The St Cuthbert Gospel, John, and the Irish ‘pocket’ Gospels

The Book of Armagh TCD MS 52 f 103r

The Book of Armagh TCD MS 52 f 103r

Dr Bernard Meehan, Head of Research Collections and Keeper of Manuscripts will give a talk entitled ‘The St Cuthbert Gospel, John, and the Irish ‘pocket’ Gospels’, on Wednesday 3 December 2014 at 6.30 pm, at the Trinity Long Room Hub.

It has long been recognised that John and John’s Gospel held a special place in the early Irish church; early manuscripts survive that contain the text only of John, independent of the other Gospels. The St Cuthbert Gospel (British Library MS 89000), in its original binding, is the most famous such survival. Dr Meehan’s involvement with the project to produce a facsimile and commentary volume of the Cuthbert manuscript has involved study of the few manuscripts with which it can be compared. The 5th/6th-century copy of John in Bibliothèque nationale de France latin MS 10439, and the volume containing extracts from that Gospel bound with the Stowe Missal (Royal Irish Academy MS D.II.3), are closest to it in respect of format, while features of its binding can be compared to the bindings of Irish ‘pocket’ Gospels such as the Stowe Missal, the Cadmug Gospels (Fulda, Landesbibliothek, Codex Bonifatianus 3) and the Book of Armagh (TCD MS 52). This paper will look at these points of comparison and at how Irish attitudes to John seem to be reflected in the layout and decoration of the Stowe John, the Book of Armagh and the Book of Dimma (TCD MS 59).

For further details please contact the organiser Mr Greg Hulsman; e-mail:; or the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.