c. 1295

 The Small Size of the Manuscript

Individual images and pdf of complete MS may be downoaded at:

NAMED for the famous family in whose collection it remained until the early twentieth century, the so-called “Rothschild Canticles” is a medieval florilegium, a richly-illuminated collection of biblical and spiritual texts intended to facilitate meditation and contemplation, created around the year 1295.1 The biblical (especially the Song of Songs) and patristic (especially the De Trinitate of Augustine) texts are arranged in a pastiche intended to facilitate meditation and prayer.

Jeffrey Hamburger  has published the most complete study of this florilegium to date (The Rothschild Canticles, Yale Univ. Press, 1990, ISBN 0-300-04308-2). He believes the recipient may have been a nun, and that the texts and illuminations are deliberately arranged to facilitate spiritual progress according to the three traditional mystical levels of:

[1] ascetical purification;

[2] meditative-contemplative illumination (contemplation of creation); and

[3] union with God and knowledge of the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity.

Barbara Newman has written an article on the llluminations of the Blessed Trinity in the Rothschild manuscript. For examples of text and images in the manuscript:  ILLUMINATIONS

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