Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The book of Dimma

The book of Dimma was written at St. Cronan’s Monastery, Roscrea sometime in the late 8th century. The book is a copy of the four Gospels written in Old Latin and a blessing to the sick and dying, which was added in the 10th or 11th century. It is one of the ten Irish manuscripts written before 1000 AD that have survived in Ireland.

The gospels other than John are "written for the most part in a rapid cursive script", while John is "by a different scribe, in neat minuscule bookhand". It was signed by its scribe, Dimma MacNathi, at the end of each of the Gospels. Legend says that Dimma wrote the book in forty days and forty nights without rest, food or water and because he did it like this Dimma thought he had done it in one day. Studies however by Dr R.I. Best show that the book was written by many hands. The Book is now housed in the library of Trinity College.

Image: The Eagle symbol of St John the Evangelist from the Book of Dimma folio 104v. (Dublin, Trinity College, MS.A.IV.23)

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