Better Than Wisdom?

All books were manuscripts during the Middle Ages.  Before Gutenberg, all books were handmade and one-of-a-kind.  Manuscript quality varied by purpose; those for public and church use were often elaborate works of art, while those created for other uses were typically more modest.

The Rare Book department of the Free Library of Philadelphia is in possession of literally thousands of these Medieval relics.  Some are codices (complete manuscripts), while others are separated leaves and cuttings. 

Through January 6th, 2008, you can view a selection of these manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania.  Treasured Pages: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts from the Free Library of Philadelphia at Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery addresses themes including ritual, devotion and prayer, learning and leisure, politics and law, and the Bible.  The Arthur Ross Gallery is free and open to the public. 

Whether or not you visit the gallery, be sure to visit the Free Library’s digital manuscript collection online.

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