Old English Hexateuch

Old English Hexateuch

Benedictine Abbey of St. Augustine, Canterbury (United Kingdom) — Second quarter of the 11th century and second half of the 12th century

Old English Hexateuch

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Old English Hexateuch

Between 1025 and 1050, the first English vernacular translation of the Hexateuch, the first six books of the Hebrew Bible, was undertaken by a team of Anglo-Saxon monks under the supervision of Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham. Seven manuscripts with the translation survive to the present, the most famous of which is the richly illuminated codex stored in the British Library under the shelf mark Cotton MS Claudius B.iv. The so-called “Old English Hexateuch” was compiled at St. Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury and other texts in both Latin and English were appended to the manuscript during the 12th century, often using blank spaces left for miniatures that were never executed. The text is adorned by 394 pen and ink drawings containing 550 scenes including 12 full-page miniatures at various stages of completion. Scenes from the Old Testament are thus set in the everyday life of Anglo-Saxon England, making it an important historical source on contemporary life.


Alternative Titles
Altenglischer Hexateuch
Size / Format
312 pages / 32.5 × 21.5 cm
Second quarter of the 11th century and second half of the 12th century
Insular minuscule

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 The Old English illustrated Hexateuch

Commentary: 1 volume by Charles R. Dodwell and Peter Clemoes
Language: English
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Partially colored reproduction of the entire original document with 312 black and white plates and five color plates. The pages are presented on a larger white background. The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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