TCNJ Magazine - Winter 2019

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24 The College of New Jersey Magazine it's intact, it's extraordinary. It's amazing nobody's done a full-on, complete study of it. Celia's really filling a gap." In order to see Amiatinus in Florence, Chazelle wrote three letters seeking an appointment. Three times her letters were ignored, until a friend of a friend, an Italian scholar, intervened on her behalf. During her visit, Chazelle studied its paintings, noting hues and details in the designs and filling 10 pages with careful notes. Other scholars hovered nearby, sneaking peeks at Amiatinus. "It was funny; all the other scholars had small books and then there I was," she says. "Everyone was so curious. They all knew what I was looking at." Who could blame them? She'd traveled across the ocean to satisfy her own curiosity. Seeing Amiatinus in person convinced Chazelle that more attention needed to be paid to the Bible as it related to medieval life. "It seemed clear to me that there was not enough consideration about what it was saying to us about early eighth-century English monasticism," she says. In the ensuing years, Chazelle would spend thousands of hours poring over a CD-ROM containing a fully digitized facsimile of Amiatinus and reading far and wide across the art, history, and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. Theories formed; she began to believe that the Bible was created as a response to the needs of monastic life itself. The first monastery at Wearmouth was built around 672; at some point, its library came into possession of an Italian Bible that the monks then used for prayer. But after the second monastery was constructed at Jarrow around 681, Chazelle speculates that another Bible was needed to allow the monasteries to pray in tandem. The result was Amiatinus. The idea that it was the first — not the last — of the Bibles produced at Wearmouth-Jarrow is where Chazelle diverges most from existing scholarship. She analyzed the content of the text, comparing the books of scripture in Amiatinus against a timeline of Bede's biblical writings to determine what the scribes had access to as they wrote. And she noted idiosyncrasies in the design where sections of the text became cramped, as if the amount of room needed had been miscalculated. "They were working out problems as they prepared the manuscript," she says. "They didn't have a Bible of the same dimensions, with the same texts, to guide their work." From this theory, she built another, an answer to a question she'd long wondered: Why, of the three, was Amiatinus sent to Pope Gregory II? The answer sprang from one of her lectures after she wondered aloud why Ceolfrid would gift the Its size — more than a foot thick and weighing 75 pounds — is as epic as its trajectory across Europe, carried more than a thousand miles by a band of monks. FLORENCE, LAURENTIAN LIBRARY, MS. AMIATINO 1. BY PERMISSION OF THE MINISTRY OF CULTURE. A medieval infographic of the parts of scripture; its medallion of Christ led Chazelle to conclude the Bible was intended as a gift to Rome.

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