(Review) The Bible Illuminated: How Art Brought the Bible to an Illiterate World by Karen York, Ph.D. General Editor

Publisher and Publication Date: Worthy Publishing. Museum of the Bible Books. 2017.
Genre: Nonfiction. Illustrated Bible.
Pages: 208.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers who enjoy the history of the illustrated Bible.
Rating: Excellent.

Link at Amazon
The price today is $7.99


The Bible Illuminated is a coffee table type book with beautiful illustrations. It is not an in-depth study about the history of illuminated Bibles. It is a starting point.
The Bible Illuminated shows 61 examples. Most are given 2 to 4 pages to explain them.
Illuminated Bibles are not always the entire Old Testament or New Testament in written form with illuminated illustrations. More often they are portions of Scripture. The illustrations show the stories from the Bible to enhance the telling of the story. Some of them are a mix of Scripture, prayers, liturgy, and hymns.

My Thoughts:

There are several reasons why I love this beautiful book:
1. I read stories about how and why the illuminated manuscripts were created, who they were passed down to, and how they survived to our current time.
2. Brief definitions are in most of the chapters. Two examples: “What is a Psalter?” And, what sources of materials were used to create the manuscripts.
3. Vivid, bright, colorful, detailed illustrations of the manuscripts.
4. A favorite in the book is the Theodore Psalter. This book includes the 150 Psalms with illustrations of stories of David.
5. Other favorites are the Book of Kells, Psalter of Queen Melisende, Winchester Bible, the Bedford Book of Hours, and The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany.

The illuminated books and manuscripts were most often created for and given to wealthy royal people. They were literate. Most of the common everyday people were not literate, but they wouldn’t have seen these books. So I am unclear about the subtitle explaining the book.
Over-all, this is a wonderful book.

The Morgan Leaf, a scene from the story of David. Winchester Bible. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
From the Book of Kells, Christ Jesus with angels. This illustration is in The Illuminated Bible. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
The ivory front cover (not in the book) for the Psalter of Queen Melisende. The photo above courtesy of Wikipedia.