Life of Christ

Life of Christ from the Codex Egberti (detail), 10th century C.E. Illuminated manuscript, Library of Trier, Germany.

Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III—the Holy Roman emperors who reigned from 936 to 1002 C.E.—consolidated the empire in Germany. As a result, numerous monasteries were established, producing a wealth of Ottonian illuminated manuscripts. The Codex Egberti, shown here, is an example of this tradition. The codex details the Evangelists and the life of Christ. Several artists are credited with contributing to this work—notably the Gregory Master, an anonymous scribe and illuminator. The illustration seen here describes the dispute between Jesus (seated with halo) and the Pharisees (left edge) about whether a woman (standing center) caught in adultery should be stoned to death. Jesus averts the execution by shaming the accusers with his message: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). The gathered crowd disperses in humiliation.

Codex Egberti, a tenth-century book of gospel stories commissioned by Archbishop Egbert of Trier (977-993 C.E.). Trier, Stadtbibliothek, MS 24.

A text of pages bound leaf style, like a modern book—as opposed to a scroll, which has no discrete pages.

A broad, diverse group of nations ruled by the government of a single nation.

Associated with a deity; exhibiting religious importance; set apart from ordinary (i.e. "profane") things.

Textual documents, usually handwritten.

Buildings housing religious renunciates and usually including a space for prayer.

John 8:7

7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

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