‘In the beginning was the Word’: books and faith in the age of Bede
Brown, Michelle P.
The Heroic Age, Issue 4, Winter (2001)
In this paper I discuss the role of the book in a nascent Christian culture and focus in upon its value as a cult object, with particular reference to the cult of St. Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels. By reappraising some of the underlying physical and theological considerations which shaped the production of the Lindisfarne Gospels, I reconsider its historical context, cultural affiliations, dating and intent. By asking what it might actually have meant to make this remarkable book, and also the Cuthbert Gospel, the early lives of St. Cuthbert and the Ceolfrith Bibles, I consider some of the complex and influential ways in which the Insular world, and Bede’s Northumbria in particular, moulded western perceptions of the book and of how it might serve as an instrument and channel of faith.