“Paul” is as much to say as the mouth of a trumpet or of sense; or marvellously chosen, or a miracle of election. Or “Paul” is said of pause, that is rest, in Hebrew, or it is said little, in Latin.
Of this name, Paul, be three opinions. Origen saith that he hath always two names, and was called Paulus and Saulus. And Rabanus saith that he was called Saulus, and that was after Saul the proud king, but after his conversion he was called Paul, as it were little and humble of spirit, and therefore he said: I am least of all the apostles. And Bede said that he was called Paul of Sergius Paulus proconsul, whom he converted to the faith.
The Golden Legend, The Life of St Paul the Apostle (link)
I’ve never drawn that connection between Saul the King and Paul the Apostle. Rhabanus Maurus rocks. Or am I just imagining that the “little” and “least” are supposed to echo King Saul’s words about himself in 1 Samuel as much as Paul’s in 1 Corinthians?
The image is from the Maciejowski Bible, commissioned by King Louis IX, c. 1250, and depicts King Saul and his army defending the town of Yabeth against an Ammonite siege.
Dives and Lazarus from the Codex Aureus of Echternach (11th c). The rich man feasts and doesn’t help poor beggar Lazarus. But when they die (by having angels or demons, respectively, carry away their little baby-sized souls), Lazarus gets to be snug in Abraham’s Bosom while the rich man burns in Hell.
Just think of it as a medieval Goofus and Gallant strip.
The beginning of the prologue of Jerome’s commentary on Matthew:
Plures fuisse, qui Evangelia scripserunt, et Lucas evangelista testatur, dicens: Quoniam quidem multi conati sunt ordinare narrationem rerum, quae in nobis completae sunt, sicut tradiderunt nobis, qui ab initio ipsi viderunt sermonem, et ministraverunt ei…
There were many who wrote the Gospels, as Luke the evangelist testifies, saying: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word…” [translation is mine + RSV]
“Plures fuisse,” the prologue to Jerome’s commentary on Matthew, was a well-known text to medievals. It was part of the collection of commentaries appended to the Vulgate and was therefore familiar reading for the Latin/Western Christians from the 5th to the 16th century. The prologue contains Jerome’s explanation of the symbols of the Four Evangelists (Matthew the Lion, Mark the Calf, Luke the Man/Angel, and John the Eagle).
This page is from the Codex Aureus of St Emmeram, a gorgeous 9th century Carolingian manuscript.
In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus.
the OE gloss reads: in
primafryma vaes uord & uord that is godes sunu vaes mid god fader
The Lindisfarne Gospels, one of the most magnificent manuscripts of the early Middle Ages, was written and decorated at the end of the 7th century by the monk Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721. The Latin text of the Gospels is translated word by word in an Old English gloss, the earliest surviving example of the Gospel text in any form of the English language, it was added between the lines in the mid 10th century by Aldred, Provost of Chester-le-Street.
- Reading (On frymðe wæs Word)
A Medieval Christmas
John 1:1-5, 14 in Old English
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
I found the first three verses transcribed:
“1 On frymðe wæs Word, and þæt Word wæs mid Gode, and God wæs þæt Word. 2 Þæt wæs on fruman mid Gode. 3 Ealle þing wæron geworhte ðurh hyne; and nan þing næs geworht butan him.”
And the rest goes something like: “Þæt wæs lif the on him geworht waes, and that lif wæs manna leoht. and þæt leoht lut(?) on þystrum. and þystro þæt ne genamen(?)” okay I give up I can’t do it by ear.
Moses turned - turned to what was going on -
Turning himself and his world turtle. It was
As though an inward knife scraped his eyes clean.
The General of Egypt, the Lion and the Prince
Recognized his mother’s face in the battered body
Of a bricklayer; saw it was not the face above
His nursery, not my face after all.
He knew his seed. And where my voice had hung till then
Now voices descending from ancestral Abraham
Congregated on him. And he killed
His Egyptian self in the self of that Egyptian
And buried that self in the sand.
“The Firstborn,” Christopher Fry