porphyry vase in the shape of an eagle
now in the Louvre in Paris.10 Something of the splendour of his church is
reflected in the National Gallery of Londons fifteenth-century painting
of the Mass of St Giles, in which the saint celebrates the liturgy in front
of the gold altarpiece encrusted with precious stones which Suger had
inherited from the late Carolingian period. Precedent not only justified
what some may have called extravagance but necessitated it. Celebration of
the new covenant demanded even more that the most expensive materials
and employment of the best artistic expertise should be brought together
at the new abbey church.
The view that the Ten Commandments forbad any imagery had been
refuted by Bede in a direct appeal to Solomons temple.11 Constructed with
cedar from Lebanon and quarried stone, the interior overlaid with gold leaf

8 Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St-Denis, translated Erwin Panofsky (Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1946), 65.
9 Claude G. Montefiore and Herbert Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology (London:
Macmillan, 1938), 279.
10 Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra 8001200 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972), 227, 1878.
11 Bede, On the Temple, translated Sean Connolly (Liverpool: Liverpool University
Press, 1995), 91.
32 Chapter 1

and decorated with repousse work of pomegranate and palm tree designs,
flowers and cherubim, its detail had been ordered by God (3(1) Kings
56). Huram, a craftsman from Tyre skilled in bronze and responsible for
the portable vessels used in temple rituals and for the bronze sea, was, like
Bezalel, filled with understanding and wisdom (3(1) Kings 7v.14). Biblical
accounts of Solomons projects provided specific examples for medieval art,
such as the font in Liege and the cherubim above the Ark ofthe Covenant at
Germigny-des-Prs mentioned in the Introduction. Descriptions of church
decoration in medieval writings often quoted the Hebrew Scriptures. An
eleventh-century chronicler, said to have reflected Anglo-Saxon tastes for
splendour endorsed by the Old Testament, wrote of a church in Wilton that
it was made of cedar and fir and decorated with palm trees and cherubim;
priests vestments were woven in two purple colours, scarlet and gold thread
and were set with the stones of the High Priests breastplate.12
Theophilus reminded his readers that King David, although he was
not himself permitted to build a permanent place of worship because of
the blood he shed, had, nonetheless, entrusted gold, silver, bronze and iron
to his son Solomon for such a project. In contemplating the earlier tab-
ernacle of Moses, David was persuaded that God delights in the material
embellishment of His dwelling and had uttered the words, Lord, I have
loved the beauty of Thy house (Psalm 25v.8).13 The same sentiment was
expressed by a chronicler at Abingdon, claiming that the Anglo-Saxon
saint Aethelwold had the Psalmists words in mind when he enriched Gods
house with adornments.14 The Psalms offered other reflections which were
drawn on by medieval writers. A certain priest of Gandersheim, named
Eberhard, had heard reports that many churches were, like his own monas-
tery, decorated most beautifully with hangings skilfully painted and shining
with the brilliance of lapis lazuli, silver and gold; there were incense and
lamps as well as singing and reading.15 He considered that the builders and

12 Charles R.Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Art: A New Perspective (Manchester: Manchester

University Press, 1982), 33.
13 Theophilus, On Divers Arts, 77.
14 Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Art, 32.
15 Frederick P. Pickering, Literature and Art in the Middle Ages (London: Macmillan,
1970), 1389.
Precedent 33

craftsmen, who provided such means of elevation for the human spirit, are
to be counted among the blessed as David indicated: How blessed are they
that dwell in thy house, O Lord (Psalm 83v.5).
It has often been said that church buildings with their colour and
imagery, even the picture frames in bands of imitation gems which appeared
in some of the earliest Christian art of fourth- and fifth-century Roman
mosaics, represented the heavenly Jerusalem.16 Old Testament expressions
of beauty had been transferred to the New where, in the Apocalypse, Saint
John the Divine was granted a vision of the celestial city of pure gold coming
down from heaven, its foundations made of precious stones and its gates
with pearls, reminiscent of Isaiahs vision of the future, earthly, Jerusalem
(Isaiah 54vv.12; Revelation 21). This adornment of sacred space, the
dwelling place of God, related to a future state, moved church decoration
on from precedent to the hope for a new heaven and new earth. It antici-
pated what was to come and elevated the viewer by inducing some kind of
mystical experience. Abbot Suger claimed that, When out of my delight
in the beauty of the house of God the loveliness of the many-coloured
gems has called me away from essential cares I can be transported from
this inferior to that higher world.17
Contemplation of his abbey church, including its wonderful cross
on the golden altar, which famously lifted him to this higher state beyond
the mundane, might have propelled him forward in time to the new gold
and jewelled Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation, descending
like a bride to meet her husband. Abbot Suger, however, looked back to
the Old Testament: Thou wast in the pleasures of the Paradise of God
[Eden]: every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, the topaz and
the jasper, the chrysolite, and the onyx, and the beryl, the sapphire, and
the carbuncle, and the emerald (Ezekiel 28v.13).18

16 Herbert L.Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: Broadview Press, 2004), 34.
Laurence H. Stooky, The Gothic Cathedral as Heavenly Jerusalem: Liturgical and
Theological Sources, in Gesta VIII/1 (1969), 3541.
17 Panofsky, Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St-Denis, 65.
18 Panofsky, Abbot Suger on the Abbey Church of St Denis, 65. Elizabeth Holt, A
Documentary History of Art, vol. 1, 30.
34 Chapter 1

Here the prophet Ezekiel addressed the King of Tyre, sumptuously

dressed and perfect in beauty as he walked among the sparkling gems of
the Garden of Eden. The description was an adaptation of a Paradise myth
found more widely in the Middle East, in which carnelian fruits hanging
on bushes and leaves made of lapis lazuli graced the garden of the gods.19
Ezekiel seems to recall a Hebrew tradition which had linked this garden
with Eden, thus associating it with the beginning of the world and with
the Fall of Man: the king of Tyre also was to be driven out and to lose
status because of the iniquity found in him (Ezekiel 28v.15). The beauty
of Abbot Sugers building, which enabled him to see beyond the material
to that which is immaterial and to be transported to a strange region of
the universe, removed him temporarily from the time and situation of his
everyday life as he recalled a lost Eden. Precedent, which had demonstrated
a requirement to employ costly ritual objects and to adorn the house of
God with the splendour of its art, also evoked the memory of Paradise.

Models of Behaviour

A panel in the first Bible of the Poor window of the north choir aisle in
Canterbury cathedral depicts Daniel, Job and Noah seated in a row, about
to be crowned by angels (front cover). These were Ezekiels three righteous
men, whose exemplary behaviour appears to have been legendary (Ezekiel
14v.14). Although Daniel, of the book of that name, lived some time after
Ezekiel and the text of Job was probably written later, in the Middle Ages
they were understood as the known Old Testament characters of those
names. Origen, the third-century scholar from Alexandria, had expanded
on their role as models in his sermons on Ezekiel:

19 The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated N.K.Sanders (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,

1977), 100.
Precedent 35

Just as the man Israel ( Jacob) begets the people of Israel, the nation, so Noah begets
Noah, those who follow the actions of Daniel become Daniel and those who imitate
the patience of Job become Job. In repeating their virtues the disciple identifies with
them: consider yourself if you did what Noah did you will become like Noah.20

Daniels story was set in the Babylonian and Persian empires. He had
been chosen with other exiles to serve in the royal court but refused to wor-
ship any king or god other than the Hebrew God, from whom he derived
his wisdom and the ability to interpret dreams. His imprisonment in the
lions den resulted from the jealousy of supervisors and governors who
feared that he would be elevated to a position above them. They forced
King Darius to keep his own temporary order that no one should peti-
tion any god or person except the king himself. The Latin version of the
biblical book includes a second episode of Daniel thrown to lions, after he
had exposed the trickery of the priests of Bel in making the Babylonians
believe that their idol was alive and thus a real god (Daniel 14). On this
occasion the prophet Habakkuk in Judaea, setting out with provisions for
some reapers, was diverted by an angel who grasped his hair and carried
him and the food to Daniel.
Job was an upright and God-fearing man, whose faithfulness was chal-
lenged through a series of calamities in which his children died, his many
possessions were destroyed and his body covered with sores. His wife and
friends who came to comfort him assumed that everything had happened
as a punishment from God and urged him to repent. Job maintained his
innocence, unimpressed both by their long discourses and by the view
that wealth was a reward for piety or impoverishment the consequence of
wrongdoing. Although he cursed the day of his birth and questioned God,
he never lost faith. Rather, he emerged from his experiences with a greater
awareness of divine power and wisdom, an acknowledgement of his own
limited understanding ( Job 42v.3) and was blessed with more children
and restored fortunes.

20 Origen, Homlies sur Ezchiel IV.4, translated Marcel Borret, sources chrtiennes
no.352 (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 1989), 173.
36 Chapter 1

Noah was a preacher of justice according to the New Testament (2

Peter 2v.5). He had lived during a time of great wickedness when God
decided to destroy humans, whose hearts were constantly set on evil, along
with the creatures placed under their control (Genesis 6vv.58). The right-
eous Noah was told to build an ark and to take his family and representa-
tives of each animal and bird species into it so that they would survive the
coming flood. The rain continued for forty days, then the water subsided
during the next one hundred and fifty days, allowing the ark to rest on the
mountains of Armenia. Noah had sent out a raven that circled round and a
dove which returned to the ark before any trees became visible. When the
dove went out again seven days later it came back with a sprig of olive in its
beak and the third time it stayed away (Genesis 8vv.1112), indicating that
dry land was visible. After his family and animals left the ark, Noah offered
sacrifices. God established a covenant with all living beings, promising that
the rainbow would be a sign that there would not be another universally
destructive flood. Noahs upright life and response to the request to build
the ark had ensured the continuity of life.
Each of these Old Testament characters was featured in separate single
images as early as Roman catacomb art. They were examples of a faithfulness
and piety which, although not averting threatening situations, had resulted
in deliverance after times of endurance. Job was depicted as an isolated,
seated figure covered in sores.21 He became associated with Patience in
the Psychomachia of Prudentius, which described a battle between virtues
and vices, and he was to appear in the early eleventh-century Bamberg
Apocalypses, for instance, with this personified virtue beside him holding his
ulcerated wrist.22 Incidents from his life, on capitals at Pamplona cathedral
to the wall paintings from Saint Stephens chapel, Westminster, of which
fragments are now displayed in the British Museum, London, illustrate
the biblical account of his struggle with apparent injustice and misfortune

21 James Stevenson, The Catacombs: Rediscovered Monuments of Early Christianity

(London: Thames and Hudson, 1978), 76.
22 Bamberg: Staatsbib., MS Misc. Bib., 140. William M. Hinkle, The Portal of the
Saints at Reims Cathedral (New York: College Art Association with Art Bulletin,
Archaeological Institute of America Monographs XIII 1965), 57.
Precedent 37

and witnessed to his perseverance.23 His feasting with family and friends,
after his ordeals, became a corresponding image in fifteenth-century books
to the ultimate triumph of the Christian soul gathered by God (Fig. 38).
Daniel was cited in early Christian funerary prayers which asked for
the soul of the deceased to be delivered, as he had been from the lions.24
In the catacomb art his example, that is a precedent of rescue as a reward
of faith, may already have been combined with allegorical interests. Lions,
who were thought to breathe on their stillborn young to give them life, were
considered to be representations of resurrection. In medieval art, other epi-
sodes from Daniels story, including his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzars
dream of a stone detaching itself from a mountain to destroy a statue with
clay feet and head and torso made of different metals, lent themselves to
allegory or were used as foreshadowings of events in the life of Christ.
Unlike Job, Daniel had not been absorbed into one of the virtues. None-
the-less the general message he conveyed was a simple one, that faithfulness
and endurance would be rewarded (Fig. 6).
Noah and the ark, too, in Christian thought soon took on other mean-
ings. Beside his role as a precedent for correct morality, Origen saw him
as a figure of Christ, the ark as the Church and the animals in the ark
as Christians saved by the Church.25 The unfolding Genesis story, how-
ever, with its warning of the consequences of wickedness for the whole of
humanity, as well as its interest in the natural world and explanation of
the rainbow, made it both immediate and a useful vehicle for presenting
the importance of good behaviour. In the Noah window in the north aisle
of Chartres cathedral, this upright mans response to God is contrasted
with the behaviour of giants on earth consorting with women.26 Noah
follows instructions to construct an ark, which floats on the water, while

23 Samuel Terrien, The Iconography of Job through the Centuries. Artists as Biblical
Interpreters (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania University Press, 1996).
24 E.Mle, LArt religieux du douzime sicle en France (Paris: Armand Collin, 1940),49.
25 Origen: Homlies sur Gense II.3, translated Louis Doutreleau, sources chrtiennes
no.7 (Paris: Cerf ), 905.
26 Colette Manhes-Deremble, Les vitraux narratifs de la cathdrale de Chartres: tudes
iconographiques (Paris: Lopard dor, 1993), 1669, window 47.
38 Chapter 1

several of the stained glass panels illustrate evil people drowning. After his
family has disembarked with the animals and has begun to cultivate the
vine, another contrast between the righteous Noah and the consequence
of wrongdoing is highlighted when he sits in judgement cursing his son
Ham. Interestingly, the biblical episode which led to Hams condemnation
was omitted from the Chartres window, possibly because it placed Noah
himself in an unfavourable light. He had abused the fruit of the vine by
becoming drunk and lay naked in his tent. Ham, instead of covering his
father whom he saw in this undignified state, had gone to tell his broth-
ers so that they too could mock him (Genesis 9vv.205). At the end of
the pictorial sequence at Chartres, the upright Noah and his wife kneel in
prayer beneath God and the rainbow (Fig. 7).

Fig. 6 Daniel in the Lions Den, Amiens Cathedral, west front, thirteenth century.
Photo: J.A. Kidd.
Precedent 39

Fig. 7 Noah and his Wife after the Flood, Chartres Cathedral, north aisle window,
detail, thirteenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind permission.

These three righteous men in the Canterbury window had come to

represent more than the direct examples of their individual lives. They
were placed beside the sower of the New Testament parable (Matthew
13vv.313), broadcasting seed on good ground which would bear fruit of a
hundred, sixty or thirty grains: they are those who hear the message, under-
stand it and carry it out according to the storys explanation (v.23). Around
the images at Canterbury the verses read that God sowed the words of the
Father, from these his fruit increased on the good ground three-fold; his
own crown was given to each.27 Augustine had written of them in the order

27 Madeline H. Caviness, The Windows ofChrist Church Cathedral, Canterbury (London:

Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press, 1981), 1223.
40 Chapter 1

they appear at Canterbury and linked them to the parable of the Sower,
suggesting that Daniel brought forth a hundred-, Job sixty- and Noah
thirty-fold.28 Through commentary they also accrued collective meanings
as different groups of Christians: Noah was a model for the rulers of the
Church since he had steered the ark during the flood, Daniel could inspire
those living chaste and devout lives because he had served God in celibacy,
while Job represented those concerned with family and earthly duties.29 The
iconography has moved away from Old Testament example untouched by
the explanations of scholarship and from the directness of precedent, but
the three men, crowned for their virtue, have retained and extended their
role as representatives of good lives. They would have been recognised by
the pilgrims who flocked to Canterbury, even though Augustines rather
remote exegesis would have been known only to the programme makers.
In their present arrangement, a panel from a window in the North East
transept depicting the three virtuous states of virginity, continence and
marriage, is set above them.
Another figure who inspired the medieval world was Joseph. He
had also been the victim of personal circumstances, had displayed moral
rectitude and was, like Daniel, finally rewarded for his loyalty to God
with political power in a foreign country. Whereas there were other Old
Testament characters acclaimed for their faith and deeds whose fame lay
in specific and proactive feats of bravery which turned adverse situations
around, Josephs story, with its domestic setting and focus on relationships,
offered models to which individuals could relate. Gideon, Esther and Judith,
whose heroic actions were told in the stone vaulting of the north porch of
Chartres cathedral and in the windows of the Sainte Chapelle, Paris, had
been national heroes. Gideon had defeated the Midianite enemy at the time
of the settlement in the Promised Land ( Judges 68); Esther had dared to
ask her husband the Persian king for favours for the Hebrew people when
there were plots to destroy them; Judith had entered the Assyrian camp to

28 Augustine, Quaestiones Evangeliorum I.12, ed., Almut Mutzenbecher (Turnhout:

Brepols, 1980), 14.
29 Berthold Kress, Noah, Daniel and Job The Three Righteous Men of Ezekiel 14.14
in Medieval Art, JWCI LXVII (2004), 25967.
Precedent 41

decapitate its commander, Holofernes. Joseph was son, brother, exile, the
man of authority who had a score to settle but who was able to help his
family when their fortunes changed for the worse. Many precedents were
set in the long saga beginning in Genesis 37. Although his mistreatment
came to be interpreted as a foreshadowing of the betrayal of Christ and his
elevation to the royal chariot as anticipating Christs Ascension, his story
offered scope for the preacher, reader or viewer to distinguish among its
characters different motives and consequences. Sequences of the Joseph
chapters in art were able to emphasise different aspects of the narrative to
suit their various purposes.
Joseph was the son of Rachel and Jacob, favoured by his father because
he was a son of his old age and child of the wife he had worked for four-
teen years to marry. His brothers anger had been kindled when he related
dreams of sheaves of corn and of stars, the sun and moon, bowing down
to him, suggesting that his family would somehow come to respect his
superiority. They were also jealous of Jacobs gift to him of a coat of many
colours. When Joseph was sent to visit his brothers tending the flocks,
they saw the dreamer coming and conspired to kill him. Instead, they
threw him into a pit, sold him to Ishmaelite traders for twenty pieces of
silver, dipped his robe in goats blood and returned home claiming that
their brother had been savaged by a wild animal. Joseph was taken to Egypt
where he was sold on to a royal official, Potiphar, whose wife later accused
him of attempting to rape her and he was jailed. After interpreting dreams
of the palace butler and baker in prison he eventually came to the kings
notice and, having explained Pharaohs dreams of cows and wheat, was
put in charge of storing corn during the seven years of good harvests for
use during the seven years of famine. He became governor of Egypt, was
given a ring engraved with the royal seal, a gold chain and a robe of silk
according to the Latin version of Genesis and rode in Pharaohs second
chariot (Genesis 41vv.423). The rest of the saga relates in great detail how
Josephs brothers came to Egypt to buy corn, bringing Jacob with them on
their final visit, after which they settled in the north of the country. Several
generations later, when a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph came
to the throne, these people who were his descendants living near the Nile
delta were considered to pose a threat and were made slaves (Exodus 1).
42 Chapter 1

These adventures were frequently portrayed, the most well-known

examples perhaps being the early thirteenth-century stained glass narra-
tive windows in northern French cathedrals, but there are other notable
examples, including the sixth-century ivory chair of Bishop Maximianus
in Ravenna. Although this throne falls outside the remit of the Middle
Ages, it illustrates early interest in Josephs story and, in this case, of his
role in Egypt as a precedent for leaders. The saga was also featured in fuller
Genesis sequences, in the nave vault paintings at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe
and the sculpture frieze around the Salisbury cathedral Chapter House.
Characters involved in the unfolding stages of the drama were precedents
of either virtuous or immoral people. William of Bourges pointed out in
his Book of the Wars of the Lord that the wicked are Judah and his broth-
ers, the Ishmaelite traders, Potiphars wife and the baker whose flesh was
eaten by birds. The righteous are Jacob, Joseph himself and the Pharaohs
butler who regained his position.30 These people were as integral to some
uses of the saga as Joseph himself.
A comparison of the stained glass windows of Joseph at Bourges and
Auxerre cathedrals illustrates how different emphases could be taken from
the biblical account. At Bourges the narrative, depicted in sixteen episodes,
concentrates on the family. Joseph dreams, then the obedient son is sent
off by Jacob to his brothers who form the focus of the next four chrono-
logical scenes. The saga moves to Egypt and continues with the episodes of
Potiphars wife, Joseph in prison where he converses with a fellow inmate
possibly the good butler while the other sleeps, Pharaohs dream of
cows and Joseph before Pharaoh. Interest then returns to the brothers
who have made the journey from Canaan to buy corn. A cup is discovered
in Benjamins sack, giving Joseph the opportunity to keep him with him
when the others return to their father. As the brothers plead for Benjamin,
the ruler of Egypt finally reveals his identity to them. He then embraces
Benjamin and, in the upper roundel, appears to welcome him into his
palace (Fig. 8).

30 Guillaume de Bourges, Livres des guerres du Seigneur, translated Gilbert Dahan,

sources chrtiennes no. 288 (Paris: du Cerf, 1981), Ch. 30, 230.
Precedent 43

Fig. 8 Joseph receives Benjamin into his Palace, Bourges Cathedral, ambulatory
window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind permission.

Fig. 9 Joseph rides in his Chariot, Auxerre Cathedral, ambulatory window, detail,
thirteenth century. Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind permission.
44 Chapter 1

In the nineteen frame picture series at Auxerre the narrative begins

with Joseph divested of his robe and ends with him, in his clothing of
authority, riding in the chariot provided for him by Pharaoh. There is no
initial dream to kindle the brothers anger and no final reconciliation.
Unusual prominence is given to the kings servants; after Pharaohs dream,
for instance, the butler waits on him at table. Here Josephs rise to power is
the main message of the story (Fig. 9). It has been suggested that contem-
porary interest lies behind both sequences. At Auxerre the attainment of
high office from servitude presents a model for those who would not have
aspired to leave their humble situations; at Bourges the younger sons, who
were being denied inheritance in the changing social structures, are the ones
who gain most.31 Joseph and Benjamin, too, are examples of those have
been oppressed, the first thrown into a pit and sold, the second wrongly
implicated in the cup in the sack episode. Benjamin, who had not been
party to the initial jealousy and its consequences, is given special treatment
at the summit of the Bourges story.
Since an important aspect of Josephs life was his appointment to
be second in command to Pharaoh, depictions of his story were often
associated with leaders. Since the early centuries of Christianity he had
been acknowledged as model for a bishop because of his display of moral
integrity and his achievements as the just, prudent and chaste ruler. He was
also an adviser, entrusted with the welfare of the Egyptians. In his official
appointment with the ring, cloak (stole) and gold necklace he had, further,
paralleled the ceremonial ordination to the Episcopal see.32 On the ivory
throne of Bishop Maximianus in Ravenna, Josephs Byzantine head-dress
is a representation of that offered to an Eastern ruler by the senate, thus an
indication of the bishops secular role as state administrator. In the West,
Joseph was often depicted as the royal representative overseeing the work

31 Madeline H.Caviness, Biblical Stories in Windows: Were they Bibles for the Poor?
in Paintings on Glass. Studies in Romanesque and Gothic Monumental Art (Aldershot:
Variorum, 1997), XIII, 1467.
32 Meyer Schapiro, The Joseph Scenes on the Maximianus Throne in Ravenna (1952),
in Late Antique, Early Christian and Medieval Art; Selected Papers, vol. 3 (London:
Chatto and Windus, 1980), 3447.
Precedent 45

of gathering and allocating corn, as he does in the Salisbury Cathedral

Chapter House. As well as his story embroidered on a cape of Edward I
and painted on the palace walls of Henry III, several thirteenth-century
French manuscripts from royal circles include the Joseph cycle. A column
figure in the north porch at Chartres, probably Joseph, wears a diadem and
holds a sceptre, suggesting kingly rule.33 Identification of this statue in the
west bay of the north porch and other aspects of its meaning, including the
exemplary nature of Josephs character expressed in extra biblical literature,
are discussed in more detail in the next chapter. He was a precedent for the
good bishop who combines religious with civil, administrative, virtues.34
He was also a model for the secular officer of state, both of whom should
have the concerns of their people at heart.


Charlemagne wished to create a new Roman Empire. He adopted the title

of Emperor and made his capital at Aachen into a new Rome through its
architecture and by copying, or bringing north, secular and religious art
from the imperial city. He had seen in the Scriptures, however, the norm,
authority and model for which superiors should act towards their sub-
jects and subjects towards their superiors.35 His friends were encouraged
to call him David, after the Old Testament king. When his son Louis the
Pious was consecrated at Rheims in 816, the liturgy, pronounced by Pope
Stephen IV, continued this biblical theme: Blessed be the Lord, who has
granted us to see the second David.36

33 Marie-Dominique Gauthier-Walter, Joseph, figure idale du roi?, Cahiers

archologiques 38 (1990), 2535.
34 Schapiro, The Joseph Scenes, 36.
35 Walter Ullmann, The Carolingian Renaissance and the Idea of Kingship (London;
Methuen, 1969), 17.
36 Ullmann, The Carolingian Renaissance, 73.
46 Chapter 1

After the collapse and division of Charlemagnes empire, another

attempt to revive the glory of Rome in the West was made in the Germanic
territories under the first of the Ottonian rulers. Otto the Great was
crowned king in the Palace Chapel at Aachen in 936 and anointed Emperor
by Pope John in Rome in 962. A crown thought to have been associated
with this latter coronation, now in the Imperial Treasury in Vienna, depicts
in its figured sections the enthroned Christ between two cherubim, Kings
David and Solomon and Isaiah the prophet with King Hezekiah.37 Each
of these four cloisonn enamelled panels carries an inscription. In the first,
Christ speaks using words uttered by Wisdom in the book of Proverbs: By
me all kings reign (Proverbs 8v.15). David, founder of the Old Testament
hereditary monarchy (2 Kings [2 Samuel] 7) is recalled for his discernment
and understanding in the kingly office. Solomons inscription Fear God
and depart from evil alludes to his renowned wisdom (3 Kings [1 Kings]
3). The Hezekiah episode refers to the message given him by the prophet
Isaiah that his reign was to be extended by fifteen years because he had
walked in truth (Isaiah 38vv.18). These sentences echoed the corona-
tion liturgy, drawing on the Old Testament in presenting the concept of
an ideal ruler as one who recognised a higher authority.
At Rheims, where future kings of France were crowned, there is a
thirteenth-century public display of kingly precedent above the west rose
window of the cathedral. Amongst other scenes, David encounters Goliath
(1 Kings [1Samuel 17]), Solomon is anointed by Zadok the priest, then prays
for wisdom and makes his judgement between two women and a baby (1
[3] Kings 1 and 3), all of them themes that reflect the ordo of Louis VIII
requesting that the king will overcome his enemies and that wisdom and
peace will multiply in the person of the king.38 Another image in the series
is that of David anointed by Samuel who is dressed as Aaron, founder of
the Old Testament line of High Priests, complete with jewelled breastplate
and a turban, depicted here in the shape of a domed mitre. Simmering ten-
sions in the province of Rheims between secular and religious leaders came

37 Lasko, Ars Sacra, 834 and 274 no.12. Illustrated Lasko, Ars Sacra, Plate 75; John
Beckwith, Early Medieval Art (London: Thames and Hudson, 1969), no.108.
38 Hinkle, The Portal of the Saints at Reims Cathedral, 42.
Precedent 47

to a head in the 1230s when King Louis IX confiscated the temporalities

of the bishop of Beauvais.39 Celebration of the sacraments was threatened
and violence flared between clergy and royal supporters in a wave of anti-
clericalism. The Old Testament not only offered models of kingship but
had presented precedents of monarchy installed by priests and prophets.
It had been Samuel who, against his better judgement initially, had set up
the monarchic rule with divine approval (1 Kings [Samuel] 8) and been
the channel through which Gods choice of David was made known (1
Kings [Samuel] 16). Aaron represented the official priesthood. Here at
Rheims the itinerant seer Samuel has become a model of authority for the
organised religious structure, portrayed in the High Priestly vestments and
more contemporary episcopal headwear as he consecrates the king. This is
a reminder of biblical practice in which the monarchy functioned through
the actions of religious leaders, as well as a reflection of the message of the
Church, found in writings from the Carolingian age onwards, that he who
receives the unction is inferior to him who gives it.40
In England, too, against a background of continued wrangling between
Church and state, there are images expressing the superior role of religious
authorities in anointing and crowning the monarch. The thirteenth-cen-
tury Glazier Psalter, now in New York, is prefaced by King David flanked
by two bishops placing the crown on his head in what appears to be a
contemporary coronation scene.41 In the Rutland Psalter, of similar date,
the Old Testament king is anointed by one bishop and crowned by the
other, who also touches the sceptre held by the king as though to endow
it with spiritual power.42 The whole question of the ritual of anointing was

39 Stephen Murray, Notre-Dame, Cathedral of Amiens: the Power of Change in Gothic

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 75.
40 Hinkle, The Portal of the Saints at Reims Cathedral, 32.
41 New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, MS. G 25, fol. 4. Meyer Schapiro, An Illuminated
English Psalter of the Early Thirteenth Century (1960), in Late Antique, Early
Christian and Medieval Art, Selected Papers, vol. 3 (London: Chatto and Windus,
1980), 32954, fig. 11.
42 Now London: British Library, Additional MS.62925. Illustrated Schapiro, An
Illuminated English Psalter, fig. 16.
48 Chapter 1

being debated in the medieval Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury,

Stephen Langton, in the early thirteenth century, had stated that the king
himself is anointed to the service of the Church. In this example from the
Rutland Psalter, Christ oversees the event. There is a crescent moon behind
him as he extends one hand towards the scene while holding the sun disk in
the other, shaped as though it were the consecrated bread of the Mass. The
image may be making the theological point that the king who receives his
crown from the Church is as the moon to the sun, the lesser light reflect-
ing the greater power.43 A secular monarch reigns only with the authority
bestowed on him by Christ and pronounced by the leaders of the Church,
as Samuel, the religious leader of his time, took his instructions from God
and authorised David to be king.
Elsewhere and with a different purpose behind the iconography,
priestly authority was played down. The extensive series of Old Testament
scenes in the thirteenth-century windows of the Sainte Chapelle, Paris,
built by Louis IX to house Christs crown of thorns, emphasise kingship.
Depiction of priestly advisers here is rare, while the selection and presenta-
tion of scenes tend to diminish any intermediary ecclesiastical role. Old
Testament leaders are acclaimed by the Hebrew people. There are examples
of actions carried out by secular heroes which, in the biblical books, were
confined to priests. An example is of Joshua himself supporting the Ark of
the Covenant as it crosses the River Jordan to enter the Promised Land,
rather than a true reflection of the Old Testament text which stated that
only members of the priestly tribe of Levi carried it ( Joshua 3vv.17).44
There are, too, many battle scenes in the Sainte Chapelle windows which
illustrate the military prowess of the biblical armies while their non-priestly
leaders, such as David and Joshua, march prominently with their people.
Inclusion of the narratives of Judith and Esther, devoid of priestly interest,
record these womens bravery as national heroes.
A number of coronations also feature in the windows. Precedent was
altered though, to give some figures a royal identity when, historically, they

43 Schapiro, An Illuminated English Psalter, 344.

44 Alyce A.Jordan, Visualising Kingship in the Windows of the Sainte Chapelle (Turnhout:
Brepols, 2002), 249.
Precedent 49

never aspired to such a role. Moses, Gideon and Joshua sometimes wear
crowns but were never made kings because they led the Hebrews to victory
in the pre-monarchic period of the Old Testament. Gideon had actually
refused to accept an offer of kingship, claiming that God alone would be
ruler ( Judges 8vv.223). Diminution of priestly function at the Sainte
Chapelle, together with the more favoured acclamations of leaders by the
Hebrew people and elevation of certain biblical figures to kingship, have
been linked to Coronation ritual in thirteenth-century France, in which the
king was welcomed by twelve peers ofthe realm.45 Although six of these did
come from the Church there was nonetheless a sense of direct relationship
between populace and king. Although the crowns of Moses, Gideon and
Joshua may metaphorically signify their leadership in the place dedicated
to Christs crown of thorns and although in Jewish legend Moses was given
a crown, a defining of the spiritual ancestors of the contemporary French
monarchy has caused Old Testament precedent to be visually compromised.

Even though the Old Testament was so fundamental to the outlook of
the Middle Ages, there were those who cautioned against an unfettered
use of precedent. Simply plucking an episode from the Old Testament
did not necessarily constitute proof of the validity of a particular stance.
In controversies between Church and state, for example, both sides could
appeal to the Scriptures. In the eleventh century a certain Wenrich ofTrier
in Germany, who was hostile to the reforms of Pope Gregory VII and to
his assertion of papal supremacy over secular rulers, had pointed out that
King Solomon deposed the priest Abiathar for one of his own choosing,
Zadok. Criticism of this example from the opposing camp claimed that
Solomon was not exercising his own, royal, authority over the priesthood
but was, rather, bringing about Gods earlier curse on the priestly line of
Eli (3[1]Kings 2v.27).46

45 Jordan, Visualising Kingship, 27.

46 Ian S. Robinson, The Bible in the Investiture Contest: The South German Gregorian
Circle, in The Bible in the Medieval World: Essays in Memory of Beryl Smalley eds,
Katherine Walsh and Diana Wood, Ecclesiastical History Society 4 (Oxford:
Blackwell, 1985), 812.
50 Chapter 1

There were also those who felt ill at ease with Church customs or
debates based on ancient rites which might be seen as reversions to Jewish
practice and unnecessary attempts at Judaising. An appeal to precedent
had the potential to move the Church backwards, to deny history and to
force its rituals to degenerate into acceptance of an obsolete paradigm. The
attaching of bells to the hems of priests garments simply because it was
an Old Testament practice may have been one such example of a regres-
sive step.47 Precedent at its worst could make an absolute of a model that
had been an ephemeral part of a long literary and historical development.
However, it was the authority of the Old Testament that generally pre-
vailed. A professor of Canon Law in Italy, William Durandus, compiling
his work on practice and symbolism in churches at the time when Rheims
cathedral was being built, berated those who were reluctant to accept the
import of the Hebrew Scriptures. He found that the anointing of religious
and temporal princes both derived their origins from the Old Testament:
in Leviticus the High Priest was distinguished by having had the oil of
unction poured on his head (Leviticus 21v.10) and Samuel had turned
the horn of oil over Davids head to anoint him king (1 Kings [1 Samuel]
16). Following earlier thought, he believed that the sacred unction was a
sacrament.48 The Church, Durandus claimed, doth not Judaize when she
observeth the unctions in her sacraments, as some old writers, who know
neither the Scriptures nor the power of God do falsely say.49 Precedent did
not involve regression to a former, out-of-date, custom but rather supplied
a divinely sanctioned model to be re-applied when circumstances required.
This approach had also been taken by Theophilus. He had cited the
wilderness example of Bezalel and the beauty of Solomons temple, but he
encouraged his protges to make containers for the bones of Christian
saints and censers which replicated a vision of the new Jerusalem.50 Abbot

47 Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Art, 32.

48 Ullmann, The Carolingian Renaissance, 74.
49 William (Guillaume) Durand, Rationale divinorum officiorum, Book 1, trans-
lated John M. Neale and Benjamin Webb as The Symbolism of Churches and Church
Ornaments (Leeds: T.W.Green, 1843) 172, 175.
50 Theophilus, On Divers Arts, 80, 132.
Precedent 51

Suger indicated an irreversible progression from vessels of the old regime

to ritual objects for the new and greater covenant. An acceptable aesthetic
was based not on exact recreation of the art of the Old Testament for its
own sake, but on its principles of what was fitting and necessary for cor-
rect worship. Christian medieval art was in no way compromised when it
looked for inspiration or models in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Moral precedent did not, of course, require exactly the same circum-
stances as those of the former examples of piety and endurance. Finding
oneself in danger or in alien territory, difficulties within the family, or
any temptation to overstep an ethical code might provide recognisable
links with Old Testament situations. The boundaries of moral principle
remained more constant than the historical settings in which they oper-
ated. Christian virtues of faith, faithfulness and hope required the same
response to God as that exhibited by the Old Testament models portrayed
in art. Consequences of the abuse of authority, too, offered by many Old
Testament examples, including the fall of the king of Tyre expelled from
his jewelled Eden because he set himself on a level with God, or the humili-
ation of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon condemned to eat grass like an ox
for the same reason (Daniel 4v.22), provided the same salutary lessons as
the positive calls to right action. Alongside depictions of bravery there are
warnings against idolatry in the Sainte Chapelle, based on the books of
Kings. Solomon worships idols with two of his pagan wives and a prophet
directs an accusing finger at him as he sleeps.51 Louis IX might have been
inspired by the former military leaders as he crusaded against the infidel,
but Solomon, whose reign was the most peaceful of the Old Testament
kings, was a reminder of how apostasy as well as war could lead to a break-
up of the kingdom (3[1]Kings 11vv.913).
A wide canvas of human experiences, collective and personal, spread
out in the biblical books was thus utilised by the Church in its art. From
the temptations of political power to the fate of a young boy visiting his
brothers tending their animals, or from the catastrophe of the capture
of Jerusalem to the inner wrestling of Job, precedent could serve most

51 Jordan, Visualising Kingship, 25.

52 Chapter 1

situations for those whose world view was ordered and framed by the
Bible. When the twelfth-century chronicler Orderic Vitalis recorded in his
memoir how he had been sent to Normandy at the age of ten, knowing no
one, his thoughts seem to have turned automatically to the Old Testament
boy who had also found himself in a foreign land: Like Joseph in Egypt,
he wrote, I heard a language that I did not understand.52

52 Ordericus Vitalis, Ecclesiastical History, translated Marjorie Chibnall (Oxford:

Clarendon Press 196980), vol. VI, 555.
Chapter 2


A use of the Old Testament as precedent had addressed contemporary

concerns by plucking examples from its texts, but a more rigorous approach
to the Bible through scholarly analysis lay behind most medieval Christian
iconography. Dipping into the Scriptures to support political or military
activity, to legitimise status, to identify exemplary behaviour or to encour-
age artistic activity, required little if any explanation or interpretation. The
instances were cited to back-up particular issues and were quoted as final
proofs or justifications for actions. Where the Old Testament was studied
systematically, as the starting point for understanding the revealed Word
of God from which hidden truths could be discovered, layers of meaning
in the texts were uncovered and scrutinised.
Interpretations of single words as well as of whole passages gave rise
to familiar visual features. The Latin cornatu (horned), describing the face
of Moses as he descended Mount Sinai (Exodus 34v.29), took a particular
slant from the Hebrew from which it was translated and produced one of
the most common attributes of any Old Testament character. In Genesis
the forbidden fruit of the tree in the Garden of Eden is not named, but it
became the apple in Latin malum associated with the same word mean-
ing wicked or evil. Reference has already been made in the Introduction to
the Latin word for throat which lay behind discussion ofAdams sin as that
of gluttony, expressed in art by his raising a hand to his neck in the Garden
of Eden, at Amiens (Fig. 1), on a capital at Vzelay and in other examples.1
A well-known play on virga, the rod, in Isaiahs prophecy of a future ruler
coming from the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11v.1), associated the word with the

1 Kirk Ambrose, A Visual Pun at Vzelay: Gesture and Meaning on a Capital repre-
senting the Fall of Man, Traditio 55 (2000), 10523.
54 Chapter 2

Virgin Mary, virgo Maria: she actually forms the stem of the tree of Jesse
in the Lambeth Bible frontispiece to Isaiah 9 (Fig. 25).2
In addition to the Latin Bible which served as the standard text for
traditional approaches to exegesis within the four broad categories of his-
tory, allegory, spiritual and ethical meaning, there had been other, ver-
nacular, versions of some of the canonical books since the eighth century
in England. These incorporated non-biblical teaching and sometimes
made the characters more immediate. The so-called Caedmon Genesis, for
instance, copied and illustrated in an eleventh-century manuscript now
in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, describes in its account of creation
what had become the doctrine of a fall of rebel angels; it makes the men
of Sodom ale-drinkers and Tubal-Cain, who in Genesis was the founder
of metalwork, the first ploughman.3 It is possible that the English work
Solomon and Saturn reflected an Anglo-Saxon linguistic link which made
the murder weapon used by Cain to kill Abel a jawbone: the word cinban
(jawbone) may have been suggested by a combination of the name Cain and
bana, slayer.4 Several centuries later, in the East window of York Minster,
a long bone with prominent teeth is the instrument wielded by Cain as
he attacks his brother.
Christianity had long adopted the Jewish practice of expanding biblical
stories, filling in gaps by way of explanation or making the accounts more
vivid. Many Old Testament passages left questions unanswered. How did
Jacob and his sons know that there was corn in Egypt during the famine?
What happened to Adam and Eve immediately after their departure from
Paradise? Sequels grew up, sometimes absorbing rabbinic tales, inventing
characters such as the fool at King Solomons court or speculating on
untold aspects of the lives of biblical persons. One writing known to the
Middle Ages imagined events leading to the marriage of Joseph to Asenath,

2 London, Lambeth Palace library, MS. 3, fol. 198r.

3 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Junius 11. Elzbieta Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts
9001066. A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles, vol. 2 (London:
Harvey Miller, 1976), cat. no. 58.
4 Meyer Schapiro, Cains Jawbone that did the First Murder, (1942) in Late Antique,
Early Christian and Medieval Art, Selected Papers, vol. 3 (London: Chatto and
Windus, 1980), 24965.
Word 55

who is merely a name in the Genesis saga. The Old Testament itself was
not only the foundation for an enormous corpus of scholarly interpreta-
tion, a provider of good stories which could assume modern dress but also
a stimulus to the imagination which extended its narratives into detailed
and colourful tales and sometimes, from these, into art.


Search for meaning through the word had inevitably to accommodate

different translations of biblical texts. The books of the Old Testament
which were originally written in Hebrew were the Jewish Scriptures. During
the third century BCE they were translated into Greek, a task traditionally
accomplished by seventy or seventy two elders which gave them the name
Septuagint, the Latin for seventy. Incorporated into this body of literature
over the next century or so were other Greek writings, such as the books of
Maccabees, that provided an expanded version ofthe Old Testament which
was accepted by the Christian Church but not in Judaism. Christianity
emerged when Greek was still the cultural language of the Mediterranean
world and this was the medium in which the New Testament was written.
During the latter part of the second century, however, Latin was becoming
the spoken word of the church in Rome, where the organisation of Western
Christendom was increasingly focused. At the same time Tertullian, a
Christian scholar in North Africa, indicated that Latin was now the only
language used there in the churches.
Various translations of the biblical books had already been made into
Latin. Their diversity through North Africa and Europe gave rise to the
need for a standard text which could provide a recognisable and unifying
basis for preachers and scholars. Towards the end of the fourth century the
papal librarian Jerome, at the request of Pope Damasus, undertook the task
of producing such a Bible. After a short time he left for Bethlehem where
he furthered his studies, continued his translations and wrote in a cave that
was to feature in many later depictions of him at work. He consulted Greek
56 Chapter 2

texts alongside the Old Latin versions, learnt Hebrew and created what
became the common Bible of the Western Church, in its now common
language of Latin, the Vulgate. The frontispiece to a Carolingian Bible
produced in Tours illustrates, in pictorial narrative, with explanatory lines
below each scene, Jerome departing in a boat for Bethlehem, dictating his
learning to scribes and distributing copies of his translations to tonsured
monks (Fig. 10).5

Fig. 10 Jerome translates the Vulgate, Paris, Bibliothque nationale, MS. latin 1, fol. 3v,
ninth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.

5 Paris, Bibliothque nationale, MS lat. 1, fol. 3v.

Word 57

This Vulgate was essentially the Bible of the Middle Ages, though sub-
ject in the Carolingian era and at later stages to textual revisions which cor-
rected errors that had been made in its transmission. Jerome had included
the later Greek writings as well as the Septuagint numbering of Psalms
which counted the Hebrew 9 and 10 as one unit, thus making the Vulgate
system for subsequent psalms, up to 148, one number below those of the
Hebrew Scriptures. The Roman Catholic Church still recognises the
Vulgate as the correct canon of Scripture, whereas Protestant reformers
were to accept the authority of the Hebrew texts of the Old Testament,
question the validity of the additional Greek writings and sideline them
into the Apocrypha. Medieval art took its biblical imagery from the longer
version of the Old Testament, to which belong the stories of blind Tobit,
Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes and the prophet Habakkuk
miraculously bringing food to Daniel in the lions den.
Manuscripts of the Bible in the Middle Ages, or of partial sections such
as the Psalms or Gospels, often contained prefaces to the books. These had
been written by Jerome, either specifically as prologues or as explanatory
information in letters to individuals and were deemed significant enough
to be copied in the medieval scriptoria. The twelfth-century ceremonial
Bible in Winchester cathedral library, for example, opens with Jeromes
letter to Paulinus of Nola advising him to seek guidance when studying
the Scriptures, so that its mysteries would become clear; his letter to Pope
Desiderius serves as a prologue to the whole of the Old Testament. Initials
to these writings were treated in the same way as those which opened the
sacred texts themselves, painted and historiated, that is containing fig-
ures and scenes.6 Copies of the Vulgate used in the medieval schools also
included written explanation for each verse. These glosses, inserted into
the margins or between the lines of the biblical texts, were extracted from
scholarly commentary. They incorporated teachings based largely on the
writings of the Latin Fathers: Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome and Gregory.
Ambrose had been consecrated bishop of Milan in 374; Augustine, a pagan
convert baptised by Ambrose, who became bishop of Hippo in North

6 Claire Donovan, The Winchester Bible (Winchester: Winchester Cathedral

Enterprises, 1993), 34.
58 Chapter 2

Africa and died in 430, is perhaps the theologian most widely quoted
by art historians. Jerome himself, who had left Rome in 384, died in the
Holy Land in 420 and Pope Gregory the Great, the pontiff who had sent
missionaries from Rome to Kent at the end of the sixth century, died in
604. Their prolific works came to form a classic repertoire of authoritative
writings, copied and discussed by later scholars, which formed the basis of
a standard system of glosses known as the Glossa Ordinaria.7
These interpretations of the Vulgate text were as vital to medieval
study as the Scriptures themselves and had far-reaching consequences for
art. On the one hand their details enriched understanding of the biblical
literature, on the other they could blur distinction between Bible and
commentary so that the image often resulted from an amalgamation of
the translated Word of God with words of exposition. Emile Mle, one
of the key pioneers of medieval iconography, who frequently quoted the
Glossa alongside fuller works when interpreting the art, claimed that it
bewitched the Middle Ages.8 Leaving aside discussion of the date of its
final form and identity of its compilers, it is well attested in the twelfth-
century schools, where it provided a summary and quick reference to cen-
turies of Christian scholarship. It was the norm to follow this traditional
teaching as an integral part of learning, alongside the Scriptures, at the
time when the Church was conveying its message increasingly in visual and
public form. The medieval artist did not stand, so to speak, with his tool
in one hand and a copy of the Old Testament in the other, any more than
the student of the Bible looked to the Vulgate texts and disregarded the
revered learning that lay between their origin and his own understanding.
A perusal of the interlinear comments of the Glossa indicates how certain
figures in art have come to be associated with particular meanings and
why interpretation of Old Testament imagery is not always obvious from
reading the biblical text alone.

7 Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1952), 4666. J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus Series Latina, vols. 11314
(Parisiis: Garnier Fratres, 1879).
8 Emile Mle, The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France in the Thirteenth Century,
translated Dora Nussey (New York: Harper, 1958), 138.
Word 59

As well as these selected scholarly comments, there were other written

texts which explained the meaning of Scripture. Sermons that related to the
doctrinal and biblical aspects of Christian festivals were important because
much medieval iconography reflected key moments in the liturgical year.
Works on the sacraments of the Church incorporated swathes of biblical
quotation and exposition, as did letters and polemic composed by some of
the leading monastic and episcopal authorities. In the thirteenth century,
following centuries of related works, a major encyclopaedic compilation of
learning was produced by Vincent of Beauvais. One of its most influential
forerunners had been Isidore of Sevilles Etymologies, which ranged from
grammar to animal lore, from heresy to gardening tools, from the books
of the Bible to gemstones and trees.9 Vincents Mirror of the world was
divided into four volumes Nature, Instruction, Morals and History and
echoed a worldview based on the Old Testament. Nature, incorporating
animal, vegetable and mineral lore, looked back to the creation in Genesis,
considering its six day pattern and the characteristics of man; History was
first and foremost a progression through the Old Testament to the Church.10
Extracts from the volumes of scholarly writings were sometimes gath-
ered thematically. One manuscript in particular, from the late twelfth and
early thirteenth centuries, generously illustrated and containing collec-
tions of passages from the Church Fathers and later writings, provides a
useful point of reference. The Garden of Delights, Hortus Deliciarum, now
known in a reconstruction from notes describing its written and pictorial
content made before the unique copy was destroyed in a bombardment
of Strasbourg in 1870, was produced by Abbess Herrad of Hohenbourg
in Alsace as instruction for her nuns.11 German terms in some passages
explain Latin words, illustrations and diagrams elucidate the written
extracts of historians, theologians and preachers. Sentences ranging from

9 Sancti Isidori, Hispalensis episcope, opera omnia Etymologies Patrologia Latina 82.
74728 (185062).
10 Emile Mle, The Gothic Image, 236.
11 Herrad, of Landsberg, Abbess of Hohenbourg, Hortus Deliciarum, eds, Rosalie
Green, Michael Evans, Christine Bischoff and Michael Curschmann, 2 vols (London:
Warburg Institute, 1979).
60 Chapter 2

simple statement to complex theological schemes often invade the picture

space to identify characters or indicate their significance. Solomon lying
in his bed, protected by warriors of Israel (Song of Songs 3v.7), attracts
the straightforward explanation, Solomon rests in his couch, that is the
Church.12 Other diagrams are much more intricate, with highly struc-
tured arrangements reflecting a complex theology. A drawing of Christ
as High Priest holding a chalice and standing above the cross and Ark of
the Covenant, surrounded by the Virtues in female bust form, contains
twenty Old Testament quotations (Fig. 40). They are written as antipho-
nal responses moving between the central figure and Virtues, exploring
the theme of sacrifice through comparison of the old system with the
offering of Christ. The Ark of the Covenant here, liberated by the cross,
also represents the Church as Solomon had done in the simpler picture.13
Manuscript illustrations such as these, which combine imagery with
explanation, can be important sources for understanding medieval art
more widely. Herrads drawings, while elucidating specific texts, can pro-
vide insights into more accessible and familiar iconography. In her rather
crowded Crucifixion scene, for example, with features which will be dis-
cussed in more detail in Chapter 6, Synagogue rides an ass beneath Christ
on the cross and Ecclesia holds up a chalice towards the crucified figure (Fig.
45).14 Beside Ecclesia is written the first part of a quotation from the Song
of Songs, Under the apple tree I raised thee up; the verse is completed by
a text beside Synagogue, there thy mother was corrupted (Song of Songs
8v.5). These apparently obscure sayings relate to scholarly interpretation
of the Song of Songs which had divided the text into a three-way spoken
drama, in which the voices of Christ, Ecclesia and Synagogue were assigned
particular verses.15 Christ tells the Church that she was nurtured under
the shadow of the cross, while the Jewish people, who gave birth to her,
have been deflowered under the same tree because they were unwilling to

12 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, vol. 1, 336.

13 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, vol. 1, 112.
14 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, vol. 2, fig. 234 and 1734.
15 Eg. Bede, In Cantica Cantorum, 8.5, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina CXIX B
(Turnhout: Brepols, 1983) 344.
Word 61

understand its significance. Herrads image and words help to explain the
positions of these personifications of the Church and the Jews not only
for the immediate context but for their appearance throughout medieval
art beside the cross.
The above remarks are not to suggest that each individual example of
medieval art was dependent on a direct correspondence with works such
as the Glossa, a detectable commentary or sermon, or on a compendium
of teaching. Once established, the image could take on a life of its own,
having been swept into a general visual vocabulary in which the origin of
the iconography may have been forgotten. When Augustine, Gregory or
other Church Fathers and later scholars are quoted in relation to a work
of art, it is not an indication that the cited text lay immediately behind the
picture; rather it suggests that these writers introduced or perpetuated ideas
which became part of the vast hinterland of biblical interpretation from
which the image emerged. A loosening of ties between attribute and its lit-
erary starting point, however, can lead to anachronisms. Where Moses with
horns meets the God of his ancestors in the burning bush (Exodus 3), the
episode from his later life, in a subsequent chapter of the book of Exodus
which was to give him this attribute, has intruded into the picture. In the
Salisbury Chapter House frieze of the sequence of events from Genesis
and Exodus, for instance, in scenes of the burning bush, the crossing of
the Red Sea, the striking of the rock to find water in the wilderness and
the giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses is horned. Biblical text and
scholarship, or what may be understood as the collective learning behind
the image, has produced a visual convention in which the horns identify
Moses in any context.

Moses with Horns

A list of pictorial features dependent on Old Testament words and verses

would not by itself indicate the complexities behind the journey of an
image. The horns of Moses offer a well-attested and interesting example of
a widely used feature acquired by a biblical person, developed from trans-
lation and exegesis, which took on its own visual history. Extant images
62 Chapter 2

suggest that the horns appeared initially in Anglo-Saxon manuscript art.

During the twelfth century they became almost de rigueur in monumental
as well as manuscript depictions of Moses, continued through the Middle
Ages in various shapes and sizes and are perhaps best known today from
Michelangelos sculpture in San Pietro in Vincola in Rome.
Moses descended Mount Sinai, his face shining, according to cer-
tain modern translations, because he had been speaking with God. The
Septuagint indicated that the appearance of the colour of his face was
invested with majesty, glorified, which also expressed a sense of light.
According to the Vulgate, Moses descended the mountain with the two
tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned from
the conversation of the Lord (Exodus 34v.29). Jerome derived this transla-
tion ultimately from the Hebrew Bible, where the word qrn, used here as a
verb, conveyed the idea of Moses transformed face emitting rays of light.
Elsewhere in the Old Testament, when used as a noun, the word indicated
horns.16 These were the horns of living animals, or receptacles used to hold
oil for anointing and they also indicated the projections at each of the four
corners of altars (Exodus 27v.2). The term served as a metaphor for strength
and light: when the prophet Habakkuk spoke of God coming from the
south, his glory covering the heavens, he described his brightness as the light
and his strength as horns in his hands (Habakkuk 3v.4). A Greek transla-
tion of the Old Testament other than the Septuagint, made in the early
centuries of Christianity by a scholar called Aquila, had already conveyed
the notion of horns for rays of light in the Exodus passage about Moses.
Jerome adopted this reading and from his commentary on Ezekiel and his
Dialogue against Pelagius it seems clear that he understood the horns to
be metaphorical rather than literal.17 It is often claimed that this image of
Moses resulted from a mistranslation by Jerome, but his use of the Latin
cornatu was probably a considered choice. Whatever his motive or inten-
tion, it became embedded in the official Western translation of the Bible.

16 David Flsser, Introduction, in Heinz Schreckenberg and Kurt Schubert, Jewish

Historiography and Iconography in Early and Medieval Christianity (Assen: Van
Gorcum, 1992), xv.
17 Ruth Mellinkoff, The Horned Moses in Medieval Art and Thought (Berkeley, CA:
University of California Press, 1970), 778.
Word 63

In the Anglo-Saxon revival of learning, a vernacular version of the

books Genesis to Joshua was made by Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham. It was a
paraphrase, which omitted certain words of the original Latin and offered
particular slants on others. When the spies returned from Canaan with
grapes, for example, Aelfric left out the pole on which the fruit was car-
ried (Numbers 13v.23); when Moses came down Mount Sinai radiating
light, Aelfric retained the horned but left out the face. A copy of this
paraphrase was made at Canterbury in the second quarter of the eleventh
century and illustrated by pictures accompanying the text.18 The spies
without their pole carry the grapes in front of them, rather like bunches of
flowers.19 Moses, described like a northern warrior in Aelfrics text at the
beginning of Numbers 13, wears his horns, in the several depictions of him
in the Canterbury manuscript, attached to a head-dress similar to those
described in the Anglo-Saxon poem The Fight at Finnsburg.20 They have
become marks of tribal leadership rather than signs of an inner spiritual
state which resulted from his encounter with God.
Moses reappeared in a number of twelfth-century manuscripts with the
elongated horns of the Canterbury Aelfric illustrations. In the Shaftesbury
Psalter, as he gazes up at Christ at the top of the tree of Jesse, his horns
extend into the margin of the picture.21 In a similar context in the Lambeth
Bible, the horns rise from the side of his face almost like upward prolonga-
tions of his beard, as he removes the veil from Synagogues face (Fig. 25).
He features twice on a full page now serving as frontispiece to the book of
Deuteronomy in a Bible illustrated at Bury Saint Edmunds in about 1135.
The upper scene shows him with another person, who is usually identi-
fied as Aaron, expounding the Old Testament Law to a group of seated

18 London: British Library, Cotton MS. Claudius B IV. Temple, Anglo-Saxon

Manuscripts, cat. no.86.
19 Charles R.Dodwell, Loriginalit iconographique de plusiers illustrations anglo-
saxonnes de lAncien Testament, Cahiers de Civilisation mdival 14 (1971), 31928.
20 Mellinkoff, The Horned Moses, 44.
21 London: British Library, Lansdowne MS. 383, fol. 15r. Kauffmann, Romanesque
Manuscripts 10661190, A survey of Manuscripts illuminated in the British Isles 3
(London: Harvey Miller, 1975), cat.no. 48.
64 Chapter 2

Hebrews; below, he explains the teaching on clean and unclean animals.22

This Bible was made in the monastery scriptorium for lectionary readings
and ceremonial purposes rather than for study in the schools and it is not
glossed, though the horns of Moses in the painting reflect the emphasis
placed on glory and light in the exegesis contained, for instance, in the
Glossa. The scholar monks at Bury St Edmunds had gathered a library
abreast of developments at other major centres by the mid-twelfth century.23
The horns rise from behind Moses almost as insubstantial rays emanating
from the central point of his gold halo, not interrupting the black outline
of his head which would have made them more like organic outcrops. They
emphasise his authority to pronounce the divine Law through his other-
ness brought about by his communing with God. It has been suggested
that there were Jewish influences also behind the depiction of horns, such
as that of Rashi, an eleventh-century rabbi in Troyes, south of Paris, who
had taught that the word horned was appropriate in the description of
Moses because light radiates from a point and projects like a horn.24 The
Bury monks had links with the school of Saint Victor just outside Paris,
known for its interest in Jewish scholarship and there was a thriving Jewish
community in the town.25
It is not the purpose of this study to trace the varieties of ways in
which the horns of Moses were depicted. They carried generally a broad
symbolism, predominantly that of power or leadership which singled out
the bearer as having some sort of special insight. Moses is an enlightened
figure in the Jesse Trees of the Shaftesbury Psalter and the Lambeth Bible.
In the sculpture of the font at St Peters church Southrop, Gloucestershire,
where he stands between Ecclesia and Synagogue, pointing towards the
former, his horns are shorter than those in the manuscript examples, rising
from his head above his ears more like those of an animal than as rays of

22 The Bury Bible Volume I, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 2, fol. 94r. C.
Michael Kauffmann, Romanesque Manuscripts 10661190, cat. no.56, fig. 149.
23 Elizabeth C. Parker and Charles T. Little, The Cloisters Cross: Its Art and Meaning
(New York: Harvey Miller, 1994), 219, 18594.
24 Mellinkoff, The Horned Moses, 74.
25 Smalley, Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, xvi.
Word 65

light (Fig. 11). These visual tokens of illumination have moved away from the
literary sources which gave them their original meaning, but they still carry
the sense of leadership and enlightenment as Moses, the Old Testament
Law-giver, now directs his attention and that of Synagogue towards the
figure of Ecclesia.

Fig. 11 Moses horned, with Synagogue, St Peters church, Southrop, Gloucestershire,

font, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.
66 Chapter 2


There had been a long standing practice of presenting parts of the Biblical
literature in a form other than that of direct translation. Gregory of Tours
in his History of the Franks tells how a priest named Juvencus rewrote the
Gospels in verse, at the request ofthe Emperor Constantine himself.26 Later,
at the end of the fifth century, the Bishop of Vienne wrote six books in verse
on the creation of the world and other cognate subjects.27 In his History of
the English Church, Bede recorded how a former cowherd was so adept at
composing religious songs that he could quickly turn whatever passages
of Scripture were explained to him into delightful and moving poetry in
his own English tongue.28 This was Caedmon who, embarrassed as his
turn approached to entertain his fellow revellers, escaped a social gathering
only to have a dream of a man asking him to sing. After some hesitation he
agreed. Inspired verses flowed from him as he made delightful renderings
of creation and the origin of the human race, the whole story of Genesis
into Exodus and entry of the Hebrews to the Promised Land, many other
Old Testament events and on into the new era to the Last Judgement.
Learned men would explain a section of Scripture to him then leave him to
ruminate on it, like an animal chewing the cud. Next morning his instruc-
tors became his admiring audience as he recited his vernacular poetry to
them. That ruminating possibly referred to the formal meditation on the
Bible practised in monasteries, since Caedmon had entered the abbey at
Whitby after his talent had become known.29 Bede, though, emphasised
that his gift was unique, given directly from God.

26 Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks I.36, translated Lewis Thorpe
(Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974), 91.
27 Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks II.34, 149.
28 Bede, A History of the English Church and People Book 4.24, translated L.Shirley-
Price (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965), 245.
29 Paul G.Remley, Old English Biblical Verse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1996), 40.
Word 67

The Anglo-Saxon poem known as Genesis A, formerly associated with

Caedmon, retells chapters 122 of the Old Testament book in metrical
paraphrase, translated mainly from the Vulgate, with liturgical adaptations.
Its text, not only embellished from time to time with touches of everyday
life, also reflected contemporary interest in the heroic: Abrahams battle
against the kings to free his nephew Lot (Genesis 14vv.116) is described
in terms reminiscent of Beowulf and the Battle of Maldon.30 In the much
studied Oxford manuscript of the poem and accompanying drawings, a
later work known as Genesis B has been inserted which tells the non-biblical
story of the Fall of the Rebel Angels.31 They are expelled from the pres-
ence of God before the creation of the world, cast into the open mouth of
Hades after Adam and Eve are formed and, having taken counsel together,
send one of their number to tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden. Some Old
Testament characters assumed more importance in the manuscript than
they had in the Vulgate text of Genesis. Enoch, a descendant of Seth, father
of Methuselah and grandfather of Noah, for example, who walked with
God and was seen no more because God took him (Genesis 5v.24) is
illustrated on two folios, the second of which is a full page depiction of his
departure to heaven. Inclusion of Enochs ascension in the Old Testament
narrative wall paintings on the barrel vault at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe
abbey, twenty five miles or so east of Poitiers, is said to have been prompted
by an Anglo-Saxon background.32
Insertions of non-biblical elements into a poem that reproduced part
of Genesis, with some comment and glimpses of contemporary life, antici-
pated a growing medieval tendency to popularise the Bible and to remove
it from the exclusive domain of scholarly study. A later rhyming Bible from
the early thirteenth century was entitled Aurora by its author Peter Riga
because, he claimed, as the dawn dispels the darkness of night so his book,

30 Andrew Orchard, Conspicuous Heroism: Abraham, Prudentius and the Old English
Verse Genesis, in R.M.Liuzza, ed., The Poems of MS. Junius 11 (New York: Routledge,
2002), 11936.
31 Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, cat. no. 58.
32 George Henderson, Sources of the Genesis Cycle at St-Savin-sur-Gartempe, Journal
of the British Archaeological Association, 3rd series XXVI (1963), 1126.
68 Chapter 2

dissipating the darkness and obscurities of the Old Testament, glows with
lightning flashes of truth and shining sparks of allegory.33 Peter wrote in
Latin, his work condensed the Vulgate text and included extensions to the
biblical story or lines of interpretation.
He told the tale of Lamech, the hunter who became blind, for exam-
ple, who, led by a boy glimpsing a movement in a bush which he thought
was caused by a wild animal, directed the old man to shoot an arrow at
the spot. The victim turned out to be Cain, thus Lamech had killed his
ancestor. This story was probably based on a Jewish tale.34 It had grown
up around the difficult verses in Genesis where Lamech, telling his wives
that he had killed a man, referred to a previous pronouncement of the
seven-fold vengeance that would descend on anyone who murdered Cain.
Lamech warned that if anyone now killed him, revenge for his death would
be seventy times seven (Genesis 4vv.15, 234). In the Glossa, the story had
been overlaid with Christian interpretation in which a connection with
the Gospel of Lukes seventy generations from God and Adam to Christ
was woven into an explanation of the time that humanity had waited for
redemption.35 Lamech with bow and arrow had already appeared on the
Modena cathedral frieze and on a capital at Autun cathedral where his arm
is supported by a boy, but the episode seems to have become more frequent
in art from the thirteenth century. Although this story was circulating in
slightly different versions before Peter Riga, verse Bibles such as Aurora,
together with compilations of history, story and commentary such as Peter
Comestors School History, the Historia Scholastica, made it more widely
known and possibly contributed to its increasing popularity in art.
Another tale which seems to have been of rabbinic origin grew up
around the biblical statement that during seven years of predicted plenty
in Egypt there was such an abundance of wheat that it was equal to the

33 Peter Riga, Aurora: Petri Rigae Biblia Versificata: a verse commentary on the Bible, 2
vols, ed. Paul E.Beichner (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame Press, 1965), Introduction,
34 Brian Murdoch, The Medieval Popular Bible: Expansions of Genesis in the Middle
Ages (Cambridge: D.S.Brewer, 2003), 725.
35 Glossa, Patrologia Latina, 113.101.
Word 69

sand of the sea (Genesis 41v.49). In an extension to the Genesis account,

Joseph, who was in charge of harvesting, ordered some of the stalks of
corn to be thrown into the Nile. These floated to the land of Canaan,
where they alerted his father and brothers to the fact that there was corn
in Egypt. This story appeared in a twelfth-century Latin biblical poem by
Herman of Valenciennes, a copy of which was bound into a manuscript at
Chartres.36 In the Joseph window at Chartres cathedral the scene is given
prominence in a central lozenge, beside Jacobs despatch of his sons and
their journey to Egypt. The episode was also included in the Joseph windows
at Bourges, Auxerre and Rouen. A thirteenth-century English romance,
Iacop and Iosep, in which the story reappeared, has been linked to the
sculpted frieze around the Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House where the
Joseph saga seems to take up a disproportionate third of the whole Genesis
and Exodus narrative.37 In scene forty eight, a seated Joseph, vested with
authority, supervises two workers, one of whom flails corn while the other
holds a sheaf over wavy lines representing the river. It is more probable
that these prominent Joseph scenes were based on the extra-biblical story
than derived solely from the Genesis comparison of quantity of wheat
with sand of the sea.38
Other details in the Joseph windows add touches which might be
described as homely rather than legendary, but which nonetheless add detail
to the biblical account. When Jacob sent his young son to visit the brothers
it was, according to Genesis, to find out if all was well (Genesis 37v.14).
Hermans poem related that he took food to them.39 At Chartres Joseph
carries food and a pitcher as he sets out from his father and at Bourges he
holds a large sheet filled with loaves of bread.

36 Madeline Caviness, Biblical Stories in Windows. Were they Bibles for the Poor? in
Paintings on Glass. Studies in Romanesque and Gothic Monumental Art (Aldershot:
Variorum, 1997), XIII, 142.
37 Pamela Blum, The Middle English Romance Iacob and Iosep in the Joseph Cycle
of the Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House, Gesta 8/1 (1969), 1834.
38 Jane W.Williams, Bread, Wine and Money (Chicago: Chicago University Press,
1993), 132.
39 Marie-Dominique Gautier-Walter, Lhistoire de Joseph (Bern: Peter Lang, 2003), 299.
70 Chapter 2

There were many stories about Solomon, some of them concerned

with his legendary wisdom pitted against the shrewd but vulgar court fool
Marcoul, or Markoff, who sought to outwit the king by his actions and
words.40 He appeared in medieval Christian poetry in conversation with
Solomon, parodying the wise sayings of the king with his base retorts.41 He
also became transformed into the Saturn of the twelfth-century English
poem Solomon and Saturn.42 Some references to him seem to have respected
his knowledge, thus the Provencal poet Raimbaud could praise his mistress
for knowing more than Solomon or Marcoul.43 One story told how he
arrived at Solomons palace with a live hare to throw to the dogs to distract
their attention while he gained entry. He had claimed that he would come
neither walking nor riding, neither dressed nor naked, bringing a gift that
was no gift.44 In the English fourteenth-century Ormesby Psalter he is a
marginal figure illustrating Psalm 52 (53), the fool of verse 1 who says in
his heart that there is no God. He rides a goat, wears one shoe, lifts one
foot off the ground, is naked apart from a peasants hood around his neck
and carries the hare that was no gift because it could escape. Across the
base of the folio, Solomon and a companion with dogs await Marcouls
arrival while to the right the king disputes with him.45 Although he is not
frequently depicted in medieval art, or has not always been identified, he
seems to epitomise the bawdiness of many corbel figures with their often
lewd stances and behaviour marginal to respectable society.

40 Angelo Rappoport, Myth and Legend ofAncient Israel (London: Gresham Publishing,
1928), vol. 3, 16376.
41 Donald Beecher, ed., The Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolphus (Ottawa: Dovehouse
Editions, 1995). Jan M.Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf (Harvard: Harvard
University Press, 2008).
42 Robert J.Menner, Poetic Dialogues ofSolomon and Saturn (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1941), 26.
43 Andr Chastel, Trsors de la poesie mdieval (Paris: Le club franais du livre, 1959),
44 Michael Camille, The Image on the Edge: the Margins of Medieval Art (London:
Reaktion Books, 1992), 268.
45 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 366, fol. 72r.
Word 71

Marcoul can be found in the north porch of Chartres cathedral, a

hooded, grimacing dwarf-like person under the feet of Solomon in the
west bay (Fig. 12). Here the sculptor has presented him in the classical spi-
nario pose. As he extracts the thorn from his foot he is the fool from the
Book of Proverbs, As if a thorn should grow in the hand of a drunkard, so
is a parable in the mouth of fools (Proverbs 26v.9).46 He is the contrast
to Solomon as he crouches not only beneath the regal column figure but
below the tympanum of his wise judgement.

Fig. 12 Marcoul under Solomons Feet, Chartres Cathedral, north porch,

thirteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

46 Serafin Moralejo Alvarez, Marcolfo, El Espinario, Priapo: Un Testimonio Iconografico

Gallego (Santiago de Compostela: Primera Reunion Gallega de Estudios Clasicos
( July 1979), Ponencias y comunicaciones, 1981), 33155.
72 Chapter 2

A variety of extended reflections on Old Testament characters, some

incorporating Jewish learning and stories, can be found in writings from the
early centuries of Christianity which have now been translated and made
accessible in the Pseudepigrapha ofthe Old Testament.47 Some ofthese books
were originally ascribed to biblical persons, perhaps to give the literature
added authority, but as their content indicates post-biblical developments
both of ideas and the propensity to build on scriptural narratives, they have
attracted this collective title, which means false superscription or attribu-
tion. Many of the books relate to Old Testament figures who were popular
in medieval art, such as Adam, Joseph, Moses, King Solomon, the prophets.
Aspects of this literature surfaced in medieval writings, either directly or
through secondary sources, thus they became part of the repertoire of story
drawn on by artists and devisers of visual programmes. Isaiah being sawn in
half is boldly portrayed in a twelfth-century wall painting in the museum
of Catalan art in Barcelona, a fate not related in the Old Testament but
carried out on the orders of King Manasseh according to the Martyrdom
and Ascension ofIsaiah.48 The books of Enoch, linked to Jewish mysticism,
perpetuated the names and orders of angels, explored ideas of heaven, of
Satan, the fallen angels and judgement, through visions supposedly granted
to the man who in Genesis walked with God and according to Ecclesiasticus
was translated into Paradise (Ecclesiasticus 44v.16). These descriptions
became absorbed into Christian teaching and, developed through scholar-
ship and story, found expression in the Middle Ages in increasingly vivid
depictions of final judgement scenes at the west ends of church buildings.
One book especially interesting for medieval art is the Life of Adam
and Eve. It is thought to date from the second century of the Common Era
and exists in a number of ancient languages of which the Latin and Greek
versions are best known in the West. Adam and Eve have left Paradise. They
repent but now have to fend for themselves and when they come to the East,

47 James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols (London:

Darton, Longman and Todd, 1983. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1985).
48 Michael A. Knibb, The Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, in The Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 163.
Word 73

with their first child Cain, God sends the angel Michael with some seeds to
show Adam how to till the soil and to grow food.49 In the Old Testament
frieze formerly on the west front of Lincoln cathedral, a bearded Adam
with a younger man work the ground with spade and hatchet respectively;
a hand in the top right of the frame holds out a bag. Cain was a tiller of
the soil according to Genesis. At Lincoln the scene appears to depict both
Adam and his son engaged in the punishment for the Fall, but encouraged
by the invisible Michael whose hand extends towards him.50 Adam himself
holds the bag of seeds in the equivalent scene of the Caedmon manuscript.
In the illustrated Aelfric version of the first books of the Old Testament
the angel teaches Adam how to dig, as he does on the twelfth-century font
in All Saints Church, East Meon, Hampshire (Fig. 13).

Fig. 13 Adam and Eve outside Eden, All Saints church, East Meon, Hampshire,
font, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

49 M.D.Johnson, The Life of Adam and Eve, in The Old Testament Pseudepigraha, vol.
2, 25895. Gary A. Anderson and Michael E. Stone, A Synopsis of the Books of Adam
and Eve, 2nd edn (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1999).
50 George Zarnecki, Romanesque Lincoln: The Sculptures of the Cathedral (Lincoln:
Honywood, 1988), 456.
74 Chapter 2

An unusual sequence of Adam and Eve on the west wall of the chan-
cel in St Botolphs church Hardham, West Sussex, appears to show them
standing in water, heaped up in wavy lines to cover the lower part of their
bodies. Outside Eden, they decided, according to the Life, to do penance
by standing in a river, Eve for thirty-seven days in the Tigris, Adam for
forty days in the Jordan. Adam addressed the water of his river, asking it
to gather its creatures around him to mourn for his sin; it then stopped
flowing. There is a possible parallel to the image on the nave side of the
chancel arch at Hardham, which depicts Christ standing in the heaped-up
water of the Jordan as he is baptised by John the Baptist.
Other correspondences between these paintings and the Life of Adam
and Eve are perhaps more tentative than the water scene but nonetheless fit
with the story. The painted version of the serpent who tempts Adam and
Eve in Paradise has prominent teeth, ears and wings (Plate 2). According
to the Life, its punishment was to lose its wings and ears; its teeth were
implied in its biting of Seth, the son born to Adam and Eve after Abels
murder, when he and his mother approached the gates of Paradise after
Adams death. In the story, too, the first humans had had to search for their
food and eat only such as animals eat. The very unusual depiction of Eve
milking an animal on the right side of the inner chancel wall at Hardham
may possibly be an interpretation of the work required by the first humans
for their own nourishment, now that they were no longer entitled to the
food of angels outside the Garden of Eden.
Many stories had grown up around the figure of Adam and the
redemption of humanity. Sometimes in art he crouches at the foot of
the cross. In the north aisle Redemption window at Chartres cathedral
he holds a bowl beneath the crucified Christ to catch his blood (Fig. 14).
One tradition held that Noah took Adams body from its cave into the ark
at the time of the flood and that it was eventually brought to Jerusalem,
where the cross was set up above it so that Christs blood would flow onto
the burial place.51 Another variation on the theme spoke of Adam being

51 E.A. Wallis Budge, The Book of the Cave of Treasures (London: The Religious Tract
Society, 1927), 35.
Word 75

given a glimpse of the future Crucifixion when he saw blood flowing from
Christs side and learnt that, through this blood, life would be restored
to him.52

Fig. 14 Adam catches the Blood from Christ on the Cross, Chartres Cathedral,
Redemption window, north aisle, detail (modern glass). Photo: Stuart Whatling,
by kind permission.

In the Greek version of the Life ofAdam and Eve, Adam and mankind
had been promised a resurrection. A common image in Christian iconog-
raphy from the eleventh century onwards is that of Christ leading the first
humans, with others who had died before the New Testament era, from the
jaws of Hades. This Harrowing of Hell, in which a striding Saviour carry-
ing a cross pulls Adam to safety, was carved on the twelfth-century font at
Saint Mary Magdalenes church in Eardisley, Herefordshire, to link redemp-
tion to the new life entered through baptism (Fig. 15). Adams release was
described more fully in a non-biblical New Testament apocryphal writing,

52 Budge, The Book of the Cave of Treasures, 231.

76 Chapter 2

the Acts of Pilate, probably dating from the fourth century, in which the
Lord stretched forth his hand and made the sign ofthe cross over Adam and
over all his saints, and he took the right hand of Adam and went up out of
hell, and all the saints followed him.53 In this text, Old Testament prophets
cry out words from their oracles which had anticipated salvation. When
the righteous are led by the angel Michael to Paradise, they are greeted by
the two Old Testament people who had not died, Enoch and Elijah.

Fig. 15 Christ rescues Adam from Hell, St Mary Magdalene church, Eardisley,
Herefordshire, font, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

Another story included in the pseudepigraphal writings concerns the

meeting of Joseph and Asenath who, on becoming his wife, was to convert
to the Hebrew God and deny her Egyptian idols. This text also contains
reference beyond Genesis to attempts by Potiphars wife to pursue Joseph.

53 Montague R. James, The Gospel of Nicodemus or Acts of Pilate, in The Apocryphal

New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924), 94146 (139).
Word 77

Already in the sixth-century Vienna Genesis a woman was depicted stand-

ing beside the prison where Joseph was incarcerated; she is possibly the
temptress who followed him when he was in fetters and sent messages
that, if he acquiesced in fulfilling her desire, she would have him freed.54
Josephs marriage to Asenath appears in the Sainte Chapelle windows. In
the north porch at Chartres cathedral two column figures in the right bay
have been identified as Joseph and Asenath.55 He was sculpted holding a
sceptre, wearing a diadem rather than a crown and standing above a basi-
lisk that whispers into the ear of a boy. Beside him is a female companion,
with scroll but no other extant attribute, standing above a dog (Fig. 16).
This designation of the Chartres statues as Joseph and Asenath has
been questioned and is no longer fashionable.56 There remain points in its
favour, however. The man, with his sceptre, is a ruler though not a king, a
description of Joseph that accords with the book of Genesis. The creature
on which he stands, a basilisk, was in the Book of Proverbs a spreader of
poison and in the Bestiaries the chief of serpents, representing the devil, the
head of all sin, tempting those who would listen to break codes of morali-
ty.57 In Genesis, Joseph had repelled the advances of Potiphars wife; in the
story of Joseph and Asenath his moral rectitude was constantly emphasised,
including his rejection of the gifts sent by other women who had suc-
cumbed to his beauty.58 The dog sculpture beneath the womans feet may
refer to Asenaths conversion. She was a foreigner who, coming to recognise
Josephs God, not only threw her gold and silver idols out of the window
to beggars in the street below and her food to strange dogs, but would not
allow her own guard or pet dogs to be tainted by eating meat which had

54 Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, MS. Vindob. theol.gr.31, p.33. Howard C. Kee, The

Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1,
821. Katrin Kogman-Appel, Bible Illustration and the Jewish Tradition, in John
Williams, ed., Imaging the Early Medieval Bible (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania
State University Press, 1999), 6196.
55 Gautier-Walter, Joseph, figure idale du roi?, Cahiers archologiques 38 (1990) 2535.
56 Anne Prache et Edouard Fievet, Le portail de la Sagesse (Paris: Mame, 1994).
57 Marianne Sammer, Der Basilisk (Munich: Literatur in Bayern, 1998) 45. Proverbs
58 C. Burchard, Joseph and Asenath, in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2, 20247.
78 Chapter 2

been offered in sacrifice to her statues. Further, this woman in the Chartres
north porch faces the Queen of Sheba, a better-known representative of
gentile nations, who acknowledged the Hebrew God when she witnessed
the wisdom and wealth given to Solomon (1(3) Kings 10v. 9). Her arrival at
Solomons court became a popular Old Testament prefiguring of the Wise
Men from the East coming to Jerusalem to find the Christ. In the extra-
biblical Joseph story, not only does Asenath convert but her parents also
praise the God who gives life to the dead as they eat, drink and celebrate.
The Pharaoh of Egypt, too, blesses the bride and groom in the name of
the Lord God the Most High.

Fig. 16 Joseph, Asenath and unidentified figure on the left, Chartres Cathedral,
north porch, thirteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.
Word 79


Drama provided another channel for a merging of biblical text with addi-
tional story. Here beside the words to be spoken there were also rubrics,
with their potential bonus for iconography of details of staging, costume
and props. A case has been made for the late medieval stained glass ser-
pent in St Neots church in Cornwall, with its masculine head and evident
human body in a snake costume, to have derived from the Cornish play
of Creation.59 In the drama, Eve addresses the serpent as Sir. He is really
Lucifer, the devil, costuming himself in the body of a serpent to tempt Eve
as he struggles on stage to don the snake attire which allows him to retain
moveable arms and legs and to strut about. Other examples of Adam and
Eve imaging drama or its rubrics might be cited. In a wall painting now
in the Episcopal museum at Vic, Spain, they carry agricultural tools; in
Wiligelmos frieze on Modena cathedral in northern Italy they both till
the ground. These may reflect similar sources to the directions in a twelfth-
century play, now known only in Norman French, that instructed Adam
and Eve outside Paradise to pick up a spade and rake respectively.60
This Play of Adam, with Latin liturgical quotations punctuating the
Norman French text, translated into English from the single extant copy
in Tours, was to be performed in the open area in front of a church or
cathedral. After a reading from Genesis, Adam was reminded of his and
Eves origins and was shown Paradise by Figura, the character representing
God, who warned them about the forbidden fruit. The devil approached
Adam, but being unsuccessful in tempting him to eat turned to Eve, who
put her ear towards the imitation snake in the tree to listen to its advice.
Both humans tasted the apple, realised their fault and somehow, out of
sight of the audience, changed their festive garments for worn ones sewn
with fig leaves. Figura, now wearing a stole, re-entered to reprimand them
and to chase them from Paradise before he returned towards the church.

59 Evelyn S. Newlyn, The Stained and Painted Glass of St Neots Church and the
Staging of the Middle Cornish Drama, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
XXIV/1 (1994), 89111.
60 Carl J. Odenkirchen, The Play of Adam (Brookline, MA: Classical Folio Editions,
1976), 100.
80 Chapter 2

Adam collected his spade, Eve her rake, then they sat at a distance, tired
from their work, beating their breasts. With smoke rising from hell, pans
clashing and demons running about in all directions, the devil re-appeared
to chain them. Into the biblical account of the Fall have been woven later
Christian teachings that the serpent was the devil, presiding over his help-
ers in a fiery realm and that the fruit was an apple.
Precise instructions were given in the play about scenery. Paradise was
to be set on a higher level, with curtains and silk panels placed around at
such height as to allow the actors to be visible only from the shoulders
upwards. Fragrant flowers were to be intertwined with foliage and different
varieties of trees were to have fruit suspended from them, making a delight-
ful place.61 There are some similarities between this and the inner chancel
wall paintings at Hardham, which now are considerably faded (Plate 2).
Above Adams shoulder fruit hangs from the ends of branches; flowers are
scattered across the serpents red ochre panel. Across the chancel entrance
on the north side it is the bust of a figure, seen only to the shoulders, which
looks towards Eve milking an animal. Further, Adam, Eve and the serpent
are depicted as though on painted hangings, suspended on loops from a
bar which forms the top of the picture frame, like moveable scenery for a
play. Outside Paradise, the rubric states, Adam and Eve are sad and con-
fused and crouch on the ground perhaps represented by their unusual
seated back to back poses on the other side of the chancel wall, away from
the trees and flowers.
The addition to the costume of Figura after the apple has been eaten,
when he re-entered Paradise wearing a stole, a mark of priestly authority,
brought a more immediate and sombre note to the drama. Adam and
Eve hid themselves as the mood turned towards judgement. The play was
probably performed during Lent.62 On Ash Wednesday, the start of the
penitential season, ashes were placed on the heads of sinners who were
then expelled from the church building because of their misdeeds, that is,

61 Odenkirchen, The Play of Adam, 15.

62 M.F. Vaughan, The Prophets of the Anglo-Norman Adam, Traditio 39 (1983),
Word 81

according to an earlier liturgical formula, from the hiding place of holy

mother Church.63 As Adam and Eve, unable to hide from God, had been
forced from the Garden of Eden, now, for their own sins, the penitents
are sent away by the priest. Since the Christian audience, however, knows
that redemption has already come, Adam is able to anticipate the filz que
istra de Marie, the Son who will be born to Mary.64 On the Tournai marble
font at All Saints, East Meon, Hampshire, the Genesis scene takes place
against the backdrop of an imposing Romanesque church (Fig. 13). It was
at the end of Lent, at Easter, when the penitential season ended, that bap-
tism was administered.
During the performance of Adams and Eves scenes in the play, fol-
lowed by Cains murder of Abel, Old Testament prophets had been waiting
off stage. As the name of each was now called he advanced with decorum
to recite his prophecy in a clear voice, his garb and attribute indicated in
the plays instructions. The biblical verses were spoken in Latin, the brief
comment that followed in Norman French. Isaiahs part contained an
extended dialogue in the vernacular with a Jew, based on the oracle of the
root of Jesse from which a flower would emerge and on which Gods spirit
would rest (Isaiah 11vv.12). This Procession ofProphets was also performed
independently from the Play of Adam. Various versions, associated with
different ecclesiastical centres and having slightly varying casts or rubrics,
are extant. Balaam, for example, a prophet in the book of Numbers who
was called upon to curse the Hebrews (Numbers 2224), was omitted from
the twelfth-century Limoges ordo but included in the later Laon text where,
bearded and with palm in hand, he urged his donkey forward with spurs.65
These prophetic witnesses were thought to have been inspired by a
sermon Against Jews, Pagans and Arians, attributed to Augustine, though

63 Michael Andrieu, Les ORDINES ROMANI du Haut Moyen Age, vol. 5, Ordo L
(Louvain: Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniensis, 1961), Cap. XVIII.43, 23. Marcello
Angheben, Sculpture romane et liturgie, in Paolo Piva, ed., Art mdival: Les voies
de lespace liturgique (Paris: Picard, 2010), 172.
64 Odenkirchen, The Play of Adam, 88, line 381.
65 Karl Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church, 2 vols (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1951) vol. 2, 143.
82 Chapter 2

their sources are now acknowledged to be more complex.66 The Procession,

with some liturgical readings which formed part ofthe drama, also included
testimonies of some New Testament contemporaries of Christ as well as
of non-Jews. John the Baptist and his mother Elizabeth featured, with
Simeon who had been promised that he would not die until he had seen
the Messiah (Luke 2vv.2535). Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had,
according to the book of Daniel, seen a fourth person like the Son of God
in the fiery furnace with the three boys he had sought to destroy (Daniel
3.92). Virgil, in his fourth Eclogue, had told of a child coming to bring a
new age. One of the sibyls had spoken prophecies of a King of the Ages
to be sent in the flesh, as Judge; the first letters of each of her lines, when
transliterated into Greek, stood for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.67
The west facade of Notre-Dame-la-Grande in Poitiers has long been
associated with this Play of Adam and Procession of Prophets or some analo-
gous work.68 Its frieze begins with the first humans beside the serpent
wound around a tree, followed by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Old
Testament prophets Daniel, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Moses. They form a line
leading into the New Testament scenes of the Annunciation, Visitation,
Nativity and bathing of the baby. On Isaiahs book was inscribed the mes-
sage of the branch from the stump of Jesse on whom would rest the Spirit
of the Lord: the standing half-figure with raised arms supporting two
curling branches surmounted by a bird, who appears immediately after
the Annunciation, is frequently interpreted as an early example of Jesse
and his tree (Fig. 24). Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon at the beginning
of the Old Testament exile, was an ambiguous figure in medieval art. On
the one hand he was the proud ruler commanding his subjects to worship
a statue of himself and was eventually condemned by the Hebrew God to
become like an animal, eating the grass of the field (Daniel 4v.30). On
the other hand, he had acknowledged that there is no other God that can
save in this manner, when the three Hebrews in the fire were joined by a

66 A. Lukyn Williams, Adversus Judaeos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,

1935) 3215.
67 Eg. Augustine, City of God against the Pagans XVIII.23, translated R.W. Dyson
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 84952.
68 M.F. Vaughan, The Prophets of the Anglo-Norman Adam, 91.
Word 83

fourth figure and remained unharmed (Daniel 3v.96). In the Play ofAdam
he proclaims that this additional person he could see in the furnace made
the faces of the three boys shine so brightly that they, too, seemed to be
sons of the mighty God. At Gargilesse near Limoges and in the cloisters
of Moissac abbey in south west France, he is portrayed as an emaciated
animal with human head, still crowned, punished for his arrogance.69 At
Poitiers, however, he sits enthroned, dressed as a king and identified as
NABUCODNOSOR REX, the character of the drama who makes a
magnificent entrance. The words on the scrolls of Daniel, Jeremiah and
Moses at Poitiers were taken directly from the sermon ofPseudo-Augustine
Against Jews, Pagans and Arians.70 Moses does not feature in the extant copy
of the Play of Adam, though he was included in other known versions of
the Procession of Prophets, which might explain his inclusion at Poitiers.
How far these parades of witnesses may have influenced imagery is
impossible to assess. Collectively they were the dramatic equivalent of
the rows of prophets in stained glass or sculpted at entrances to cathe-
drals and churches. Individually, some figures may have been influenced
in their portrayal by local performance and interest. It is tempting to think
that some depictions of Balaam were inspired by the drama. He was the
prophet who proclaimed that a star shall rise from Jacob, a sceptre spring
up from Israel which would strike the enemy chiefs of Moab (Numbers
24v.17) and whose donkey spoke to reprimand him for beating him. On
a capital at Saulieu in Burgundy he is seated on his donkey, clutching the
bridle, leaning forward to urge on the animal, his feet in prominent stir-
rups which were specified in a number of versions of the Procession. Here
also the donkey might almost be a model mounted on wheels. A model
ass was used in the dramatic presentation of the Balaam episode at Rouen,
where a sense of realism was provided by a pelt covering and the words of
the creature uttered by a boy crawling underneath the animal.71

69 Anat Tcherikover, The Fall of Nebuchadnezzar in Romanesque sculpture (Airvault,

Moissac, Bourg-Argental, Foussais), Zeitschrift fr Kunstgeschichte 49 (1986),
70 Emile Mle, The Gothic Image, 162 n.4.
71 Gustave Cohen, Anthologie du drame liturgique en France au Moyen Age (Paris: du
Cerf, 1955), 128 n.1.
84 Chapter 2

Twelfth-century plays of Daniel included the Vulgate account of the

prophet Habakkuk bringing him food into the lions den. A particularly
dramatic portrayal of the episode extends over two separate capitals at
Gargilesse. Habakkuk leaves his town with a loaf and a bucket-like container
of boiled pottage for the reapers, one of whom is seen working in the
fields on the second face of the capital. An angel grasps the prophet by the
hair to divert him to Babylon (Daniel 14vv.328). Meanwhile, across the
architectural divide, Daniel sits in an unusually disconsolate pose between
two lions. The story is acted out in vivid detail in the sculpture, the work-
ing reaper separated from the prophet by a dominant, striding angel, with
the spatial caesura offering a sense of distance between the homeland and
Babylon as it divides the story into two scenes.

Distinction between scholarship, story and drama is in many ways an arti-
ficial one but it helps to identify some of the sources and channels behind
medieval imagery. The story-teller possessed a lighter touch and perhaps
a more vivid imagination than the writers of theological commentaries or
searchers after correct texts. The scholar revered the Scriptures for their
authority, sought to uncover their hidden depths and constantly cited
other passages of the Old and New Testaments to support his findings.
Augustine had been at pains to demonstrate that the coming of light in
Genesis signified the creation of angels, because interpretation of the Bible
would uncover further meaning and such an important part of Gods work
would not have been omitted from the sacred text.72 In contrast, poetic
licence allowed Evrat, the twelfth-century admirer ofMarie de Champagne,
to alter the biblical account of creation in the verses he composed for her
on Genesis. He included the forming of animals on the fifth day, making
man alone the object of Day Six with the possible intention of giving him
more distinction.73 Beside his cavalier treatment of Genesis, however, he
referred to Jerome and to the Glossa.

72 Augustine, City of God XI.9, translated Dyson, 45961.

73 Brian Murdoch, The Medieval Popular Bible, 13. Wil Boers, La gense dEvrat,
Scriptorium 61/1 (2007), 74149.
Word 85

Both scholar and populariser of the biblical text wished to bring out
a moral message. Hugh of Saint Victor encouraged his pupils at the school
for Augustinian canons outside Paris to compare study to a building. The
foundation is history, the literal meaning of the Scriptures; allegory is
the mental structure of faith; then the whole is painted with the loveliest
colours, with the elegance of morality.74 Caedmon the versifier had made
many poems on judgement and the blessings of God, Bede recorded, to
turn his hearers from delight in wickedness and to inspire them to love
and to do good deeds.75 Adams and Eves dialogues in the Play of Adam
explored the psychology of sin, reiterated the consequences of the Fall of
Man for future generations, but affirmed at the same time that acknowl-
edgement of the fault would bring Gods grace to save. Some lines of the
play were directed to the audience, urging them to reform in preparation
for the coming of the Son of God.76 Messages conveyed in story and drama
were often essentially those of the moralising homily, presented in a more
entertaining and possibly more frightening setting.
Scholarship and story both had the potential to distance reader or
viewer from the biblical text. A certain Robert of Melun in the twelfth
century complained that students in the schools were tending to look
at the Glossa rather than the Scriptures themselves.77 He was referring to
the genealogies from Genesis, illustrated by figures drawn in circles and
accompanied by short bibliographies, hung on classroom walls for the
benefit of those unable to afford their own books. One modern view of
the popular Bible, such as Peter Rigas Aurora, is that its writers perceived
and presented what amounted to a purely hypothetical book.78 Medieval
students still learnt the genealogies, however, and the popular Bibles had
many positive aspects. They simplified while retaining essential features of
the story, gave instruction and, if they were in Latin, offered more concise

74 Hugh of St Victor, Didascalicon, translated Jerome Taylor, Book 6.23 (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1961), 135.
75 Bede, History of the English Church, Book 4.24.
76 M.F. Vaughan, The Prophets of the Anglo-Norman Adam, 99, 102.
77 Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, 214.
78 Quoted in Brian Murdoch, The Medieval Popular Bible, 1.
86 Chapter 2

and lyrical descriptions than the Vulgate. Aurora was one of the most widely
copied books in the thirteenth century. When Peter related the episode of
David feigning madness so as not to be recognised by Achis, king of Gath
(1 Kings (1 Samuel)21v.13), he pointed out at the beginning that David
made himself insane, an observation that left the subsequent behaviour
more understandable. Then he simplified the account and, finally, added
a comment that Achis lack of recognition of David signified Synagogues
ignorance of Christ.79 A Middle English metrical paraphrase of Genesis
claimed that its purpose was to teach the common man.80 The versifying,
the drama and the extended tale, made the Scriptures more accessible to
many people and provided the means of sifting certain of the more relevant
findings of scholars for wider appreciation.
Medieval iconography brought together a close study of the Bible, its
popular versions and a more liberated imagination that carried the narra-
tive beyond the canon of Scripture. The story-teller bequeathed Marcoul,
crushed beneath Solomons feet, to the north porch of Chartres cathedral,
but in representing folly contrasted to wisdom he presented what were also
the concerns of more philosophical debate. One of the scholars legacy
was the horned Moses. He emerged through the intricacies of translation
and exegesis but become familiar in public entertainment. In the British
Library copy of Aelfrics paraphrase, the horns are attached to a headband,
removable like part of a costume, just as the portable panel depicted in the
same manuscript beside Moses addressing the Hebrews after the Exodus
appears to be a moveable prop.81
A mixture of Bible text, traditional exegesis, chronicles of world and
religious history, Jewish-Christian apocryphal stories and rabbinical tales,
were brought together in the Historia Scholastica of Peter Comestor.82 He
was one time chancellor ofthe Paris cathedral, preacher and theology master
in the schools and his work, completed by about 1173, was given official

79 Peter Riga, Aurora, vol. 1, 264.

80 Brian Murdoch, The Medieval Popular Bible, 14.
81 Ruth Mellinkoff, The Horned Moses, 34.
82 Historia Scholastica, Patrologia Latina 198. 1053644.
Word 87

recognition by Pope Innocent III in 1215 at the Fourth Lateran Council. His
writing soon became very influential and is now frequently cited as a source
for iconography. It was probably this work which gave rise to the image of
the human-headed Eden serpent, for instance, which became widespread
in the later Middle Ages and which found its way through drama into the
window of Saint Neots church in Cornwall. It seems to have entered art
in the early thirteenth century on the Virgin portal of Notre Dame, Paris
and the west facade of Amiens cathedral (Fig. 1), where it bore the more
common female face as Peter, wrongly attributing her to Bede, had indi-
cated.83 Historia can mean both history and story. The metrical paraphrase
of Genesis in Middle English, which claimed to teach the common man,
gave Peter the epithet Master of Stories. He was called Comestor, the
eater, because he devoured both learning and traditional tales. His interests
and writing encapsulated the interdependence of diverse strands which lay
behind much medieval imagery.

83 Henry A. Kelley, Metamorphoses of the Eden Serpent during the Middle Ages and
Renaissance, Viator 2 (1971), 30127. Nona C.Flores, Effigies Amicitiae. Veritas
inimicitiae. Antifeminism in the Iconography of the Woman-headed Serpent in
Medieval and Renaissance Art and Literature, in Nona C. Flores, ed., Animals in
the Middle Ages (New York: Garland Publications, 1996), 16795.
Chapter 3


Augustine claimed that he understood time, until someone asked him to

explain it.1 His certainty was that it began with creation and would end
when the cycle of evening and morning ceased. Between these two points,
he noted in his Confessions, was the problem of its measurement.2 The Old
Testament went some way towards providing a foundation for the reck-
oning of time. Its pattern of the six days of creation became a measuring
rod for the Christian understanding of the whole sweep of time, which
it divided into eras of salvation history. The Church had seen the Old
Testament fulfilled but still anticipated an end to the present age, with a
final judgement followed by a seventh day of rest which would be eter-
nal. Creation of the universe had also determined a cyclic time, whereby
recurring seasons established the annual pattern of work and from which,
loosely linked and overlaid with schemes of feasts, fasts, prayer and Bible
readings, the liturgical year was shaped.
Medieval art reflected time in many ways. The story of Joseph told
through narrative sequence provided its own structure of beginning, pro-
gression of events and conclusion. Other arrangements, by a juxtaposition
of Old and New Testament scenes, brought together certain events that
had occurred centuries apart in order to make a theological statement. Old
Testament history could be condensed through selection ofkey happenings
which marked the stages of its salvation scheme: these were sometimes set
out in the first letter of the Bible, the I of the In principio of Genesis In
the beginning extending the full length of the manuscript page. In the

1 Augustine, Confessions, Book 11.14, translated R.S. Pine-Coffin (Harmondsworth:

Penguin Books, 1961), 264.
2 Augustine, Confessions, Book 11.16, 266; Book 13. 337, 2446.
90 Chapter 3

Winchester Bible a succession of roundels presents Eve taken from Adams

rib, Noah reaching out to bring the dove back into the ark, Abraham about
to sacrifice Isaac, Moses receiving the Law, David anointed by Samuel, the
Nativity of Christ and Christ returning as Judge. The sixth age, ushered in
by the birth of Christ, depicts his cradle in the form of an altar on which
the Church re-enacted his sacrificial death in the sacrament of the Mass.
The last illustration anticipates the future end of the ages, completing a
visual sweep of time from beginning to its end (Fig. 17).

Fig. 17 Genesis Initial, Winchester Bible, folio 5r, Winchester Cathedral Library,
twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute. Reproduced by kind permission
of the Dean and Chapter, Winchester.
Time 91

Among depictions of time were those which flowed more easily from
the Old Testament into the New. Christs ancestry was contained in the
genealogical windows of Canterbury cathedral and in the popular trees
of Jesse found throughout Europe, in which descendants of the father of
King David rise through the trunk to the top branches where the Virgin
Mary and her son complete the royal line. Stone prophets with scrolls
announce events that were to take place in the Gospels, illustrating the
simple but crucial notion that the biblical testaments stood together in
their own time zone of promise and fulfilment.
The rose window offered a different slant on the progression of his-
tory. A depiction of Christ or the Virgin and Child at its heart expressed
the idea of a pivotal moment in history, a centre around which everything
was drawn together and from which it took its meaning. In the north rose
window at Chartres cathedral, the Virgin and Child are surrounded by Old
Testament kings and prophets who enclose the central figures from whom
they took their historical purpose. The Lausanne cathedral rose with its
cosmic winds, sun, moon, elements, zodiac and seasons, incorporates the
whole universe. If in its restored state the central glass reflects accurately
the original iconography, it is an image of time and space, with the creator
god at its hub immediately surrounded by a condensed version of the six
days of Genesis.3 Its four rivers of Paradise recall a world of harmony. Man
works with nature in a labour suited to each month. Imagined creatures
and monstrous races reported by travellers are included, dog-headed men
and those with one large foot which they use to shade themselves. They,
too, are part of the whole, sustained by the central creator and they would
one day be caught up in a final redemption since they also, according to
Augustine, are descendants of Adam.4

3 Ellen Beer, Die Rose der Kathedrale von Lausanne (Bern: Benteli Verlag, 1952).
Christophe Amsler, La Rose de la cathdrale de Lausanne: histoire et conservation
recente (Lausanne: Payot Lausanne, 1999). Painton Cowen, Rose Windows (London:
Thames and Hudson, 1979), 12831.
4 Augustine, City of God XVI.8, translated Dyson, 70710.
92 Chapter 3

This window in Lausanne illustrates that medieval ideas of time, rooted

in a beginning described in the book of Genesis, extended beyond views
of the progress of history. Time was inextricably linked to the cosmos
and to mans place in it. The six days of creation of the universe and its
furnishings, with the Sabbath rest of the seventh day, were termed in the
Vulgate the generations of the heaven and the earth (Genesis 2v.4). Like
a family saga, the recurring cycle of nature, perpetuating its own ultimate
ancestry in creation, continued to renew itself as it maintained the pattern
for human work and rest in each new generation. Later Old Testament lit-
erature expressed and extended the same principle in relation to the human
moral sphere. Personified Wisdom describes how she, present at creation,
remains a guide to those who would follow her insights:

when he compassed the sea and its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they
should not pass their limits I was with him forming all things: and was delighted
every day and my delights were with the children of men. Now therefore, ye chil-
dren, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. (Proverbs 8vv.2932)

A link between creation and how man should live his life and understand
his place in the universe lay behind Gregory the Greats interpretation of
the questions asked of Job in the Old Testament, Where were you when I
laid the foundations of the earth Who stretched the line upon it? ( Job
38vv.45). God had placed lines around what humans could do, limits
had been set to morality when the physical boundaries of the universe
were put in place.5 What had happened in the beginning had set markers
not only for the natural order but for an ethical dimension to human life.

5 Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, translated les moines de Wisque, Book 28.xi.26,
Sources chrtiennes no.476 (Paris: du Cerf, 2003) 12837.
Time 93

The Importance of the Beginning

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there was a dramatic increase in
depictions of creation based on the six days of Genesis, both in manuscript
and monumental art. This can be attributed to a number of factors. There
was an upsurge in building activity and an expansion of scriptoria, both
of which offered more scope generally for visual expression. Creation was
fashionable, as attempts were made to understand the universe in rational
and mathematical terms and to reconcile a renewed interest in classical
thought with the revealed biblical text.6 The topicality of this last concern
is not in doubt, but how far the intellectual activities ofthe schools spilled
over into depictions of creation images is difficult to assess. Even use of a
Greek word, such as the inclusion of hyle (matter) in the Genesis initial of
the St Albans Bible, were not proof of a direct correspondence between
classical philosophical works and biblical exegesis since Augustine and
Ambrose, for instance, had already adopted the term.7 Images of the crea-
tion of angels, birds, fish, vegetation and animals and humans, remained
essentially a reflection of traditional commentary on the biblical order,
even though they had in some writings been linked to the elements of fire,
air, water and earth respectively.8
One writer who influenced medieval thinking about the universe
was the Roman patrician Boethius, born towards the end of the fifth cen-
tury, who conveyed Platonic and Neo-Platonic ideas in his Consolation of
Philosophy. This work and one poem in particular in Book III, in which he
addressed the Creator of planets as an unchanging Mover, ruling by ever-
lasting reason and bringing time from timelessness, had already attracted its
own commentaries in the early Middle Ages.9 Plato himself was studied and

6 Conrad Rudolph, In the Beginning: Theories and Images of Creation in Northern

Europe in the Twelfth Century, Art History 22 (1999), 355.
7 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 48, fol. 7v.
8 Rudolph, In the Beginning, 15.
9 Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, Book III.9, translated V.E. Watts
(Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1969), 97, 21.
94 Chapter 3

much discussion which sought to align Genesis with ancient philosophy

centred around his Timaeus. It was known throughout the Middle Ages,
in Latin translation and commentary, but became more widely studied in
the schools in attempts to understand the universe in rational and math-
ematical terms. One teacher at Chartres claimed that it contained theology,
mathematics, physics and something of all the arts.10 Plato had believed
in the physical existence of matter before creation, in the fundamental
importance of earth, air, fire and water and in the principle of cause and
effect. He also stated that the world had been made by a second, crafts-
man-like god who fashioned what had already been conceived in a higher
divine mind. Among those who attempted to accommodate some of the
major disparities between the Old Testament and such ideas was Thierry
of Chartres. He said, for example, that the elements had been created in
the heaven and earth of the first verse of Genesis, had moved forward
through a natural process of causality whereby fire warmed air, which
caused it to evaporate into the waters above the firmament.11 In the early
centuries of Christianity there had been speculation about whether Plato
himself knew the Scriptures and had confused the Spirit of God with air,
combining it with earth, water and fire (the heavens) to acknowledge the
opening of the Old Testament.12
Where a centre such as Chartres has been particularly associated with
classical thought, it is tempting to strain interpretation of some of its images
to fit with known intellectual activities. A rosette in the north transept
depicts Christ as creator holding a globe divided into zones of brown, green
and white. His feet rest on a rainbow arch and he is surrounded by the
heavenly bodies, some of which are red. These planets have been thought
to represent the element of fire while the colours in the globe portray the

10 Probably William of Conches, Commentary on Platos Timaeus, Patrologia Latina

11 Raymond Klibansky, The School of Chartres, in Marshall Clagett, G. Post,
A.Reynolds, eds, Twelfth Century Europe and the Foundation of Modern Society
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961), 314. Willemien Otten, From
Paradise to Paradigm (Leiden: Brill, 2004) 6571.
12 Augustine, City of God VIII.11, translated Dyson, 3279.
Time 95

elements of fire, earth, water and air.13 Red planets feature elsewhere, in
scenes apparently removed from reconciliation of Old Testament texts
with classical thought, such as in the Good Samaritan window in Bourges
cathedral. The colour layers in the Chartres orb reflect those in the rest
of the image and are therefore not especially distinct as representations of
the elements. Moreover, the focal point of the circle held by Christ is an
ecclesiastical building, possibly the cathedral itself.
Manuscript imagery possibly offers the greatest scope for detecting
this aspect of classical interest in creation scenes because of a secure tex-
tual setting, a lack of restoration and the greater opportunity to include
explanatory words or numbers. Thierrys expositions are thought to have
influenced the sequence to the opening of Genesis in the late twelfth cen-
tury Souvigny Bible.14 Here, in the first of eight squares, the creator appears
in a fiery roundel; beneath him and the dove, that is the spirit which moved
over the face of the waters in Genesis, are the black earth, blue-black water
with orange streaked air in the middle of the waters. This might illustrate
perhaps how the water vapour caused by the suns heat rose to form a sepa-
rate layer of waters above the air.
An attempt to reconcile classical ideas with the first chapter ofthe Old
Testament had the potential to undermine the six day scheme. Further, in
relegating the work of the biblical God to that of artisan who only shaped
the pre-existent material at his disposal, the Genesis creator ceased to be the
originator of everything. In some prefatory images to the bibles moralises
there seems to be an emphasis on the artisan God, fashioning and measur-
ing with his compasses a circle surrounded by different coloured rings that
represent the elements.15 He brings an order to matter that may have been
created from the void of Genesis, but equally this may be the pre-existent
material awaiting the stroke of the designer god. Robert Grosseteste, a
teacher in Oxford and later Bishop of Lincoln, writing on the six days, felt
obliged to assert both the temporal and physical beginning of the world by

13 Jan van der Meulen, A Logos-Creator at Chartres, JWCI 29 (1966), 82100.

14 Rudolph, In the Beginning, 334.
15 Vienna, sterreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS. 2554, fol. 1v: Vienna, sterreichische
Nationalbibliothek, MS.1179, fol. 1v.
96 Chapter 3

explaining that since God exists in eternity, creation cannot be the junction
of a past and a future but is simply the beginning of a future.16 This was the
traditional Christian view, that there was neither time nor substance before
creation and that God created everything out of nothing.17

The Genesis Scheme

This background of speculation and discussion about creation was impor-

tant not only for the escalation of depictions of the beginning of Genesis
but also because the six days were understood to have indicated a blueprint
for the rest of time. An archetypal pattern, though not in the Platonic
sense of pre-existent Ideas copied when the material world was formed,
had been set out for a future sequence of six Ages; it would create history
as it progressed through its Old Testament stages to the era of the Church.
In his refutation of heretics who disparaged the Old Testament, Augustine
had used the opening of Genesis to suggest that the creation narrative was
neither false nor arbitrary since the pointers it gave to the future unfolding
of time had already happened.18 His view was that history had proved the
veracity of the opening chapter of the Bible. The making of the physical
order and stages of subsequent history shared a pattern because it was the
same God who had commanded both.
In a stained glass half roundel in the north choir aisle at Canterbury
cathedral, six seated figures are titled the Six Ages of the World (Fig. 18).
They are Adam holding a hoe, Noah the ark, Abraham a flame, David a
harp, King Jehoiakin is crowned and carries a sceptre, Christ displays an
open book turned towards the viewer. Each marks the start of a new era.
There was a second beginning for mankind after the flood. Abraham left his
homeland to become founder ofthe Chosen People: his flame may indicate

16 Robert Grosseteste, Hexaemeron, translation Christopher Martin, On the Six Days

of Creation, Book 1. 8 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 60.
17 Eg. Bede, On the Pentateuch, Genesis I, Patrologia Latina 91. 191.
18 Augustine, A Refutation of the Manichees 3540, translated Edmund Hill, in The
Works of Saint Augustine 1/13, On Genesis (New York: New City Press, 2002), 626.
Time 97

the strange ritual of a covenant between God and himself when a smok-
ing fire-pot and a lamp of fire passed between the two halves of sacrificed
animals as a sign of divine promise to his descendants (Genesis 15). The
Davidic monarchy lasted until the exile when King Jehoiachin ( Jechonias)
was taken to Babylon. The sixth Age, corresponding to the Genesis day on
which humans were made, was the current era of the Church, beginning
with the coming of Christ who was the ideal representative of humanity
and bringer of redemption.

Fig. 18 Six Ages of the World, Canterbury Cathedral, north choir aisle typology
window, detail, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells.
With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.
98 Chapter 3

Each mans individual life-span was also measured by the number

six. Complementing the stained glass panel of the Ages of the World at
Canterbury is one in which figures graded in size represent the stages of
human life (Fig. 19). The small infant sees the light of day, the child plays
with ball and stick, the adolescent carries a sceptre and the youth a sword.
Middle Age, perhaps beyond fighting, holds what seems to be a loaf and
purse.19 Old age stands with the support of a crutch. Augustine had set these
out in tandem with the world ages in his refutation of heretics. Infancy
marked the beginning of humanity; childhood paralleled the era from
Noah to Abraham, that is, before the individual human enters the stage
of procreation and before the people of God in the Old Testament was
born. Adolescence continued to David and youth to the exile, during which
time the sins of the kings and nation deserved their punishment of captiv-
ity. Then middle age paralleled the gradual enfeeblement of the Hebrew
people, ending with their failure to recognise their Messiah. Finally old age,
Augustines kingdom of the flesh worn down, brought with the Christian
era the fall of the Jewish temple and end to the sacrificial system.20
These ages were personified elsewhere, on the left portal of the Virgin
at Notre Dame, Paris, and in the baptistery at Parma, for example, but
with different attributes.21 At Canterbury they feature beside the New
Testament miracle of changing the water into wine at the marriage in
Cana ( John 2vv.112), based on Augustines allegorical interpretation of
the six water pots in his sermons on Johns Gospel.22 Even though other
scholars used different Latin words for some of the stages of a mans life,
they maintained the significance of a span of six divisions for both history
and the individual. Bede, for instance, in a work on time, also linked the
ages of the world with those of man.23 Beyond the six-fold pattern would

19 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 110.

20 Augustine, A Refutation of the Manichees, in Hill, On Genesis, 626.
21 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 111.
22 Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John, Tractate IX.6, Nicene and Post-Nicene
Fathers vol. 7, 1st series (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 65.
23 Bede, The Reckoning of Time 66, translated Faith Wallis (Liverpool: Liverpool
University Press, 1999) 1579.
Time 99

be the coming of Christ in glory to bring in the final age of rest for those
who had faith, Augustine told heretics, and who deserved their reward
because of good works.

Fig. 19 Six Ages of Man, Canterbury Cathedral, north choir aisle typology window,
detail, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells. With kind permission
of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.

As God had rested on the seventh day after completion of his work,
so the sequence of eras would also end, with the future perpetual Sabbath.
Augustine, who had based his delineation of the ages as they were to appear
100 Chapter 3

at Canterbury from biblical lists of generations in Genesis and the blocks of

Christs genealogy in Matthews Gospel, believed that the final era would
lead into an eternal repose.24 The biblical Sabbath on which God rested
had no evening. Similarly, although the daily cycle of the physical world
would cease, humans would rest in God in an end without end. This future
state outside time would be on the other side of judgement, after Christ
returned at the end of the present age. Some medieval imagery completed
the sweep of time by including this Sabbath rest as the conclusion to crea-
tion sequences or to finalise the sequence of the ages.
On the west front of Laon cathedral, at the level of the rose window
above the south arch, there are ten frames illustrating the whole of time
(Fig. 20). The creator meditates, as he does at the beginning of the creation
narrative on the north porch at Chartres, and here at Laon the now broken
carving possibly depicted him counting on his fingers.25 Creation then fol-
lows the Genesis days, each illustrated within a circle on Gods lap, ending
with the forming of man. In the second frame the disk contains nine heads
surrounding a larger central one, representing the orders of angels formed
according to traditional exegesis when God made light. In the eighth pose
the creator sleeps, having finished his work. Then the Sabbath ensues in
two images, the first of which announces the end of the sixth age. Christ
returning, attended by two angels with censers, raises his hands to show
the wounds of the nails of crucifixion as small figures at his feet rise from
their tombs. In the final frame he tramples on a monster, the mouth ofhell,
as he holds two of the saved on his knees in an economical portrayal of
damnation and salvation. Inspiration for the scheme seems to have come
from the bibles moralises, where the days of creation were regularly fol-
lowed by the Last Judgement. In these manuscripts, with their close link
between picture and text, comment on Gods repose shows it to signify
Christs rest after the judgement, when he would embrace his friends and
trampled on his enemies.26

24 Augustine, City of God XXII. 30, translated Dyson, 117882.

25 Mle, The Gothic Image, 28.
26 Yves Christe, Aux origins de lHexamron des bibles moralises: le cycle de la cra-
tion de la cathdrale de Laon, Cahiers archologique 40 (1992), 919.
Time 101

Fig. 20 Creation Sequence, Laon Cathedral, west front, thirteenth century.

Photo: J.A. Kidd.

The end of time in the last medallion of the initial I of Genesis in the
Winchester Bible, which concludes six chronologically arranged scenes
from the Old Testament (Fig. 17), marks the beginning of the perpetual
Sabbath. Christ returns, displaying the nail marks, preceded by the cross
depicted as a tree and supported by two angels. It is the sign of the Son of
Man coming in power and majesty at the end of time, after the old order
of sun, moon and stars will no longer be needed (Matthew 24vv.2931).
Outside this last medallion, in the lower angles of the letter I, figures rise
from their graves.


Old Testament interest in creation was not confined to the beginning of

Genesis. There are a number ofbooks, including Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus
and the Wisdom of Solomon, which are not concerned with covenant or
salvation history but with a sense of order in the universe that continues
102 Chapter 3

from the creators establishment of everything in measure and number and

weight (Wisdom 11v.21).27 Instead of the six day pattern which would
translate into historical stages, or a Garden of Eden and Fall of Man which
gave rise to the need for a salvation history through time, there was emphasis
on a harmony pervading the whole creation but which had been disrupted
in human society by mans disregard of a moral order. Wisdom, personi-
fied as a female figure, was not only the agent of creation but guide to that
moral order, uttering her voice in the streets as she calls men to follow
her ways (Proverbs 1vv.202). Her credentials were that she existed before
anything else; she could claim I was there at creation, when order was
established (Proverbs 8v.27).
In this literature the emphasis is on the universe fashioned by careful
design akin to the work of an architect or craftsman. God balanced the
foundations of the earth; he made the heavens and, with a certain law and
compass or circle enclosed the depths, placing limits on the physical
world. Isaiah had also expressed the idea of a carefully crafted cosmic design
in a passage quoted by Ambrose at the beginning of his writing on the Six
Days.28 God seated upon the globe, or circle, of the earth (Isaiah 40v.22)
calculates what is required at the creation, Who hath measured the waters
in the hollow of his hand and weighed the heavens with his palm? Who
hath poised with three fingers the bulk of the earth and weighed the moun-
tains in scales and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40v.12). The opening of
Ecclesiasticus reiterated Isaiahs rhetorical questions, Who hath numbered
the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who
hath measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the
depth of the abyss? (Ecclesiasticus 1v.2).
These Old Testament books gave rise to different images of creation
from those based only on Genesis. An Anglo-Saxon diagrammatic illustra-
tion in a prefatory cycle to a Psalter depicts God holding compasses and

27 James L. Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction (Louisville, KY:

Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).
28 Ambrose, Hexaemeron, Patrologia Latina 14. 132288.
Time 103

scales.29 It is part of a series of measurement illustrations, or computus

material, used to identify some aspect of an organisation of time ranging
from the working out of dates for Easter to the chances of recovery for
a sick person. Gods head is above the circle of the world, two trumpets
come from his mouth, signifying the wind or spirit which moved over the
face of the water in Genesis. Another eleventh century drawing seems to
emphasise the fingers ofGods hand holding the dividers and scales, possibly
reflecting the Vulgates translation of Isaiah in which three fingers of the
creators hand poised the bulk of the earth.30 In later art the instruments of
measurement, especially the compasses, became more common, though it
has been suggested that these derived from a separate iconographic tradi-
tion from those of the Anglo-Saxon illustrations.31 In the bibles moralises
the creator was an artisan stretching his compasses over the colour masses
of the universe, which possibly represented the elements.32 One example
from a manuscript in Vienna, in which the seated God with compasses,
in a mandorla upheld by angels with a disc rimmed in green, blue, black
and yellow on his lap, explains in its titulus that he is the sole maker of the
circle.33 Dividers, or compasses, remained the most common expression of
measuring the universe and are the central visual point in Gods first act of
creation in the fifteenth century stained glass Genesis sequence at Great
Malvern Priory, Worcestershire (Fig. 21).

29 London, British Library, Cotton MS. Tiberius C. VI, folio 7v. Temple, Anglo-Saxon
Manuscripts 9001066, cat.no.98.
30 London, British Library, Royal MS. Royal 1 E VII, fol. 1v, Temple: Anglo-Saxon
Manuscripts 9001066, cat.no. 102, fig. 319.
31 John Block Friedman, The Architects Compass in Creation Miniatures of the Later
Middle Ages, Traditio XXX (1974), 41929.
32 Rudolph, In the Beginning, 36.
33 John Lowden, The Making of the Bibles Moralises (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania
State University Press, 2000), 87. Vienna, sterreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS.
1179, fol. 1v.
104 Chapter 3

Fig. 21 Creator God with Compasses, Great Malvern Priory of St Mary and St
Michael, Worcestershire, creation windows, detail, fifteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

Disorder, however, had ensued in human society. A contrast between

Wisdom and the folly of man is expressed in the first window on the north
side of the Lady Chapel at Le Mans cathedral, where a quotation from
Proverbs is written in the half roundel at the base of the scheme: the depths
were not as yet and I was already conceived (Proverbs 8v.24). Wisdoms
pre-eminence is then contrasted with the more familiar story of the Garden
of Eden which rises in three ascending circles. Eve is taken from Adams rib;
they stand on either side of the tree as the serpent turns to Eve; they are
expelled from paradise by an angel with raised sword. Next to the forma-
tion of Eve, God creates the world. Beside the foolishness in Eden are the
historical events which brought Wisdom back into the world, namely the
Time 105

Annunciation and Nativity: Christ had been identified with the Wisdom
of the Old Testament by Christian interpreters.34 Next to the snake in the
Eden tree, Moses lifts up the serpent on a pillar, anticipating the healing
nature of mans acceptance of Wisdom. In the two half quatrefoils above
the scene of Adam and Eve driven from Paradise are the Christianised
consequences of the choice between folly and Wisdom. On the right, two
people echoing the movement of the first humans are driven by Christ
from his presence. To the left, he raises up two people from the jaws of a
monster, saving them from an eternity of punishment.
When the world was created, Wisdoms special delight had been with
the children of men (Proverbs 8v.31). An emphasis on humanity and soci-
ety as part of the natural order fitted well with the philosophical European
humanism of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that derived its main
impetus from classical sources. Great prominence was given to the dignity
of mankind as a rational creature and to his nobility, which continued even
after the Fall since human reason was still able to understand the intelligi-
ble universe.35 Although dangers in attempting to interpret iconography
in the light of scholarly trends at particular centres have been indicated,
the creation sequence around the outer arch of the central north portal
at Chartres does seem to be of especial interest. It brings together the six
days of Genesis and expulsion from Eden with a very unusual portrayal of
mans special place in the divine plan. A series of depictions of God ascend
along the outer voussoirs on the left side of the arch as he creates the angels
then various aspects of the world outlined in the first chapter of Genesis.
What he brings into existence, from light and angels through to plants
and animals, is confined to the second order of sculpture. In the creators
fifth pose, however, like a projection of what is in his mind, a human figure
stands beside him within his separate space, as an apparent anticipation of
man made in his image (Genesis 1v.26) (Fig. 22). The two frames at the
pinnacle of the sequence show Adam being formed, his head resting on

34 Eg Augustine, City of God XVII.20, translated Dyson, 81216.

35 Richard W. Southern, Medieval Humanism and other Studies (Oxford: Blackwell,
1970), 2933.
106 Chapter 3

the creators lap, then he stands beside God who holds his hand. Alone
of all the created universe, God allows man to inhabit the divine realm of
the outer band of sculpture.

Fig. 22 Creator God imagines Man, from the Creation sequence, Chartres Cathedral,
north porch, thirteenth century. Photo: Sonia Halliday.
Time 107

The sequence continues with Adam placed in the Garden of Eden,

signified by personified rivers of Paradise pouring water from their pitch-
ers. He now occupies both the first and second order of sculpture, the
divine and created worlds. For two stages of the story he is left alone in
both realms, even replacing the creator in the divine order. In the second
of these stages, in the sphere of the created world, Adam stands beside the
serpent winding around the tree in Eden, gazing across to his own image
in the outer sculpted band. He raises a hand to his throat, in what is to be
his last appearance in Gods realm. From this point God alone reappears
in the outer band of the sculptural scheme, so that from now on, in the
descending episodes ofthe Fall, there is a permanent visual division between
him and Adam. The noble creature, made in Gods image, has separated
himself from the divine world. The story of the Fall continues down the
right hand side of the arch, with the coming of Eve and the realisation of
human shame as she and Adam are sent out of Paradise by a sword-bearing
angel. The series ends with their toil. However, beside this last scene, on
the outer voussoir, the final depiction of God shows him watching over
their labours, his hand raised in blessing. Mans distinction and importance
have not been fully compromised, even in the fallen state.
This exaltation of man in the sculpture goes beyond the biblical
account of creation, even though the sequence follows the first chapters
of Genesis. The north porch imagery seems to reflect, in both its ideal
portrayal of the human figure and Adams intimacy with the creator, the
interests of those writers who exalted mankind and looked back to a classi-
cal past. When creation begins, God is seated in the pose of a philosopher,
as though contemplating an ancient wisdom. Adam, the summit of that
creation, the only creature to inhabit both Gods world and the material
universe and to have his beginning in the former, has been described here
as being the Summer of Chartres cathedral, naked, fearless and unbowed,
with his body a not ignoble hospice for the pilgrim soul.36

36 Helen Waddell, The Wandering Scholars, 7th edn (London: Collins Fontana Library,
1968), 139.
108 Chapter 3

The sequence is also caught up into the wider display of biblical time
in the north porch. Beneath the ascending Creation and descending Fall at
the cathedral entrance are column figures of Old Testament precursors. The
generations of the tree of Jesse are carved on the soffits of the central arch.
Mans rescue in the biblical scheme of redemption is in process. Bernard
Sylvestris, a humanist writer who may have been associated with Chartres,
who had attributed the universe to divine intelligence and claimed for man
a special dignity because he is both divine and human, would have found
his thoughts echoed in this total scheme. It expresses his eternal ideas of
the knowledge of things that are to be, the generations and mysterious
destiny of creation, the texture of time, the foredoomed consequence and
disposition of the centuries.37


Apart from the six ages which presented time as a creation process in theo-
logical stages leading to the Church, there were other, more conventional,
means of conveying the progress of history from its beginning. The story
ran its course through the generations, the ancestors of Christ who were
named in the Gospel genealogies. Matthews list began with Abraham and
was divided into three groups of fourteen generations while Luke, starting
with the present, traced the line back to Adam (Matthew 1vv.117; Luke
3vv.2338). Canterbury cathedral possessed the longest series of ancestors
known to medieval art, eighty-six stained glass figures of which over forty
remain, derived from Luke and supplemented by eight from Matthew.
Their original positions in the building have been reconstructed using
available documentation.38 The series began on the north side with God
and Adam, then advanced chronologically in an arrangement oftwo figures

37 Waddell, The Wandering Scholars, 1367.

38 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 810.
Time 109

to each lancet, the earlier placed above the other. Most are seated, named
and originally either faced or gestured towards the East as they moved
through the north and south clerestory windows, ending in the west with
the Virgin and Child. Adam digs the ground, dressed in an animal skin
which, according to Augustine, was a sign of his mortality.39 It was this
post-Paradise state that necessitated the gallery of his descendants who,
like links in a chain, would lead to the focal point of history.

Fig. 23 Aminadab and Aram, two of the Generations panels, Canterbury Cathedral,
west window, twelfth/thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells. With kind permission
of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.

Names of the ancestors were thought to contain some significance

that pointed to an aspect of Christs status or character. In her Hortus
Deliciarum, Abbess Herrad included the homily of a ninth century writer
on the first chapter of Matthews Gospel which explained the meanings.

39 Augustine, A Refutation of the Manichees II.31, translated Hill, on Genesis, 93.

110 Chapter 3

Aminadab, for instance, the son of Aram and father of Naasson, was inter-
preted as my freely chosen people, referring to Christ who voluntarily gave
himself for mans salvation as the spotless victim. In keeping with most
depictions of the ancestors at Canterbury, he holds no attribute. Nothing
is known about him from the Old Testament, although his name is the
same as that of the chariot of Aminadab in the Song of Solomon which
had come to carry so much allegorical meaning. Next to him, now in the
west window of the cathedral, is his father Aram, wearing a hat (Fig. 23).
Interpretation of his name was electus, indicating someone elected or
special, as Christ was chosen by the Father.40
In Herrads manuscript, Matthews genealogy is illustrated as a tree.
Abraham stands in the trunk looking towards an angel who points to some
stars, a reference to Gods promise to the patriarch that his seed would be
as countless as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15v.5). Then, in bust form
within the widening central stem, the people of the Gospel list follow, cul-
minating with Joseph the carpenter, above whom is his wife the Virgin Mary.
In the branches on either side, onlookers include other patriarchs, kings,
priests, Jews in their tall hats worn elsewhere in the manuscripts illustra-
tions. Christ is at the summit. Martyrs with their palms, monks and nuns
and Church authorities feature in extended rows beside him, members of
the Christian community who are the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
Herrads drawing is a variation on the tree of Jesse, who in this pic-
ture supports the foot of the plant from which the ancestors spring. It was
based on Isaiahs prophecy, there shall come forth a rod out of the root
of Jesse: and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the
Lord shall rest upon him, (Isaiah 11vv.12). Tentative beginnings of the
Jesse tree may appear in the frieze at Notre Dame, Poitiers, where a half
figure, with a rod bearing a dove emerging from his head, features beside
the Annunciation (Fig. 24).

40 Walafrid Strabo, Homilia in initium evangelii s. Mattei, in Hortus Deliciarum fol.

83r, 131.
Time 111

Fig. 24 Tree of Jesse with Annunciation, Notre-Dame-la-Grande, Poitiers,

west front frieze, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

There were numerous alternatives and re-workings of the theme. The

opening of Psalm I in the fourteenth century Gorleston Psalter illustrates
the other extreme of the trees depiction, with its intricate pattern and
elegant figures of prophets and kings extending around the margins of
the page from the sleeping Jesse in the initial B.41 Here, depicted immedi-
ately above the recumbent figure, are the Virgin and child followed by the
tree of the cross with Christ crucified. In the lower margin, scenes of the
Annunciation, Visitation and Nativity, display the same theological asso-
ciations with the tree as there had been at Poitiers. The Jesse tree image is
well known for its single elegance in lancet windows, in which the number
of kings and prophets may vary and the flower is usually the Virgin and
Child or Christ. Alternative forms can be found throughout Europe. At the
cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the central column of the Portico de
la Gloria is carved as a Jesse tree, its capital depicting the Trinity. A candela-

41 London, British Library, Additional MS. 49622, fol. 8r, illustrated in Janet Backhouse,
The Illuminated Page, Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library
(London: The British Library, 1997), fig. 87.
112 Chapter 3

brum described as a Jesse was given to Canterbury cathedral in the twelfth

century.42 The tree image may have been adapted from a Carolingian poem
on the liberal arts, in which Grammar is at the base and other disciplines,
specified on disks on its branches, lead to Wisdom at its summit.43
One of the earliest stained glass Jesse trees was Abbot Sugers window
at Saint Denis, now much restored. Immediately above Jesse, David stands
on the lion ofthe tribe ofJudah flanked by Isaiah and Daniel; two unnamed
kings rise in the central stem with Moses and Haggai, Jeremiah and Amos
beside them, leading to the Virgin beside Samuel and Joel and, finally, to
Christ who is worshipped by angels and whose head is surrounded by seven
doves.44 These represent the seven gifts of the Spirit, enumerated by Isaiah,
which would rest on the flower of the rod of Jesse. Within this structure of
the image, different messages could be presented in the prophets scrolls.
At Saint Denis the prophets point to a future time. Daniels words refer to
the covenant with many, that is the new lasting agreement between God
and the whole world, replacing the sacrificial system of the old regime
(Daniel 9v.27). Joel looks beyond the darkening of sun, moon and stars
to the mountains dropping sweetness, as a new age dawns when Jerusalem
interpreted in Christianity as the spiritual city, the Church will be
inhabited from generation to generation ( Joel 3vv.18,20).
An unusual variation in the Lambeth Bible frontispiece to the Hebrew
prophets has made the Virgin Mary the actual rod ofIsaiahs prophecy, the
virgo who has become the virga. Curling branches ofthe tree form roundels
beside her, two of which she supports with her outstretched arms (Fig. 25).
Four prophets at her feet look up to the flowering ofthe rod. The one on the
left, pointing towards the top, is Isaiah, whose scroll displays the prophecy
of the stem of Jesse. The only two kings in the illustration have slipped to
the lower corner circles of the page. This image has moved away from the
royal generations leading to the greater Son ofDavid to become a statement
of unity of Jews and Gentiles in the Church. On the Virgins left, Moses

42 Arthur Watson, The Early Iconography of the Tree of Jesse (London: Oxford University
Press, H. Milford, 1934), 70.
43 Watson, The Early Iconography of the Tree of Jesse, 44.
44 Louis Grodecki, Les vitraux de Saint-Denis: tude sur le vitrail au XII sicle (Paris:
Centre national de la recherche scientifique, arts et mtiers graphique, 1976), 7180.
Time 113

raises his hand as the veil is removed from Synagogues eyes. On her right, a
crowned Ecclesia is directed towards the bust ofChrist. In the central circles
the female figures on either side ofthe Virgin represent Mercy and Truth in
harmony with each other and Justice greeting Peace. According to Jeromes
comment on Psalm 84, Truth represents the Jews, Mercy the Gentiles.45
Justice was established in the Law, Christ brought the possibility of peace.

Fig. 25 Tree of Jesse, Lambeth Bible, Lambeth Palace Library MS. 3, fol. 198r, twelfth
century. Photo: Warburg Institute. With kind permission of Lambeth Palace Library.

45 Dorothy M. Shepard, Introducing the Lambeth Bible: A Study of Texts and Imagery
(Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 150.
114 Chapter 3

Medieval art displayed rows of prophets, sometimes at the entrance

to cathedrals so that the worshipper walked through the Old Testament
to the interior of the building. They served the same purpose as the Old
Testament characters in the Procession of Prophets attached to the Play of
Adam, as they led the movement of time towards the Gospels. At Saint
Marys church in Fairford, Gloucestershire, twelve prophets, featured in a
row of stained glass windows along the north side of the nave, set the scene
for a longer display of time. Many of their banderols display texts relating
to judgement. Obadiahs scroll contains the last words from his book that
the kingdom shall be for the Lord, completing the verse which anticipates
the coming of victorious men to Jerusalem to judge the enemy. Zephaniah
appears to convey a message from the book of Malachi (3v.5) declaring
that God will come in judgement and speedily witness [against sorcerers
].46 Joel, too, warns of judgement on all nations who have abused Gods
people (3v.2). Isaiah announces that a virgin will conceive and bear a son
and King David, who was often counted among the prophets, indicates
from Psalm 2 You are my Son, today I have begotten you. After four Old
Testament scenes in the next window (Eve in the Garden of Eden, Moses
and the burning bush, Gideon and the fleece, the visit of the Queen of
Sheba to Solomon), the continuity of events moves on to the apocryphal
story of Marys childhood, then to Christs life, which continues around
the east end of the building to his Ascension. The scheme leads into the
era of the Church, starting with the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost
and moving from the Apostles, who first spread the Gospel message, to the
Western Church Fathers Jerome, Gregory, Ambrose and Augustine, and
finally to the future Last Judgement in the west window.
Continuity of time expressed in the space of a building takes on a
different aspect in the rose windows of Chartres cathedral. The north tran-
sept rose places the Christ child with his mother at its centre, surrounded
by the kings and prophets of the Old Testament. In the south transept
the ascended Christ takes the central position, enclosed by the heavenly

46 Hilary Wayment, The Stained Glass of the Church of St Mary, Fairford, Gloucestershire
(London: Society of Antiquities of London, Occasional Papers (New Series V),
1984), 68.
Time 115

creatures and elders of the Apocalypse. The West rose presents him as judge,
presiding over what is to come. They thus represent the past, present (the age
of the New Testament) and future.47 There is also a vertical reading of time
in the south transept stained glass. Here the standing prophets Jeremiah,
Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel of the lancet windows below the rose, carry on
their shoulders the animated Gospel writers, conversing with each other.
These are Luke, Matthew, John and Mark respectively. As the viewers look
up from the prophets and evangelists to the ascended Christ in heaven, they
are taken in three layers through biblical revelation, from Old Testament
prophets to writers of the life of Christ and then to the subsequent state
of glory described in the last book of the New Testament, the Apocalypse.
Bernard of Chartres, in the twelfth century, expressed the idea that
generations enjoy the legacy bequeathed to them not in terms of family
tree but through the progression of knowledge. We know more, he said,
because we possess riches inherited from our forefathers. We see more
and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or
greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigan-
tic stature.48 This well-known dwarfs on the shoulders of giants quota-
tion referred originally to the legacy of the classical world to the Middle
Ages, but here in the south transept at Chartres it is depicted literally to
acknowledge the indispensible foundation of the Old Testament for the
vision ofthe New. This unusual pictorial arrangement was not unique. It had
occurred in early Roman art, in San Sebastiano al Palatino, where proph-
ets had carried Apostles on their shoulders beside the twenty four elders
of the Apocalypse in a horizontal arrangement.49 On a font in Meresburg
cathedral in Germany, twelve standing prophets, with banderols contain-
ing their names, also support the Apostles who are identified by name on
the sculpted arcading.

47 Cowen, Rose Windows, 10.

48 John of Salisbury, bishop of Chartres, The Metalogicon: a Twelfth Century Defense of
the Verbal and Logical Arts of the Trivium, translated Daniel D. McGarry (Berkeley,
CA: University of California Press, 1955), Book 3.4; 167.
49 Stephan Waetzoldt, Die Kopien des 17 Jahrhunderts nach Mosaiken und Wand
malereien in Rom (Vienna: Schroll-Verlag, 1964), figs. 519, 520.
116 Chapter 3

Time marked by ancestors and precursors leading into the New

Testament offered an accessible progression of salvation history. A more
obscure portrayal of the same theme focused on mankind, the continuous
journey on which humanity had embarked from the creation of Adam.
Exegesis recorded in the Glossa understood the parable of the Good
Samaritan in Lukes Gospel (Luke 10vv.307) to be an allegory of man-
kind.50 In a number of cathedral windows, exposition ofthe New Testament
story is set beside depictions of creation, scenes from Old Testament history
and events related to Christs Crucifixion. The parable tells how a man set
out from Jerusalem for Jericho, was attacked on the road and left for dead.
A passing priest and Levite ignored him but a Samaritan, despised because
of his mixed race, found him, bound his wounds and took him to rest at
an inn, promising to pay the landlord for his stay.
At Bourges the story is told in the five central roundels of the Good
Samaritan window, reading from the top, with Old Testament pictures in
the quarter circles attached to each scene. God creates the universe, man
and woman, so humanity sets out on its journey like the man ofthe parable
leaving Jerusalem. At Bourges he is dressed as a pilgrim. He is attacked by
bandits, just as the first humans were assailed by the serpent in Eden. In
the third roundel, divested of his garments, he represents mans condition
outside Paradise. While he lies beside a tree the priest and levite look on
without rescuing him (Fig. 26). They were representatives of the Old Law,
illustrated in the four surrounding scenes by the call ofMoses to rescue the
people, Aaron collecting gold from the Hebrews to make a false god, the
worship of the golden calf and Moses smashing the Ten Commandments
when he discovers what the people at the foot of Mount Sinai have done
(Exodus 32). The Law alone, which could readily be broken, was unable to
bring mankind back to God. Finally a Samaritan arrives to lead the stricken
man on his horse to the inn-keeper. The Samaritan is Christ, the inn the
Church. The flagellation of Christ and his Crucifixion make the visual
comment that this is the price paid by Christ for the rescue of mankind.

50 Glossa, Patrologia Latina 114. 2867.

Time 117

Fig. 26 Priest and Levite pass the Wounded Man, with four Old Testament scenes,
Bourges Cathedral, Good Samaritan window, detail, thirteenth century.
Photo: Stuart Whatling, by kind permission.

At Chartres, the parable features in the lower part of the Good

Samaritan window while Adam and Eve, their expulsion from Eden and
Cains murder of Abel provide a block of Old Testament narrative in
the upper half of the scheme. The sequence at Sens cathedral is closer to
Bourges, beginning from the city of Jerusalem at the top, with each of its
three descending central lozenges depicting the parable surrounded by four
scenes of commentary. There is, however, a different pictorial ending from
that at Bourges. Beside the Samaritan arriving at the inn are the Crucifixion
and Resurrection. Beneath the cross Ecclesia catches the blood of Christ
in a chalice and a six-winged seraph places his sword back into its sheath.
Christs death brings wounded humanity to be healed by the sacraments
of the Church. The angel, who had brandished a sword to chase Adam
and Eve from the Garden of Eden, now no longer needs to bar the way to
Paradise. A twelfth century commentator had pointed out that humanity
118 Chapter 3

takes the consequences of the road to Jericho which imprints the defects
in us of our mortality.51 The Sens window highlights mankinds renewed
access to Paradise, made possible through the Church and brought about
by the Crucifixion and overcoming of mortality in the Resurrection.
Time and the Church, though, carrying humanity towards this re-
entry to Paradise, were finite. The Gospel genealogies of Old Testament
figures, which had inspired the Canterbury ancestors, were to take on
another significance that anticipated the final age. During the late twelfth
century a monk from Calabria, Joachim of Fiore, divided history into
three equal sections corresponding to the Trinity, allocating forty two
generations to each age. This was based on the total number of ancestors
indicated by Matthew in his genealogy of Christ. Joachim understood the
first Age, that of the Old Testament, to be the Age of the Father. The New
Testament and Church were the Age of the Son and a future section of
time, when knowledge of God would be revealed directly to everyone, as
the Age of the Holy Spirit. If thirty years represented a generation, then
the forty two units from the time of Christ meant that the second Age
was about to come to an end and the third to be ushered in, around the
year 1260.52 Although such ideas were not unique to Joachim, they took
on an urgency through his teaching. They spread rapidly, partly because
they captured the imagination of certain new thirteenth century religious
orders and because they seemed to confirm contemporary events and social
upheavals as heralds of an approaching end.
It has been claimed that a new awareness of time, rising in the collec-
tive consciousness, promotes the popularity of apocalypses which look to
the end and that Joachims excesses were exaggerations of this sensitivity to
history.53 As there had been an upsurge in depictions of creation a hundred

51 Honorius Augustiniensis, Speculum Ecclesiae, 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Patrologia

Latina 172.1059.
52 Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millenium (London: Paladin Books, Granada
Publishing, 1970), 10810.
53 Marie-Dominique Chenu, Man, Nature and Society in the Twelfth Century: Essays on
New Theological Perspectives in the Latin West, translated Jerome Taylor and Lester
K. Little (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1968), 190.
Time 119

years or so before, there was a considerable increase in production of the

New Testament Apocalypse during the thirteenth century.54 New exegesis
and picture cycles emerged in Europe, inspired by Joachims belief that this
last book of the Bible was the key to things past and knowledge of things
to come.55 Most of the verbal imagery of its author, Saint John the Divine,
had been inspired by the history and prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures
but was re-issued as coded language addressing the turbulent situation
of first-century Palestine. In Saint Johns work, the figure on the throne
describes himself as Alpha and Omega (Revelation 21v.6), the beginning
and end, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Already over the
south entrance to the twelfth century church in La Lande de Fronsac near
Bordeaux, Saint John, holding a book, stands beside the seven churches of
Asia to whom his revelation was addressed, looking up at the apocalyptic
Christ with his sharp, two-edged sword (Revelation 2v.12). In the worn
inscription beneath the figures, the letters principio can still be made out,
remains of the sculpted phrase which read that he (Christ) is the beginning
without beginning, the end without end.56

Time Recurring

On day four of creation sun, moon and stars were made, not only to rule
day and night but also for signs and seasons, days and years. They were the
mechanism which regulated natures rhythm, producing the changing work

54 Nigel J. Morgan, Early Gothic Manuscripts (2) 12501285. A Survey of MSS illumi-
nated in the British Isles, vol. 4 (London: Harvey Miller, 1988), 16.
55 Suzanne Lewis, Parallel Tracks Then and Now: the Cambridge Alexander
Apocalypse, in Paul Binski and William Noel, eds, New Offerings and Ancient
Treasures: Studies in Medieval Art for George Henderson (Stroud: Sutton Publishing,
2001), 36788.
56 Calvin Kendall, The Allegory of the Church: Romanesque Portals and their Verse
Inscriptions (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1998), 231.
120 Chapter 3

of each month and the annual round of collective celebrations that marked
turning points of the year. The main feasts of Christmas and Easter in
the liturgical calendar overlaid these patterns with Christian significance.
Christs entry to the world as Light ( John 1vv.19) is celebrated at the
time when the sun is at its lowest point in the northern hemisphere. In
the Old Testament, what may originally have been a Spring lambing cel-
ebration became associated with Passover rituals, when the blood of the
sacrificed animal was daubed on doorposts ofthe Hebrews to protect them
from the angel of death as they prepared to escape from slavery in Egypt
(Exodus 1114). Christianity remembers the Crucifixion and Resurrection
of Christ, the new paschal lamb (1 Corinthians 5v.7), when new life is
born after winter.
Determining the date of Easter required intricate calculations based
on lunar and solar movements. This computus material, which occupied
numerous folios of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, was used to work out, among
other key moments in the year, the time of the vernal equinox and the
date of Easter which was to fall on the Sunday following the full moon
after the equinox. Study of such measurement of time had been enjoined
on priests at the Council of Aachen in 789;57 and Aelfric stated that every
priest should have details of the reckonings at his disposal.58 The Psalter
from Winchester depicting the creator God holding compasses and scales
as conclusion to a series of diagrams of different measures, including the
means of ascertaining whether a sick person will live or die, contains an
horologium. This time-piece consisted of a series of circles, diminishing in
size within each other, joined at a common point at the top from which
a pendant falls vertically, giving the impression of a sundial. On the same
folio is the hand of God with dates of Easter written on each finger.59 An
extant school book detailing orbits of planets through the zodiac, move-
ments of tides and climate changes, together with extracts from classical

57 Bede, The Reckoning of Time, Wallis, Introduction, lxxxix.

58 Adelheid Heimann, Three Illustrations from the Bury St Edmunds Psalter and their
Prototypes, JWCI 29 (1966) 3959.
59 Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 9001066, cat. no. 98. London, Brit. Lib. Cotton
MS. Tiberius C.VI, fol. 7r.
Time 121

writers and Christian compilers, reflected an intense medieval interest in

number as well as order in nature.60 In this last manuscript the measure-
ments form part of the curriculum in arithmetic, geometry and astronomy.
The importance of the movement sun, moon and stars extended to
buildings in which the liturgical year was celebrated. Churches were usu-
ally aligned on an EastWest axis, the altar at the end where the sun rises.
Iconography, too, was sometimes placed directionally and worshippers often
experienced deliberate orientations in a space that reflected the passage
of heavenly bodies. When they entered Chartres cathedral by the north
porch they were passing through the Old Testament shadow towards
the promise it held for the dawn of a new age. When they stood at the
centre of Fairford church they were guided past Old Testament imagery
on the north side towards the birth of the Virgin and life of Christ in the
east, leading around to the Apostles and Fathers of the Church through
the south windows and the end of the Age and Judgement where the sun
sets. Gregory the Great, commenting on the majesty of nature described
in the book of Job, linked the constellations of Pleiades and Arcturus to
the Old Testament moving into the New. Arcturus, he said, represents
the old Law, its seven stars honouring the old purification rituals lasting
seven days. It rises in the north and inclines towards the east, giving way
to Pleiades with its seven stars which indicate the light of Grace and the
seven gifts of the Spirit.61

The Zodiac

In the Old Testament, reliance on the stars as a means of telling the future
was condemned since it implied trust in the mechanism of creation, rather
than in the power of the creator. The originator of everything was able to

60 Harry Bober, An Illustrated Medieval Schoolbook for Cosmography ascribed to

Bede, Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 1920 (19567), 6597.
61 Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, XXIX. 73 (on Job 38v.31), sources chrtiennes,
no.476, 30911.
122 Chapter 3

intervene in the processes he set in motion. He could stop the sun in its
tracks, as he had done for Joshua when he led his army to victory against
the Amorites ( Joshua 10v.13). King Hezekiahs sign from God, that he
would recover from his illness, was that the shadow on the sundial built by
his father, Ahaz, would be made to move backwards by ten degrees (Isaiah
38v.8). The prophet known as Second Isaiah, who was in exile, had mocked
the Babylonian astrologers who studied stars and mapped out zones in
the heavens to tell what was going to happen in the future. He described
them as stubble that will be burnt by fire (Isaiah 47vv.1314). For Bede,
who wrote several works on time, the solar and lunar year with planets
borne around the zodiac were in place because the creator, as revealed in
Genesis, had made it that way; the zodiac was merely the daily advances
of the sun in the heavens.62
Such was the fascination of the zodiac, however, that many Jewish and
Christian writers gave the signs a symbolic value to make them respectable.
Philo, a first century Jewish philosopher in Alexandria, equated the twelve
divisions with the tribes of Israel, as did the early rabbis.63 For Josephus, a
first century Jewish historian, the twelve stones of the High Priests breast-
plate were the measured year, that is the months or same number of signs
which the Greeks call the zodiac.64 In his description of Herods temple
he likened them also to the Bread of the Presence, twelve loaves set out as
a continual offering to God, which the Old Testament traced back to the
wilderness tabernacle (Exodus 25v.30).65 An early fifth century bishop of
Verona named Zeno wrote a tract on the zodiac for the newly baptised,
associating each sign with aspects of the Christian life.66 Scorpio, like all
serpents, is evil and to be trodden underfoot; Pisces, the two fishes, stand
for unity between Jews and Gentiles baptised in living water to make one

62 Bede, The Reckoning of Time 18, translated Wallis, 60.

63 Erwin R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period, vol. 8 (New York:
Pantheon Books, 1958), 214 n.250.
64 Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3.7.7, in The Works of Flavius Josephus,
translated William Whiston (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1842), 92.
65 Josephus, The Wars of the Jews Book 5.5.5, in William Whiston, The Works of Flavius
Josephus, 718.
66 San Zeno, Tract XLIII, Patrologia Latina 11. 4926.
Time 123

people. The zodiac features on the lead font in Saint Augustines church,
Brookland, Kent, and over the south door of San Isidore in Leon where it
may indicate that the baptised can now enter the church as fully-fledged
Christians.67 Later, in a manual of the Anglo-Saxon compiler Byrhtferth,
Old Testament characters were linked to each sign: Scorpio was the men-
acing Pharaoh defeated in the Red Sea, for example, and Pisces became
associated with Jonah who had been saved from drowning by a large fish.
Abraham, who had sacrificed a ram in place of his son Isaac, stood easily
alongside Aries.68
On the doors of San Zenos church in Verona, in Aelfrics Hexateuch
and as part ofthe carved narrative around the south entrance to Malmesbury
abbey, Wiltshire, Abraham is told by an angel to look up at the countless
stars, so that he will understand the extent of descendents promised to
him (Genesis 15). Herrads illustration of the episode in her family tree of
Christ had taken the story at its face value and placed it in a context of time
through the generations. A rabbinic tradition, known to Bede, held that
when Abraham was shown the stars it made him the first astronomer. He
then taught the Egyptians about the zodiac and came himself to know God
better through the stars.69 Rabbinic literature also described a vision said
to have been experienced by Abraham of his descendants seeing the divine
Presence, the Shekinah, dwelling in their midst, just as the zodiac encircled
Gods glory.70 This was the pattern of the twelve tribes camped around the
wilderness tabernacle and of tribal settlements around the rebuilt temple
envisioned by Ezekiel (Numbers 2v.2; Ezekiel 48vv.18). There was also
a Jewish belief that when the Romans destroyed their temple at the fall of
Jerusalem in 70 ce, the Shekinah removed itself to the synagogues.

67 S. Moralejo Alvarez, Pour linterpretation iconographique du Portail de lAgneau

St Isidore, Leon: les signes du zodiac, Cahiers de Saint Michel de Cuxa 8 (1977)
quoted in Teresa P. Higuera, The Art of Time: Medieval Calendars and the Zodiac
(London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998), 92.
68 Wolfgang Hbner, Zodiacus Christianus: Judisch-Christliche Adaptationem des
Tierkreises von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Knigstein: Hain, 1983), 71.
69 Bede, The Reckoning of Time 6, translated Wallis, 27.
70 Pierre Prigent, Limage dans le Judaisme du IIe au VIe sicle (Geneva: Labor et Fides,
1991), 134.
124 Chapter 3

Circular time, defined by the movement of the stars, merged with a

vision ofthe future in other ways. Zodiacs surrounding the sun in Palestinian
synagogue mosaics of the fourth to sixth centuries have attracted many
interpretations, from calendars with the sun at the heart of the revolving
year to anticipations of the messianic age, when light of the divine pres-
ence will rest permanently at the centre of the people of God. In a syna-
gogue at Beth Aleph, south of the Sea of Galilee, the mosaic which places
the zodiac encircling the sun chariot also depicts an Ark, candelabra and
liturgical items of palms and fruit associated with the festival of Shelters,
which commemorated the years of dwelling in tents during the wilderness
wanderings. Below the circle, Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac at the altar
on Mount Moriah, where Solomon was to build his temple (2 Chronicles
3v.1). The horn of the ram substituted for Isaac was blown at new year.
The lion and bull in the mosaic are said to provide a Paradise theme, of
peace in the new world.71 The feast of Shelters had already been given a
future significance in the Hebrew Scriptures (Zechariah 14) and the whole
scheme at Beth Aleph, which appears to look to a messianic age, seems to
reflect the developing idea in Judaism that when the Messiah comes he
will re-establish the temple cult. Jewish interpretation of the last words of
Jacob at the end of Genesis, about the future of his grandsons and their
descendants, stated that the Shekinah of the Master of the world will dwell
on Benjamins territory, where the temple will be built.72
Medieval Christian art also combined the notion of recurring time
with a vision of the future. On the inner tympanum of the basilica of Saint
Mary Magdalene at Vzelay, in a semi-circle delineated by the zodiac, a
central Christ sends out rays of light onto the twelve Apostles, rather than
towards the tribes of Israel (Fig. 27). Beyond them, on the inner arch and
lintel are all the races of the world, including some of the rumoured crea-
tures who were to appear later in the Lausanne cathedral rose and who
were also descendants of Adam. This scene has often been interpreted as a
representation ofPentecost, when the Apostles were given power to take the

71 Prigent, L image dans le Judaisme du IIe au Vie sicle, 104.

72 Targum sur Gense, translated Roger Le Deaut, sources chrtiennes, no.245 (Paris:
Cerf, 1978), 4319.
Time 125

Gospel message to the whole world (Acts1v.8; 2vv.112).73 It may equally

be understood as an anticipation of the return of Christ in glory at the
end of the age to gather all peoples, covering the heavens with his bright-
ness, with horns, or rays of light, in his hands, according to the prophecy
of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3vv.34). An Apostle on the right indicates to
one of his companions the approaching figure, while on the lintel a repre-
sentative of the people from distant lands points upwards towards him. The
sense of movement in the swirls of Christs drapery is not the rushing wind
experienced in the Upper Room at Pentecost, but Isaiahs description of
God coming like a whirlwind at the end of time in judgement; he would
give a sign for his people to go and gather from Africa, Lydia, Italy, Greece
and the islands far off those who are to be saved (Isaiah 66v.19). They
would arrive on horses and other animals, as some of them do at Vzelay,
to see Gods glory and to worship at the temple (vv.18, 21).

Fig. 27 Christ returns at End of the Age, church of St Mary Magdalene,

Vzelay, narthex tympanum, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

73 Michael D. Taylor, The Pentecost at Vzelay, Gesta 19/1 (1980), 915.

126 Chapter 3

Christ surrounded by the zodiac and Apostles is a variation on the Shekinah

at the centre of the people. A different group of twelve has taken the place
of the tribes of Israel, namely the Apostles whom Matthew believed had
superseded them (Matthew 19v.28). Clement of Alexandria, writing in
the second century, had already claimed the zodiac signs for the new group
of twelve.74 In the school book referred to above and in other manuscript
illustration, Christ can be found encircled by the zodiac, the creator at
the centre of an ordered universe.75 Here at Vzelay he is the Presence of
God at the core of an enlarged people, his body the temple, destroyed
but resurrected after three days ( John 2vv.1922). In fulfilment of Isaiahs
prophecy his animated figure comes like a whirlwind to gather the nations,
journeying not to the Jerusalem temple but to the cosmic Christ.

Man and his Labours

Accompanying the zodiac at Brookland and at Vzelay are the Labours of

the Months, the pattern ofhuman activity dependent on the cycle of nature.
In March, the season of Aries, a man prunes the vine, in the season of Aries
in June, when Cancer is dominant, he reaps his harvest and he kills the pig
in November beside Sagittarius. The Vzelay Christ not only anticipates
a future second coming and echoes a vision of glory, but is placed at the
centre of the recurring year in which everyman plays his part in a kind of
cosmic unity. The Labours and zodiac appeared frequently in medieval art
in varying contexts. Whether as floor mosaics at Saint Philberts church
in Tournus in Burgundy, on door jambs at Saint Marys abbey at Ripoll,
Spain, in quatrefoils on the west front of Amiens cathedral, they were
the public artistic face of what it meant to have ones life governed by the
seasons. They had featured in Carolingian manuscripts, changing activity

74 Clement of Alexandria, Exerpta ex Theodoto, 25, translated Robert P. Casey (London:

Christophers, 1934), 58.
75 Eg. Paris Bibliothque nationale, MS lat. 7028, fol. 154r, in Ellen J. Beer, Die Rose
der Kathedrale von Lausanne, fig. 51.
Time 127

slightly from their Late Antique sources as they migrated northwards to

reflect a less advanced agrarian year.76 The earliest known English exam-
ple of occupations and zodiac can be found in an early eleventh century
calendar written and illustrated at Canterbury in which, unusually when
compared to the occupations in later manuscripts, feasting was the work of
April and ploughing of January.77 In the well-known fifteenth century Trs
Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry in the Cond museum at Chantilly,
the heavens and relevant zodiac signs in semi-circles surmount each Labour
in what have become almost genre scenes reflecting the life of peasants
and the court.78
There is an ambiguity in the theological interpretation of the Labours
of the Months, depending on whether they are viewed in the context of
recurring or of historical time. On the one hand they can be linked to the
Fall of Man.79 On the other they may express the elevated status of the
human in creation. In the first instance, after expulsion from the Garden
of Eden, Adam faced an environment of thorns and thistles which had to
be cultivated. He was to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Where the
Labours are carved on a font as they are at Brookland and at Saint Marys
church, Burnham Deepdale in Norfolk, they imply that the original sin of
Adam, which tainted all humans, can be cleansed in baptism. Much more
frequent, however, were the contexts in which they were juxtaposed to the
zodiac or arranged around the Genesis creation stories, where they suggest
that man is exercising his intended position as Gods steward of the natural
order and fulfilling a role within the great scheme of things.
In the treasury of Gerona cathedral is an eleventh century tapestry of
the creation which promotes the harmony of the created order (Fig. 28).
Although the work has been damaged and partial scenes of Constantines
mother Helena finding the cross of Christ now form an appendage, there

76 Donald Bullough, The Age of Charlemagne (London: Ferndale Editions, 1980), 189,
77 Temple, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts 9001066, cat.no.62.
78 Edmond Pognon, Les tres riches heures du Duc de Berry, translated David Macrae
(Fribourg-Geneva: Productions Liber SA, 1979).
79 Petzold, Romanesque Art, 99.
128 Chapter 3

was probably no overt reference to mans loss of Paradise. At the centre the
creator is enclosed in a circle around which is written in Latin, And God
said Let there be light, and there was light. Above him are a dove with
cruciform halo hovering over the face of the waters and two figures repre-
senting day and night. Dry land appears and sun and moon, the waters of
the firmament are divided, Adam names the animals, birds and fish, Eve is
taken from his rib beside a plant in the Garden labelled a fruit-bearing tree.
The scheme moves outside the circle to the four winds, sun and moon, Annus
the year, the seasons, Labours of the months and rivers of Eden. Around the
circle enclosing the creation scenes is the Old Testament affirmation, in the
words of the Vulgate, that God saw that everything he had made was good.

Fig. 28 Creation with Seasons and some Labours of the Months, Gerona Cathedral
Treasury, Tapestry detail, eleventh/ twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.
Time 129

A similar message is contained in the more comprehensive Lausanne

cathedral rose window, referred to at the beginning of this chapter. Here
the labours of each month with the seasons, sun, moon and eight winds,
elements and zodiac, the rivers of Paradise and creatures from the far-flung
reaches of the world such as the pygmies and dog-headed forms, are all sus-
tained at the centre by the creator God. The complete scheme insists that
creation was not an event confined to the beginning of history but renews
itself constantly in the movement of nature. The annual round of mans
work submits to an original intention, set in motion when the heavenly
bodies were made to provide a pattern to life; in his labour man is not fol-
lowing the seasons in a round of toil, condemned to work his own patch
of land, but takes his place in the grand design.
The Gerona tapestry depiction of creation, albeit without its lower
section, suggests that mans part is integral to an original plan. There is
no Fall of Man but an order to the universe which follows on from the
observation that everything God had made was very good. A humanist
in the intellectual centres of Europe may have expressed his descriptions
and ideas more grandly: man is the creature who lifts his head to the stars
that he may employ the laws of the spheres and their unalterable courses
as a pattern for his own life.80 The tapestry was focused on the beginning
of the Old Testament and conveyed the simpler, but very similar notion
that, although man was made a little lower than the angels, a little lower
than God in the Hebrew text, he was crowned with glory and honour and
set over the work of Gods hands (Psalm 8v.6).
An interest in mans place in the cosmos was reflected in a number of
diagrams that explored his relationship with nature and made him, rather
than the glorified Christ, the focal point. One example, which looks at his-
tory as well as recurring time, is an ecclesiastical wheel, found in an early
twelfth century manuscript containing Ciceros translation of a Greek astro-
nomical poem.81 Twelve small circles are placed around the inner circumfer-

80 Bernard Silvestris, Microcosmos, Chapter 10, translated Winthrop Wetherby, The

Cosmographia of Bernardus Silvestris (New York; London: Columbia University
Press, 1973), 113.
81 London, British Library, Cotton MS, Tiberius C.1, fol. 5r, in Hbner, Zodiacus
Christianus, 44.
130 Chapter 3

ence of the wheel, each containing the names of a zodiac sign, an ancestor
and a prophet. The months and seasons are written between these circles. A
cross divides the inner space of the large rota into four equal segments, each
of which contains the name of an element. Each arm is inscribed with one
of the letters of the name ADAM, the Hebrew for mankind. The cardinal
points East, West, North and South, are written in Latin script but use the
Greek names Anatole, Dysis, Arcton and Mesembrion respectively the
initials of which spell ADAM, a significance which had long been recog-
nised.82 Man is placed with the constituent parts of the universe, at the
heart of the recurring year, with the ancestors who brought him through
salvation history and the prophets who announced a New Age.
There were variations on this circle construction and more complex
diagrams. A late eleventh century natural science text book included
Byrhtferths harmony of the universe, with the elements and seasons, com-
pass points and zodiac, the four ages of man and his four humours and the
letters A.D.A.M. at the points of the inner lozenge (Fig. 29).83
Man was understood to be a microcosm, a small or replica world made
up of the features of the macrocosm, the large world. On the crypt walls
of the papal chapel at Anagni, south of Rome, an elaborate programme
begins with the zodiac then moves to a figure designated HOMO standing
at the core of circles whose circumferences are divided into four to incor-
porate the seasons, elements, humours and four ages of man; he is labelled
MICROCOSMOS. Galen and Hippocrates, the ancient doctors with
whom identification of the humours was associated, are depicted next to
the HOMO diagram. The presentation of man here owes much to com-
mentaries on Platos Timaeus.84 Herrad of Hohenberg instructed her nuns

82 Eg. Augustine, Commentary on Johns Gospel IX.14.12. Ennarationes in Psalmos

83 Byrhtferth s Diagram in Romanesque Art Exhibition Catalogue 10661200 (1984),
104. Oxford, St Johns College, MS. 17, fol. 7v. Byrhtferths Manual, translated S.J.
Crawford from Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 328 (London: Humphrey Milford,
for Early English Text Society, Oxford University Press, 1929), frontispiece.
84 Michael Q. Smith, Anagni, An Example of Medieval Typological Decoration,
Papers of the British School at Rome, vol. XXXIII, New Series, vol. 20) (1965), 147.
Gioacchino Giammaria, Un universo di simboli: gli affreschi della cripta nella catte-
drale di Anagni (Rome: Viella, 2001), 812 and Plate 6.
Time 131

on the nature of the microcosm by using a picture of a human whose halo

bore the names of the sun, moon and planets and who stood surrounded
by the elements.85 One of her written extracts posed the question Out of
what is the body made? The four elements, is the answer; the human is a
minor world.86 Thus man is not simply the fallen creature, inheritor of the
consequences of the first disobedience but, when seen in the light of a more
philosophical perspective, an embodiment of the ordered substance of the
universe. The recurring seasons ensure not only a structure for his life, but
endow his make-up with the patterns that move the cosmos.

Fig. 29 Byrhtferth s Diagram, from St Johns College, Oxford, MS. 17, fol. 7v,
eleventh century. Photo: Warburg Institute.

85 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 16v, vol. 1, 30.

86 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, vol. 2, 96.
132 Chapter 3

When the writer of Ecclesiastes noted that nothing under the sun is new
(Ecclesiastes 1v.10) he was not, Augustine explained, talking of an end-
less series of recurring cycles which caused the same events of time to be
repeated. This would suggest that Plato, teaching at the academy in Athens,
would return at intervals with the same disciples. What the Old Testament
was speaking of was the succession of generations, the orbit of the sun, the
course of rivers, or of all kinds of creatures that are born and die. Men were
before us, are with us and shall be after us.87 Time recurring that exactly
repeats its own history is a view put forward by those who do not know
how our mortal condition took its origin, nor how it will be brought to an
end, because they cannot penetrate the inscrutable wisdom of God who
caused time to have a beginning.88
More than any other broad category in which the Old Testament in
medieval art might be placed, time encompasses the situation of the whole
of humanity. Man, of all creatures, is able to remember the past and to
reflect upon the future, just as he has the intellect which enables him to
understand the things around him and those which are invisible, and he
has the will to reject evil or choose good.89 From the beginning he held a
privileged place; each individual potential lifespan derived its stages from
the pattern of creation of the universe; he lives within the framework of
the recurring year in his work and worship; he exists in a process of renewal
through the generations which, because of his moral fragility, gave rise
to the particular history presented in the Old and New Testaments then
through the Church.
ADAM is recycled in every human as microcosm, sinner, toiler and
ennobled worker, part of the grand scheme in whichever age or point of the
year he finds himself. He always has the possibility of redemption, because
the work of Christ at a given moment was effective for all time. Thus Adam
and other Old Testament characters who moved history towards the New

87 Augustine, City of God, XII.14, translated Dyson, 51618.

88 Augustine, City of God, XII.14, translated Dyson, 51618.
89 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, vol. 2, 96.
Time 133

Testament also benefited from what was to come. The Churchs doctrine
of the harrowing of hell extends the notion of salvation backwards so that
Christ, visiting those Old Testament people who had preceded him, was
able to bring them into the new order. On the Eardisley font referred to in
Chapter 2, Christ with his banner of the cross pulls Adam, the representa-
tive of all humanity, to new life (Fig. 15).
In a different expression of the same theme, one of Herrads drawings
depicts Christ lifting patriarchs and prophets with a fishing rod from the
mouth of Leviathan, the sea monster who came to represent the devil and
whose jaws often indicated the entrance to hell in medieval art.90 Herrads
picture was based on a challenge put to Job could he draw out the levia-
than with a hook? ( Job 40v.20 [41v.1]); it was one of the series of rhe-
torical questions intended to remind him of his own dependence on the
creator. The Christianised image combines the creative authority of God
with the redemptive power of Christ. Job could not join together the stars
of Pleiades, stop the turning of Arcturus or, according to the Hebrew and
Septuagint texts, bring out the mazzaroth, the zodiac ( Job 38vv.312). For
the medieval world, man, the climax of creation whose life was shaped by its
pattern, whose physical and psychological characteristics were linked to the
elements, compass points and seasons, depended for his spiritual well-being
and salvation on the intervention of his creator God at the hub of history.
Mans journey through time is expressed in an unusual way in the
Genesis initial to the late eleventh century Stavelot Bible.91 In the cen-
tral shaft of the letter I are depicted the key events of Christs life from
Annunciation to empty tomb, then his return at the final judgement. To
the left of these another picture series illustrates Adams and Eves expulsion
from Paradise and their work, followed by Noah, Abraham and Moses, the
Apostles baptising and preaching and the resurrection on the Last Day.
On the right of the life of Christ are illustrations of the New Testament

90 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 84, vol. 1, 135.

91 London, British Library, Additional MS. 28106, fol. 6r. Wolfgang Kemp, The
Narratives of Gothic Stained Glass (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997),
134 Chapter 3

story of the Labourers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20vv.116). Already in

the second century this parable had been interpreted as the continuity of
human history: the Old Testament figures were those workers called early
in the day, the Apostles those hired at the eleventh hour.92 In the lower left
section of the initial, Adam and Eve gather their tools. In the spandrels
below the top roundels of the upper right division of the scheme, the
labourers in the vineyard lay theirs down, at the end of the last hour.

92 Irenaeus, Contre les hrsies IV. 36.7, ed. Adelin Rousseau, sources chrtiennes no.100,
vol. 2 (Paris: du Cerf, 1965), 91013.
Plate 1 Crucifixion with Typological Scenes, Canterbury Cathedral, Corona
Redemption Window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells.
With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.
Plate 2 Adam, Eve and Serpent, St Botolphs Church, Hardham, West Sussex,
chancel wall painting, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.
Plate 3 Eve created from Adam and Noah receiving the Dove into the Ark, Genesis
Initial, Winchester Bible, folio 5r, detail, twelfth century. Photo: Sonia Halliday.
Plate 4 Front of Enamelled Cross from the Meuse Region with Typological Scenes,
second half of the twelfth century. Photo: The Trustees of the British Museum.
Plate 5 The Magi with Prophets and Old Testament Scenes, Canterbury Cathedral,
north choir aisle window, detail, twelfth/ thirteenth century. Photo: Sonia Halliday.
Plate 6 David as Acrobat, Lincoln Cathedral, south transept window, detail,
thirteenth century. Photo: Matthew Taylor. With kind permission of the
Dean and Chapter, Lincoln.
Chapter 4

Typology I

One of the key uses of the Old Testament in medieval art comes under the
heading of typology. It was a method of exegesis that has been defined as an
establishment of historical connections between certain events, persons or
things in the Old Testament and similar events, persons or things in the New
Testament.1 In art history it usually applies to a correspondence of mean-
ing in two images placed side by side, or to a visual comparison between two
pictures in which colour, form and line echo each other. The most familiar
use of the term relates to the iconography of Old Testament images set
beside events from the Gospels. In the corona window of Redemption in
Canterbury cathedral, each of the frames of the New Testament sequence
of Christs Crucifixion, Entombment, Resurrection, Ascension and send-
ing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is surrounded by four episodes from
the Hebrew Scriptures. The Crucifixion group (Plate 1), referred to in the
Introduction, depicts Moses striking a rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17),
Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22), the Passover lamb killed and
its blood painted on the doorposts of Hebrew houses (Exodus 12), spies
returning with a bunch of grapes from the Promised Land (Numbers 13).
These Old Testament scenes are types, from the Greek word tupos, often
translated as impression, pattern or likeness and having the more specific
meaning in the context of biblical art of prefigurings of the future in prior
history.2 They are not related to each other and have been selected for their
correlation to the central scene rather than for their original significance.

1 Geoffrey W.H. Lampe and K.J. Woollcombe, Essays on Typology (London: SCM
Press, 1957), 39.
2 Leonhard Goppelt, Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the
New, translated Donald H. Madvig (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1982), 45
and n.14.
136 Chapter 4

The New Testament image juxtaposed to the types is known as the

antitype, the episode or object which answers to them. Increasingly, as
doctrine developed, these counterparts came to include the Virgin Mary
and aspects of Church doctrine. Selection of types in Christian writings
had been inspired by theological concerns, though comparisons between
Old and New Testament events sometimes drew parallels of substance or
shape. In the Canterbury window, for example, the wood of Christs cross
finds a correspondence in the wood of Moses rod; shape finds a parallel
between Christ hanging on the cross and the grapes, which signify his
blood, hanging from the horizontal wooden pole. The type itself might
be visualised in a way that relates it more obviously to its antitype: Isaac is
placed on a cross-shaped pile of sticks and the blood of the Old Testament
lamb is painted on the lintel in a T shape, anticipating the way in which
the blood of Christ, the true Passover lamb, was shed (1 Corinthians 5v.7).
Types were sometimes used without their New Testament counter-
parts. Scenes in the Winchester Bible Genesis initial (Fig. 17) may have been
chosen for their typological significance as well as for their indications of the
stages of time. Opening the sequence Eve is taken from Adams rib, which
was a well-known foreshadowing of the Church emerging from the side
of Christ pierced on the cross. Noah receives the dove into the ark, which
came to be seen as an Old Testament counterpart to the Spirit poured out
onto the Church at Pentecost (Plate 3). Abraham is willing to sacrifice Isaac,
anticipating the Father offering his Son in the New Testament. Moses is
given the Law, foreshadowing the new covenant. David is anointed, look-
ing forward to the Messiah who was called the Son of David.
Crosses, which hinted at the Gospel episode without depicting the
actual scene and which summarised the essence of the Christian faith, were
sometimes decorated with Old Testament episodes on each of their arms.
A twelfth century enamel cross from the Meuse region, now in the British
museum, illustrates five types that were recognised as prefigurings of the
Crucifixion (Plate 4). At the top, Aaron and Moses stand beside the bronze
serpent raised in the wilderness to ward off a plague of snakes, an image
used in Saint Johns Gospel as a parallel to the Son of Man raised on the
cross ( John 3v.24). The horizontal figure ofthe creature on its vertical stand
creates a visual image of the cross. On the left is the widow of Zarephath,
Typology I 137

encountering Elijah as she gathers sticks for a fire to cook a last meal for
herself and her son before they died in the famine (3[1] Kings 17vv.816).
Her two sticks became a cross in Christian thought and iconography.3 On
the right is the marking of the doorposts with the blood of the Lamb, the
sign of the Hebrew letter Tav taken from Ezekiel (Ezekiel 9v.6); at the base
of the cross the spies, both haloed and looking in the same direction, carry
their grapes on a pole. The central point where the arms of the cross meet
illustrates the patriarch Jacob, crossing his arms as he blesses the children of
Joseph. His gesture was questioned already in the Genesis account because
his right hand rested on the head of Ephraim, Josephs second son, rather
than on Manasseh, the first born, elevating the younger brother to a status
denied him in patriarchal tradition (Genesis 48vv.1520). All the figures
on the cross are named, but there are no explanatory words to indicate the
particular nuances of each image.
From the second century onwards the number of types increased. They
were explored in commentaries, deployed in homilies and aired in works
concerned with the Jewish-Christian debate and with heresy. Typology took
root in art in the early churches of Rome.4 Bede recounts that Benedict
Biscop, founder of the monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, return-
ing from his several journeys to Rome in the seventh century, brought
back treasures of liturgical objects and manuscripts and many pictures to
adorn his abbey churches. On his last visit he had acquired for Jarrow an
admirable system of decoration displaying the concordance between the
Old and New Testaments. The examples cited by Bede were of Isaac car-
rying the wood for his sacrifice beside Christ bearing the cross, drawn in
one piece and exhibited as corresponding subjects, and Moses raising the
serpent in the wilderness beside Christ on the cross.5 It was in the twelfth
century, as with so many areas of iconography, that typology flourished in
public and manuscript art, sometimes accompanied by Latin verses draw-

3 Augustine, Sermon 50 on Elijah, Patrologia Latina 39. 18245.

4 George Henderson, Vision and Image in Early Christian England (New York and
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 72.
5 Bede, The Lives of the Abbots ofWearmouth, translated Peter Wilcock, 1818 (Newcastle
upon Tyne: Frank Graham, 1973), 223.
138 Chapter 4

ing out particular meanings from the scenes. Such was the importance of
this visually economic way of conveying the results of exegesis and debate,
that typology remained prevalent until the end of the Middle Ages and
formed the contents of some of the earliest printed books.

The Case for Typology

At first glance typology seems to sum up characteristic uses of the Old

Testament indicated in the previous chapters. It looked back to random
events as precedent did, but the isolated incident was not cited to justify a
contemporary decision; rather the type was itself given additional signifi-
cance from the authority of the New Testament or from Church teaching.
Typology developed through scholarly comment and sometimes stretched
the limits of imagination, but it was constrained by the contours ofhistori-
cal comparison, did not embellish the original story or distance the viewer
from the biblical text and it was not within its remit to invent extra-biblical
figures. It depended on a notion of former and latter time, divided by the
pivotal moment of Christs life and it testified to divine sovereignty over
the whole of history. The essential dimension of model and fulfilment,
however, did not depend on a continuing progression of time traceable in
sequence of happenings or in genealogy but on the idea of an impression
of one historical person, event, object or institution anticipating a more
important counterpart and offering a veiled hint of the significance of a
particular future moment.
There was also a difference between typology and Old Testament
prophecy even though the two tended to work closely in tandem. Prophets
on the whole had offered messages pointing out immediate or more distant
consequences of situations, speaking forth the word of God to explain
contemporary circumstances and to allow fulfilment of anticipated events
to be recognised when they occurred. Those who had proclaimed prophe-
cies had been aware of their role, even if they could not foresee the exact
application of the message. Types on the other hand involved happenings
Typology I 139

in which the participants were unaware of themselves as likenesses or pat-

terns of any future event. Without compromising their own historical merit
they came to take on a new function, imposed on them with hindsight, as
they were searched out and identified by Christian scholars as parallels to
events in the life of Christ.
Typology was the child of scholarship, which looked below the appar-
ent surface meaning of an Old Testament episode. Many prophecies and
Psalms were cited in the New Testament to support the claims ofthe nascent
religion, such as the birth of a ruler in Bethlehem (Micah 5v.2; Matthew
2v.6), Christs triumphal entry into Jerusalem towards the end of his life
(Zechariah 9v.9; Matthew 21v.5) and details of the Crucifixion which
related to Psalm 22 [21]. Typology gained access to the whole of the Old
Testament, extending the terms of reference as it identified precise paral-
lels between specific events. It understood Melchizedek, the priest-king
of Salem, offering bread and wine to Abraham (Genesis 14v.18) to be a
veiled anticipation of Christ giving bread and wine to his disciples at the
Last Supper. When Christ washed the disciples feet, he came to be seen
as mirroring what Abraham had done for the three visitors who arrived to
give him Gods promise of a son (Genesis 18v.4). Angels announcing good
news of great joy to the shepherds paralleled, rather than fulfilled, what
Raphael had said to the blind Tobias: Joy to thee always (Tobit 5v.11).
Typology could fill in the finer points of what Old Testament prophecy
had generally supplied in broader outline. Further, it allowed the cross of
Christs Crucifixion to be found in the former Scriptures. Beliefs that the
New Testament was hidden in the Old, that the actions of characters in the
Old Testament looked forward in some shadowy way to specific events to
come and that now the more ancient literature not only yielded its secrets
but was itself authenticated, became deeply embedded in Christianity.
Alongside recourse to prophecy, typology developed in early
Christianity when the beliefs of the Church came under attack, that is
when Christian argument focused on Jewish or heretical stances. During
the second century there were Christians who followed Marcion, a heretic
who could not reconcile the deity of the Old Testament with the God
revealed in Christ and who therefore dismissed the former Scriptures as
irrelevant. There were sects which claimed that the material world was
140 Chapter 4

evil, in contrast to the Genesis account of creation in which God saw that
everything he had made was good. In controversies between the Jews and
Christians, who could not agree about the fulfilment of Old Testament
history and teaching, typology was developed as proof of the connection
between these Scriptures and Christianity, as a means of persuasion and an
opening up of the dialogue. In condemning what were classed as heretical
attitudes, many Christian writers used the potential of typology to define
the more mainstream teaching of the Church.
An important writing of an imaginary conversation between a
Christian and a Jew comes from the first half of the second century. In
this Dialogue with Trypho, Justin Martyr confronts Trypho the Jew with
prophecy and typology. To convince him of the veracity of the Christian
religion he suggests that both are laid up in Tryphos Hebrew Scriptures,
but that when he reads them he fails to understand their sense.6 Many Old
Testament examples cited by Justin relate to the cross of Christ, which was
a major stumbling block to the Jews since the messianic expectation had
been of a royal, rather than criminal, leader and the Law of Moses had
stated that anyone who hangs on a tree is cursed (Deuteronomy 21v.23). In
this early work which made extensive use of typology, Justin cited Moses
striking the rock with his rod to make water flow (Exodus 17vv.17) and
throwing wood into the waters of Marah to take away their bitter taste
(Exodus 15v.25), both examples corresponding to the material of the cross.
Trypho was asked to consider the gesture of Moses, too, when the Hebrews
were fighting the Amalekites and his arms were held up, outstretched and
forming the sign of the cross, which gave victory over the enemy (Exodus
17vv.816).7 Justins Dialogue was not the first work to incorporate an
appeal to typology, but it was more comprehensive than earlier writings
and indicates that this approach to the Old Testament gained some impetus
from the Jew-Christian debate.

6 Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, XXIX, translated A. Lukyn Williams (London:
SPCK, 1930), 578.
7 Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 192, 228.
Typology I 141

Application of types in medieval art reflected earlier scholarship on

the relationship of the Church to Judaism. Certain types specifically rep-
resented the idea of the younger religion becoming more important than
older one. Jacobs crossed arms as he blesses Josephs sons on the Meuse
cross had been interpreted in this way in the Glossa, where reference is also
made to the previous example in Genesis of Jacob and Esau in which the
elder served the younger (Genesis 25v.23).8 Other imagery is less obvious.
Beside the Adoration of the Magi in the north choir aisle at Canterbury
cathedral, below the image of Christ leading the Gentiles, the enthroned
Joseph welcomes his brothers (Plate 5, lower right). The reconstructed verse
relates that Joseph draws people from far and near and that God unites
Jews and Gentiles at the crib [of Christ].9 If the Jews accept the younger
religion, they will be welcomed. Around the spies with their grapes in the
Canterbury Redemption window, the verse also refers to Jews and Gentiles.
Here there is reference to the fact that the Jews, represented by the first
spy, do not wish to look back towards the hanging cluster on a pole which
signifies the Crucifixion, in contrast to the second spy, the Gentiles, who
are eager to follow Christ.10 These Canterbury spies, however, cannot be
elevated into a universal theme. Where there is no such verbal direction to
its meaning, no visual nuance in the image or specific clue from the con-
text, this particular reading of the image cannot be assumed. The carriers
of the fruit would naturally walk in the same direction, with the leader
focused on the path ahead. There are examples in which the first spy does
look back and in which both spies wear a hat that elsewhere might have
identified the Jew. On the foot of a cross from Saint Bertin, in the museum
of Saint Omer in northern France, the two figures are both depicted with
hat and halo. Isidore of Seville had seen in the first spy those who are spir-
itually blind.11 Other writers offered different interpretations, so that in
the fifteenth century Biblia Pauperum, the Bible of the Poor, the spies with

8 Glossa, Patrologia Latina 113. 177.

9 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 94.
10 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 166.
11 Isidore of Seville, Patrologia Latina 83.346.
142 Chapter 4

their grapes took on a completely different aspect as a type of the baptism

of Christ, which associated their journey through the water of the river
Jordan with the land of promise (Fig. 35).
Any specific link with heresy in the Middle Ages is difficult to estab-
lish, though an attempt has been made to present typology as a German
Benedictine weapon against a resurgence of Manichean-like threats.12 This
was one of the heresies claiming the material world to be evil, to which
Augustine had attached himself before his conversion to Christianity and
against which he wrote his later work Contra Faustum, where he employed
typology to refute its claims.13 Similarly, the tenet of Marcion in the second
century that the God of the Old Testament was not the same as the God of
the New, could be refuted by a conjunction of images from both covenants.
Old Testament episodes beside events from the New indicated that the
God of the Gospels was the same as the creator who had not only viewed
his world as good but had overseen salvation history.
Typology, though, had become more comprehensive than a tool in
debates with the Jews, with followers of Marcion or with Manichean resur-
gents. There was an inevitability to the Churchs position that history had
moved on and typology offered a further dimension to the correspond-
ence of Old and New Testaments that testified to a fuller revelation. The
antitypes were believed to have unveiled the deeper implications of Old
Testament events, previously perceived at a less than complete level, but
equally these New Testament scenes themselves gained in meaning when
related to the biblical events which had preceded them. Old Testament
episodes beside those of Christs life took on a supporting role. They acted
as a kind of commentary, their selection set to bring out specific meanings
from the New Testament scene; those that were accompanied by verses or
brief lines of explanation offered additional clues to interpretation. Types
were visual glosses set beside or around the central image, like the chosen

12 Avril Henry, Biblia Pauperum: a facsimile and edition (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1987),
40 n.39.
13 Augustine, Contra Faustum, Patrologia Latina 42. 207518.
Typology I 143

extracts from Christian scholars written around or between the lines of

the biblical text and studied in the monasteries and schools.
There are other implications of the word tupos, found in both Eastern
and Western writers, which reflect philosophical and metaphysical specu-
lation and which are not so relevant to an understanding of the typology
associated with Old and New Testaments. A type could signify a shadow or
a copy or model of a higher reality in what has been termed a quasi-Platonist
sense.14 Indications of this may be found in the Epistle to the Hebrews
where Christ ascends to enter the eternal, heavenly, sanctuary in contrast
to the temporal, earthly Holy of Holies into which the Old Testament
High Priest was allowed once a year. This sacred part of Solomons temple
had been made with hands, a copy of the true sanctuary and therefore
secondary (Hebrews 9v.24). In the Old Testament, Moses was shown
the pattern of the wilderness tabernacle, Look and make it according to
the pattern that was shown thee on the mountain (Exodus 25v.40). He
then instructed Bezalel, whose name means in the shade of God, to make
a copy according to the description given him from that impression. A
comparison between the ideal, or real world, and its imitation is what the
High Priests entry into the Holy of Holies in the Canterbury Redemption
may imply. The Ascension, though, described in the Acts of the Apostles
(Chapter 1vv.611), was a New Testament episode paralleled to a recurring
Old Testament event and thus firmly grounded in history.
Since the Old Testament type could only reach its full implication in
relationship to its historically more significant counterpart in the New,
some early Christian writers described it as a preliminary sketch or as a
picture which gradually took shape and colour to reveal its total mean-
ing. In wax, clay or wood the first structures present what will soon arise
taller in height, stronger in power, beautiful in form and rich in its con-
struction as the finished work emerges.15 Christ was in Abel murdered, in
Isaac bound in Joseph sold and in the [Passover] lamb slain, but these

14 Lampe and Woollcombe, Essays on Typology, 30.

15 Melito of Sardis, On Pascha and Fragments, translated Stuart G. Hall (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1979), lines 22534.
144 Chapter 4

were models, like the people of Israel themselves, valued until the truth
arrived but displaced and made void now that the really precious things
have been revealed.16 Another comparison of type to its fulfilment was
that of the portrait of a king, sketched in black, the outlines filled in by a
painter to show the royal theme with horses and bodyguards and enemies
in chains. The viewer only knows in a general way that it is about a king
and a horse until the picture is finished, with the colours filled in. This
is how, the writer suggested, you should think on the subject of the Old
and New Testaments, and not demand of the type all the exactness of the
reality.17 The completed picture was the outcome of the previous stages.
John Chrysostom, who provided this illustration of the unfinished image,
believed that completion moves towards excellence in a gradual process,
that could happen without any opposition or contention.18
Far from the Old Testament having served the purpose of a preliminary
sketch, to be discarded when the final version of the project was achieved,
it held a lasting place in medieval art beside its New Testament counter-
part. The biblical harmony it permitted was often reflected in the visual
presentation, with groups of scenes forming patterns of line and colour
and causing the Christian event to be echoed in images of the types. In
the lowest quatrefoil of the Canterbury Redemption window (Plate 1),
the horizontal bar of the cross resonates in Abrahams sword above it and
in the spies pole below. Arm movements of Abraham and the angel who
prevents him from sacrificing Isaac, the posture of the figure applying the
sacrificial blood of the Passover lamb to the lintel, the angle of the rod of
Moses striking the rock, all echo the gestures of those beside the cross and
the arms of Christ. The sequence of the Exodus, Magi with Herod and
Christ leading the Gentiles from idolatry in a typology window in the
north choir aisle at Canterbury (Plate 5, middle band) has been described
in terms of the poetic lines which accompany the images. Art follows the

16 Melito, On Pascha and Fragments, lines 4816, 259, 265, 273.

17 John Chrysostom, Homily 10.2 in Philippians, quoted in Jean Danielou, From
Shadows to Reality, translated Dom Wulstan Hibberd from Sacramentum Futuri
(London: Burns and Oates, 1960), 191.
18 Danilou, From Shadows to Reality, 192.
Typology I 145

cadences and caesuras of the verses in which Christ and Moses rhyme in
posture; pharaoh and the pagan idol reach across the pause created by the
Magi. Relationships are enhanced by colour repetition.19
Orchestrated lines and colour, here and in other typological schemes,
explored visually the theological structures and belief in the unity of the
Scriptures that lay behind them. Verses written beside the now lost typol-
ogy paintings in Worcester cathedral Chapter House, copied into a com-
mentary of Jerome on the Psalms, began by inviting the observer to look at
the juxtaposed Old and New Testament pictures and discern their mystery,
or secret.20 Here the painters art has shown in history and allegory that
the shadow world of the Law was opened up by Grace, that is by the era
of the New Testament and Church. Here the mass of colours has given
expression to the meaning of the Christian mystery; in these lessons and
testimonies of faith is conveyed the essence of the religion based on both
the Old and New Testaments. Grace could only be fully revealed in con-
junction with what it had replaced.

The Painter in Song

Interpretation of some typological scenes in medieval art was directed by

brief explanations of their intended meaning. Before the Middle Ages,
single lines or couplets had been composed to accompany public art, to tell
the story or to describe the scenes or identify the characters.21 The most

19 M. Caviness, The Simple Perception of Matter and the Representation of Narrative

c.11801280, Gesta 30/1 (1991), 4864.
20 T.A. Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House and the Harmony of the
Testaments, in Paul Binski and William Noel, eds, New Offerings, Ancient Treasures:
Studies in Medieval Art for George Henderson (Stroud: Sutton Press, 2001), 280311.
Worcester, Cathedral Chapter Library MS F.81 ff.233v-234.
21 Arwed Arnulf, Versus ad Picturas, Studien zur Titulusdichtung als Quellengattung
der Kunstgeschichte von der Antike bis zum Hochmittelalter (Munich and Berlin:
Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1997), 701.
146 Chapter 4

well-known correspondence between word and image from the early cen-
turies of Christianity is contained in the forty eight sections of a biblical
cycle written by Prudentius who, already in his opening stanza, related his
Latin description of the Fall to a visual language of colour: Eve was the white
dove who became black because of the serpents malice and who tinted
Adam with dirty stains.22 There were inscriptions in the basilicas at Nola
near Naples, known from the letters of its bishop, Paulinus, which were
descriptive but also functional, sometimes addressed directly to the reader.
Above a side entrance leading into a church building from a garden, the
verse invited worshippers of Christ, who came along roads of brushwood
from the gay garden, to enter into holy Paradise. Over the sacristy door the
purpose of sacristies was displayed in verse and the lines, or tituli, beneath
the apse mosaic related both to the picture and to the wood from Christs
cross below it under the altar.23 Description of biblical imagery and verses
for locations in the church setting were written in these examples expressly
for their particular situations.
This practice of verbal identification continued to form part of manu-
script and public art. In Carolingian scriptoria, illustration of narrative
sequences in strips of horizontal bands was often provided with what
amounted to a story-telling below the scenes. Jeromes journey to Bethlehem
in a manuscript from Tours has already been cited in Chapter 2 (Fig. 10).
Other extant Carolingian examples include picture narratives of Adam and
Eve and their Fall, the verses stretched out beneath the images to follow the
chain of events.24 Some of these lines have been associated with scholars
at the court, such as Alcuin.25 Theodulphs inscription at Germigny-des-
Prs was twofold, identifying the Ark of God shimmering between the
cherubim and also asking for intercession for himself. In Germanic litera-

22 Renate Pillinger, Die Tituli Historiarum oder sogenannte Dittochaeron des Prudentius
(Vienna: Verlag der sterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1980).
23 Rudolph C. Goldschmidt, Paulinus Churches at Nola (Amsterdam: Nord-Hollansche
Uitg. Maatschappij, 1940), Letters 32, 41, 45, 37.
24 Beckwith, Early Medieval Art, figs. 46 and 50. Wilhelm Khler, ed., Die Karolingischen
Miniaturen I, Die Schule von Tours (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1930).
25 Arnulf, Versus ad Picturas, 150.
Typology I 147

ture there are references to series of pictures with verse tituli, at Ingelheim
for instance, where world history from a Christian perspective decorated
the imperial palace walls.26 Anglo-Saxon use of word with image has been
linked to the monastic reform movement.27 Here written lines, intended
to reinforce meanings of the scene, were sometimes arranged around the
perimeters of manuscript pictures, strategically placed and in continuous
verse form. This application of the verse also featured in Ottonian manu-
scripts of the eleventh century.
By the time extended typological schemes in medieval monumental art
were created, such as the Worcester Chapter House paintings, the cloisonn
enamel Klosterneuburg altarpiece of Nicholas of Verdun near Vienna and
the Canterbury stained glass, there was a well-established tradition that the
picture would be explained, or at least identified, by a single written line
or couplet. These three examples expressed the meaning of the images in
leonine hexameters. These were lines in two parts, at least one section of
which contained six feet, with an internal rhyme between the end syllable
and the one at its pause, or caesura. At Klosterneuburg, around the image
of the announcing of the birth of Isaac to Abraham by the three visitors
(Genesis 18vv.116), which is a type for the Annunciation to Mary (Figs.
31, 32), the verse reads: huic sobolis munus / promittit trinus et unus (the
three and one promised this offspring as a gift). Abrahams meeting with
Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem (Genesis 14), is set beside the visit of
the Magi who brought gifts to Christ. After his victory over the alliance of
kings in the Dead Sea area, Abraham offered the tithe of his loot as his gift
to Melchizedek: victor Abram regum / decimavit singular rerum (the only
victor over the kings, Abram gave a tenth of the booty). By highlighting
Abrahams gift the verse confirms the reason here for selection of the type,
which elsewhere might have emphasised rather the priest-kings offering of
bread and wine to the patriarch as a foreshadowing of what Christ would
offer at the Last Supper.

26 Pickering, Literature and Art in the Middle Ages, 310.

27 E.C. Teviotdale, Latin Verse Inscriptions in Anglo-Saxon Art, Gesta 35/2 (1996),
148 Chapter 4

Explanations of individual scenes at Klosterneuburg, together with

the long verse spread over the whole composition which details the reason
for redemption, were probably composed at the time that the typological
scheme was put in place.28 This may have been a common practice with
the larger programmes: a chronicle from Bury Saint Edmunds, for exam-
ple, records that Abbot Samson arranged painted stories from the Bible
and composed elegiac verses from each.29 Thus there seems to have been
latitude for iconography with accompanying word to accommodate to
particular and local interest. Some texts, though, reappeared in different
places and contexts, indicating either direct copying from a model or the
use of a common source.
Verses from the Worcester Chapter House feature beside typological
scenes in a manuscript now at Eton College.30 Certain lines identical to
the Worcester verses also appear on enamel ciboria, containers for the Host,
that is the bread which has been consecrated by a priest, the name of which
came from the Latin hostia meaning victim. The Morgan ciborium in the
Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, features some of the exact wording
of the lost paintings.31 The Balfour ciborium in the Victoria and Albert
museum, London, depicts David slaying the bear as a type of the freeing of
those in hell and Elijah taken to heaven in a fiery chariot (4 Kings 2) as an
anticipation of Christs Ascension, with replicated Worcester quotations.32
On the Balfour ciborium also, beside the Crucifixion, are words from the
Chapter House verses which spoke ofthe serpent destroyed by the cross and
of a sheep, the animal offered by Abel and sacrificed at Passover, summoned

28 Helmut Buschhausen, The Klosterneuburg Altar of Nicholas of Verdun. Art,

Theology and Politics, JWCI 37 (1974) 132.
29 Jocelyn of Brakelond, The Chronicle of Jocelyn of Brakelond, translated Harold E.
Butler (London: Thomas Nelson, 1949), 9.
30 T.A.Heslop, Worcester 282 f. Eton MS 177. Morgan, Early Gothic Manuscripts
ii (12501285), cat.no.137. Avril Henry, The Eton Roundels: Eton College MS 177
(Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1990).
31 Exhibition catalogue: English Romanesque Art 10661200, Hayward Gallery, April
July 1984(London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1984), no. 278. Lasko, Ars Sacra
8001200, 2389, for the Malmesbury ciborium.
32 Exhibition cat. no. 279. Lasko, Ars Sacra 8001200, the Kennet ciborium, 310 n.35.
Typology I 149

anew. At Worcester the fuller verse had spoken of the hostia solennis, the
holy victim, or perhaps the solemn host, sacrificed on the altar. Although
a further bowl in the Victoria and Albert museum, the Warwick ciborium,
has lost its cover and much of its enamel and gilding, the remaining scenes
include Jonah and the whale with a relevant line from the Worcester poem
concerning the Resurrection and a picture of Moses and the burning bush,
a type of the Virgin birth, also with its verbal match in the Nativity bay
of the Chapter House.33
A comparison between the typological images around the ciboria and
those in the Eton manuscript, together with their verses which approximate
closely to the Worcester texts, suggest that the lost paintings may have
been the model for these extant works.34 Their dating also supports this
view. Whereas in some instances a smaller, easily transportable, artefact or
manuscript might have served as model for a larger, static work, in the case
of the ciboria the very limited schemes would not have given rise to the
much fuller descriptions at Worcester. If the cathedral paintings were the
original source, it may be reasonable to assume that the composition and
other features of the lost works can be partially recreated from the Eton
manuscript. A further point in favour of the primacy of the monumental
work is that the tone of its verses, discussed below in a comparison with
Canterbury and Klosterneuburg, is distinctive and suited to the Chapter
House context. There is another possibility, however, namely that the verses
circulated independently, part of some kind of Ur-compilation of types
with verses and comments that served as a verbal reservoir from which
patrons and programmers could draw.
One such work, dating from about 1200, is known as Pictor in Carmine,
the Painter in Song. It exists in a number of unillustrated copies made during
the thirteenth century and later which are associated with, or later found
their way to, ecclesiastical centres at Lincoln, Waltham Abbey, Durham
and Worcester.35 The text contains verses and exegesis of Old Testament

33 Exhibition cat. no. 280. Lasko, Ars Sacra, 2389.

34 Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House, 2826.
35 Montague R. James, Pictor in Carmine, Archaeologica 94 (1951), 14166. Cambridge,
Corpus Christi College MS.217.
150 Chapter 4

episodes relating to Christs life, the apostolic age and future judgement.
Its author gathered together established types, including some which were
not apparently widely featured in art, under one hundred and thirty eight
chapter headings and interpreted each with leonine verses and exegesis. He
set out in a preface both his reasons for undertaking the task and what he
thought typology offered the viewer. He will be taken for convenience here
as Adam of Abbey Dore in Herefordshire, a Cistercian monk who would
have preferred a visual silence in churches but who conceded that it was
preferable to display more meaningful images than the fantasy world offour
lions with one head, for instance, or monkeys playing the pipe. His introduc-
tion to acceptable pictures echoes the thoughts of his Cistercian predeces-
sor Bernard ofClairvaux, who had railed against the monstrous centaurs,
half-men and four-footed beasts with serpent tails, deformities that had no
place in a religious setting, especially in the cloister.36 Adam ofAbbey Dore
thought it an excusable concession for parish churches to provide images.
As books for the laity, they could teach the unlearned or help those who
knew more to love the Scriptures. He also stated in his introduction that his
purpose was to curb the licence of painters in local churches. Adam, wishing
to extend the impact of typology to the laity, stated that New Testament
subjects should be identified in art by the names oftheir characters but that
the Old Testament types required verses by way of explanation.
Some of the episodes he cited from Christs life lent themselves readily
to Old Testament foreshadowings, while others struggled to attract relevant
comparisons. Instances from the moralising animal stories of bestiaries and,
occasionally, perceived and inherited scientific facts, feature alongside the
types. They, too, must have been deemed edifying. The Annunciation, the
episode with the most sub-headings, has been assigned eighteen types with
three extras: the sun shining through a window without violating the glass,
a rhinoceros lying in the lap of a virgin and the image of fire drawn from
crystal water by the action of the sun. Christ changing water in six jars

36 Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter to William of Thierry, in Caecilia Davis-Weyer, Early

Medieval Art 3001150: Sources and Documents in the History of Art (Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1971), 168.
Typology I 151

into wine at the marriage in Cana ( John 2vv.112), however, is given no

Old Testament type, only two senses of the hidden meaning of Scripture:
the allegorical, the six ages of the world and, what Adam of Abbey Dore
called the tropological, or moral meaning, the six ages of man, which fea-
tured in one of the Canterbury windows discussed in the previous chapter.
Judas betrayal of Christ with a kiss was provided with only a single Old
Testament parallel and a second example taken from the bestiaries. One
of King Davids men suspected of being a traitor was greeted by an army
officer called Joab who, reaching out for his beard as if about to embrace
him, struck him with a sword (2 Samuel [Kings]20vv.810). This is fol-
lowed by the fate of an elephant leaning against a tree which appears to
be growing, but which has been cut through and left standing as a trap. As
he moves against the tree it topples, sending the creature into a pit from
where it is delivered into the hands of hunters.37
Types in Pictor, listed under each heading in the order of Old
Testament books, combine to make up the many facets of meaning which
can be brought out of their New Testament counterparts. The promise to
Abraham that Sarah will bear a son and the message ofthe birth of Samson
to the wife of Manoah were selected for the Klosterneuburg altarpiece as
previous examples of annunciations (Figs. 31, 32, 33). Often the typology is
less obvious and required the explanations given in Adams text. The closed
door of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 44vv.12) was a type of the virginity of Christs
mother, which allowed God to enter into her but which remained shut
to any human; the burning bush (Exodus 3vv.16) was the Virgin who
received the divine flame yet was not consumed when she contained God
within her.38 Gideon and the fleece ( Judges 6vv.3640) foreshadowed the
Virgin on whom the dew fell while the ground around remained dry, that
is the floor, representing her virginity, was not harmed.39 The closed door
features on the west front of Laon cathedral among the series of images

37 Physiologus, translated Michael J. Curley (Chicago and London: Chicago University

Press, 2009) 31. Bishop Theobald, Physiologus (Cologne, 1492), translated Alan Wood
Rendell (London: J. and E. Bumpus, 1928) 3741.
38 Eg. Rabanus Maurus, De Universo XXIII, Patrologia Latina 151. 513.
39 Eg. Honorius Augustodunensis, Speculum Ecclesiae, Patrologia Latina 172.904.
152 Chapter 4

related to the Virgin which included the Ark of the Covenant. The other
examples, of the burning bush and Gideon, were commonplace. At Saint
Marys church in Fairford the late fifteenth century typology window of
the Virgin shows the horned Moses holding a shoe he has removed in the
divine presence, looking up at the image of God in the bush and Gideon,
approached by an angel, is dressed as a soldier, kneeling beside the animal
skin. Adam of Abbey Dore also included among Annunciation types Gods
words to the serpent in the Garden of Eden that a woman would crush its
head, which was understood to look forward to the Virgin Mary, whose
obedience would bring about the overcoming of Satan.40
Events around the Crucifixion are especially rich in the range of Old
Testament types offered by Pictor, in keeping with the emphasis placed by
the Church on the sacrificial nature of the death of Christ. The Worcester
verses had declared that Christs birth would have meant nothing if he had
not died.41 Adam of Abbey Dore listed forty examples, divided into eight
sections. These were the Carrying of the Wood, Lament of the Women,
Christ on the Cross, Christ derided by the ChiefPriests, the Commendation
of his Mother to John, the Prayer for his Oppressors, his Pierced Side with
Blood and Water flowing out, the Curtain of the Jewish Temple rent into
two. Some of the types are very rare in art, such as Jephthahs daughter
lamenting her virginity with her friends before being offered as a sacrifice
by her father ( Judges 11vv.349) and the daughters of Sion lamenting
the death of King Saul (2 Samuel [Kings] 1v.24), both foreshadowing the
weeping women of Jerusalem following Christ to his death.
Other types are more familiar: Eve taken from Adams side and Moses
striking the rock with his rod, the two types given by Adam of Dore for
Christs pierced side, both of which related specifically to the Church, the
first to its emergence and the second to its sacrament of the Mass, in which
wine mixed with water was consecrated. There are types which emphasised
the sacrificial nature of the Crucifixion, the bull in Leviticus immolated at
the entrance to the tabernacle and the red heifer burned outside the camp.

40 Glossa, Patrologia Latina, 113. 95.

41 Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House, 303.
Typology I 153

The first was the offering made acceptable by place (Leviticus 17v.4), the
Tabernacle signifying the Church; the red heifer (Numbers 19v.2) was the
sacrifice without blemish whose ashes were kept for the preparation of water
used for removing sin. Christs readiness to offer himself for the benefit of
mankind was expressed through Jonahs willingness to be thrown overboard
in a storm to save his fellow passengers and crew of the boat. Some of Adam
of Dores types for the Crucifixion included Old Testament episodes in
which the meanings would be reversed by the New Testament event. Eve
reaches out her hand to the fruit of the forbidden tree, in contrast to Christ
who stretched out his arms on the tree of the cross to bring healing. This
visual comparison had been made on the bronze doors of the cathedral
in Hildesheim, north Germany. Other types were to be completed by the
New Testament episodes. Abraham had been stopped from offering his son
Isaac and had killed the sheep instead, thereby anticipating the true Lamb
and allowing the incident to escalate into the sacrifice of the Son of God.
Some of the typology gathered in Pictor in Carmine seems stretched
or exaggerated. Noah being roused from his inebriated sleep (Genesis
9vv.207) and David let down from a window by Michal his wife (1 Samuel
[Kings]19v.12), for instance, both foreshadow the Resurrection of Christ.
The first example follows on from the teaching of the Glossa that Noah
spread out naked in his drunken state was Christ extended on the cross.
The second, which is included in the Redemption window at Canterbury
cathedral, was David let out of a window of his house by his wife, Michal,
to escape the tyranny of Saul (1 Samuel [Kings]19v.12), just as Christ broke
free from the clutches ofSatan and death (Fig. 30). David escapes unharmed,
the Canterbury verse points out, so Jesus routs the envious squadron that
he may rise again with death overcome.42 This does not seem to have been
a common type, though it was used in a lost painted cycle in Peterborough
cathedral and does feature in extant illustration other than at Canterbury,
including some manuscript versions of the Biblia Pauperum.43

42 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 155.

43 Lucy Sandler, The Peterborough Psalter in Brussels and other Fenland Manuscripts
(London: Harvey Miller, 1974). Colum Hourihane, ed., King David in the Index of
Christian Art (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), 18991.
154 Chapter 4

Fig. 30 Michal lets David down through the Window, Canterbury Cathedral,
Corona Redemption window, detail, thirteenth century. Photo: John Sells.
With kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, Canterbury.
Typology I 155

Also in the Canterbury Redemption window, beside the New

Testament scene of Christs entombment, Samson sleeps in a bed with a
prostitute in Gaza ( Judges 16v.1), his friend, as Pictor describes her. This
is a type of the covering of Christs body in the tomb by Nicodemus and
Joseph of Arimathea. The verse inscription at Canterbury explains that for
the sake of the Church the flesh of Christ was shut in the marble, just as
Samson typically slept for the sake of his beloved.44 It was the moment
before Samson escaped death from the people of Gaza by taking hold of
the city gates, raising them on his shoulders and carrying them to the top
of a hill. In Pictor Samson and the Gates was a type of the Harrowing of
Hell; it does not feature in the Canterbury window, but in the Redemption
window at Chartres it was placed beside the Entombment.
Within typological scenes, certain themes could be accentuated.
Elijahs going up to heaven in a fiery chariot and Enoch being taken by
God were both prefigurings of the Ascension of Christ. Adam of Abbey
Dore titled the first incident as Elijah carried in the fiery chariot left his
pallium for Elisha, a word that signifies papal authority given to the met-
ropolitan bishops. At Canterbury the cloak is handed on prominently, as
Elisha reaches out to grasp it from the disappearing prophet. The following
and final New Testament scene in the Redemption window is Pentecost,
when tongues of fire descended onto the Apostles to mark the authority
bestowed on them by the ascended Christ to continue his work (Acts of
the Apostles 2vv.113). One of its types at Canterbury is the consecration
of the Old Testament High Priest, a parallel, according to Pictor, that saw
Aaron anointed to the pontificate when the sacred oils were poured on
his head and ran down into his beard. He and his sons were to serve God
as priests for ever (Exodus 29vv.79; Leviticus 21v.10). The Canterbury
verse, based on Psalm 133 [32] where reference was made to the precious
ointment running down from Aarons head into his beard, adds that such
a practice now gives the same to us, that is the Church, more fully.45

44 Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 168.

45 Caviness, The Windows Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 171.
156 Chapter 4

A particularly abstruse type found and explained in Pictor, which

was featured in the original Canterbury series of typological windows,
concerns an episode in Davids life that assumed importance because of
the interpretation placed on it in biblical commentary. When King Sauls
popularity among the tribes of Israel was waning and David, the success-
ful young warrior, was being acclaimed by the people, hostilities between
the two factions were increasing. David, the ruler in waiting, was fleeing
from Saul when he came to the priest Ahimelek at Nob and to king Achis
of Gath, who was sympathetic to the reigning Hebrew King Saul. Fearing
for his life, David the fugitive pretended to be mad. He changed his counte-
nance, slipped between their hands and let his saliva run down his beard (1
Samuel [Kings] 21vv.1015). The Vulgate version of Psalm 33, the Hebrew
number 34, places the Psalm in the context of this story: it is For David,
when he changed his countenance before Achimelek, who dismissed him
and he went away. This episode had attracted the comment from Augustine,
in his exegesis on the introduction to the Psalm, that David who was a
type of Christ carried himself on his hands. Since this is the Psalm that
invites the reader to taste that the Lord is sweet, a number of diffuse ideas
came together to consider Davids feigned madness, carrying himself on
his hands, as a mystical exposition of the sacrament held by Christ at the
Last Supper, when he took his body and blood, the bread and wine, into
his own hands.46
Adam of Dores comment also links Davids behaviour on this occa-
sion to his dancing in front of the Ark of the Covenant when it was being
brought to Jerusalem (2 Samuel [Kings] 6vv.1420).47 Pictors eight lines
of leonine hexameters, explaining the type as a prefiguring of the Last
Supper, have David jumping on his hands and bearing himself up high
and have turned him into an acrobat. In the south transept at Lincoln
cathedral, in the second lancet window from the right, David performs his
handstand in front of King Achis (Plate 6). The second roundel above the

46 Augustine, Exposition in the Book of Psalms. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 8
(Massachusetts: Hendrick, 1995) 723 (Psalm 34).
47 James, Pictor in Carmine, 148.
Typology I 157

scene at Lincoln depicts the Last Supper. As a type it does not appear to
have been common, though it featured in the original typological windows
at Canterbury and has survived mainly in manuscript illumination where,
for example, the mad David sometimes accompanies the title to Psalm 33.48
Adam of Abbey Dores work is an important compendium to medi-
eval art, not only for its gathering together of type and exegesis but for
the emphasis it places on the key role of the verse in conveying the more
lengthy interpretations of biblical exegetes. It provides another dimen-
sion to our knowledge of written sources behind the images, alongside the
popular Bibles and the plays based on Old Testament characters. Pictor in
Carmine is also further witness to the major importance of typology in the
Churchs use of the Old Testament to convey a message. Actions of many
of the characters and stories in the Vulgate, from the Garden of Eden to
the wars of the Maccabees, in their unassumed roles of foreshadowings,
instruct and edify. Even without the benefit of illustration in manuscripts
of Adam of Dores text, the types come alive in the rhythm of the verse.

Variations on a Theme

In the absence of images, the Worcester Chapter House typology also has
to be studied from its songs. These had pre-dated Pictor and included
some of the types which were later gathered up in Adams compilation.49
There was an inscription over the door at Worcester, as there had been at
Nola eight hundred years previously, and a general introduction to the
iconography. On entering, members of the Chapter were reminded that
they were passing into a non-worldly kingdom and that their deliberations
were not to be corrupted by the sin of simony, the buying of ecclesiastical
office, named after Simon in Samaria who had wanted to purchase the
power of the Holy Spirit from the Apostles Peter and John (Acts of the
Apostles 8vv.1824). Images in this special space once opened to view

48 Hourihane, ed., King David in the Index of Christian Art, 1546.

49 James, Pictor in Carmine, 150.
158 Chapter 4

what the letter enclosed.50 Ten subject areas, probably painted on the vault,
contained eight episodes in Christs life from the Nativity to the Ascension,
each supported by three Old Testament types. After these were depicted
Synagogue, supported by John the Baptist, Ezekiels vision ofthe wheels of
the moving chariot and the Queen of Sheba. Finally, Christ with his Bride,
the Church, completed the scheme beside Jew united with Gentile, Mercy
joined with Truth and Justice with Peace, probably inspired by Jeromes
exegesis on Psalm 85 [84] which lay behind the same iconography in the
Lambeth Bible tree of Jesse.
The verses indicate a different emphasis from those of the Canterbury
Redemption window types, which seem to promote the status quo of
the ecclesiastical hierarchy. At Worcester the verses are what would now
be called people-friendly and there is a concern for the whole body of
Christians, perhaps reflecting the pastoral interests of the cathedral clergy.
Christ presented in the temple (Luke 2vv.2239) attracted the three types
of Abels offering of a lamb (Genesis 4), Abraham giving Melchizedek
the tithe of booty (Genesis 14) and Samuel dedicated to God (I Samuel
[Kings]1v.24). A lamb given by one person now becomes at Worcester a
Lamb offered from the people; it is the whole Christian community that
presents its tithes to Christ; Samuel has become miles, a soldier in the
service of the King.
Selection of types, too, as well as their verses, provided a different
tone from those at Canterbury. The widow of Zarephath with her two
sticks anticipates the cross, which joins two peoples; Elisha raising the
son of the Shunamite woman (2 [4]Kings 4vv.2537), here a type of the
Crucifixion, foreshadows the God on the cross raising us to life. In the
Worcester scheme, also, Christ does not enter heaven at his Ascension as
the privileged and remote High Priest of the Old Testament going into
the Holy of Holies; rather he is the scapegoat, carrying the sins of the
people. According to the introductory verse to the lost Ascension painting,

50 Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House, 301.

Typology I 159

he leads the way as the head of the body of Christians: Where, as your head,
I ascend, you, my limbs, come following.51 In the last two bays, Synagogue
is not condemned but invited to be adorned with Grace and Faith to attach
herself to Christ to form one flock. Mercy and Truth join together, Justice
and Peace rejoice, as they do in the Lambeth Bible tree of Jesse where the
veil is lifted from Synagogues eyes.
Typology on the altarpiece of Nicholas of Verdun had another setting
and purpose. Originally made as a pulpit for the community of Augustinian
canons near Vienna and transformed into an altarpiece in the fourteenth
century, it had a liturgical context which may have influenced its iconogra-
phy and verses. New Testament scenes in chronological order, which high-
light the key moments of the liturgical year, occupy the middle horizontal
band. Each episode is flanked by two Old Testament types, the scene above
taken from before the giving of the Law to Moses (ante legem) and, below,
from the time of Hebrew history under the Law (sub lege). This threefold
division went back at least to Augustine.52 It was related to broader eras of
salvation time than the six-fold division based on the Genesis creation and
lent itself more readily to typology. The New Testament band of scenes on
the altarpiece, representing the Age of Grace (sub gratia), was explained
in a general inscription as the reparation of the ruin brought about by the
serpent.53 In the top spandrels above the images, Old Testament proph-
ets are represented. Below the New Testament scenes are the virtues. The
emphasis here is on a presentation of theological statement which is not
partisan as some of the Canterbury images and verses and which does not
follow the Worcester pastoral interests.

51 Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House, 305.

52 Augustine, De Trinitate iv. 4, Patrologia Latina 42.8923.
53 Buschhausen, The Klosterneuburg Altar, 205.
160 Chapter 4

Fig. 31 Announcing of the Birth of

Isaac, Altarpiece of Nicholas of Verdun,
Klosterneuberg, twelfth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute.

Fig. 32 The Annunciation, Altarpiece of

Nicholas of Verdun, Klosterneuburg,
twelfth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.

Fig. 33 Announcing of the Birth of

Samson, Altarpiece of Nicholas of Verdun,
Klosterneuburg, twelfth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute.
Typology I 161

Most ofthe Klosterneuburg types are familiar and the Annunciation is illus-
trated so that comparison can be made with the Biblia Pauperum described
in the next chapter. The three angels who visited Abraham by the oaks of
Mamre to announce the birth of Isaac (Genesis 18), carry a scroll stating
that he saw three and worshipped one (Fig. 31). This type has been taken
beyond its direct comparison with the New Testament angel visiting Mary
into an affirmation of the Trinity. Similarly with the second type beside
the Annunciation, in which the angel announces Samsons birth to his
mother, the verse does not simply identify the occasion but extends into
the significance of what is to happen: she will have progeny to the peril of
the enemy (Fig. 33). This anticipates Samsons overcoming ofthe Philistines
who were fighting the Hebrews and, by implication, suggests that Christ
will also subdue his opponent, the devil.
Verse and picture together present different layers of meaning in the
Queen of Sheba panel where, as in the Canterbury typology window (Plate
5, lower left), she serves as type of the Adoration of the Magi. The emphasis
of the text at Klosterneuburg is on the gifts she brings to Solomon, which
secretly acknowledge her faith in him (Fig. 34). In the image she is black,
an allusion to the beloved in the Song of Solomon: I am black but comely
(Song ofSongs 1v.4), interpreted by Augustine as referring to the Gentiles.54
She is the ruler from the distant South who recognises Gods anointed, as
Gentiles and kings will come to the glory of the New Age and the camels
of Sheba will carry offerings of gold and incense (Isaiah 60vv.16). In the
traditional dividing of the text of the Song of Songs into parts spoken by
Christ, Church and Synagogue, she represents the voice of the Church.55
Her black image on the altarpiece may have been inspired by liturgical
hymns written by the Augustinian canons at St Victor near Paris, which
are said to have been adopted at Klosterneuburg.56 In any case her appear-
ance here reflected a long-standing result of exegesis.

54 Augustine, Sermon 40, Patrologia Latina 39. 1824.

55 Eg. Bede, In Cantica Cantoricum CCSL CXIX B 9 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1983), 185.
56 Buschhausen, The Klosterneuburg Altar, 18.
162 Chapter 4

Fig. 34 Visit of the Queen of Sheba

to Solomon, Altarpiece of Nicholas of
Verdun, Klosterneuburg, twelfth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute.

Typological schemes other than those at Worcester and the original

Canterbury windows are also known from their verses copied before the
art was damaged or destroyed. A narrative series ofthirty eight scenes, from
the Annunciation to Pentecost, painted in Peterborough cathedral before
1200, was listed with types and verses in a fourteenth century Psalter now
in Brussels.57 Some ofthese bear close similarity to Pictor in Carmine, such
as Christs reversal of the fault of Eve, who had succumbed to gluttony
in Paradise, when he refused to turn stone into bread in the wilderness
(Matthew 4vv.14). The three angels who came to Abraham to announce
the birth ofIsaac were not given the Trinitarian sense ofthe Klosterneuburg
image; rather as in the Canterbury cathedral scheme, and in Pictor, the scene
served as a type ofChrist at the Last Supper washing the disciples feet, as
the Patriarch had fetched water for his visitors. Some ofthe Peterborough
verses were identical to those in the Canterbury choir windows: the Old
Testament scenes in the Magi sequences at Peterborough share exactly the
same tituli. One ofthese parallels is the verse describing the unusual image
ofChrist leading the Gentiles from Satan beside the Magi about to depart
from Herod (Plate 5).

57 Brussels, Royal Lib. MSS. 99612. Sandler, The Peterborough Psalter in Brussels and
other Fenland Manuscripts, 11215.
Typology I 163

As the above examples show, typology was adaptable and could be

used as a means of directing the viewers understanding. The Canterbury
Redemption window, possibly seen by the pilgrims as well as by the eccle-
siastical hierarchy in this important See, may have been devised more for
public presentation than the altarpiece or Chapter House paintings and
thus inclined towards the historical and spiritual authority of the Church.
At Klosterneuburg the verses around the altarpiece emphasise redemption
following the Fall of man. Here the spies below the Crucifixion focus on
their grapes, the type of Christs blood shed on the cross, without any
condemnation of the Jews. At Worcester, instead of the Ascension type
of the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies as he did at Canterbury
with its now indecipherable inscription, Christ is the scapegoat, bearing
the sins of the people. Elijah does not offer the pallium of authority to
his successor at Worcester, rather the emphasis of the type is on the exul-
tation of Christ, with an invitation to the people, the limbs of the body
whose head is Christ, to follow him who was the antitype of the prophet
carried upwards in the chariot of fire. There were no spies at Worcester
beside the Crucifixion, but an emphasis on Christs being lifted up on the
cross for healing as Elisha had raised the woman of Shunems son (2[4]
Kings 4vv.327). The introductory verse to the Crucifixion and its types
at Worcester had Christ on the cross addressing the Church, not as an
abstract whole but made up of individuals promised an eternal future: O
happy man, I sleep with you that you may reign with me.58
Even these few examples indicate that the number of types was already
extensive by the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and that programme
makers could exercise a degree of choice from an accepted repertoire. The
flexibility of typology meant that it could be adapted to different settings
and used to emphasise different messages. Although certain types can be
traced back to the second century, such as Justin Martyrs examples of Moses
striking the rock (Exodus 17) and Aarons rod which blossomed (Numbers
17), most developed through continuing exegesis which allowed a variety of
Old Testament episodes to be attached to the same New Testament themes.

58 Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House, 303.

164 Chapter 4

The verse provided a fuller guide to interpretation. Old Testament scenes

placed beside their counterparts, or around a central image, equivalent to
the written gloss around biblical texts in the medieval school books, not
only ensured the indispensible place of the Old Testament in medieval
art, but gave the former Scriptures a far-reaching visual, interpretative role.
Chapter 5

Typology II

Typology was to achieve a final flowering in the late Middle Ages. The rich
sources of types, with their extended possibilities when supported by verses,
continued to offer a system which reflected the unity of Scripture and was
flexible in its application. When the religious mood in parts of Europe was
moving towards an emphasis on private devotion and the printing presses
were transforming the way in which the Bible could reach out more directly
to the laity, typology adapted to the shifting scene. There were two works in
particular, the block-books of the Mirror of Mans Salvation and the Bible
of the Poor, which made typological schemes more widely accessible by
bringing together, into single volumes, many of the types previously known
from monumental or liturgical art and from the pages of manuscripts previ-
ously confined to monastic libraries, schools and universities. The Bible of
the Poor, especially, is now accessible in facsimile editions and published
with translation of the Latin quotations and commentary.1
The word typology has today gained currency in other ways. Apart
from the visual correspondences of form, line and colour echoing each other
in images set side by side, the term has sometimes been used of a single
figure whose features might be drawn in such a way as to present a simili-
tude to another person. Thus the figure of Daniel in a manuscript now in
Dijon, in the initial to the commentary by Jerome on the biblical book of
that name, is haloed, seated on a throne, his hands raised and hair parted
in the middle, deliberately portrayed to resemble depictions of Christ. This

1 Eg. Avril Henry, Biblia Pauperum (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1987). Albert C. Labriola
and John W. Smeltz, The Bible of the Poor (Biblia Pauperum) (Pittsburgh, PA:
Duquesne Press, 1990). Elizabeth Soltesz, The Esztergom Blockbook of Forty Leaves
(Budapest: Corvina Press, 1967).
166 Chapter 5

example, inspired by the text which it illustrates, reflects a comparison

between Daniel and Christ made in the exegesis.2 Augustine also has been
shown as a Majesty figure which compared him to Christ.3 Another, more
obscure, implication of the word has been explored through a connection
between the design of works of art and their function. A thirteenth century
panel of the Virgin and Child with different surface projections in low
relief, originally placed in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Florence,
was found to be a reliquary. Inside was a splinter from the cross of Christ
and a thread believed to be from a garment of the Virgin. Discovery of its
purpose provided a more comprehensive view of its meaning that has been
called typology.4 In a juxtaposition of physical objects and painting, the
image complemented the presence of the Virgin and her Son in the relics.
Other pictures seem to hover on the fringes of typology for different
reasons. The Chariot of Aminadab, referred to in the Introduction, has
been described as typological even though it, too, appears as a single image
rather than as an Old and New Testament scene side by side.5 Its compari-
son between the Ark of the Covenant and Christs cross or the Church,
extended through commentary on the Vulgate version of the Song of Songs
and other exegesis, meant that it accrued further implications and became
an allegory (Fig. 4). The Canterbury sequence ofExodus, Magi and Christ
leading the Gentiles (Plate 5) is not strictly typological, because this third
scene, although presented as a parallel to the Old Testament Exodus event,
does not represent a single New Testament episode. It expresses rather a
general consequence of the Gospel and message of the Church. Further,

2 Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art, 7980 and fig. 9. Dijon, Bib. Mun. MS 132, fol. 2v.
3 Priscillia Pelletier-Gazeilles, Les portraits dauteurs, messagers de linvisible.
Typologies, fonctions et valeurs symboliques, in Jean-Charles Herbin ed., La repre-
sentation de linvisible au Moyen ge (Valenciennes: Calhiste, Presses universitaire
de Valenciennes, 2011), 6778.
4 Marco Ciatti, The Typology, Meaning and Use of some Panel Paintings from the
Duecento and Trecento, in Italian Panel Painting, in Victor M. Schmidt, ed., National
Gallery of Art Washington, Studies in the History of Art 61 (New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press, 2002), 1529.
5 Andr Grabar, Les voies de la cration en iconographie chrtienne (Paris: Flammarion,
1979), 379.
Typology II 167

although it makes visually pleasing correspondences, with echoes of form

between the Red Sea and the font, the enthroned Pharaoh and the idol on
a pedestal, Christs scroll, now without a text, and Moses rod, the cross and
pillar of fire, the arrangement followed an allegorising of the Old Testament
account of the Hebrews escape from slavery. This was repeated in a twelfth
century work of instruction on liturgical themes, in which Egypt was the
world, Pharaoh the devil, Moses was Christ who led the Hebrews, that is
Christians, through the Red Sea, which stood for baptism, reddened by
his blood.6
Typology therefore has come to embrace a broad spectrum of imagery
and meaning and is a designation that has sometimes been used in a rather
nebulous way. The Biblia Pauperum, an appellation applied in the eight-
eenth century to specific arrangements of types in manuscript or block-
book formats, has become a term used loosely for any typological scheme.
Some of the grey areas, where a direct parallel between an Old and New
Testament scene in the historical escalation of a foreshadowing and its
counterpart in the Age of Grace has been lost, will form the conclusion
to this four part examination of typology.

The Mirror of Mans Salvation and Bible of the Poor

Manuscript forms of the Biblia Pauperum existed already by the middle of

the thirteenth century, from which time they began to circulate extensively
in German- and French-speaking Europe.7 These were primarily picture
books, each page focused on a central New Testament scene which was sup-
ported on either side by illustrated types. The images were surrounded by

6 Honorius Augustodunensis, Sacramentarium, Patrologia Latina 172. 738806 (742).

Madeline Caviness, The Simple Perception of Matter and the Representation of
Narrative c.11801280, Gesta 30/1 (1991), 4864 n.62.
7 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 4.
168 Chapter 5

brief written commentary and quotations from the prophets and Psalms.
In the early fourteenth century the Mirror of Mans Salvation appeared in
Latin as a continuous poetic narrative; only later some copies of both the
original text and translations into the vernacular came to be illustrated.
It began by setting out the need for redemption, starting with the fall of
angels and man, continuing with a series of forty one events taken from
the lives of the Virgin and Christ, then ending with the Blessed in heaven.
Each episode attracted three types. By about 1350 the text of the Mirror was
known through much of Europe, from Dortmund in the north, Prague in
the east to Toledo in south-west Spain.8
Typology served the different purposes of the Biblia Pauperum and
Mirror of Mans Salvation. However much in the course of its transmis-
sion illustrations to the Mirror assumed increasing importance, the work
remained primarily a text. Although many more manuscripts have now
been discovered, as well as further block-book versions, from over two
hundred Latin and Latin-German extant manuscripts that were known
in the early twentieth century fewer than half were illustrated.9 In the
first productions in which image and text did combine, the writing took
up as much space as the picture.10 The author of the Mirror set out his
intention in the prologue, namely to enable man to know his Maker and
to offer what he considered might be used as a source book for sermons.
To this end he extended his range of New Testament themes and Old
Testament types beyond the Scriptures, drawing on the apocryphal Gospels,
Peter Comestors Historia Scholastica, the theological writings of Thomas
Aquinas and the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine which recorded
the lives of the Virgin Mary and the Saints.11 His simple style, he claimed,
would be understood by the uneducated as well as the educated.

8 Avril Henry, The Mirour of Mans Salvacioune (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1986), 10.
9 Montague R. James, Speculum Humanae Salvationis (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1926).
10 Bert Cardon, Manuscripts of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis in the Southern
Netherlands c.14101470 (Leuven: Peeters, 1996), 32.
11 Henry, Mirour of Mans Salvacioune, 12.
Typology II 169

Many of his examples are unusual. His inclusion of the life of the
Virgin from the Gospel of James meant that he had to find types for these
events which were unfamiliar from previous schemes concentrating on
New Testament events.12 Sometimes he poached his types. He included
the sacrifice of Jephthahs daughter ( Judges 11), for example, as a foreshad-
owing of the surrender of Mary by her parents to the temple, not as it had
been cited in Pictor in Carmine for the lamenting women following Christ
to his death. Even with mainstream Gospel subjects his choice of type was
sometimes rare, in some cases fulfilling his own observation in the prologue
that certain parallels might be shocking. For the Nativity he cited Aarons
rod blossoming, the dream of the butler in prison with Joseph in Egypt
and a story of the Virgin and Child appearing to the sibyl who was on her
way to visit Solomon. Aarons rod is familiar from earlier medieval uses.
Pharaohs butler had seen a vine with three branches (Genesis 40v.10)
and this unusual choice of type had become to the Mirrors author an
indication of the flesh, soul and godhead of Christ revealed at his birth.
His non-biblical prefiguration came from a story included in a thirteenth
century chronicle, copied from an earlier text on the marvels of Rome. The
Emperor Augustus (Octavian) consulted a sibyl when he learned that the
Roman senators wanted to worship him; he was told by the prophetess
that in a sign of doom the earth would grow moist with sweat and that the
king who is to reign for ever shall come down from heaven.13
In contrast to the more textually oriented Mirror, the Bibles of the
Poor explored the impact of the picture through juxtapositions of Old
and New Testament scenes that are generally more consistent with former
medieval examples of typology. Page design and handwriting in the earlier
versions varied, the layout being dependent on the family to which the
manuscript belonged.14 Each maintained the centrality of the Gospel
event, with Old Testament scenes, prophetic sayings and brief commentary

12 Montague R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924,
1972), 3849.
13 James, Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 19.
14 Henrik Cornell, Biblia Pauperum (Stockholm: Thule-Tryck, 1925), 46.
170 Chapter 5

arranged around it in a variety of ways. The Weimar group consisted of a

circle with four semicircles attached which contained busts of the prophets,
in an arrangement like the quatrefoil pattern of a Gothic window. Another
group retained the central circle but framed the types and prophets under
architectural arcades. There were also versions that included two circles to
a page, with prophetic sayings written around each of the circumferences
and the busts of four prophets outside the roundels squaring the circular
forms. On either side were the types, constrained only by the page frame
and circle, with the written commentary above. In one of the earliest known
block-books of the Biblia Pauperum the pictures were printed and the
writing added by hand.15 Later both text and image were printed together.
Fifteenth century block-books abandoned the circle for three rec-
tangles, with the New Testament scene in the central panel and those on
either side containing the types (Figs. 35, 36, 37, 38). The whole design was
built up by architectural features into a highly structured pattern. In the
window openings above the middle picture are two Old Testament figures,
usually a prophet and King David, author of the Psalms. They hold scrolls
which contain quotations from their books and which extend horizontally
to the edge of the page. Below are two further prophets set within arched
window spaces, their banderols with biblical reference and text flowing
out from the base of the casements. Brief resums of the Old Testament
types with a few words of explanation fill the top left and right corners of
the page. Underneath each type is an appropriate line of verse and, carry-
ing the whole construction, a low dais containing a hexameter, the only
one of the texts to address the New Testament scene directly. The three
central pictures first attract the readers attention, making them observers
who look out at the bold ink lines of distant landscapes, towns or interi-
ors, peopled by figures in contemporary dress. Then the eye, moving from
image to word, begins to explore the individual texts.
In contrast to the Mirror of Mans Salvation, typology in the Biblia
Pauperum offers fewer surprises. Eve is a type of the Annunciation rather

15 Paul Kristeller, Biblia Pauperum: Unicum der Heidelburger Universittsbibliothek

(Berlin: B. Cassirer, 1906). MS Cod. Pal.germ.438.
Typology II 171

than the Mirrors selection of Rebecca offering water to Eliezer (Genesis

24v.434); the more familiar visit of the gift-bearing Queen of Sheba
to Solomon served as type for the visit of the Magi, rather than strong
men bringing water to David (2 Kings [Samuel] 23v.16). The widow of
Zarephath with her sticks foreshadows Christs carrying of the cross and
Enoch, taken up to heaven, his Ascension. There are a few exceptions to
the standard types. As noted in the previous chapter, the spies returning
with their bunch of grapes on a pole appear beside Christs Baptism rather
than the Crucifixion: they report back from Canaan by proceeding along
a path leading from a river, tenant farmers carrying the produce of their
labour in front of their lords domain. The commentary explains that the
cluster brought across the river Jordan was evidence of the richness of the
Promised Land and that we must pass through the waters of baptism if we
are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Fig. 35).
Where the Bible of the Poor includes less commonly portrayed New
Testament scenes, it follows that the type might also be less well-known or
chosen to highlight a message pertinent to the purpose ofthe work. At the
Transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17vv.113), for example, Abrahams
meeting with the three angels, who arrive to announce the birth of Isaac
(Genesis 18vv.116), has been detached from its more usual association
with the Annunciation. In the block-book it serves to emphasise the trini-
tarian theme of the page. The three separate visitors represent the single
God, since Abraham saw three but worshipped one. The other type, three
youths thrown into the fiery furnace by the Babylonian king (Daniel 3), also,
according to the comment, represented a Trinity of persons. A fourth figure
had appeared with them, one like a son of God according to the Vulgate
(verse 92), a son of man in the Biblia Pauperum, who summed up their
unity. There are three disciples who witness the vision of another three, the
transfigured Christ between Moses and Elijah, who represented the Old
Testament Law and the Prophets. A link between the Transfiguration and
Trinity had been made by Jacobus de Voragine.16

16 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 136.

172 Chapter 5

Fig. 35 The Baptism of Christ with Exodus and Spies, Biblia Pauperum,
fifteenth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.
Typology II 173

The first two pages of the Schreiber edition of the Biblia Pauperum
block-book described by Avril Henry, the Annunciation and Nativity, indi-
cate a deliberate pairing of events which occurs more-or-less throughout
that book and which indicates the inter-related nature of the scheme.17 In
the fifty page block-book, illustrated here, these scenes are separated but
follow the same imagery and verse accompaniment.18 Old Testament types
beside the two New Testament scenes are Eve with the serpent, Gideon
and the fleece which became wet when the surrounding ground remained
dry (Fig. 36), Moses beside the burning bush which was not destroyed
and Aarons rod which budded (Fig. 37), which had previously been used
interchangeably for the Annunciation and Nativity. The verse below Eve
states that the virgin bears without labour. All four types therefore indicate
that the New Testament events are unnatural and unique.
On the Annunciation page the unity of the scenes is emphasised in
the imagery. Curves of the scrolls containing words of the speakers echo
each other; there is a visual parallel between Gideons tree and the one in
the Garden of Eden; God or an angel from heaven fills the top left of each
frame. The comment above Eve refers to Gods announcement to the ser-
pent in Eden that the woman would crush his head, She being interpreted
here as the glorious Blessed Virgin Mary in a tradition that had come to be
associated especially with Bernard of Clairvaux.19 The verse below Eve, the
only one which is not a leonine hexameter, which states that the serpent
loses power, a virgin bears without labour, has been linked to Peter Rigas
Aurora.20 Gideon the warrior, the complete animal fleece stretched out
in front of him, acknowledges the angels greeting that God is with him,
the most valiant of men ( Judges 6v.12). Two Gideon episodes have been
amalgamated, namely his initial call to lead the Hebrews and the sign of
the fleece which immediately preceded his battle with the Midianites. The

17 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 48.

18 P. Heitz and W.L. Schreiber, Biblia Pauperum, nach dem einzigen Exemplare in 50
Darstellungen herausgegeben von P. Heitz (frher in Wolfenbttel, jetzt in der bib-
liothque nationale) (Stassburg: J.H. Ed. Heitz (Heitz und Mndel), 1903).
19 Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermon on Luke 1vv.267, Patrologia Latina 183.63.
20 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 50, 131 note 2.
174 Chapter 5

first story, when an angel came to him, foreshadows the Annunciation

more directly; the second is dependent on exegesis, the wet fleece on dry
ground signifying, as the comment says, the impregnation of the Virgin
Mary by the Holy Spirit without corruption.

Fig. 36 The Annunciation with Eve and Gideon, Biblia Pauperum,

fifteenth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.
Typology II 175

This Annunciation page depicts the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah

and David with quotations relevant to the New Testament scene. Isaiah
states that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, as he does beside nativity
scenes at the entrance to Moissac abbey. Ezekiels vision of the temple lay
behind the image of the closed door, also on Laon cathedrals west front,
which had been interpreted as a reference to the perpetual virginity ofMary,
this gate shall be shut and not opened (Ezekiel 44v.2). Davids Psalm 72
[71] provided a link with Gideon: the Lord shall descend like rain on a
fleece (v.6). In a ninth century Psalter from northern France this verse had
been illustrated by a dove coming to Mary at the Annunciation, that is the
Holy Spirit descending like rain in little clouds into her womb.21 Jeremiahs
prophecy that the Lord has created a new order of things, woman is to
be the protectress of man ( Jeremiah 31v.22), did not lend itself so easily
to the painters or sculptors art, though the text had been written on the
twelfth century altarpiece at Klosterneuburg above the Nativity and had
been related to the birth of Christ by Jerome.22
Nativity types of Moses beside the burning bush and Aarons bud-
ding rod are supported by quotations from the books of Daniel, Isaiah,
Habakkuk and Micah (Fig. 37). A dream of Nebuchadnezzar provided
the first Old Testament text. He had seen a giant statue, its head of gold,
breast and arms of silver, feet of clay and iron, destroyed by a stone cut out
of a mountain without hands. This stone signified a kingdom set up by
the God of heaven, which would never be destroyed (Daniel 2vv.3145).
It comes to break the might of earthly empires, first Babylon, the head of
gold, then other powers. In Christian exegesis, Christ was the stone born
from the mountain without human agency.23 In the four quatrefoils below
the Annunciation on the west front of Amiens cathedral are Moses beside
the burning bush, Gideon watching rain descend onto the fleece, Aaron

21 Stuttgart, Wrttembergische Landesbibliothek, Cod.23, fol. 83. Schiller, Iconography

of Christian Art vol. I, 43 and fig. 90.
22 Rhrig, Der Verduner Altar, 2. Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 132 note 15. Jerome, Patrologia
Latina 24. 880 and Bernard of Clairvaux, Patrologia Latina 184. 10910.
23 Honorius Augustodunensis, Sacramentarium, Patrologia Latina 172. 905.
176 Chapter 5

with his rod and Daniel, his arms raised in amazement as a large boulder
detaches itself from the top of the mountain. Canterburys lost typology
windows had also included the image of the stone beside the Nativity scene.

Fig. 37 The Nativity with Moses and Aarons Rod, Biblia Pauperum, fifteenth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute.
Typology II 177

In the remaining prophecies Isaiah announces the birth of a child

(Isaiah 9v.6) and Micah refers to Bethlehem as not least among the princes
of Judah (Micah 5v.2). Habakkuks text is, I have heard your voice by the
hearing of an ear and was afraid (Habakkuk 3v.2). It may refer to fear of
what lies ahead for this unique child. It is the beginning ofthe verse which
in the Septuagint and some old Latin versions, but not the Vulgate, states
that God will make his work known in the midst of two living creatures,
taken in the Glossa to indicate the two testaments or Moses and Elijah
who flanked Christ at the Transfiguration.24 Jerome preferred the reading
in the midst of years. The verse beneath Moses, taken from Peter Riga,
indicates the bush glowing without being consumed; beneath Aaron the
verse records that the rod, against nature, bears a blossom (Exodus 3vv.16;
Numbers 17vv.18). This flowering was sometimes seen as the first stage
in a progression through blossom, leaves and almond which signified the
conception of Christ, his teaching and finally the fruit his Resurrection.25
The Biblia Pauperum not only testifies to the continuing importance
of typology in the Middle Ages but offers further insight into how types
could be used as glosses to draw out particular meanings from the New
Testament. Unlike the Mirror ofMans Salvation it does not contain a pro-
logue setting out its purpose; its use has to be understood from its own voice
and in comparison with other developments in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries. Since its title of Bible of the Poor was a later appellation there is
no real evidence here either as to its intention and function. It has been
suggested that it was created for the materially impoverished and less well
educated clergy or lay people who, unable to afford a complete Bible, had
to be content with a condensed, mass-produced version.26 This description
of a somewhat second class volume does not seem to do justice either to
the nature of the work with its carefully planned schemes, its arrangement
that required each page to be explored in depth rather than read as a nar-
rative or to the apparent assumption that its possessors would understand

24 Augustine, Sermo contra Judaeos, Paganos et Arianos, Patrologia Latina 42.1124.

25 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 110v, 180.
26 Soltesz, Biblia Pauperum: The Esztergom Blockbook of Forty Leaves, VIVIII.
178 Chapter 5

Latin. Meaning of the types is stated with a minimum of development, the

prophecies are quoted without comment. If the book had been intended
as an aid to clergy it would have given them a less developed verbal basis
for sermon making than that offered by the Mirror.
During the later Middle Ages there was a trend, both in new reli-
gious orders and among the urban laity, towards an individualistic reli-
gion, encouraged in part by disillusionment with the Church hierarchy
and organisation of established monastic communities. A condensed ver-
sion of the Mirror of Mans Salvation by Ludolf of Saxony advised that
isolated private reading of Scripture was the path to spiritual tranquillity:
the devotio moderna movement associated with Gerhard Groote sought
a spirituality based on independent reading of the Scriptures, letting the
mind wander to discover the hidden and mystical meaning of the Bible.27
Social changes and a rise in urban populations are also said to have encour-
aged the tendency towards a more personal piety.
Contemporary with the Biblia Pauperum, the fourteenth century and
especially the fifteenth saw an increase in production of Books of Hours,
manuscripts often exquisitely decorated, intended for private ownership
and use and containing calendars, prayers and Psalms, invocations to the
saints, as well as offices of the dead, of the Virgin, the Cross and Holy
Spirit. The Hours of the Virgin and of the Cross, each often illustrated with
eight full scenes depicting episodes in Marys life and those of the Passion
respectively, followed the monastic pattern of eight times of daily commu-
nal prayer. For the Hours of the Virgin, Matins recalled the Annunciation,
Lauds the Visitation, Prime the Nativity and Compline, the last office of
the day, ended the cycle with her Coronation. Matins began the Hours of
the Cross with Christs betrayal by Judas and ended with his Resurrection
at Compline. These Books of Hours were written and illuminated in France
at first then more widely in northern Germany and Flanders, often com-
missioned and personalised by the inclusion offavourite saints and prayers,
as well as by family mementoes and coats of arms. Later they, too, were
mass-produced. Although they served a relatively wealthy section of the

27 Paul Saenger, Silent Reading; Its Impact on Late Medieval Script and Society, Viator
13 (1982), 367414 (401).
Typology II 179

population, they provided the laity, from royalty and dukes to affluent
burghers and their wives, with their own prayer books.28 However much
they might have been considered by some as status symbols, they seem to
testify to the growing desire for personal devotion.
The Biblia Pauperum, generally more modest and, especially in block-
book form, less individualised, served a different purpose within the move-
ment towards a more private piety. Books of Hours were prayer books,
their texts to be read or recited privately at the time ofthe monastic offices.
Sometimes Old Testament scenes were depicted, such as Jobs misfortunes
before the Office ofthe Dead and occasionally typological parallels appeared.
Eve, Moses and the burning bush and Gideon with his fleece were included
in the images for Matins in a French Book of Hours from about 1485.29 The
spies with their bunch of grapes as a type of Christs baptism appeared in
another French work from about the same time, which bears many other
similarities in style and iconography to the Bible of the Poor, but here the
images are in the border.30 The Biblia Pauperum was Bible focused, its Gospel
story recounted in image and brieftext through thirty-four sections initially,
which had expanded by the later fifteenth century to forty or fifty pages. It
is not liturgical and possibly demanded more from its readers. Each single
page, even though it might have featured beside another displaying a related
subject, was complete in itself. Its Old and New Testament juxtapositions,
prophecies and verses set within a recognisable framework, guided its read-
ers on an intellectual journey which began with the central images. It was a
stimulus to meditation on the Gospel events, based on the whole of biblical
revelation. Since it contains the first temptation of Christ in the wilderness
after his baptism, as half of its sequence relates to the last events in his life
and as forty was the usual number of its pages, it may well have come to
be used, as has been suggested, as a companion to the forty days of Lent.31

28 John Harthan, Books of Hours (London: Thames and Hudson, 1977), 31.
29 Roger S. Wieck, The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (London: Sothebys
Publications, 1988), Catalogue of Manuscripts no.64, 200. Walters Art Gallery, MS
W. 245, fols 6v, 7v.
30 Mary B. Winn, Vrards Hours of February 20, 1489/90 and their Biblical Borders,
Bulletin du bibliophile (1991), 299330. Angers, bibliothque municipale MS. T 1343.
31 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 18.
180 Chapter 5

These books, through their selection of types, quotations and com-

ment, draw out certain aspects of the Gospel event which would encourage
readers in their spiritual quest. On the Crucifixion page, Christs suffering,
remembered on the penultimate day of Lent, Good Friday, is said to snatch
the believer from the gloomy abyss. The type of Abraham about to sacri-
fice Isaac is said to represent the love of the Father, rather than present a
doctrine of sacrifice. The second type, the bronze serpent raised by Moses
in the wilderness when a plague of snakes invaded the camp (Numbers
21vv.49), indicates healing. It was the serpent hung up who healed the
Hebrews, that is Christ on the cross, on whom every believing person who
wishes to be rid of the Garden of Eden serpent (that is the devil) should
gaze. At the end of Lent, Christians reconfirmed their baptismal vows
before celebration of the Resurrection; the spies in the Biblia Pauperum,
as a type of Christs baptism, offer reflection on the importance of baptism
as the means of a person entering the land of honey on the other side of
the water (Fig. 35).
In meditating on the images and their Old Testament supports, the
reader of the Biblia Pauperum is drawn towards an increasingly personal
involvement. Inclusion in the Gospel sequence of Mary Magdalene repent-
ing, with unusual types of the prophet Nathan bringing King David to
repentance (2 Kings[Samuel] 12vv.113) and the sister of Moses and Aaron
cured of leprosy when she repented (Numbers 12), encourage penitence.
The prophetic verses emphasise Gods acknowledgement of the contrite
heart and the relationship which ensues from it. Later, on one of the last
pages of the block-book, where God gathers the souls of the blessed in a
napkin after the Judgement, the types are of Job feasting with his family
after his former trials and Jacobs ladder, which he saw in a dream when
God promised him and his descendants the land flowing with milk and
honey (Genesis 28vv.1017) (Fig. 38).
Typology II 181

Fig. 38 Souls in Heaven with Job feasting and Jacobs Ladder, Biblia Pauperum,
fifteenth century. Photo: Warburg Institute.
182 Chapter 5

The text at the base of this page is a prayer: O Father in the heavens,
may you wish to feast me in your company.32 At the end of the block-book
there is the union with God of the individual who has let the mind wander
through Old and New Testament and whose devotion has reached its
summit. Christ awards the crown of eternal life, flanked by the groom of
the Song ofSongs crowning the spotless bride (Song ofSongs 4vv.78) and
by a second type of Saint John the Divine with the angel who promised
to show him the bride, the wife of the Lamb (Revelation 21v.9). Beneath
the Old Testament image the verse speaks of the soul, Praise indeed to
the soul, be quite confident that you have a husband.33
This devotional use of typology in the Biblia Pauperum adds another
dimension to a subject which has often been interpreted solely as a proc-
lamation of the Churchs superiority over Judaism, or which has been
understood as a mirror of the conflict between Jew and Gentile.34 The
topic is much wider than this. Previous attitudes towards the Jews, espe-
cially links made with their part in the death of Christ, do feature in the
Biblia Pauperum, but they are not the purpose of the whole work. There
are five pages out of the forty folio version which provoke comment on
Jewish treachery: the prediction of the Passion; the Jews falling back ( John
18v.6) with its New Testament types; Christs betrayal in the Garden of
Gethsemane; his condemnation; the mockery. The imagery is made relevant
to the personal piety of the reader.
One of the lost Canterbury windows had prefigured Judas disloyalty
by that of Joab, Davids commander, greeting Abner then killing him (2
Samuel [Kings] 3vv.267) with the words that while he feigns friendship,
Joab draws his sword for slaughter, indicating the wicked friendship of the
Jews.35 The block-book repeats the theme: Joab is like Judas who deceit-
fully kissed Christ and gave him to the wicked Jews to be crucified.36 Then

32 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 126.

33 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 127.
34 Eg. Henry N. Claman, Jewish Images in the Christian Church. Art as the Mirror of the
Jewish-Christian Conflict 2001250 CE (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2000).
35 Caviness, Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 151.
36 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 90.
Typology II 183

the accompanying quotation from Proverbs warns that anyone who lies,
not only a Jew, falls into evil (Proverbs 17v.20). Comment on the page
of the Jews falling back from Christ, included between the prediction of
the Passion and Betrayal, allegorised the devils who fell with Lucifer in
the book of Revelation as the Jews who were proud and afraid of losing
their status and land. The reference to the Psalms, that they have fallen
into the pit which they themselves made (Psalm 7v.16), serves as a general
warning. The Jews in history are held up like the foolish girls without oil
in their lamps (Matthew 25vv.113), examples of those unprepared. Here
the verse from Baruch warns that anyone who falls to the ground does not
get up again by himself (Baruch 6v.26). In the specific context of personal
meditation, these traditional condemnations are extended to invite the
reader to consider for himself the correct or incorrect responses to Christ.
Some warnings of condemnation which might have been directed
towards the Jews turn instead to Christian apostasy and the Gentiles. In
the imagery of Hell, it is those wearing crowns and mitres, rather than the
Jews, who are herded towards the place of torment, as they had been in
the Hortus Deliciarum.37 This apparent anti-clerical imagery fits the overall
theme of the Biblia Pauperum that all people, whatever their status in the
world, would suffer the same fate if they pursue evil. Types of those entering
hell record previous Old Testament incidents of immorality or disobedi-
ence, with their consequences: the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah
are destroyed (Genesis 19vv.129), Dathan and Abiron are swallowed by
the earth because of their rebellion (Numbers 16vv.433), while the reader
is warned that everyone who pays no attention to Catholic Law or the Ten
Commandments will suffer a similar fate. The Amalekite condemned by
David for killing Gods anointed (2 Samuel [2 Kings] 1vv.1316) is a type
of the Last Judgement. Here the comment cautions that anyone will be
judged according to his sins. Also on this Judgement page Ezekiels quota-
tion states that God will judge you according to your ways (Ezekiel 7v.3)
and Isaiahs words speak of God judging the Gentiles and accusing many
people (Isaiah 2v.4).

37 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum fol. 255, 338.

184 Chapter 5

The above examples from what was the culmination of centuries of

typological tradition confirms certain basic aspects of its importance. For
the artist it offered scope to extend the lines and patterns of a single picture
over a broader scheme, allowing shapes to complement or to echo each
other. For the deviser of programmes it was a tool, a way of bringing out
certain meanings from the Gospels, through an established method, which
took account of the whole of biblical revelation. The types themselves were
adaptable and able to be enhanced or fine-tuned by the addition of biblical
verses or lines of poetry. They made statements, instructed, encouraged and
warned as they conveyed their particular messages and here, as in other
examples, they should be interpreted in the context in which they were set.
As typology continued to gloss New Testament events, it displayed those
hidden meanings and implications extracted from the Old Testament which
had been pursued from the early centuries of Christianity.
Both the Mirror of Mans Salvation and the Biblia Pauperum, together
with the Concordantia Caritatis and other derivative works, helped to
carry typology beyond the fifteenth century, though its popularity began
to decline. Monumental art inspired by pictures in the Bible of the Poor
can be found from Austria and Switzerland to Scandinavia; specific visual
comparisons have been made with stained glass panels in the Lady chapel
of Exeter cathedral, misericords in Ripon cathedral and stained glass panels
originally in the church in Tatershall, Lincolnshire, of which six are now
in the south aisle of Saint Martins church in Stamford.38 The sculptural
scheme in the archivolts of the central west doorway of Saint Maurice at
Vienne on the Rhone has long been recognised as dependent on the Biblia
Pauperum. Types of the Last Judgement in the west window of Saint Marys,
Fairford, from the end of the fifteenth century, namely the Judgement of
Solomon and David ordering the killing of the Amalekite who had ended
king Sauls life, appear to have been inspired directly by the block-book.

38 Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 37.

Typology II 185

Beyond Typology

There is an integrity to the Biblia Pauperum, an easy flow of imagery con-

tinuing through the familiar structure of each page. Its single line verses
which identify the scenes and the prophetic quotations and brief com-
mentary related to the central images, present a directness that makes each
subject immediately accessible. In less secure settings, it is not always clear
if an Old Testament subject was intended to be interpreted as a type. Since
biblical episodes attracted multiple meanings, a depiction of Daniel in the
lions den, for example, might hint at the entombment of Christ and immi-
nent Resurrection, but equally it could have served as an encouragement
to faithfulness, an expression of trust in divine providence, or even simply
as a reminder of an event acted out in the play of Daniel, prompting the
viewer to recall the Old Testament story and its implications. Parameters
to typology had been stretched in the Mirror of Mans Salvation. Pictor,
too, had included a few scientific and Bestiary examples among the firmly
based biblical references. The essential simplicity of typology, that is a direct
relationship in history between one Old and one New Testament episode,
could be compromised by the single image that was made up from several
Old Testament texts or by the complex diagram which presented multiple
ideas relating to the two parts of Christian Scripture.
A tendency towards allegorising typology was not new. Already in
Justin Martyrs Dialogue with Trypho, when he quoted from the book of
Exodus that the Lord was said to fight with hidden hand against Amalek,
the enemy had become the spiritual and human opponents of the true
Israel, the Church.39 Allegory had been a favoured area of interpretation
at the intellectual centre of Alexandria in the time of Philo during the first
century ce and was approved by the rabbis in their exegesis of the Hebrew
Scriptures.40 The same tradition soon became established in Christian
scholarship, but when allegory blended with typology it distorted the

39 Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho XLIX, 99.

40 Lampe and Woollcombe, Essays on Typology, 32.
186 Chapter 5

relationship between Old and New Testament events. Allegory, in which

a person or object stands for something else, was not constrained by the
notion of foreshadowing or by the similarities between two events in which
the latter represented an escalation of value. Other recognised layers of
study of the sacred texts in the Middle Ages history, moral significance
and mystical meaning did not accommodate typology any more than
allegory. History in this context meant taking the biblical text at its face
value, whereas the rationale of the types was their concealment of a future
moment. Moral and mystical categories were also separate from any need
of historical progression.
A kind of typology, caught up into allegory and extended beyond
the single Old and New Testament events, can be found in some of the
illustrations of Herrads Hortus Deliciarum. One such diagram indicates
the distinction between Old Testament sacrificial systems and Christs
replacement of them (Fig. 39).41
It presents a visual typology at its centre in a two-headed seated figure
representing Christ and Moses. On the left Moses holds a stick for asperging
the people with blood and ashes of the red heifer (Numbers 19): on the
right Christ, holding a chalice, sanctifies the faithful with his own blood
and body. From this dual figure emanate ten scrolls, each containing a
brief quotation from the old Law, which end at the ten depictions of Old
Testament sacrifices held up by men in bust form, in roundels that follow the
inner circumference of the circle enclosing the whole picture. Inscriptions
around the former offerings identify them as qualities or characteristics of
Christ or the Church. These are abbreviated versions of attributes signalled
in scholarly extracts on the previous folio of the manuscript: the bull, for
instance, signifies the strength of Christ, the turtle doves relate to chastity
in the Church and the ram indicates the pre-eminence of Christ. Below
the central figure and acting as a footstool is a seven-branched candela-
brum (Exodus 25vv.3140), beside which is stated its significance here as
the seven-fold [gifts of the] spirit; they illuminate prophets, Apostles and

41 Annette Krger and Gabriele Runge, Lifting the Veil: Two Typological Drawings
in the Hortus Deliciarum, JWCI LX (1997), 122.
Typology II 187

evangelists, by whom the testament is laid out in both persons, Moses and
Christ. The diagram sets out the Old Testament offerings as allegories of
virtues and relates to the Christian doctrine of atonement rather than to
any specific episode in the Gospels.

Fig. 39 Christ and Moses, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 67r, twelfth/thirteenth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute.

A second diagram on the reverse of the page, following the same

layout, focuses on a standing, crowned Christ at the centre holding a chal-
ice (Fig.40). Here he is King and Priest, his feet rest on a cross placed in
188 Chapter 5

front of the Ark of the Covenant which is flanked by cherubim and con-
structed of brick in the form of a church building. Biblical texts, mainly
from the Psalms and relating to sacrifices, flow backwards and forwards
like antiphonal chanting between him and the female busts who inhabit
the inner roundels and who represent virtues.

Fig. 40 Christ as High Priest, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 67v, twelfth/thirteenth century.
Photo: Warburg Institute.
Typology II 189

It is companion to the previous drawing, both of which seem to have

been inspired by Chapter Nine of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the New
Testament writing that contrasted the shadow ofthe earthly Old Testament
order with the reality of the New Testament and work of Christ. Under
the old covenant, divine service was performed in a worldly sanctuary, in
which the candelabrum resided in the tabernacle. Behind the veil, featured
in the first diagram, was the Holy of Holies which housed the Ark of the
Covenant. Into this sanctuary the High Priest alone was allowed once a
year on the Day of Atonement. Now an eternal redemption is secured by
Christ; the blood of goats, oxen and the ashes of a heifer, which cleansed the
flesh, have been surpassed by the spotless offering that cleanses conscience.
In the first diagram the candelabrum has not been paralleled with any New
Testament counterpart and the whole is a theological treatise rather than a
typological statement. The companion drawing does compare the Ark of
the Covenant with the Church, again not a single New Testament event,
and any intended typology has been overtaken by allegory, doctrine and
moral inference.
A single image that presented layers of meaning, made up from
different biblical episodes, or which tended towards allegory that removes it
completely from any typological consideration, is the chariot of Aminadab,
cited in the Introduction and at the beginning of this chapter. From the
Vulgate translation of the Song of Solomon, the adventures of the Ark on
its journey to Jerusalem in the books of Samuel [Kings], associations with
Ezekiels vision of the divine throne, references in the prophet Habbakuk
to God going forth with his anointed and to his chariots of salvation
(Habakkuk 3v.13, v.8) this picture expressed, rather, an amalgamation of
texts, with exegesis further contributing to the elaborate construction.42
Its link with the New Testament, in Abbot Sugers stained glass chariot
at Saint Denis (Fig. 4), is that it carries God the Father supporting the
arms of a cross on which Christ hangs. The text indicates that the Ark
has given way to a greater covenant that was established in the death of

42 L. Grodecki, Les vitraux allgoriques de St Denis. Art de France I. Paris 1961 pp.1946.
190 Chapter 5

Christ.43 Each of the many strands condensed into this single picture has
to be unpacked and analysed. Some commentators had seen the new cart
on which the Ark of the Covenant left its resting place at Aminadabs
house as the New Testament, its four wheels as the Gospel writers. At
Saint Denis the Evangelist symbols were depicted in the wheels. Other
writers related the Shulamite of the Song of Solomon to Synagogue and
spoke of her travelling in the chariot to join Christ.44 The biographer of
Gilbert of Sempringham likened it to the Gilbertine order he founded in
south Lincolnshire in the twelfth century, which included both men and
women. He considered that Father Gilbert guides the chariot over places
rough and smooth. Two of the four wheels were the clerks and laymen,
the others the lettered and unlettered women; the two oxen pulling the
cart were the clerical and monastic disciplines of Saint Augustine and
Saint Benedict.45 The Ark of the Covenant alone had long been accepted
as a type of the Church.46 Even in Herrads complex drawings, the Ark
stood for the Church and Old Testament rituals have given way to the
atonement of Christ in the Crucifixion. The chariot of Aminadab, from
its beginnings a contrived image, has now, in this Gilbertine use, lost any
semblance to typology.

Challenges to Typology

As so many Old Testament episodes served as types it was inevitable that

the same subjects would overlap with other areas of iconography, in narra-
tive sequences or depictions of time, without any specific visual reference
to a New Testament counterpart. The Winchester Bible Genesis initial,

43 Erwin Panofsky in Holt, A Documentary History of Art, vol. 1, 33.

44 Michael Curschmann, Imaged Exegesis: Text and Picture in Rupert of Deutz,
Honorius Augustodunensis and Gerhoch of Reichersberg, Traditio 44 (1988),
45 Raymonde Foreville and Gillian Keir, eds, The Book of Saint Gilbert, with critical
text of the Vita (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 53.
46 Eg. Bede, On the Tabernacle I.5.
Typology II 191

marking the ages from creation to final judgement, has already been cited.
The first medallion, of Eve taken from Adams rib, was an unusual choice
for a creation scene and may have been chosen for its typological signifi-
cance of the Church issuing from the side of Christ (Plate 3). When his
body on the cross was pierced, blood and water flowed from the wound
( John 19v.34), which came to be seen as symbolic of the blood of the new
covenant delivered to the Church. There were many types in the Joseph
story relating to the last days of Christs life: he was placed in the tomb as
Joseph was put into the pit, betrayed and sold for ten more pieces of silver
than Joseph was, condemned on the cross between two criminals as Joseph
found himself in gaol with two other prisoners, in each case one good the
other bad. Comparisons between the two stories might continue.47 It has
been suggested that the narrative Joseph mosaics in Saint Marks, Venice,
were actually adapted from their source in a fifth century illustrated Genesis
to accommodate typology.48 These emphasise the issues about the impor-
tance of context when interpreting imagery and the possibility of several
meanings in a work of art. That apparently essential juxtaposition of Old
and New Testament events is brought into question since there are no anti-
types in the Winchester initial nor in the Venice Joseph saga. The problem
expands into a more general one, of how far a type functions as such when
it is only implied and when it is not supported by a corresponding New
Testament idea or image.
Where Old Testament figures appear apparently at random or without
New Testament counterparts, interpretation has often turned to typology.
Single catacomb images have been described as types, including those of
Daniel, the three boys in the fiery furnace and Moses striking the rock
for water. Daniel in the lions den came to be seen as a foreshadowing of
Christs entombment and anticipated resurrection. In the later Bible of the
Poor, the three youths were a type of Christs Transfiguration, in which
the disciples were given a glimpse of his future glorified state but in the

47 Eg. In Guillaume de Bourges, Livre des guerres du Seigneur XXX lines 20655.
48 Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art, 107. Martin Bchsel, Die Schpfungsmosaiken von
San Marco, Staedel Jahrbuch 13 (1991), 2980.
192 Chapter 5

catacombs these figures would have been precedents of release and hope
for salvation after endurance. Daniel had been one of the examples named
in an early Christian prayer for deliverance.49 Moses finding water in the
rock, already a type in Justin Martyrs Dialogue, signalled new life from the
stone just as through Christ there was the hope of resurrection for those
buried in the catacombs. In any case physical or posthumous salvation was
certainly more pressing than theological refinements of the new covenant
finding hidden meanings in the old one. These early Old Testament images
served the need for a visual expression of deliverance, before the double
imagery of type and antitype became commonplace.
The above examples raise the possibility of what may be termed a half
typology, where Old Testament types might feature without their antitypes
in medieval art. Such is probably the case, for instance, in twelve images
on a chalice ranging from Samuels presentation to Eli (1 Kings [Samuel]3)
to Elishas raising of the sunken axe-head (4[2] Kings 6vv.17).50 This
second episode was a foreshadowing of Christ carrying the cross accord-
ing to Pictor in Carmine. Reference to types may often have lain behind
the choice of Old Testament imagery. In the twelfth century church of
Notre Dame at Gargilesse-Dampierre, in the Indre department, France,
Old Testament scenes dominate the interior capitals, though these may not
be a true reflection of the complete iconography as the church has been
considerably shortened.51 From the New Testament are an Annunciation,
Visitation and scattered figures of the twenty four elders of the Apocalypse,
but the most striking carvings are those from the Old Testament. Near the
Annunciation and Visitation capitals are those of Daniel amongst lions
and Habakkuk, leaving his house with food for the reapers, plucked by a
lock of his hair to be diverted to the lions den, which had become a type of
the Holy Spirit entering the sealed womb of the Virgin. Nearby, the fall of
Nebuchadnezzar is depicted, the king with long beard and crown but the
body of an animal, forced to eat grass like an ox (Daniel 4v.22). He had
attempted to overthrow the Chosen People and in biblical commentary

49 Mle, LArt religieux du 12e sicle, 49.

50 Piotr Skubiszewski, The Iconography of a Romanesque Chalice from Tremeszna,
JWCI XXXIV (1971), 4064.
51 Adelheid Heimann, The Master of Gargilesse, JWCI XXXXII (1979), 4764.
Typology II 193

was allegorised as Satan.52 Now that Christ is about to enter the world, his
kingdom is coming to an end. Other Old Testament scenes in the north
aisle at Gargilesse are not related to New Testament images. One capital
depicts Joseph sold to the Midianites and his father Jacob inspecting his
blood-stained robe, which were types of the betrayal of Christ and of his
crucified flesh. A companion capital at the same level, across the window
opening, depicts Samson wrestling with a lion, a type of the Harrowing of
Hell, and Delilah cutting his hair, an anticipation of Christ captured and
handed over to the enemy.
Opposite the Samson and Joseph capitals at Gargilesse is one of an
uncertain subject (Fig. 41). Behind a seated bearded male figure a woman
tears her clothes, in anger or distress, while in front ofhim another woman
kneels, pleading with him. A youth approaches the scene holding a branch
and an orb-shaped, decorated, container.

Fig. 41 Abraham with Sarah and Hagar, church of Notre-Dame, Gargilesse-Dampierre,

Indre, capital, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

52 Eg. Jerome: Commentary on Daniel 4, Patrologia Latina 25.513.

194 Chapter 5

If the capital depicts Solomon judging between two women who

claimed the same baby, then as a type it would represent the Last Judgement.
Problems with this interpretation are that the seated figure does not wear
a crown and there is no baby. If the unidentified man arriving with gifts or
some symbolic attributes is Huram, the master craftsman skilled in gold and
other metals sent by the king of Tyre to Solomon, bringing gold of Ophir,
he would, according to Pictor, be a type of the Adoration of the Magi.53 The
church-like building behind him might represent the temple in Jerusalem.
On the Samson and Joseph capitals at Gargilesse there is more than one
scene relating to each of the main characters and there may, similarly, be
two Solomon stories presented together in the confined sculptural space.
Other suggestions for the meaning of this capital include Abraham
with Sarah, wife of the patriarch and her maid Hagar, or Jacob with Leah
and Rachel.54 The sculpture seems to fit more easily with the first of these.
According to the Old Testament, Sarah failed to produce an heir for the
patriarch who was promised that all nations of the earth would be blessed
through his descendants. She therefore gave her servant to her husband
but, when Hagar conceived, friction arose between the two women and
the maid was sent away (Genesis 16). A messenger of God found her in the
wilderness, told her that she would bear a son, Ishmael, who would have
many descendants and that she should return to submit to her mistress.
Sarah later gave birth to Isaac, the son of promise (Genesis 18vv.115),
but again tension emerged between her and Hagar and the maid was sent
away with Ishmael (Genesis 21). Biblical exegesis built on the idea that
these two women represented the old and new covenants, or Judaism
(Hagar) and Christianity (Sarah), a theme already discussed in the New
Testament (Galatians 4).55 The women came to be seen as a foreshadow-
ing of the separation of Jews and Christians and were possibly depicted
more frequently in medieval art at the time of expulsion of the Jews from

53 James, Pictor in Carmine, 153.

54 Heimann, The Master of Gargilessse, 56.
55 Glossa on Genesis 16, Patrologia Latina 113. 122.
Typology II 195

European countries.56 On this capital, the man with orb and branch may
be the messenger who tells Hagar to submit to Sarah, the building from
which he comes being a church, which the Jews are invited to join. Without
the juxtaposition of New Testament scenes or texts the full impact of any
typology is lost and without those correspondences between the impres-
sion and its fulfilment there can, arguably, be no typology. An appeal to
the half type at Gargilesse, however, or in other places, might offer another
dimension to the deciphering of an apparently disjointed choice of scenes
or in interpreting an elusive imagery.
Another challenge to typology comes when the second part of the
link between Old Testament and Christian doctrine has yet to take place.
On the Day of Atonement in Leviticus (chapter 16) two animals were
taken, the first to be burnt as an offering, the second to be sent off into
the wilderness, having had the sins of the community pronounced over it.
In Herrads diagram of the former sacrificial system contrasted with the
New Testament scheme of salvation, which revolves around the central
figure of Moses-Christ (Fig. 39), there are two goats below Moses arm,
one labelled the victim consumed by fire and the other, held out beside it,
the scapegoat. Justin Martyr had seen in these goats the two comings of
Christ. Historically, at his first appearance, the elders and priests had laid
hands on him and killed him; like the scapegoat he had continued to live
and had gone away bearing the sins of the people. The Gospel promised
that he would return (Luke 21v.27), to be recognised in Jerusalem Justin
stated.57 He would come back at the end of the age immediately before
the final judgement. An anticipated future is a doubtful antitype because
the type has, as yet, nothing to prefigure.
After judgement the judged would be consigned to heaven or hell. The
deaths of Dathan and Abiram who had rebelled against Moses in the wil-
derness (Numbers 16, Deuteronomy 11v.6) and the destruction of Sodom

56 Walter Cahn, The Expulsion of the Jews as History and Allegory in Painting and
Sculpture, in Michael A. Signer and John Van Engen, eds, Jews and Christians in
Twelfth Century Europe (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001),
57 Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho XL, 80.
196 Chapter 5

and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), famed for immorality, were included in the
Biblia Pauperum as types of hell, which cannot be classed as an antitype
relating to an historical event. So, too, Christ and the souls of the blessed,
foreshadowed by Job feasting with his children and by Jacobs ladder, are
also types of a future possibility. Here the manuscript commentary explains
that Jacob, sleeping on a stone, had a dream of a ladder stretching from earth
to heaven with angels descending and had heard God promise the land to
his descendants for ever. This signified the souls of the faithful resting in
Christ, the stone, who have obtained the land of milk and honey which is
the Kingdom of Heaven (Fig. 38).
A further area in which a kind of typology functioned was where
the Old Testament image was situated appropriately in a church build-
ing to ally it to liturgical practice. Its counterpart here would be related
to worship rather than to a New Testament scene. Reference was made in
the Introduction to the Ark of the Covenant at Germigny-des-Prs, pos-
sibly placed to connect it with the Mass said at the altar (Fig. 5). Since it
was a type of the Church, for instance, its place in the most holy room of
Solomons temple has now been transferred here to the most sacred area
of the building where Christs sacrifice and blood have replaced the old
regime. Another interpretation of the Ark in the sanctuary may relate it
to the reality of Christian ritual in contrast to the former practices of the
old regime, described in the Epistle to the Hebrews, or to the true Holy of
Holies to which Christ had ascended (Hebrews 910).
There are other examples of what may be termed situation typology.
At the abbey of Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe the extensive narrative paintings
from Genesis and Exodus, in double registers on the nave vault, take the
viewer in a progression of several forward and backward movements from
entrance to choir as the scenes fold back upon themselves. This arrange-
ment has ensured that Noah cultivating the vine and Noah drinking wine
are closest to the altar.58 Joseph distributing grain in Egypt and what was
probably Moses with the Ark of the Covenant or wilderness Tabernacle are
the subjects at the altar end of the other two bands of the paintings. Wine

58 Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art, 120.

Typology II 197

and wheat suggest the substances of the Mass. Noah planting the vine then
drinking wine made from its fruit was a type of Christs Nativity.59 Here it
signifies perhaps the coming of Christ to the altar below, his body reborn
when the priest was believed to change the bread and wine into his flesh
and blood. Noahs drunkenness was a type of Christs death, re-enacted
here in the liturgy of the Mass: the Glossa had compared Noah to Christ
spread out naked on the cross, the mortality of his flesh laid bare among
his own people.60
Another area of strategic typology can be found at church entrances.
The portal of Sainte Madeleines church at Neuilly-en-Donjon in Burgundy
presents the Last Supper on its lintel beside Adam and Eve eating the for-
bidden fruit, with Adam holding his throat. To the right are Daniel and
Habakkuk on a capital, the prophet here possibly bringing the saving food
which may have prefigured Christs meal with the disciples and which the
worshippers on entering the building would be about to celebrate.61 On
the early eleventh century bronze doors of the cathedral of Hildesheim,
north Germany, biblical scenes seem to make parallels not only between
Eve and the Virgin but between the entrance to the church and the way
to Paradise.62
Eight Old Testament sections begin at the top left with the crea-
tion of Eve from Adam and descend to the murder of Abel: eight New
Testament events, starting with the Annunciation at the base of the right
hand sequence, ascend to the post Resurrection appearance of Christ to
Mary Magdalene in another garden. In several panels there is the theme of
a door. As Adam and Eve leave Paradise, in the fifth register from the top,
they are about to pass a church which has a closed door. When the angel
greets Mary at the Annunciation, the way into the church is wide open.
Bishop Bernward, who commissioned the doors, also presented a Gospel
Book to Saint Michaels in which part of the titulus surrounding the seated

59 James, Pictor in Carmine, 152.

60 Glossa on Genesis 9v.21 Patrologia Latina 113.112.
61 Elizabeth A. Saxon, The Eucharist in Romanesque France (Woodbridge, Suffolk:
Boydell Press, 2006), 11011.
62 Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art, 108.
198 Chapter 5

Virgin being crowned, with the child on her lap, reads that she is the open
door of Paradise, the portal of God.63 Mary is the new Eve, a comparison
that went back at least to Justin Martyrs Dialogue, who has reversed the
situation brought about by her type through her acceptance of the role of
Mother of God. Eve had caused the door to Eden to be closed; it is because
of Mary that Christians are able to regain Paradise, as they do in replica
when they pass through the church door.
A juxtaposition of Mary and Eve occurs also at the west doorways of
Amiens cathedral and Notre Dame, Paris, where in both instances a statue
of the Virgin and Child on the socle rises above a depiction of the Fall.
This typology, where the first mother of the living gives way to the mother
of the Christian era, reflects the sense of type in which Saint Paul spoke
of Adam as the tupos of Christ (Romans 5v.14). Beyond the more direct
meaning of much typology based on a single episode, such as the widow
of Zarephath gathering two sticks or Moses striking the rock for water
which prefigured specific moments in the Gospels, the correspondence
between Eve and the Virgin, Adam and Christ mark different beginnings.
The antitypes regain the Paradise that mankind experienced initially, thus
undoing the actions of the types by reversing their consequences, as the
angels greeting to Mary, Ave, spelt backwards the name ofthe first woman,
who sinned. In the hymn Ave Maris Stella, Hail Star of the Sea, used as a
Vespers canticle from the seventh or eighth century, Mary is addressed as
portal of the sky who, by Gabriels Ave, reversed the name of Eva.

Typology can be classified in different ways and the above perspectives
do not attempt to replace already defined categories. Areas systematised
more than half a century ago for the contents of the Bible of the Poor
might be applied to earlier expressions of correspondences ofOld and New
Testaments. These were situation images, in which there is an outward simi-
larity between the main types in the picture: image relationships in which

63 Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art, 4950, 108. Hildesheim, Cathedral Museum MS. 18
fols 16v-17.
Typology II 199

the type and antitype approximate to each other visually, sometimes in

reverse pattern; the unsatisfactory comparison where the equivalent motifs
do not fully correspond; the significant meaning dependent on theological
interpretation; the symbolic association, as in the Marian symbolism taken
from the Old Testament.64 Further subdivisions have been suggested in, for
instance, an analysis of visual typology which looks in detail at the recur-
ring relationships of symmetry, or assimilation of one scene into another
and the mirror image, among others.65
When the subject of typology is approached from a general study of
how the medieval church viewed the Old Testament, the main emphasis
falls on the meaning dependent on theological interpretation. The type
offered a range of examples which found the central emblem of Christianity,
the cross, in the former Scriptures. It asserted itself in its juxtaposition
with the New Testament as a sign that salvation history had taken a leap
forward and that something greater had come. Belief that Christianity
represented a fuller stage of revelation from the Old Testament and from
Judaism remained a basic assumption of typology. The type, though, was
not confined to promoting the supersession of the Church. It contained
possibilities of meaning in which delight in allegory, for instance, pushed it
along broader tracks. It could illustrate the significance of certain Christian
practices by its strategic use in ecclesiastical space or on liturgical objects. It
provided a visual means of helping to uncover meaning in New Testament
episodes, rather as a medieval sermon might refer to numerous biblical
passages to elucidate its theme.
Extant works of art do not reflect the full extent of typology in the
Middle Ages. More can be gleaned from inventories, descriptions and verses
that were copied from pictures before they disappeared and which give tan-
talising indications of what has been lost. Conjecture and written evidence
has sometimes led to detached objects being identified. An enamel panel
in the British museum in London, for instance, of the Syrian commander

64 Bernd Mohnhaupt, Beziehungsgeflechte. Typologische Kunst des Mittelalters (Bern:

Peter Lang, 2000), 42.
65 Mohnhaupt, Beziehungsgeflechte. Typologische Kunst des Mittelalters, 3756.
200 Chapter 5

Naaman being cleansed in the river Jordan (2[4]Kings 5vv.119), a type

of Christs baptism, may once have graced the pedestal of Abbot Sugers
gold crucifix as one of its Old Testament allegories placed among sixty-
eight subjects dealing with the history of the Saviour.66 Something of the
range and purpose of typology can be seen nonetheless in the examples
highlighted above. It was a means of expressing complex ideas in relatively
simple formats. The later medieval Biblia Pauperum, which does exist in
its entirety and which brought typology into the heart of lay piety, added
yet another dimension to the rich heritage which had served theologian,
polemicist and Church authority for centuries.

66 Lasko, Ars Sacra 8001200, 18991.

Chapter 6


Synagogue came to represent post-biblical Jewry, descendants of those

who had formulated Old Testament history and ideas. In medieval art
she was depicted as a female figure, akin to literary portrayals of the city
and people of Rome as a woman or goddess.1 In a tenth-century Gospel
Book, Roma is illustrated with three other women, crowned and bring-
ing tribute, who represent the four parts of Otto IIIs empire.2 Behind
the image of Synagogue, her personification and certain attributes, even
the context in which she appears, lie verses from the Old Testament inter-
preted by the Church as relevant to her attitude and status. She was used
to illustrate manuscript initials to certain psalms and prophets, such as
the opening to Habakkuk in the Lambeth Bible. Sometimes she carried a
scroll or the stone tablets of the Law, indicating her continued adherence
to the old regime. Mainly she found her place beneath the crucified Christ
where, with a veil covering her eyes and a crown falling from her head, she
was often portrayed in a posture of defeat as she turned away from the
cross. The Hebrew Scriptures, the common ground between the Jews and
Christianity, had provided the basis of ongoing argument over the relative
merits of their opposing viewpoints. Some of these Old Testament texts,
directly or through polemic or exegesis, became summarised in the iconog-
raphy of Synagogue. She was a carrier of doctrine as well as a people.3

1 Prudentius, A Reply to the Address ofSymmachus, Book 1. 221, translated H.J. Thomson,
in Prudentius, vol. 1 (London: Heinemann, the Loeb Classical Library, 1949), 366.
2 Munich, Staatsbibliothek, MS Clm 4453 fol. 23v. Illustrated Beckwith, Early Medieval
Art, fig. 85.
3 Wolfgang Seiferth, Synagoge und Kirche im Mittelalter (Munich: Koesel-Verlag,
1964), 26.
202 Chapter 6

Hebrew literature had described the nation of Israel as a single unit,

often a woman, as it had also personified places and the more abstract
notion of Wisdom. Ezekiel likened the cities of Jerusalem and Samaria,
capitals of the realm divided into southern and northern kingdoms after
Solomons death, to two women, immoral sisters who deviated from their
correct allegiance as they doted on the handsome young cavalry officers
from Assyria or on the splendid uniforms of Babylonian officials (Ezekiel
23). In the text of Isaiah, Jerusalem is described as a mother (Isaiah 66).
She was also Gods unfaithful spouse, who had broken her side of the
covenant when she worshipped the false gods of other nations, but who
would be accepted again by him if she renounced her lovers (Hosea 2). In
an early depiction of Synagogue, in a tenth-century ivory relief from Metz,
she is seated to the right of Christ on the cross, holding a sacrificial knife
and banner, her head surrounded by walls and towers which may signify
Jerusalem. She engages in conversation with, or is being admonished by,
the personification of the new chosen group, Ecclesia the Church.4
Continuation of the Jewish religion after the beginnings and spread
of Christianity evoked observation from Christian writers on its purpose
now that the Scriptures had been fulfilled. For Augustine the Jews held
a privileged place because of their history of the experience of God and
as the book-bearers for Christianity; since they had not moved forward,
however, they had become stationary in useless Antiquity.5 On the other
hand, he suggested, even though their Scriptures contained only a partial
revelation and their loss of the homeland indicated a rejection by God,
they could still by their presence prepare the nations among whom they
had been scattered for the truths of the Gospel.6 They were, too, trustees
of the Hebrew language, considered by Jerome to be the mother of all lan-
guages and by which, in returning to this source, one returned to God.7
The consensus of opinion was that in the end they would recognise their

4 Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, vol. 2 111, fig. 366.

5 Augustine, Tractatus adversus Iudaeos 6.8 Patrologia Latina 42. 5164.
6 Deborah L Goodwin, Take hold of the Robe of a Jew: Herbert of Boshams Christian
Hebraism. Studies in the History of Christian Tradition, vol. CXXVI (Leiden: Brill,
2006), 8991.
7 Goodwin, Take hold of the Robe of a Jew, 80.
Synagogue 203

error but in the meantime they remained blind, like people without vision
looking into their own mirror.8 They read their sacred books but fail to see
what is there. In the south porch of Chartres cathedral the column figure
of Jerome holds an open book, to which he points, and a scroll which
unfurls downwards to Synagogue crouching beneath him, gazing up. She is
identified by her blindfold (Fig. 42). She grasps and indicates what appears
to be the other end of his scroll, which is broken, both of them gesturing
to now invisible texts in support of their respective theological positions.

Fig. 42 Synagogue at the Feet of Jerome, Chartres Cathedral, south porch,

thirteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

8 Augustine: Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 57 (Nicene and Post-Nicene

Fathers, vol. 8: Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995) 2259.
204 Chapter 6

The veil which signified her blindness was in some imagery removed
so that she could see clearly, possibly reflecting the Church Fathers con-
viction that she would eventually be caught up into the Christian process
of salvation. One of Abbot Sugers windows at Saint Denis has Christ,
surrounded by seven doves representing the gifts of the Spirit, standing
between Ecclesia and Synagogue and reaching out his hand to take the veil
from the latter. In the Old Testament Moses, on his descent from Mount
Sinai with his face radiating horns of light, had covered his face with a
veil when he spoke to the people because they were afraid to go near him
(Exodus 34vv.325). Synagogues blindness, though, signified her inability
or unwillingness to appreciate the new revelation entrusted to the Church.
There is a story related to Innocent IIs visit to Saint Denis in 1131 that
the Jews presented him with a scroll of the Law. The Popes response was,
May Almighty God take away the veil from your hearts.9 Christian belief
was that the glory of God had now been presented directly in the person
of Christ ( John 1vv.114). Abbot Sugers verse accompanying the image
explains that what Moses covers with a veil the doctrine of Christ reveals.
When Synagogues eyes are uncovered she comes to see directly the glory of
her God and to understand the meaning of her own Scriptures. A similar
gesture occurs on a font from Selincourt, now in the museum of Amiens,
where a clear-sighted Synagogue stands with a banderole and sceptre.10 Here
baptism signifies her conversion when, according to the New Testament,
her veil shall be taken away (2 Corinthians 3v.16).
Beneath the bust of Christ surrounded by seven doves in the Lambeth
bible Jesse tree, Synagogue looks at the horned Moses as though taking
leave of him while a hand extends to remove her veil and she is led towards
Christ by a haloed figure (Fig. 25). On the other side of the tree, crowned
Ecclesia, with cross but without chalice, is led to Christ by two figures with
scrolls. This image captures the sentiment of the Worcester Chapter House

9 Constant J Mews, Abelard and Heloise on the Jews and the Hebraica Veritas, in
Michael Frassetto, ed., Christian Attitudes to the Jews in the Middle Ages. A Case Book
(New York: Routledge, 2007), 83108 (85).
10 Louis Grodecki, Etudes sur les vitraux de Suger St Denis au 12e sicle, vol. 2 (Paris:
Presse de luniversit de Paris Sorbonne, 1995), 6975, fig. 29.
Synagogue 205

verses and of the unveiling of Synagogue in the extant manuscript images

which have been associated with them.11 She is invited to see the reality as
John the Baptist cries, Come I open up the way and as Ecclesia, the Bride,
is crowned and presented to God, the Bridegroom. Below these figures
Mercy and Truth have met each other, Justice and Peace have kissed (Psalm
85 [84] v.11) that is, according to Jeromes exposition of the Psalms, Jews
and Gentiles are united in Christ.12 A further illustration in the Lambeth
Bible, the initial to Habakkuk, illustrates Synagogue divided from Ecclesia
by Christ on the cross, which stands on the bust of the prophet in a half
circle whose scroll reads that Gods glory covered the heavens.13 The text
of Habakkuk, referred to in relation to the Vzelay tympanum in Chapter
3, had, according to commentary, extended the theme of glory with rays
of light, or horns, in Gods hands (Habakkuk 3v.4) to be the nails of the
crucifixion. Although Synagogues crown has fallen behind her, her staff
has broken and her ensign is on the ground, the veil is removed from her
to suggest that she will come to see clearly in the death of Christ the sig-
nificance of the prophecy of her Scriptures.
In a group of thirteenth-century French Psalters, contemporary with
the generally bad press given to Synagogue in the bibles moralises, the
removal of her blindfold illustrates Psalm 76 [75].14 Here the opening verse
states that in Judea God is known, thus the images appear to represent Jewry
seeing and understanding. The captions of the pictures read that God pulls
the covering from Synagogues eyes, referring possibly to the subsequent
line of the Psalm, Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting
hills (v.5). These images of revelation and sight to the Jews, though, have
also been thought to convey a hint of judgement, an interpretation which

11 Eton College, MS 177, p. xi.

12 Heslop, Worcester Cathedral Chapter House, 306.
13 Lambeth Palace library, MS 3, fol. 307, Shepard, Introducing the Lambeth Bible,
14 Elizabeth A Peterson, The Textual Basis for Visual Errors in French Gothic Psalter
Illustration, in Richard Gameson ed., The Early Medieval Bible (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1994), 177204 (1912).
206 Chapter 6

is based on Christian exegesis of the Psalm.15 God is known in his Church

and exerts his power in protecting it; he does this by breaking Jewish pride.
Salvation can highlight judgement for those who are not counted among
the meek (v.10) or who do not willingly take the appropriate attitude
towards understanding how Christ can enlighten. Removal of the veil
expresses Synagogues awareness and acceptance of the new order, but it
might also signify a realisation that without changing her attitude she now
has to accept her sentence.
Another aspect to Synagogue is illustrated on the back ofthe Bury cross
in the Cloisters Museum, New York, where she kills the lamb which signifies
Christ.16 She is about to pierce the animal with a spear and, with reference
to Jeremiahs prophecy of a meek lamb carried to be a victim, one of the
carved quotations behind her reads Let us cut him off from the land of the
living ( Jeremiah 11v.19). She is made partially blind by her mantle falling
over her eyes, leaving room for the interpretation that she slew the Lamb
of God wilfully, aware of her crime. There are more than twenty biblical
quotations on the arms and shaft of the ivory cross, mainly from prophe-
cies related to Christs Passion and Resurrection. A text behind Synagogue,
used in Jewish polemic to prove that Jesus could not have been the Christ,
states He is accursed who hangs on a Tree (Deuteronomy 21v.23). Along
the sides of the shaft a verse describes one of the types of the mockery of
Christ that was to be included in Peter Comestors Historia and in Pictor in
Carmine: Ham, a son of Noah, laughs when he sees his parent naked, the
Jews laughed at the pain of God dying. Mockery combines with deicide.
Although Synagogue is not portrayed in a pose of defeat on the Bury cross,
her efforts are described as futile. The total message of the iconography is
summed up in the images of Christs Resurrection and Ascension on the
front arms and in a verse which follows the length of the shaft: as death has
been defeated, Synagogue has collapsed with a great foolish effort.

15 Peterson, Textual Basis for Visual Errors, 191 and note 47. Peter Lombards com-
mentary on the Psalms, Patrologia Latina 191. 7045.
16 Elizabeth C. Parker and Charles T. Little, The Cloisters Cross, its Art and Meaning
(New York: Harvey Miller, 1994). Nina Rowe, Other, Studies in Iconography 33
(2012), 13144.
Synagogue 207

Synagogue was depicted elsewhere with spear, sometimes assaulting

the Lamb or piercing Christs side, often blindfolded or opposite Ecclesia.17
On a twelfth century portable altar from Stavelot in the Meuse region,
now in the Royal Museums in Brussels, she also holds a sponge on a stick,
the means by which Christ was offered vinegar while on the cross. Her
hostility towards the body of Christ was said to continue in her attacks
on the sacred Host of the Mass. It is thought that a Jew is among those
condemned to hell on the lintel of the west doorway of Autun cathedral
in France, mistreating the circular emblem inscribed with a cross as an
insult to the beliefs and practices of the Church.18 The image, though, is
not identified by any other characteristic and the figure does not carry a
spear. From the thirteenth century especially, accusations were made that
Jews stole and pierced sacred Hosts, making blood run from them in magi-
cal practices.19 Synagogue on the Stavelot portable altar has unequivocally
lifted New Testament events of the Jewish involvement in the death of
Christ into the domain of contemporary Jewry, since she is unwilling to
disassociate herself from the actions of her ancestors, shown immediately
below her with the text on their banner, his blood be on us and on our
children (Matthew 27v.25).
In the Chartres Redemption window a demon figure aims an arrow at
Synagogues eyes which are covered by a serpent coiling around her head.
Her eyes are covered in this way at the west doorway of Notre Dame, Paris,
and a column figure in the south porch ofSaint Seurins basilica in Bordeaux
represents her with a basilisk-like creature as a headdress, an inverted crown
at her feet recalling her former glory (Fig. 43).

17 Parker and Little, The Cloisters Cross, 11314.

18 Petzold, Romanesque Art, 158.
19 Francis Martens, Le mirroir du meurtre ou la Synagogue dvoile, in Maurice
Olender, ed., Pour Lon Poliakov: Le racisme, mythes et sciences (Brussels 1981), 6173.
208 Chapter 6

Fig. 43 Synagogue crowned with Basilisk, church of St Seurin, Bordeaux, south porch,
thirteenth/fourteenth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

Christian thought had aligned the Garden of Eden serpent with the devil
and had connected Synagogue to the asp and basilisk ofPsalm 91 [90](v.13).
A Carolingian scholar, for example, had compared the Jews to those who
sharpen their tongues and have the venom of snakes under their lips.20 The
hybrid basilisk according to the bestiaries was the king of creeping things,
its venom leading to death for the heedless sinner. Synagogues attitude
amounted to opposition to God, her mind was closed to truth and her
stubborn adherence to the old regime could only lead her away from the
life offered by the Gospel. The serpent had not only tempted Eve but in so
doing had used the fruit of the tree which was not his to dispense, while
the Church had been entrusted with the body and Blood of Christ which
it could legitimately offer.21 Eves disobedience became the infidelity and

20 Rhabanus Maurus, Allegoriae in sacram Scripturam (Psalm 139v.4), Patrologia Latina

21 Rupert of Deutz, In Cantica Cantorum IV, 5.1 Pat. Lat. 168. 839962 (901).
Synagogue 209

blindness of Synagogue in contrast to Ecclesias faithfulness in preserving

Christs blood in her chalice, which she holds on the other side of the cross
in the Chartres window. At Notre Dame, Paris, and at Saint Seurin, the
two figures stand on opposite sides of a doorway.
A perception of Jewish interest in the occult and the devil had long
been part of Christian allegation. Jews were associated with secret arts,
linked by Origen to magic; this was a view which Peter Comestor, for
instance, conveyed to the Middle Ages as being traceable back to Solomon.22
Christian clergy who were drawn to sorcery were said to have been intro-
duced to the company of the villainous Prince by Jews, whom the laity
was forbidden to consult as fortune-tellers by the Council of Worcester
in 1240.23 Among many similar stipulations and accusations were those
that led to local unrest. When the body of a boy called William was found
on Good Friday in 1144 near Norwich, the Jews were accused of sacrifice
and using the blood in some unseemly Passover ritual.24 Some art came to
suggest involvement of Jewry with the devil. An initial in the thirteenth
century Amesbury Psalter in which Christ converses with Satan records
the words on his scroll in Latin, whereas the devils saying appears to be in
ill-defined Hebrew characters.25 Caricature came to suggest demonic-like
features in those opposed to Christ, in some narrative scenes of Christs
Passion, for example, as in the Huth Psalter where the opponents have
been given contorted faces.26 In the Theophilus legend window at the east
end of Laon cathedral, too, the deal between the devil and the Christian
selling his soul is obviously brokered by a Jew.

22 Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews: the Medieval Conception of the Jew
and its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism ( Jewish Publication Society of America,
23 Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews, 58, 667.
24 Lon Poliakov, The History of anti-Semitism, vol 1: From the Time of Christ to the
Court Jews, translated Richard Howard (London: Elek Books, 1965), 58.
25 Oxford, All Souls College Library, MS 6, fol. 64v. Ruth Mellinkoff, Outcasts: Signs of
Otherness in Northern European Art of the Late Middle Ages (Berkeley, CA: University
of California Press, 1993), vol. 2 IV, 13.
26 London, British Library, Additional MS 38116, fols 10v-11, illustrated Janet Backhouse,
The Illuminated Page: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library
(London: The British Library, 1997), no. 70.
210 Chapter 6

Synagogue herself was a theological statement and representative of

a whole people, rather than an image of the local Jewish communities
encountered and suspected in everyday life. She embodied both the Jews
of the first century who had rejected their Messiah and present Jewry,
which continued to condemn itself by denial of the New Testament. Her
association with Eve and with the demonic tempter in the Garden of Eden
also implied that she had remained bound by the first disobedience of
mankind, refusing to accept the Christian reversal of an original sin. The
unusual cupid-like demonic figure shooting an arrow at her at Chartres
and the devil seated on her shoulder in a later French bible, where she
again stands opposite the Church, illustrated the unredeemed situation
of a whole people blinded by evil forces.27 Each individual Jew, however,
was inevitably a representative of that more abstract collective model,
just as in the Procession of Prophets following the Tours Play of Adam a
single person on behalf of the assembly rises up to dispute with Isaiah,
to be told that he and, by implication, his whole people is sick because of
his error.28 How far any particular image of Synagogue in monumental
art might have been prompted by some of the more localised adverse
relationships between Christians and Jews which surfaced from time to
time, or was a response to wider ongoing theological tensions, usually
remains an open question.29

27 Bernard Blumenkranz, La polmique antijuive dans lart chrtien du moyen ge,

Bolletino dellIstituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo e Archivio Muratoriano 77
(1965), 2143.
28 Odenkirchen, The Play of Adam, 1415.
29 Bernard Blumenkranz, Gographie historique dun thme de liconographie reli-
gieuse: les reprsentations de Synagoga en France, in Mlanges offerts Ren Crozet,
eds, Pierres Gallet et Yves-Jean Rion (Poitiers: Socit dtudes mdivales, 1966),
Synagogue 211

Church and Synagogue

Images of Ecclesia and Synagogue are usually found beside Christ crucified,
the personified Church on his right, wearing a crown, holding a chalice
and standard of the cross, Synagogue on his left clutching a shattered staff
and other attribute such as the tablets of the Law, losing her crown as she
often flees from the picture space, her falling banner covering her eyes. One
of the earliest examples of crowned Ecclesia comes from a manuscript of
Gospel extracts belonging to Uta, abbess of Regensburg on the Danube in
the early eleventh century.30 One of the first depictions of Synagogue with
the crown removed from her head comes from an encyclopaedia contain-
ing anti-Jewish treatises, known as the Liber Floridus, written by Lambert
of Saint Omer who died in 1121.31
Old Testament passages and a much earlier polemic writing lie behind
these portrayals. The Lamentations of Jeremiah over the fall of Jerusalem,
which Gervase of Canterbury had recalled when disaster struck his cathe-
dral, provided the imagery of defeat of the Jews, The crown is fallen from
our head. Woe to us, because we have sinned! Therefore is our heart sor-
rowful; therefore are our eyes dim (Lamentations 5vv.1516).
Transference of the crown to Ecclesia can be found in a writing which
may have originated as early as the fifth century, the Altercatio or Dispute
between Church and Synagogue, in which both state their case and claim
their rights.32 Synagogue will accept the status of maid to Ecclesia, she says, if
proof is forthcoming that she should now serve rather than remain mistress
of her kingdom. Ecclesia claims to have the relevant documents and grant
which indicate a change of status, that is, the witness of the Old Testament
texts themselves and the situation of Jews within Roman society. Read

30 Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Cod. Lat. 13601 fol. 3v. Schiller, Iconography of Christian
Art, vol.2, fig. 385.
31 Ghent, University Library, MS 92, fol. 253r. Karen de Coena, Martine de Reu, Philippe
de Maeyer, eds, Liber Floridus: the World in a Book (Tielt: Lannoo Publishers,
2011), 22, fig. 7.
32 Williams, Adversus Judaeos, 32638.
212 Chapter 6

what was said to Rebecca, she replies, citing the prediction of the future
relationship of Jacob (Israel) with his twin brother Esau, that the elder shall
serve the younger (Genesis 25v.23). Synagogue is then told to look at the
standards of the legions and bear in mind that the emperors are Christians.
No Jew may even be a member of the Senate. When she asks what she has
done to be deprived by God of her superiority, a dialogue follows in which
the disputants argue their positions from the Old Testament. During the
process of claim and counterclaim Ecclesia announces with evident refer-
ence to the Song of Solomon, I am the Queen who have removed thee
from thy throne, the Bride who have come down from the forest and
the mountain. My Bridegroom is fair beyond the sons of men, the King
of kings, who has set the marriage crown on my head33
An uncommon depiction of Synagogue losing her crown appears on
the west front of the abbey church of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard in southern
France (Fig. 44). A mutilated, swaying female figure to the left of the
Virgin Mary beside the crucified Christ has often been assumed to rep-
resent Ecclesia. This is possible but by no means certain. In her almost
dancing posture she seems to bend backwards towards two Jewish leaders
seated in the lower left corner who observe the scene with their arms out-
stretched, one of them with his hand on the hilt of a sword. In her dam-
aged state, though, it is impossible to tell if she once wore a crown. The
well-preserved, disproportionately large, fleeing Synagogue on the other
side of the tympanum tries to grasp her toppling crown which takes the
form of a two-tiered round building with a cupola.
Although stylised, it is the structure of the Jerusalem temple featured
on the north bay of the same faade, towards which Christ rides for his
triumphal entry to the city. Thus beside the Crucifixion here Synagogue
appears to lose the crown of her sovereignty, both geographically and his-
torically. After the Old Testament fall of her capital, Jeremiah had lamented
that God cast down Israel headlong and had thrown down his tabernacle
(Lamentations 2vv.56). Now events in the Holy Land contemporary
with the sculpture had seen Christian domination of Jerusalem through
crusader activity and the setting up of the Latin kingdom.

33 Williams, Adversus Judaeos, 331.

Synagogue 213

Fig. 44 Synagogue flees from the Crucifixion, abbey church of St Gilles, Saint-Gilles-
du-Gard, Gard, west front, twelfth century. Photo: J.A. Kidd.

There are also links between city and crown found in the Talmud, in
the saying What is a crown worn by a bride? It is a city of gold and in a
story about the early rabbi Aqiba who, on becoming wealthy, had a city of
gold made for his wife which was possibly a head adornment in the shape
of Jerusalem.34 Synagogue herself had been portrayed with walls and towers
around her head in one of the first depictions of her on the ivory plaque
from Metz mentioned above. Specific Jewish influence on medieval art
is notoriously difficult to verify, but it is perhaps worth noting that Saint
Gilles had a considerable Jewish population in the twelfth century, with
its own synagogue, six rabbis and numerous teachers of Jewish wisdom.35
A further aspect of this fleeing Synagogue scene is that she is driven
away from the cross by a sword-bearing angel. This also is very unusual
though it had featured on an eleventh century ivory now in Berlin.36 Loss
of status is emphasised in this image since it recalls the expulsion of Adam
and Eve from Eden where the first humans had initially been at ease in the

34 Tziona Grossmark, A City of God. In Quest of Talmudic Reality, Journal of Jewish

Studies LX/1 (2009), 4859.
35 Mme Maguelone, St-Gilles et son abbatiale (Paris: Barre & Dayez Editeurs, reprinted
1997), 15.
36 Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, vol. 2, 112.
214 Chapter 6

divine presence. Synagogue, driven from the crucified Christ has, like them,
denied a special relationship with God in pursuit of her own interests. In
this double exile, from status and territory, she rushes from the event of
reconciliation and domain of Ecclesia. Paradise and the Church were often
equated. It was a parallel which inspired Herrads Hortus Deliciarum, the
Garden of Delights in which, as one of her frequently quoted medieval writ-
ers explained, are all the pleasures of the Scriptures, beautiful to view and
to taste and where the tree of life, the cross, offers the fruit of eternal life.37


During the Middle Ages the relationship between Christians and Jews was
brought into sharp focus by a number of factors. Major areas of discussion
continued to centre on the Bible, with interpretation of certain texts which
had recurred through the centuries of dispute still unresolved. Whatever
lay behind specific images, whether historical events such as the temporary
Christian domination of the Holy Land or ongoing and fluctuating social
and practical religious confrontations, it had been intellectual debate that
had dominated the literature of polemic. This continued to revolve around
correct exegesis of the Old Testament, revisiting well-rehearsed argument
and extending discussion on traditional stumbling blocks such as doctrines
of the Incarnation and Trinity. A treatise On the Catholic Religion, Against
the Jews, written by Isidore of Seville in the seventh century remained
influential throughout the Middle Ages. For Christians Christs birth was
miraculous, though the Jews claim, he said, that the virgin who was to bear a
son as a God-given sign in the prophet Isaiah (chapter 7v.14) was, according
to the Hebrew language, a young woman: if that were the case, he pointed
out, Christs birth would not be a miracle.38 An eleventh century abbot of

37 Honorius Augustinonensis, In Speculum Ecclesiae. De Inventione Sanctae Crucis.

Patrologia Latina 172.942. Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, 113.
38 Isidore of Seville, De Fide Catholica contra Iudaeos. Patrologia Latina 83.468. Gilbert
Dahan, The Christian Polemic against the Jews in the Middle Ages, translated Joy
Gladding (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), 44.
Synagogue 215

Westminster, attempting to overturn a refusal to accept that the creator

would become creature, quoted from the book of Baruch in the Vulgate:
This is our God. He found out all the way of knowledge and gave it to
Jacob his servant and Israel his beloved. Afterwards he was seen on earth
and conversed with men (Baruch 3vv.368).39 The book is in the Vulgate
but not in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Jew accused the Christian of
claiming many passages such as this one, which were not counted authentic,
as testimony to his false belief. Constant dispute over the oneness of God
and the Trinity, expressed visually in the type of three angelic messengers
visiting Abraham, was sometimes argued through a knowledge of Hebrew
on the part of Christian writers. There was an emphatic declaration of the
oneness of the Hebrew God in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6v.4). When
Jacob was fleeing from his brother Esau and God appeared to him (Genesis
35v.7), though, both the Hebrew word for God and the verb were in the
plural, Peter of Blois indicated.40 Debate revolved around what constituted
the Scriptures, translations and meanings of individual words and verses,
as well as on the whole rationale of the Old Testament.
During the twelfth century Christian polemic began to bring the
Talmud as well as the Hebrew Scriptures into its orbit. A Spanish Jew who
had converted to Christianity, Peter Alphonsi, used his detailed knowledge
of this collection of rabbinic sayings to highlight what he called various
errors of the Jews. He criticised the way in which God was described in
human terms and the way in which the rabbis had developed far-fetched
stories from the biblical text. Once every day, for instance, God was said to
weep and beat the sky with his feet as he grieved for the loss of his temple.
When the Hebrews were conquering and settling in the Promised Land one
of the rulers they defeated was Og, king of Bashan (Numbers 21vv.334),
of whom the Talmudic tale was told about how his plan for destroying
Israel rebounded on him. He was said to have put a large mass on his head
ready to bring down on the foe, but before he could execute his plan a

39 Gilbert Crispin, A Discussion of a Jew with a Christian concerning the Christian

Faith, [Dated before 1098], in Williams, Adversus Judaeos, 37580.
40 Dahan, The Christian Polemic against the Jews in the Middle Ages, 48.
216 Chapter 6

hoopoe bored a hole in it, bringing it down on his shoulders instead and
the teeth of the thwarted king became stuck in it.41 Some of his examples
were taken up by other writers; the abbot of Cluny in Burgundy was one,
outraged by the suggestion that God does nothing in heaven but read the
Talmud and discuss it with Jewish scholars.42
Hostility towards the book increased not only because of its appar-
ent blasphemies but because of its derogatory remarks about Christianity.
One rabbi was taken by an angel to visit hell where he saw the Hebrews
Old Testament enemies with Christians. The answer to his enquiry as to
why the latter were there was that they believe in the Son of Mary, do
not keep the Law and do not believe the Talmud.43 A probable factor
in the increasing hostility between Christians and Jews was this gradual
awareness of the Talmud. Pope Gregory IX believed that in some Jewish
thinking it had come to supplant the Old Testament as the authoritative
book, even though many of its chapters promoted a distortion of Judaism.
Later, after trials in 1240, it was burnt in Paris by the Church authorities. If
the Hebrew Scriptures were given less prominence, the common ground
between Christians and Jews was diminished. Further and more impor-
tantly, the Jewish role as book-bearers for the Church was undermined
because they seemed to have neglected the Old Testament foundation that
verifies the Christian faith.44
For their part the Jews produced their own literature against
Christianity, raising issues from the New Testament on doctrine and high-
lighting apparent discrepancies between Church teaching and observable
religious practice. Compilations of points to counter Christian claims
and series of proofs that the Messiah had not come were made to help the

41 Peter Alfonsi, Dialogue, in Williams, Adversus Judaeos, 23340.

42 Peter the Venerable, A Treatise against the chronic Obstinacy of the Jews, in Williams,
Adversus Judaeos 38494.
43 Williams, Adversus Judaeos, 3901.
44 Joel E. Rembaum, The Talmud and the Popes: Reflections on the Talmud Trials of
the 1240s, Viator 13 (1982), 20323.
Synagogue 217

Jewish cause.45 A defamation of the New Testament, that may have had
its roots as early as the fifth century, claimed Jesus as the illegitimate son
of Mary and a Roman soldier, his miracles as magic and his resurrection
chicanery.46 Some of the earliest works of Jewish polemic, dating from
the second half of the twelfth century, contained discussion on correct
exegesis of the books of Moses, the Prophets and Psalms. Jewish interpre-
tation came to favour a literal, historic approach to the Old Testament and
denied allegorical aspects of the Christian perspective. Although Jewish
allegory had flourished in Alexandria at the time of Philo and had been
adopted by some early Christian writers, scholars now accused the Church
of making the sacred texts fit their own purposes. The written works of the
controversies seemed to feed on each other, public debates between the
clergy and Jews took place and regional bans on illiterate clerics engaging
in disputes in front of the laity were extended by Pope Alexander IV to
the whole of Western Christendom.47


Already in the sixth century Pope Gregory the Great had defended the
rights of Jews to be allowed to celebrate their own services and to refuse
Christian baptism.48 His statements were to be reiterated many times during
the following centuries by Church authorities. In 1120 a papal bull was issued
by Calixtus II, in response to a request from the Jews ofRome, emphasising
that they were not to be forced into accepting baptism; later popes addressed
the problem for other cities and towards the end of the twelfth century
the ruling was included in a bull issued to all faithful Christians, which
became a guide to canon law. The theological reason for papal protection

45 Daniel J. Lasker, Jewish Philosophical Polemic against Christianity in the Middle Ages
(New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1977), 1323.
46 Lasker, Jewish Philosophical Polemic against Christianity in the Middle Ages, 5.
47 Dahan, Christian Polemic against the Jews in the Middle Ages, 29.
48 Gregory, Epistle 11. 35. Margaret Schlauch, The Allegory ofChurch and Synagogue,
Speculum 14 (1939), 44864.
218 Chapter 6

of Jews was that the Christian faith is proved through them, but other
prohibitions besides the forcing of baptism were enjoined on Christians
in the wake of widespread and continuing social unrest. Among these was
the spreading of rumour about Jewish use of human blood in religious
rites, which had led to the killing of Jews.49
A grim history in relations between Christians and Jews has often been
laid at the door of the crusades. When bands of crusaders from England,
Flanders and the Meuse region had crossed the Rhine in 1096 on their
way to the Holy Land in expectation of freeing it and bringing in a new
world order, they pillaged Jewish communities, tried to force many to be
baptised and resorted to massacre. Whatever the more mundane reasons
for their behaviour such as the need for food and money, or the belief
that punishment was due because the Jews had killed Christ, there was an
anticipation that a battle against the Antichrist was about to take place in
Jerusalem. If the Jews would not convert they were seen either to represent
the enemy or to prevent all the conditions being fulfilled for the expected
handing over of the holy city to Christ because they, finally, were to be
included in the new age.50
Many Jews appear to have returned to their original faith after fake
conversions entered into through coercion or fear and by the early thir-
teenth century Pope Innocent III had to explain what constituted a valid
baptism for them. Fear of torture or violence leading anyone to baptism to
avoid harm did not render the sacrament invalid, only those who had never
consented were not true members of the Church.51 Medieval art reflects
the persistent Christian desire to convert them in some of its images of
Synagogue. The font from Selincourt had illustrated her enlightenment,
her veil removed on the ecclesiastical furnishing that denoted entry to

49 Solomon Grayzel, The Papal Bull Sicut Judeis, in Jeremy Cohen, ed., Essential Papers
on Judaism and Christianity in Conflict (New York: New York University, 1991),
50 H. Liebeschtz, The Crusading Movement in its Bearing on the Christian Attitude
towards Jewry, in Jeremy Cohen, ed., Essential Papers on Judaism and Christianity
in Conflict, 2645.
51 Poliakov, History of anti-Semitism, vol. 1, 47.
Synagogue 219

the Church. Another font, at Southrop in Gloucestershire, referred to in

Chapter 2 in connection with the horned Moses, shows her blinded by
her ensign, crownless, holding a shattered staff and a sealed vase, but she
is offered a way out of defeat if she follows the direction given by her own
Law-giver, Moses, who points towards Ecclesia (Fig. 11).
There are a number of interesting iconographic features on this mid-
twelfth century English font. One of the criticisms levelled at the Church
in the Jew-Christian debate was that its members did not keep the bibli-
cal Law. Here Moses, holding the stone tablets, turns away from fading
Synagogue to indicate that the old Law has given way to something greater.
The Christian position was that the old regime had been fulfilled in the
Gospel, that the Spirit had replaced the Law and that behaviour, for instance
in relation to what constituted purity or uncleanness, could no longer be
measured by avoiding certain foods or carrying out specific rituals but in
actions motivated by personal integrity and faith.52 Within the remaining
five of the eight sculpted arcades on the font are Virtues overcoming Vices.
This theme of conflict between moral good and evil in which conquering
virtues are sometimes depicted in battle dress was common around cathe-
dral and church doorways, though not on fonts, and can be traced back to
the poem by Prudentius entitled the Psychomachia.53 At Southrop the Latin
names of the selected vices envy, luxury, avarice, anger and excess are
incised backwards, as if to associate them with the Hebrew way of writing.
A precedent for Church-Virtue and Synagogue-Vice comparison can be
found in the Liber Floridus where the good tree with medallions inscribed
with names of the Virtues and the bad tree with those of the Vices are
labelled Ecclesia and Synagogue respectively.54 It has been suggested that
Generosity who overcomes Avarice on the Southrop font empties out a
purse of coins.55 This would be a reference to the Jewish pursuit of money

52 Peter Damian, A Dialogue between an enquiring Jew and a Christian answering his
Questions, in Williams, Adversus Judaeos, 3714.
53 Eg. Mle, The Gothic Image, 99105.
54 Martens, Le mirroir du meurtre ou la Synagogue dvoile, 66.
55 C.S.Drake, The Romanesque Fonts of Northern Europe and Scandinavia (Woodbridge:
Boydell, 2002), 18.
220 Chapter 6

lending, but the image appears more probably to be that of the Virtue
holding up a whip, in keeping with other instruments of punishment used
by her companions.
One of Synagogues attributes here is an oil or perfume jar with its
stopper in place. Bernard of Clairvaux reflecting on the beginning of the
Song of Songs, Thy name is as oil poured out, claimed that the Jew clutches
in his hand a jar that is full but sealed. He has the oil of the knowledge
of God but, like a miser, keeps it bottled up for his own benefit. He has it
in his Scriptures but not in his heart. It is within you, Bernard said, deep
within, that the Spirits unction is poured out: open and be anointed and
you will no longer be a rebellious house.56 His theme was that the Jews
continue to trust in the written Law and to rely on a covenant written
on stone tablets, whereas Christianity is based on love. An outpouring
of grace also allows a more intimate relationship between the individual
and God. This kind of imagery was readily applied to baptism, in which
the candidates were anointed with oil as well as marked with the sign of
the cross in holy water as they received the invisible Holy Spirit. Moses,
Synagogues revered Old Testament Law-giver, turns his back on her at
Southrop as he points to Ecclesia in an unequivocal gesture of persuasion,
indicating that the Jews should turn rejection into acceptance by joining
the Church through baptism.
Drama and story provided examples of the converted Jew. Two stained
glass narratives at Chartres, one near the transept in the north side of the
nave, the other towards the south east of the ambulatory, depict a play
about Saint Nicholas and the Borrowers Tale, both of which end in bap-
tism of the convert. The play, Iconia, which would have been staged in the
cathedral between the two windows, tells how a Jew brought a statue of
the saint into his home to guard a looted treasure. During his absence rob-
bers stole his goods so, as the image had not worked, the Jew whipped it.
Saint Nicholas himself appeared to the thieves, threatening to report them
to the authorities, whereupon they returned their cache to the owner who

56 Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs I, Sermon 14, translated Kilian Walsh
OCSO (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1979), 99, 104.
Synagogue 221

was converted and baptised. The Borrowers Tale concerns a Jewish money
lender deceived by a dishonest Christian. As a punishment the latter was
run over by a chariot and restored by Saint Nicholas, to the amazement of
the money lender who converted to Christianity and was baptised.57 The
earliest extant version of the Borrowers Tale appears in an eleventh century
manuscript.58 It was a twelfth century version of the play from Fleury, now
Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire, which made the foreign owner of the treasure a
Jew. At Tours, Le Mans, Auxerre, Troyes and other French cathedrals as
well as at Chartres, the drama was played out in stained glass.59 In the south
nave aisle of York minster also, a window panel depicts the man run over
by the chariot. These examples of the miracles of Saint Nicholas indicate
a certain topicality to the theme of Jewish baptism and an acceptance of
the Jew who was willing to convert.
Synagogue herself would also be led to the faith, by Ecclesia. Her desire
for reconciliation is said to be expressed in two apparently contradictory
illustrations in the Gospel Book of Henry of Saxony and his wife Matilda,
dating from the second half ofthe twelfth century.60 Below a scene ofChrists
flagellation are the familiar aspects ofhostility and defeat as Synagogue loses
her crown, her banner is inverted and she proclaims, Cursed is everyone
who hangs on a tree. On the opposite folio, however, she wears her crown
while from the lower corner medallions she converses across the page with
the Church. Ecclesia laments, On my bed through the nights I sought him
whom my soul loves (Song of Songs 3v.1). Synagogues response, suggest-
ing a willingness to join her, uses another verse from the Song of Songs,
Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou most beautiful among women?
we will seek him with you (5v.17).

57 Anne F. Harris, The Performative Terms of Jewish Iconoclasm and Conversion in

Two Saint Nicholas Windows at Chartres, in Mitchell B. Merback, ed., Beyond the
Yellow Badge (Leiden: Brill 2008), 11941.
58 London, British Library, Cotton MS Tiberius B V, fols 556, 73r-73v, 77.
59 Otto E. Albrecht, Four Latin Plays of Saint Nicholas from the Twelfth Century Fleury
Play-book (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1935), 71.
60 Wolfenbttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 105 Noviss 2, fols 170v, 171,
illustrated Harris, figs 1 and 2, in Merback ed., Beyond the Yellow Badge.
222 Chapter 6

A further illustration to this second quotation that hints at reconcilia-

tion can be found in a commentary by Robert of Tomberlaine on the Song
of Songs which incorporated an earlier work by Gregory the Great. An
initial Q contains a depiction of the two women side by side.61 Synagogue
with the Law and a blank scroll places a hand on crowned Ecclesias shoul-
der. According to the exegesis in Roberts work, this is her conversion. A
subsequent miniature in which Christ embraces Synagogue accompanies
the commentary, when at last converted she will follow the four holy
Gospels just as Ecclesia. She will be said to be fair and friendly and sweet
and beautiful, as Jerusalem is called, because she imitates holy Church.62

Under the Apple Tree

Much ofthe focus of preceding chapters has been on the actual representa-
tion ofOld Testament characters and scenes. With Synagogue and in certain
other areas of medieval iconography, the former Scriptures were influential
but concealed. The most obvious examples ofthis perhaps are where visual
images taken directly from the New Testament obscured their debt to the Old
Testament because the more ancient texts had been absorbed in some way
into the Gospel story. All four Evangelists not only referred directly to the
Old Testament but alluded to passages without express quotation: Matthews
inclusion ofthe holy familys journey to and from Egypt is reminiscent of
the Hebrew exodus, while the massacre of innocents by King Herod, which
prompted their flight, parallels the killing of young children by Pharaoh. Old
Testament verses could also be used to justify what seem to be non-biblical
themes in art: many creatures from the bestiaries, such as those carved at the

61 Elizabeth Monroe, Fair and Friendly, Sweet and Beautiful: Hopes for Jewish
Conversion in Synagogues Song of Song Imagery, in Merback, ed., Beyond the
Yellow Badge, 3361, fig. 8. Troyes, Mdiathique de lagglomeration troyenne MS
lat.1869, fol. 173.
62 Monroe, Fair and Friendly, Sweet and Beautiful, fig. 7, in Merback, ed., Beyond the
Yellow Badge.
Synagogue 223

west entrance to Sens cathedral, were easily brought within the Christian
domain, since the book ofJob had stated that even the birds and animals
have much they could teach ( Job 12v.7). Synagogue, too, in her position
beneath the cross, provides an insight into how the Old Testament could
be hidden in imagery. Her defeat portrayed in this familiar context was
influenced not only by the New Testament observation ofthe Crucifixion
as a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Corinthians 1v.23) or by the recurring
theme of polemic from Deuteronomy that anyone who hangs on a tree is
cursed, but by other biblical references and by Christian exegesis ofthe Song
ofSongs, for which the art offered no immediate indication of its source.
A crucifixion scene labelled with quotations in Herrads Hortus
Deliciarum offers a key to some of this concealed Old Testament back-
ground to Christian imagery (Fig. 45).63 On the left of the cross Ecclesia,
unusually, is seated on an animal with the four heads of the creatures of
Ezekiels vision which had become symbolic of the Gospel writers. To the
right Synagogue rides an ass, a feature more-or-less confined to Germanic
iconography. Written lines explain the meaning of the arrangement of
these and other characters in the crowded picture. The cross marks a divid-
ing line between recognition, with acceptance of the meaning, of the
Crucifixion and ignorance with rejection of the implication of the event.
Beside crowned Ecclesia, her flying banner on its pole surmounted by a
cross and her chalice held up to receive Christs blood, is a quotation from
Jacobs awareness of Gods presence at Bethel, Surely the Lord is in this
place (Genesis 28v.16). Synagogue, her veil dropping over her forehead to
accentuate her blindness, her lap holding a goat of the old atonement ritual,
clutches a sacrificial knife and a sheet of parchment on which is written
the continuation of the Genesis verse, and I did not know. Her ancestor
Jacob had perpetuated the revelation given to him by renaming the place
of his vision Bethel, meaning house ofGod. He had subsequently accepted
his new designation as Israel, the name which came to be applied to the
Chosen People. Synagogue, however, warrants the inscription inserted
between her and the crucified thief on Christs left who did not repent,
We desire not the knowledge of thy ways ( Job 21v.11).

63 Herrad, Hortus Deliciarum, fol. 150r and vol. 2, 176, figure 234.

Fig. 45 Crucifixion with Synagogue and Ecclesia, Hortus Deliciarum, vol. 2 fig. 234, twelfth/thirteenth century.
Chapter 6

Photo: Warburg Institute. Bibliothque nationale, Paris.

Synagogue 225

Beneath Christs right arm and beside Ecclesia, words from the Song
of Solomon indicate that the Church had its genesis with the event of
Christs Crucifixion. Bede, for example, in his commentary on the Song,
following the tradition of a three-part division of the text between Christ,
Church and Synagogue, has Christ address this line of Herrads quotation
to Ecclesia, Under the apple tree I raised thee up (Song 8v.5). This tree
is the cross. Ecclesia emerged from the historical event of the Crucifixion,
accepting the blood of the new covenant, or as Bede indicated by reference
to an earlier verse in the Song, recognising Christ as the beloved, As the
apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons
(Song 2v.3). It was she, rather than Synagogue, who had desired Christ
and accepted the significance of his death. Beside Synagogue in Herrads
drawing, Christ continues his address to Ecclesia, There thy mother was
corrupted, there she was deflowered who bore thee (Song 8v.5). The
people who had prepared for and given birth to Christianity had become
tarnished because of the cross. Their leaders who had brought them to cor-
ruption had led them to cry out, His blood be on us and on our children.64
A further inscription from the Song of Songs, written above the
Evangelist symbol heads of Ecclesias mount, recalls the verses associated
with the chariots of Aminadab. In the tripartite attributions of the text
of the book it is Synagogue who expresses fear when she sees the Church
approaching, Who is this that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as
the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? (Song 6v.9).
Then, her soul troubled for the chariots of Aminadab, she is invited by
Ecclesia to return, to join her rather than be overpowered, Return, return
O Sulamitess, that we may behold thee (Song 6vv.1112).
This request for her to come back was inserted by Herrad between
Ecclesia and Christ on the cross, below the words that expressed the rais-
ing of the Church under the apple tree. It was an invitation, Bede said, to
Synagogue to acknowledge her redemption, to be seen in purity of faith
and perfection of works and to cease to be hindered by the long-lasting

64 Bede, In Cantica Cantorum 8.5. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina CXIX B

(Turnhout: Brepols, MCMLXXXIII), 34, lines 24662.
226 Chapter 6

dullness of her mind.65 The response, however, is found on the other side of
the cross, below the quotation of the genetrix deflowered under the apple
tree and beside the figure on the ass: Synagogue withdraws.
On Ecclesias side of the crucified Christ are Mary his mother, the
thief who repented and Longinus, the traditional name for the soldier who
pierced his side, causing water and blood to flow out. According to Johns
Gospel, this soldiers act fulfilled both the prophecy from Zechariah that
they would look on him whom they pierced and Moses instructions that
no bone of the Passover lamb should be broken ( John 19vv.317). On
Synagogues side of the cross are John the disciple, the thief who did not
repent and Stephaton, the traditional name of the person who held out a
sponge of vinegar on a stick to Christ. In Herrads drawing Stephaton is
described as the Jew. He fulfils the Psalmists words, In my thirst they gave
me vinegar to drink (Psalm 68v.22). A similar sentiment from the prophet
Habbakuk, understood to implicate the Jews, in which friend offered a
bitter drink to friend, had been included on the Bury cross, Woe to him
who gives drink to his friend and presents him with gall (Habakkuk 2v.15).
It was a Jew who had held up the inferior wine to Christ according to the
Glossa Ordinaria since it signified the old law turned sour, in contrast to
the good wine of divine knowledge in the Church.66 The Glossa had also
identified the unrepentant thief as the Jews.67
Synagogues link with John the beloved disciple, to whom was entrusted
the care of Christs mother at the moment of the Crucifixion, is not obvi-
ous, whereas the Virgin and Ecclesia were interchangeable as the bride of
Christ.68 The Glossa explains their relationship. On the first day ofthe week
following Christs death, when Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and
found it empty, she ran to tell Peter and John. They approached the sepul-
chre, the younger John outrunning Peter, but when he looked in and saw
the linen cloths he waited for his fellow disciple to enter first, followed him

65 Bede, In Cantica Cantorum 31415, lines 6004.

66 Glossa on Luke 23v.36 Patrologia Latina 114.3478.
67 Glossa on John 19v.18 Patrologia Latina 114.421.
68 Eg Henry, Biblia Pauperum, 148 n.14.
Synagogue 227

and believed ( John 20vv.38). Thus John represented Synagogue, accord-

ing to the Glossa, because he stood back to make way for Peter who was to
become head of the Church, thereby according him the pre-eminence.69
At this stage of events Peter and John themselves did not appreciate from
the Scriptures that Christ should rise from the dead ( John 20v.9) but,
unlike Synagogue, they both accepted the evidence of what they witnessed.
Although Synagogue herself is not a figure found in the pages of
Scripture, in this crucifixion scene with its explanatory biblical quota-
tions, where she intrudes on the historical biblical event, she reflects some
of the ongoing problems between Jewish and Christian theology. There is
further innuendo in Synagogues mount, the ass labelled silly and lax and
with a rope formed in a noose lying at its feet. Peter the Venerable, Abbot
of Cluny, in his treatise on the obstinacy of the Jewish people included the
saying that the ass will hear but not understand, just as it is with the Jews.70
In Herrads picture the animals stance, its back arched as it seems about
to throw its rider who is unable to tame it now that its leash has fallen to
the ground, suggests that it is the unbroken creature of the Gospels which
Christ was to ride in triumph (Matthew 21vv.111). The Carolingian
writer who had urged the Jews not to be like the deaf asp had commented
on Matthews account of the Entry into Jerusalem that they preferred to
remain bound by the rope of their sins.71
Many facets of Christian attitudes to Synagogue elucidated in this
drawing, from reference to a past event to frustration with her continued
unwillingness to convert, seem to be negative. Above the head of Stephaton
the Jew and below Christs left arm, Herrads inscription reads that under
the tree of the cross Synagogue was corrupted because she had said with
the scribe and Pharisee, in the words quoted also on the Stavelot altarpiece,
His blood be on us and on our children. Contemporary Jewry bore the
stigma of its past and had inherited the malediction of its ancestors.

69 Glossa on John 20, Patrologia Latina 114.422.

70 Peter the Venerable, On the Obstinacy of the Jews, in Williams, Adversus Judaeos,
71 Rhabanus Maurus, Commentariorum in Matthaeum Book VI Patrologia Latina
228 Chapter 6

Synagogue nonetheless, from the Christian perspective, always had

the possibility of turning her back on that legacy. The desire of Ecclesia
to accept her through baptism, to encourage her to join the chariot of
Aminadab, or however it might be expressed, continued alongside the
rhetoric and unfavourable interpretation of certain Old Testament texts.
It was in the Churchs interest for Synagogue to accept the revelation in
Christ, not least because that had been the hope expressed from the early
centuries of Christianity and because, before history could reach its end,
she was to be included in the salvation of humanity. The Jews chose to
remain amazed at the Church raised under the apple tree, who had come
forth leaning on the beloved. Her deflowering according to Christian
belief was not so much part of her destiny as a choice, anticipated, albeit
obscurely, within her own Scriptures.

Any study of the Old Testament in medieval art, attempting to bring

together in some way the many centuries that make up the Middle Ages,
has to find the common threads and broad categories into which the iconog-
raphy might fit. Through changing politics, conflicts of interest, develop-
ing doctrine, ongoing debates and hostilities between Christians and Jews
and the rise of different religious movements, these Scriptures provided a
continual source of reference for the Church. They were the authoritative
backdrop on which the weight of scholarship hung, as the deeper meanings
of the revealed word unfolded and as academic fashions, such as twelfth
century humanism, were accommodated. As the first part of biblical rev-
elation, the Old Testament remained a fixed foundation by which the
Church measured its many concerns and to which it turned constantly, as
the previous chapters have suggested, for proof of its status and identity,
for knowledge of the divine plan and for insights into the human lot.
Medieval art of the Old Testament was the visual face of layers of
connections within the broad categories. Apart from the evident links
between Old and New Testaments and between Jew and Christian, there
were the interactions of scholar and poet, of word and image, of science
and theology and the fusion of ideas that sought to define mans relation-
ship to the universe. The image itself was not devoid of a spatial context
which gave it meaning. Beyond these interdependencies, though, the ico-
nography had an overarching objective. The Church understood itself to
be the guardian of salvation. Old Testament history and ideas illustrated
the need for redemption and validated the existence of the Church as part
of an intended, divine, strategy which was still ongoing. It was incumbent
upon the Church not only to recall the past but to promote a satisfactory
conclusion to that plan, to warn and to offer the hope of a future state of
reward and blessing. Medieval art of the Old and New Testaments essen-
tially told the story of a lost Paradise and announced the means of regaining
it, both for the individual and in the collective process of human history.
230 Epilogue

The Garden of Eden where the need for redemption originated and
Jerusalem, the city still displayed as the centre of the world in the late thir-
teenth century Hereford mappa mundi, lent their potent imagery to expres-
sions of belief in a future realm. Jerusalem on earth, seat of the Davidic
monarchy and the temple, capital of the Promised Land but conquered
by Babylonians and again by Romans a generation or so after the death of
Christ, was transformed in the Book of Revelation into the unassailable
heavenly city. Isaiah had envisaged a new Jerusalem built of gems for the
returning Hebrew exiles (Isaiah 54). According to Ezekiel there would be
a rebuilt temple in the future earthly Jerusalem from which a stream would
flow, reminiscent of the rivers of Eden, sustaining the fruit-bearing trees on
its banks (Ezekiel 47). As the Hebrews themselves had absorbed, adapted
and developed practices and beliefs, so the vision of Saint John the Divine
in the New Testament book of Revelation reworked some of the verbal
imagery of the Old Testament. The new and future Jerusalem became the
celestial city built of precious stones, those forming its foundations engraved
with the names of the twelve Apostles, its gates bearing a list of the tribes
of Israel (Revelation 21vv.1021), which had previously been incised on
the breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28vv.1521). The stream now
flows from Gods throne and from the Lamb that is Christ. Here, as in
Eden, there would be neither temple nor intermediary, the tree of life on
both sides of the river becomes not only accessible again but produces fruit
for each month of the year, without the labour of men.
This biblical vision of the end, which carried forward and modified the
Old Testament imagery of place where divine and human meet, was por-
trayed in many ways in medieval art. In an eleventh century ceiling painting
at the remote church of San-Pietro-al-Monte in Civate, northern Italy, a
river proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb. Christ is flanked by
two trees and enclosed in a walled city where some of the building blocks
contain jewels; his open book invites anyone who is thirsty (for salvation)
to come to him to drink ( John 7v.37). On the fifteenth century altarpiece
by the van Eyck brothers in Saint Bavos church, Ghent, the future Paradise
has become a landscaped garden with grass, flowers and fruit-bearing trees
set against a backdrop of towers and spires of towns in the Netherlands.
Groups of the faithful converge towards the water of the fountain of life,
Epilogue 231

an allegory of Christ or Wisdom according to commentary on the book

of Revelation. This Lamb is the sacrifice of the new covenant whose blood,
flowing into a chalice on the altar, depicts the mystical meaning of the Mass.
Statuesque figures of Adam and Eve set in painted niches on the
Ghent altarpiece are reminders of why the Paradise below them has to
be recreated. In their moral failure and refused re-entry to Eden, the first
humans had inflicted on their descendants a life outside Paradise. As the
goal of individual attainment, the right to the tree of life and entry into
the city was linked to moral choice, those who remain excluded being the
immoral and lovers of falsehood (Revelation 22vv.1415). This was the
theme of many Judgement scenes. At Saint Nicholas church in Oddington,
Gloucestershire, for example, in the now faded fourteenth century wall
painting of final judgement and its resultant consequences, the wicked
fall into the jaws of Leviathan while the blessed are welcomed into a city
in front of which are fruit-bearing trees. Adam and Eve had supplied the
opening scene of a long drama, setting out the preface to a plot which led
into an historical process unfolding through Old and New Testaments, the
Church and, still in the future, a final end to the present age.
Much of Old Testament iconography witnesses in some way the
Christian view of a total scheme. Juxtapositions of typology, prophets
with scrolls, crowned figures of Ecclesia beside Synagogue whose refusal to
convert was thought to be hindering the New Age, whatever extra conno-
tations may have been imposed on individual examples, indicate aspects of
the forward movement of time. Authority invested in king or bishop, which
looked for precedent in the Old Testament, ensured that contemporary
events aligned themselves to salvation history, while the moralising narra-
tive of the Joseph saga, for instance, perpetuated the connection between
ethics and future reward which now, in Church teaching, promised a place
in heaven. Hebrew text and metaphor pervade medieval iconography, not
only in the obvious subjects taken from the Old Testament, but also in
those absorbed and reworked in Christianity which reflect its frames of
reference and illustrative ways of thinking. The Old Testament was key to,
and remained the continuing inspiration of, the long view.

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rifice of Isaac 2, 3, 7, 135, 136, 137, creation102
153, 180; with Sarah and Hagar Amesbury Psalter 209
(?) Fig. 41 Amiens cathedral 1213; west
Acts of Pilate 76 front 1756, Figs 1, 6
Adam: and blood from crucified Aminadab Fig. 23; chariot of 1920, 166,
Christ 745, Fig. 14; body of, 189, 190, Fig. 4; name of 110
retrieved by Noah 74; and animals, fantasy see fantasy creatures
cross 74; in Eden 3; outside anointing (ritual practice) 468; OT
Eden 724, 80, Fig. 13; and precedents for 50
Eve, see Eve; creation of Eve Annunciation (to Virgin Mary): and
from 136, Pl. 3; Fall of, see Fall announcement of births of Isaac
of Man; rescued from Hell, see and Samson 151, 161, Figs 31, 32,
Christ, rescues Adam from Hell; 33; in Biblia Pauperum 173, 175;
as mankind 1112; redemp- with Eve and Gideon 173, Fig.
tion of 1323; with serpent and 36; and prophets 175, 177; types
Eve 74, Pl. 2, Fig. 1, see also Fall of of 150, 151, 1756
Man; and sin of gluttony 13, 53 antitype: definition of 136
Adam and Eve, Life of see Life of Adam Apocrypha 57, 76, 168; subjects from 57
and Eve apocalyses: increased production of 118
Adam of Abbey Dore: on ecclesiastical 19; see also Revelation, book of
art150, see also Pictor in Carmine Apostles: on Vzelay tympanum 1246
ADAM acronym 130 Aqiba, rabbi 213
Aelfric, abbot of Eynsham: Anglo-Saxon Aquila: and horns of Moses 62
paraphrase of OT 63; on com- Aquinas, Thomas 168
putus 120; Hexateuch 123; and Aram Fig. 23; name of 110
horns of Moses 63, 86
248 Index

Ark of the Covenant 17, 48, Figs 3, Bernard of Clairvaux: on Song of

5; allegorically interpreted 6, Songs220
1723, 60, 18990; and new Bernward, Bishop (of Hildesheim) 197
covenant 20, 60, 18990; as type bestiaries: as source for moral teach-
of Church 190, 196; as type of ings 150, 2223
Virgin Mary 18, 23, 152; see also Beth Aleph synagogue: mosaic 124
High Priest Bezalel 11, 17, 30, 143
Ascension (of Christ): and ascension of Bible: and allegory 6, 1856; and ana-
Elijah 148, 155; and ascension of gogy 6; commentaries on, and
Enoch 171; and OT High Priest art 16, 24, 5361, 84; as his-
entering Holy of Holies 143, tory 6; JewishChristian polemic
158, 163 on 21417; and Plato 11, 934;
Asenath 545, 76, 778, Fig. 16 popularisation of 24, 678, 856;
astrology: Babylonian 122 study of 56, 85, 186; transla-
Augustine, St 578, 61; ages of world and tions of 55; and tropology 6;
man aligned by 98; Against Jews, versified 66, 67, 84, 85, 86; see also
Pagans and Arians 81; Confes- individual OT and NT books
sions 89; Contra Faustum 142; bibles moralises: creation represented
on creation narrative 84, 96; in 95, 100, 103
on Jews 2023; three righteous Biblia Pauperum (Bible of the Poor) 26,
men3940 142, 165, 167, 200, Fig. 35, 36, 37,
Autun cathedral: Jew depicted on west 38; art inspired by 184; history
doorway207 and content of 167, 16970, 179;
Auxerre cathedral: Joseph narrative readership of 17980; trinitarian
window 29, 42, 44, 69, Fig. 9 types in 171; typology of 1701,
1738, 17982, 184, 185
Balaam (prophet) 81, 83 block-books 165, 170
Balfour ciborium 148 Boethius: Consolation of Philosophy 93
Bamberg Apocalypses 36 Books of Hours 1789
Baptism (of Jesus): with Exodus and Borrowers Tale 220, 221
spies 142, 180, Fig. 35; and spies Bourges cathedral: Joseph window 29,
returning from Canaan 171 42, 44, 69, Fig. 8; Redemption
basilisk: associated with Synagogue 207, window 10; Good Samaritan
208, Fig. 43 window 116, Fig. 26
Bede: on Ark of the Covenant 21; on bride of Christ 6, 182; Ecclesia as 158,
Caedmon 85; commentary on 205, 212, 226
Song of Songs 2256; History burning bush: as type of Virgin
of the English Church 66; on Mary 151, 175
imagery 31; on time 98, 122 Bury cross (Cloisters Museum) 226;
Benedict Biscop 137 Synagogue on 206
Bernard of Chartres 115 Bury St Edmunds: illustrated Bible 634
Index 249

Byrhtferth: diagram 130, Fig. 29; on Christ: genealogy of 108, 110, see also tree
zodiac123 of Jesse; and Adam in Hell 756,
Fig. 15; as creator 945; in
Caedmon 66, 85 glory 34; as High Priest anti-
Caedmon Genesis: unbiblical details type 60, 143, Fig. 40; mockery
in54 of 206; and Moses Fig. 39; OT
Cain: uses jawbone to kill Abel 54; types of 1434; return of Fig. 27;
killed by Lamech 68; as tiller of as stone 175, 176; see also Ascen-
soil 73; wearing of hat by 15 sion; Baptism; Crucifixion; Nativ-
calendar, liturgical 120 ity; Presentation; Transfiguration
Cana, marriage in: waterpots at 98, Christianity: and Judaism 810, 202,
1501 21417; and OT 9, 10, 11, 12, 54;
Canaan 8; and OT 2, 3; spies returning typology important in 139; see
from, with grapes 1516, 63, 135, also Ecclesia
137, 1412, 163 Church: art used by 229; OT precedents
Canterbury cathedral: ancestors of for arts of 304; OT precedents
Christ sequence 10810; used by 278;
Bible of the Poor window 34, churches: orientation of 121
3940; ExodusMagiChrist Clement of Alexandria 126
sequence 1667; fire at Comestor, Peter; Historia Scholas-
(1174) 27; north choir aisle win- tica 68, 867, 168; on Jews and
dows 968, 144, Pl. 5, Figs 18, 19; secret arts 209
Redemption window 14, 18, 135, computus120
141, 144, 154, 155, Pl. 1, Figs 2, 30; Concordantia Caritatis 184
west window, Fig. 23 coronations489
catacomb art: OT types without anti- creation 92; depictions of 935, Figs 20,
types in 191 21, 22; OT vs classical accounts
censers3 of 935; with seasons and
Charlemagne: as David 45 labours of the months 128, Fig.
Chartres cathedral: baptism of Jews 28; sequence Fig. 20; and order
depicted at 2201; creation in the universe 1013, 1299, see
imagery (north portal) 945, also heavenly bodies
1057, Fig. 22; Good Samaritan cross: as apple tree 225; enamelled
window 117; Joseph window 69; (Mosan) 136, Pl. 4; and OT
Noah window 378, Fig. 7; types 1367, 139, 140
north porch statuary 45, 77, Crucifixion: OT prefigurings of 14,
108, Figs 12, 16; Redemption 1516, 1523; with Synagogue and
window 74, 207, Fig. 14; rose Ecclesia 223, 2256, Fig. 45; Syna-
windows 81, 11415; south porch gogue flees from 21214, Fig. 44;
statuary Fig. 42; time depicted with typological scenes 14, 135,
in11415 Pl. 1; typologies of, flexible 163
250 Index

Crusades: and medieval knowledge of the Edgar, King 28

East 5; OT precedent for 278 Edward I, King: and Joseph 29, 45
Elijah 76; ascension of 148; cloak
Daniel (prophet) 37, 175, 176; likened of 155; and widow of
to Christ 1656; in the lions Zarephath137
den 4, 35, 37, 84, 185, Fig. 6; as Elisha: raisies son of Shunamite
righteous man 34, 40; story of, woman158
dramatised84 Enoch 76; ascension of 67, 155, 171
David 8, 32; as acrobat 156, Pl. 6; Enoch, books of 72
anointed 46, 136; in art 3; Entombment (of Christ): sleeping
Charlemagne as 45; crowning Samson as type of 155
of 47; and Goliath 46; insan- Esther 40; in Sainte Chapelle
ity of, feigned 86, 156; let down windows48
through window 153, Fig. 30; and Eve: creation of, from Adam 136,
link with Gideon; royal line of 2; Pl. 3; juxtaposed with Virgin
in Sainte Chapelle windows 48; Mary1978; see also Fall of Man
slaying bear as type of Harrowing Evrat: creation verses 84
of Hell 148 Exodus (Anglo-Saxon poem) 28
devotio moderna 178 Ezekiel, vision of 2; and closed door 151,
door, closed: Eve as 1978 175; tetramorphs in 4, 19, 20
door, open: Virgin Mary as 1978
drama: and iconography 79 Fall of Man 7, 1213, 107, 146, Fig. 1;
Durandus, William 50 dramatised 7980; and peniten-
tial ritual 801; serpent in depic-
East, the: medieval curiosity about 5 tions of 12, 79, 87
Easter: date of 110 fall of rebel angels 54, 67
Eberhard of Gandersheim 323 fantasy creatures 4, 5, 91
ecclesia9 four living creatures: in Ezekiels
Ecclesia (personification) 10, 26, 113; vision 4, 19, 20; symbolising
Altercatio with Synagogue 211 Gospel writers 19, 20
12; as bride of Christ 205, 226;
crowned 211; in Hortus Deli- Galen130
ciarum 60, 225, Fig. 45; on Genesis: creation narrative in 11, 96101;
Southrop font 645, 219, 220; initial letter of see I[n principio];
and Synagogue 202, 2045, narratives from, in art 7, see also
21112, 219, 221, 223, 228, 231 Joseph, narrative sequences on
Ecclesiastus: on God as cosmic Genesis A 67
designer102 Genesis B 67
Eden, Garden of 5, 334, 230, see also Germigny-des-Prs (oratory): apse
under Adam; forbidden fruit mosaic 202, 146, 196, Fig. 5
in53, see also Fall of Man; and Gerona tapestry 1278, 129
Paradise recreated 214, 2301 Gervase of Canterbury 27, 211
Index 251

Gideon (Hebrew leader) 40; hats: wearing of, by Jews/OT characters

crowned 29, 49; fleece of, as type in art 1415, 141
of Virgin Mary 151, 152, 1734, Heaven: souls in, types of 180, 182, Fig.
175 38
Gilbertine order: chariot of Aminadab heavenly bodies 1212
allegorised as 190 Hebrew people: OT history of 78; see
Gislebertus: work at Autun 1 also Jews; Judaism
Glazier Psalter: David crowned by Hell: clergy in 183; souls in, OT types
bishops47 of 183, 195
Glossa Ordinaria 58, 84, 85, 226 Hell, Harrowing of, see Harrowing of
God: as creator/cosmic designer 956, Hell
1023, Figs 21, 22; as one or Henry III, King: and Joseph 29, 45
plural 215; rests on seventh Herman of Valenciennes 69
day 99100; holds souls in Herrad, abbess of Hohenbourg 5961,
heaven in napkin 180, Fig. 38 123, 131, 133, see also Hortus
Good Samaritan (parable) 11617; as Deliciarum
allegory of mankind 11618; Hezekiah, King: and sundial 122
priest and Levite pass by 116, High Priest (OT): before Ark of the
Fig. 26 Covenant 1718, Fig. 2; see also
Gorleston Psalter: tree of Jesse 111 Christ, as High Priest antitype
Gospel Book of Henry of Saxony 221 Hildesheim cathedral: doors 197
Gospel of James: as typological Hippocrates130
source169 horns of Moses see Moses, with horns
grapes: brought from Canaan by Hebrew Hortus Deliciarum 5960, 10910, 186,
spies 1516, 63, 135, 137, 1412, 195, 214, 2337, Figs 39, 40, 45
163 Hugh of Saint Victor 85
Great Malvern Priory: creation Huram (OT craftsman) 2, 32, 194
sequence 103, Fig. 21 hyle93
Gregory (I) the Great, Pope 57, 58, 61,
92; comments on stars in book of I[n principio] (Genesis initial) 8990,
Job 121; on rights of Jews 217 133, Pl. 3, Fig. 17
Gregory IX, Pope: on Talmud 216 Iacop and Iosep 69
Gregory of Tours: History of the Iconia (play): at Chartres 220
Franks66 iconography: defined 1; difficulties in
Grosseteste, Robert: on creation 95 interpreting23, see also typology,
type without antitype in; sources
Habakkuk (prophet) 3, 35, 57, 62, 84, 177 for84, see also Bible, commen-
Ham: laughing at Noahs nakedness as taries on, and art; supported by
type of mockery of Christ 206 inscriptions15
Harrowing of Hell 756, 133; and David Innocent II, Pope: and Jews 204
slaying bear 148; Samson carry- Innocent III, Pope: on valid baptism of
ing Gaza city gates as types of 155 Jews218
252 Index

inscriptions: in art 15 objections of, to NT 216; rights

Isaac: birth of, announced 147, Fig. 31; of, respected by popes 21718;
carrying wood see Abraham, and secret arts associated with 209;
sacrifice of Isaac separation of, from Chris-
Isaiah: foretells Nativity 175, 177; on tians 1945; status of, vis--vis
God as cosmic designer 102; Christianity 202; typology in
and makers of human images 3; debates with 140, 182; wearing
and new Jerusalem 230; sawn in of hats by 1415, 141; see also
half72 Synagogue
Ishmael, Rabbi: scrolls of 31 Joachim of Fiore: historical scheme of 118
Isidore of Seville 141; On the Job 35, 367; feasting 37, 180, Fig. 38;
Catholic Religion 21415; and Patience 35; as righteous
Etymologies59 man 34, 40
Israel: personified as woman 202 John the Divine, St 33, 119; linked to
Synagogue2267; see also
Jacob (patriarch) 223; blesses sons of Revelation
Joseph 137, 141 Jonah: as type of Christ 153; and whale,
Jacobs ladder 180, 196, Fig. 38 as type of Resurrection 6
Jephthahs daughter: sacrifice of 152, 169 Joseph (patriarch) 15, 41, Fig. 16; and
Jeremiah: foretells new order 175; Asenath 545, 76, 77; Benjamin
Lamentations211 received by Fig. 8; in his chariot
Jerome, St 57, 58, 84, 146; on Fig. 9; as role model 289, 40,
Hebrew 202; and horns of 445; narrative sequences on 17,
Moses 62; prefaces by 57; Syna- 29, 41, 424, 69, 89, 191; and
gogue at the Feet of 203, Fig. 42; Potiphars wife 41, 767; prefig-
translates Bible 557, Fig. 10 ures Christ 17, 191; and wheat 68
Jerusalem 5, 8, 230; crown in form Joseph of Arimathea 15
of 213; heavenly 33, 230; per- Joseph and Asenath 77
sonified as woman 202; see also Josephus122
temple ( Jerusalem) Joshua (Hebrew leader): in Sainte
Jesse see tree of Jesse Chapelle windows 48
Jesus: as Messiah 8 Judaism: and art 30, 31, see also Old
Jews: biblical characters understood Testament, art in; and Christian-
as 226; in biblical polemic with ity 810, 21417; and Church
Christians 21417; and blood ritual 50; scriptural basis of 89;
libel 218; caricatured 209; con- and typology 1401; see also
version/baptism of 218, 2201; Synagogue
and crusades 218; desecration of Judas: betrays Christ with kiss 151, 182;
Host by 207; like foolish girls Joab as type of 182
without lamp-oil 183; influence Judith 40; and Holofernes 401, 57; in
of, on Christian art 213; Sainte Chapelle windows 48
Index 253

Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Magi: Adoration of, and Queen of

Trypho 140, 185; and examples Sheba 161, 171; and Abrahams
of types 163, 195 meeting with Melchizedek 147;
with prophets and OT scenes
Klosterneuburg altarpiece 1478, 15961, Pl. 5
175, Figs 31, 32, 33, 34 Mle, Emile: on the Glossa Ordinaria 58
Malmesbury abbey: 123
Labourers in the Vineyard (parable): as man: place of, in cosmic order 12731
human history 134 mappa mundi (Hereford) 5, 230
Labours of the Months: in art 126 7, Marcion (heretic): dismisses God of
Fig. 28; interpretations of 127 OT 139, 142
La Lande de Fronsac (church of ): apoca- Marcoul/Markoff 25, 70; under Solo-
lyptic Christ 119 mons feet 71, 86, Fig. 12
lamb: Passover, prefigures Christ/Cruci- marriage at Cana see Cana, marriage in
fixion 14, 120, 135, 137 Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah 72
Lambert of St Omer: Liber Floridus 211, Mary see Virgin Mary
219 Mary Magdalene: types of the penitence
Lambeth Bible 54, 63, 64, 11213, 159, of180
Fig. 25 Mass of St Giles (National Gallery,
Lamech68 London)31
Langton, Stephen 48 Mateo: work at Santiago de
Last Supper: and Abrahams hospital- Compostela1
ity 162; prefigured by Davids Maximianus, Bishop: ivory chair of 42,
dancing1567 44
Le Mans cathedral: window 104 medieval art: characteristics and cat-
Leviathan: as devil 133 egories of 1, 229; influence of
Laon cathedral, west front: Ark of ancient Middle East on 45;
the Covenant, Fig. 3; creation and salvation history 229; verbal
scheme 100, Fig. 20 interpretations in 1459
Latin: as language of Bible 556, see also Melchizedek: Abrahams meeting
Vulgate with 147; as type of Christ 139
Lausanne cathedral: rose window 912, Meresburg cathedral: font 115
129 Micah: foretells Nativity 177
Life of Adam and Eve 724, 75 Michal: lets David down through
Lincoln cathedral: OT frieze 73; south Window 153, Fig. 30
transept window Pl. 6 Michelangelo: Moses 62
lion: a symbol of resurrection 37 Mirror of Mans Salvation 165, 1689,
Louis IX 51 178, 184, 185; description of 168;
Louis the Pious 45 sources of 168
Moissac see St Peters, Moissac
Maccabees55 Morgan ciborium 148
254 Index

Moses: and burning bush 61, 152, 175, Church ritual 501; content
177; and Christ Fig. 39; covenant of 12; exegesis of 535, 214;
of, with God 8; crowned 49; history and salvation in 78, 89;
with horns (of light) 24, 53, and iconography 245, 22931;
615, 86, 152, 204, Fig. 11; Law and Judaism 89, 26; kingship
given by 136; lifting up bronze role models in 46, 47, see also
serpent 6, 136, 137, 180; rejects Joseph, as role model; and NT 9,
Synagogue 220; removes 14, 136, 199, see also typology;
shoe 152; strikes rock 135 precedents found in 2752;
prophets in, see prophets; and
Nativity: in Biblia Pauperum 173; with time 8991; types and 135, 136,
Moses and Aarons rod Fig. 37; 139, 1912
types of 175 Origen: on OT role models 345, 37
Nebuchadnezzar 51, 823; dream of 37, Otto the Great 46: OT figures on crown
175 of46
New Testament (NT): allusions to OT
concealed in 2223; antitypes Patience (personification) 35
in 136; Jewish attacks on 216 Paulinus: on inscriptions at Nola 146
17; OT as forerunner of 8, 9, 10, Pentecost: and consecration of OT High
11, 139, 216; Priest155
Nicholas, St: in plays on conversion of Peter of Riga: Aurora 678, 68, 856,
Jews2201 173, 177
Nicholas of Verdun: altarpiece see Peter the Venerable: on Jews
Klosterneuburg altarpiece obstinacy227
Noah 15, 36, 378; and Adams body 74; Peterborough: lost typological paint-
after the flood 38, Fig. 7; drunk- ings at, compared with
enness of 38, 153, 197; receives Canterbury162
dove 136, Pl. 3; as righteous Philo of Alexandria 122
man 34, 40; Pictor in Carmine 14957, 192
Notre-Dame (church), Gargilesse-Damp- Plato 11, 934; Timaeus 94, 130
ierre: choice of imagery in 1923; Play of Adam 7980, 81, 83, 85; Figura
capital 1935, Fig. 41 in 79, 80; prophets in 81; scen-
Notre-Dame-la-Grande, Poitiers: and ery for 80
Play of Adam 82, 83; west front Presentation (of Christ in temple): OT
frieze 110, Fig. 24 types of 158
printing: impact of 165
Og, king of Bashan: Talmudic tale Procession of Prophets 812, 114
of21516 prophets: Apostles supported by 115; in
Old Testament (OT): approaches to 5, art 3, 6, 83, 91, 112, 114, 115; in
84; art in 23, 67, 29, 30; and Play of Adam 81; role of 114,
Christianity 9, 139, 199, 231; and 138; scrolls of 83, 91, 112, 114
Index 255

Prudentius: on colour 146; Psycho St Mary (church), Fairford: iconographi-

machia 36, 219 cal scheme 114
Psalms: on beauty of Gods house 323; St Mary Magdalene (church), Eardisley:
cited in NT 139 font 75, 133, Fig. 15
Pseudepigrapha (OT) 72 St Mary Magdalene, Vzelay: tympa-
num 124, Fig. 27
Queen of Sheba: allegorised as St Neots church: serpent in windows
Church 161; blackness of 161; of 79, 86
visits Solomon 3, 78, 161, Fig. 34 St Nicholas (church), Oddington: judge-
ment mural 231
Rashi (rabbi): on horns of Moses 64 St Peters (abbey), Moissac: figure of
Resurrection (of Christ): Jonah emerging Isaiah at 6
from whale as type 6; symbolised St Peters (church), Southrop: font 645,
by lion 37; 21920, Fig. 11
Revelation, book of 119; the four living St Seurin (church), Bordeaux: south
creatures in 4; heavenly Jerusa- porch 1011, Fig. 43
lem in 33, 230 St Victor (school) 64, 85
Rheims cathedral: David and Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe: nave vault
Goliath 46; Samuel anointing paintings 42, 67, 196
David (window) 7, 46 Sainte Chapelle: OT windows 489
Robert of Melun 85 Sainte Madeleine (church), Neuilly-en-
Robert of Tomberlaine: commentary on Donjon: 197
Song of Songs 222 Salisbury cathedral: chapter house frieze
Rome (personification) 201 of OT narratives 1415, 42, 45,
rose windows: and time 91 61, 69
Rouen cathedral: Joseph window 69 Samson: birth of, announced 151, Fig. 33;
Rutland Psalter: David crowned by and Gaza city gates 155; sleeping
bishops 47, 48 in bed with prostitute 155
Samuel (prophet) 28; anoints David 7,
Sabbath, perpetual see time, end of 46, 47; represents religious
St Albans Bible 93 authority 47, 48
St Barthlemy (church), Lige: font 3 San-Pietro-al-Monte, Civate: ceiling
St Botolphs (church), Hardham 74, 80, painting in 230
Pl. 2 San Sebastiano al Palatino 115
St Denis (abbey), Paris 30; chapel Santiago de Compostela: tree of Jesse 111
window 1920, Fig. 4; San Zeno, Verona: doors 123
depicted 31; treasures of 31; tree Saul (king of Israel) 28
of Jesse 112 Sens cathedral: Good Samaritan
St Gilles (church), Saint-Gilles-du-Gard: window11718
west front with Synagogue 212, seven gifts of the spirit 30; doves as 112,
Fig. 44 204; Pleiades as 121
256 Index

Shaftesbury Psalter 63, 64 225, 227, Fig. 45; identified with

Shekinah 123, 124 Sulamitess 20, 190, 225; and
Shelters, Jewish feast of 124 jar of oil/ perfume 220; and St
sibyl: prophecies of 82, 169 John 2267; kills lamb 206;
Six Ages of Man 989, 151, Fig. 19 and original sin 210; and OT
Six Ages of the World 967, 98, Fig. 18; texts 201; as post-biblical
end of 99100 Jewry 201, 210; on Selincourt
Solomon 8, 28; in art 3; anointing font 21819; and serpent 2078;
of 46; on couch 60; deposes and Song of Songs 20, 60,
priest 49; and fool (Mar- 190, 2212, 225; on Southrop
coul) 701, 86; judgement font 645, 219, 220, Fig. 11; with
of 194; as temple-builder 2, spear 206, 207; with sponge 207;
32; worships idols 51; see also unveiled 204, 2056, 218; veil/
under Queen of Sheba; temple blindfold of 63, 201, 203, 204,
( Jerusalem) 223, Fig. 42; in Worcester Chapter
Solomon and Saturn: Cains jawbone House 159, 2045
in 54; Marcoul in 70
Song of Songs/Song of Solomon: alle- T (letter) 14, 136, 137
gorically interpreted 6, 20, 601; Talmud 213, 21516
and Queen of Sheba 161; see also temple ( Jerusalem): church art justified
Synagogue, and Song of Songs by 29, 301; censers in form
Souvigny Bible 93 of 3; destruction of 31; form of
Sower (parable) 39 tank in 3; rebuilt 230; as source
stars: Abrahams descendants like 123; for medieval art 32; Synagogues
and the future 1212 crown in form of 202, 212
Stavelot Bible: Genesis initial 133 Tertullian55
Stavelot portable altar 207 Theodulph, abbot of Fleury 20, 146
Stephaton: as Jew 226 Theophilus: On Divers Arts 30, 32, 50
Suger, abbot of St Denis 33, 34, 51; justi- Thierry of Chartres: on creation 94, 95
fies church art 30, 31 time: in art 25, 89134; Augustine
Sylvestris, Bernard 108 on 89, 132, 159; end of 99101,
Synagogue (personification) 10, 26, 113, 118, 230; marked out by ances-
20128, Figs 11, 42, 43, 44; Alter- tors/precursors 10813; measure-
catio with Ecclesia 21112; with ment of 1201; and morality 92;
basilisk headdress 207, Fig. 43; in OT 89; and prophecy see
on Bury cross 206; crown lost prophets, role of; recurring 119
by 201, 205, 21112, 221; depiction 21, see also zodiac; rose windows
of 20127; and Ecclesia 202, and 912, 11415; threefold divi-
209, 21112, 220, 2212, 228, 231; sion of 159
flees 10, 212, 21314, Fig. 44; tituli1467
in Hortus Deliciarum 60, 223, Tobit57
Index 257

Transfiguration (of Christ) 177; Vincent of Beauvais: Mirror 59

and Abraham with the three vine, three-branched 169
angels 171; trinitarian theme Virgil: fourth Eclogue 82
of171 Virgin Mary: and Ark of the Cove-
tree of Jesse 3, 91, 108, 110, 11112; with nant 18, 23; as bride of Christ 6,
Annunciation 82, 110, Fig. 24; in 226; as new Eve 1978; tree of
Gorleston Psalter 111; in Hortus Jesse 534, 112; types of 1512
Deliciarum 110; in Lambeth Virtues (personifications) 60, 21920
Bible 54, 63, 64, 11213, 159, Fig. Vitalis, Orderic 52
25; in Shaftesbury Psalter 63, 64 Voragine, Jacobus de 171; Golden
type (tupos): defined 135, 143; relation Legend168
of, to antitype 1425, 191 Vulgate 567; glosses in 57, 58
typology 256, 13564, 165200; adapt-
ability of 163; allegorisation Warwick ciborium: verse on 149
of 1859, Figs 39, 40; charac- Wenrich of Trier 49
ter of 138; and colour 1435; widow of Zarephath 1367, 158, 171
decline of 184; definitions Wiligelmo: frieze at Modena 79
of 135, 1656, 167; devotional use William of Bourges: Book of the Wars of
of 17983; grey areas of 167; his- the Lord 42
tory of 1378, 184; interpretation William of Norwich: and blood
of 198200; interpreted through libel209
inscriptions/tituli 14564; and Winchester Bible: Genesis initial 8990,
Judaism 1401; and liturgical 101, 136, 190, Pl. 3, Fig. 17
practice 196; prophecy and, Winchester Psalter 120
contrasted 1389; and schol- Wisdom (personification): at crea-
arship 138, 139; and situa- tion 92, 102, 104; and
tion 1967; type and antitype folly1045
in 136, 139, 1423; type without Worcester Chapter House: lost paint-
antitype in 1915; validates ings in 158; verses accompanying
OT 139, 142; as weapon against paintings in 147, 148, 149, 152,
heresy 13940, 142 157

Uta, abbes of Regensburg 211 Zadok (OT priest) 28, 46, 49

Zeno of Verona 122
van Eyck brothers: St Bavo zodiac 1216; in art 123, 124, 126; Chris-
altarpiece2301 tianized 1223, 126
Vices (personifications) 219
Cultural Interactions
Studies in the Relationship between the Arts

Edited by J.B. Bullen

Interdisciplinary activity is now a major feature of academic
work in all fields. The traditional borders between the arts
have been eroded to reveal new connections and create
new links between art forms. Cultural Interactions is intended
to provide a forum for this activity. It will publish monographs,
edited collections and volumes of primary material on
points of crossover such as those between literature and
the visual arts or photography and fiction, music and
theatre, sculpture and historiography. It will engage with
book illustration, the manipulation of typography as an art
form, or the double work of poetry and painting and will
offer the opportunity to broaden the field into wider and
less charted areas. It will deal with modes of representation
that cross the physiological boundaries of sight, hearing and
touch and examine the placing of these modes within their
representative cultures. It will offer an opportunity to publish
on the crosscurrents of nationality and the transformations
brought about by foreign art forms impinging upon others.
The interface between the arts knows no boundaries of time
or geography, history or theory.

Vol. 1 Laura Colombino: Ford Madox Ford: Vision, Visuality

and Writing
275 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-396-5

Vol. 2 Graham Smith: Light that Dances in the Mind:

Photographs and Memory in the Writings of E. M.
Forster and his Contemporaries
257 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-117-6

Vol. 3 G.F. Mitrano and Eric Jarosinski (eds): The Hand of the
Interpreter: Essays on Meaning after Theory
370 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-118-3
Vol. 4 Grace Brockington (ed.): Internationalism and the
Arts in Britain and Europe at the Fin de Sicle
368 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-128-2

Vol. 5 Gabrielle Townsend: Prousts Imaginary Museum:

Reproductions and Reproduction in la Recherche
du temps perdu
232 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-124-4

Vol. 6 Lennart Nyberg: Bodies of Poems: Graphic Poetics in

a Historical Perspective
187 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-343-9

Vol. 7 Jeff Adams: Documentary Graphic Novels and

Social Realism
214 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-362-0

Vol. 8 Caroline Patey and Laura Scuriatti (eds): The Exhibit

in the Text: The Museological Practices of Literature
292 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-377-4

Vol. 9 Francesca Orestano and Francesca Frigerio (eds):

Strange Sisters: Literature and Aesthetics in the
Nineteenth Century
324 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-840-3

Vol. 10 Carole Bourne-Taylor and Ariane Mildenberg (eds):

Phenomenology, Modernism and Beyond
404 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-03911-409-2

Vol. 11 Gillian Pye (ed.): Trash Culture: Objects and

Obsolescence in Cultural Perspective
264 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-03911-553-2

Vol. 12 Carol Adlam and Juliet Simpson (eds): Critical

Exchange: Art Criticism of the Eighteenth and
Nineteenth Centuries in Russia and Western Europe
420 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-556-3

Vol. 13 Kyriaki Hadjiafxendi and Patricia Zakreski (eds):

What Is a Woman to Do? A Reader on Women, Work
and Art, c. 18301890
404 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-03911-116-9
Vol. 14 Emma Wagstaff: Writing Art: French Literary
Responses to the Work of Alberto Giacometti
227 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-03911-871-7

Vol. 15 Linda Goddard: Aesthetic Rivalries: Word and Image

in France, 18801926
323 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-03911-879-3

Vol. 16 Kim Knowles: A Cinematic Artist: The Films of

Man Ray
342 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-884-7

Vol. 17 Jo Carruthers and Andrew Tate (eds): Spiritual

Identities: Literature and the Post-Secular Imagination
248 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-03911-925-7

Vol. 18 Giovanni Cianci, Caroline Patey and Sara Sullam (eds):

Transits: The Nomadic Geographies of Anglo-American
350 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-03911-949-3

Vol. 19 Nick Havely (ed.): Dante in the Nineteenth Century:

Reception, Canonicity, Popularization
343 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-03911-979-0

Vol. 20 Phillippa Bennett and Rosie Miles (eds): William Morris

in the Twenty-First Century
323 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0106-0

Vol. 21 Simone Francescato: Collecting and Appreciating:

Henry James and the Transformation of Aesthetics in
the Age of Consumption
217 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0163-3

Vol. 22 Herv Castanet: Pierre Klossowski: The Pantomime

of Spirits
Forthcoming. ISBN 978-3-0343-0209-8

Vol. 23 Savina Stevanato: Visuality and Spatiality in Virginia

Woolfs Fiction
309 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-0241-8
Vol. 24 Paola Spinozzi and Elisa Bizzotto: The Germ: Origins
and Progenies of Pre-Raphaelite Interart Aesthetics
310 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-0298-2

Vol. 25 John Harvey: The Poetics of Sight

Forthcoming. ISBN 978-3-0343-0723-9

Vol. 26 Rina Arya (ed.): Contemplations of the Spiritual in Art

264 pages. 2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0750-5

Vol. 27 Shannon Hunter Hurtado: Genteel Mavericks:

Professional Women Sculptors in Victorian Britain
348 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-0756-7

Vol. 28 Adrianne Rubin: Roger Frys Difficult and Uncertain

Science: The Interpretation of Aesthetic Perception
287 pages. 2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0791-8

Vol. 29 Harry Heuser: Immaterial Culture: Literature, Drama

and the American Radio Play, 19291954
374 pages. 2013. ISBN 978-3-0343-0977-6

Vol. 30 Judith A. Kidd: Behind the Image: Understanding the

Old Testament in Medieval Art
279 pages. 2014. ISBN 978-3-0343-0993-6