The Lindisfarne Gospels
The Gospels were made at Lindisfarne and, as a note added to the manuscript in the 10th century informs us, were 'for God and for St Cuthbert and for all the saints whose relics are on the island'.
The book contains the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: the four Evangelists. Recounting the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Gospels are the core of Christian belief. The book was produced for ceremonial use and as a representation of the splendour of God's word and the Christian religion.
Beautifully illustrated, the book represents the pinnacle of achievement of Anglo-Saxon Northumbrian art at the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century (circa 700AD) and are regarded as masterpieces of early medieval European book painting. The major divisions within the book are marked by artwork: each gospel is preceded by a portrait of its author and a carpet page decorated with an initial letter and ornamental text.
The text of the Lindisfarne Gospels is in Latin with a word-by-word translation into Old English added between the lines in the 10th century. It is the oldest surviving translation of the Gospels into the English language.
The Lindisfarne Gospels were created at a time of great change when Britain was a land of many cultures that were coming together into an emerging national identity.
The Lindisfarne Gospels have survived wars, the dissolution of the monasteries and the ravages of time and over one thousand years after their creation are preserved in almost perfect condition.