Det anglosaxiska Köpenhamnsevangeliariet : Det kongelige bibliotek, Gl. Kongl. Saml. 10 2º

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The subject of this thesis is the Copenhagen Gospel Book , written and illuminated in England c 970 with additions from c 1020. The thesis is divided into three main parts focusing on different aspects of the manuscript. The first part deals with problems concerning provenance, palæography, later additions and the physical architecture of the manuscript. The author questions the opinion that the manuscript was preserved in Denmark during the middle ages, and proposes personal contacts with Cambridge during the 1560’s as a more probable way of acquisition. Liturgical additions reveal that the use of the manuscript was limited to major feasts in a monastic context. Two different variants of anglo-caroline minuscule script form the basis of a codicological analysis in which the division of work is discussed in order to establish the chronological relationship between the illuminations and the contributions of the two scribes. The second part concentrates on the illuminated decoration in order to establish an attribution through a thorough comparative stylistic analysis. The fifteen canon tables, two evangelist’s portraits and three initials are shown to be immediately connected to the benedictional of St Æthelwold and the Ramsey Psalter, and the author proposes that all the illuminations were executed in Winchester c 970-75 contemporaneously with the main portion of the text, whereas the additions are attributed to Canterbury c 1020. The third part is dedicated to Iconography, especially to the motif with the trumpet blowing evangelist symbols and the third man appearing from behind a curtain in the Matthew portrait, known otherwise only from the Lindisfarne Gospels illuminated c 698. The relationship between the Copenhagen Gospels and the Lindisfarne Gospels is examined and related to the supposed prototype, the Novem codices, executed in Vivarium in the mid 6th century under the direct supervision of Cassiodorus. The theme is compared to illustrations of the apocalypse and to a byzantine tradition associating the evangelists with inspiring figures. The author however proposes an immediate connection to the concept of reformatio, thereby identifying the third man as God seen face to face according to St Augustine’s interpretation of the epistles of St Paul as expressed in De videndo Deo and De Trinitate. The theme is also set against the context of the intellectual foundations of the monastic reform movements in England during the 7th and 10th centuries, and the unitarian thoughts of Cassiodorus in opposition to the arians.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Art History


  • Codicology, Copenhagen Gospel Book, Style, Iconography, Anglo-Saxon, Illuminated Manuscripts, Benedictional of St Æthelwold, Trinity Gospels, Grimbald Gospels, Pembroke Gospels, Monastic Reform, Winchester, Canterbury, Codex Amiatinus, Lindisfarne Gospels, Art history, Konsthistoria, Musicology, Musikvetenskap
Translated title of the contributionThe Anglo-Saxon Copenhagen Gospel Book, The Royal Library, Gl. Kongl. Saml. 10 2º
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 May 11
  • Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund
Print ISBNs91-973773-2-5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2001-05-11 Time: 10:00 Place: Department of Art History and Musicology, Biskopsgatan 5, House Josephson, room 314 External reviewer(s) Name: Kaspersen, Søren Title: Lektor Affiliation: Copenhagen University ---