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Department of History

Projects and Proposals


Durham Illuminations

The purpose of this project is to record, study, and present (in forms appropriate both to the scholarly community and to the general public) the very many illuminated manuscripts in Durham collections.  The material in question ranges from early Insular gospel-books, through magnificent Romanesque giant Bibles, to late medieval vernacular texts, service books and Books of Hours, and includes the work of French, German and Italian, as well as British, illuminators.

The Manuscripts of Bede

The last of the Fathers of the Church, the first and arguably the greatest English scholar and historian, Bede has a central place in medieval culture and civilisation.  The continuous flow of modern studies on numerous aspects of his manifold writings attests to the interest and importance of his corpus and to the vitality of current work in this field.

A fundamental tool for modern scholarship was Laistner's handlist of manuscripts of Bede's works, published in 1943.  Sixty years and numerous studies later, the time is ripe for a re-assessment of the state of our knowledge of the manuscript witnesses to Bede's oeuvre, and hence of its transmission and reception, and to reconsider the questions that can be posed of this formidable corpus.

Accordingly the Durham University Centre for the History of the Book held a colloquium on Bedan manuscripts, from Wednesday 6 to Friday 8 August 2008.