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The Paris Bible: What’s in a Name (and Why It Matters)

November 20, 2019, 5:30 pm
Marsh Room, Billings Library
University of Vermont

On November 20, please join us for the second presentation in the 2019-2020 College of Arts and Sciences Medieval Studies Lecture Series with Laura Light, who will speak on "The Paris Bible: What’s in a Name (and Why It Matters)." The roots of the modern Bible rest solidly in the thirteenth century. The Bible that most of us are familiar with today - one, usually fairly compact, volume, including the entire scriptural Canon from Genesis to the Apocalypse, with the text arranged for easy reading and reference (presented in two columns, with visual cues indicating the beginning of each book of the Bible, running titles, and clearly indicated numbered chapters) - dates back to Bibles copied in the thirteenth century. Modern scholars talking about the history of the Vulgate in this important period use a number of different, and sometimes confusing terms, mentioning the Paris Bible, the University Bible, the pocket Bible, and the portable Bible. Nomenclature does matter, and in this talk, we will define what the Paris Bible was, why the University Bible is a misnomer (and a term that should be retired), and how the Paris Bible relates to pocket or portable Bibles.

Laura Light is Director and Senior Specialist, Text Manuscripts at Les Enluminures.  Previously she worked as a cataloguer at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, and is the author of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Houghton Library, Harvard University, Volume 1, MSS Lat 3-179, Binghamton, New York, 1995.  She has published numerous books and articles on the medieval Bible, in particular on the Bible in the thirteenth century, including the volume edited with Eyal Poleg, Form and Function in the Late Medieval Bible, Leiden, 2013.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Special Collections at or 802-656-2138.