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Exhibit of the Month - February 2023

February 15 - March 7, 2023 Ante-room to the General reading Room (gate A), open Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm (see opening hours of the NL)
Admission 20 CZK (free for the NL readers)

The Czech Glagolitic Bible (also known as the Bible of Vyšší Brod)
Bohemia (Prague), 1416, NL Prague XVII A 1, fol. 23v-24r

The parchment manuscript, written in Old-Czech in angular (Croatian) Glagolitic script, comes from the Emmaus Monastery called Na Slovanech. The monastery was established by Emperor Charles IV in 1347 for Croatian Benedictines, who used the Slavonic language written in Glagolitic alphabet for Roman Catholic liturgy.

The manuscript document represents the 2nd part of the originally four-volume whole that contained the Old-Czech translation of the Bible. Apart from the Books of the Old and New Testaments the set also included the introductions of St. Jerome to the individual biblical books and an explanation of Hebrew and Aramaic biblical names. (These parts are documented only by ten minor manuscript fragments.) The Glagolitic copy of the whole Old-Czech bible was transcribed from the Latin script. It was not primarily intended for liturgical acts but for educational reading of the monks of the Slavonic monastery in Prague, similarly as the preserved fragments of the Old-Czech Glagolitic version of the Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine and the book Comestor by Peter de Troyes.

The preserved volume includes the Glagolitic transcription of the texts of the Old Testament from the book Paralipomenon to Psalter in the 2nd redaction of the Old-Czech biblical translation. After its completion the text of the manuscript was further corrected and vowel lengths were marked in some places. Important data concerning the origin of the manuscript can be found also in the Glagolitic colophon, which states that the document was completed in the scriptorium of the monastery Na Slovanech in the time of Abbot Kříž in 1416 and that it was copied by Czech monks. This information also confirms that the Benedictines of the Croation origin, who finally left Prague at the beginning of the Hussite wars, still lived and worked in the monastery at that time.

The manuscript was kept in the monastery library together with the other Glagolitic manuscripts and from 1541, it had been deposited as the pledge at the Prague New Town Hall. Later, it became part of the Kreizenstein Library collection, shortly it was deposited in the Vyšší Brod Monastery Library, to be donated to the collections of the Klementinum Library in Prague in 1791. The first to draw attention to this document were F. M. Pelcl in a monograph about Charles IV (1780–1781) and J. Dobrovský (1782). The text transliterated into Latin was made editorially available by L. Pacnerová (2000).

Digital version of the manuscript is available here >>

Feb 15, 2023
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