Syriac Bible of Paris

Illustration of Job, Sixth-century C.E. Syriac Bible of Paris. Illuminated manuscript, MS syr. 341, fol. 46r, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France.

Illuminated manuscripts—texts with highly decorated elements including initials, marginalia, and small illustrations, usually in gold or silver—were at their artistic height during the Middle Ages, from the fifth through the 15th centuries. This folio page from the illuminated Syriac Bible of Paris shows Job lying on a garbage pile, his nearly naked body covered in sores as he turns his gaze toward heaven. Potsherds are scattered at his feet. His wife, seated in the lower right, grieves for his suffering. Job’s three friends offer their support as Job passively accepts his hardship. The Syriac Bible of Paris is thought to have been created in northern Mesopotamia. Syriac is a dialect of ancient Aramaic and remains the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity.

Syriac Bible of Paris

A dialect of Aramaic, common among a number of early Christian communities.

A variant of a language, characteristic of a certain group of speakers.

Textual documents, usually handwritten.

The historical period generally spanning from the fifth century to the fifteenth century C.E. in Europe and characterized by decreases in populations and the degeneration of urban life.

Small fragments of clay pots, often bearing written inscriptions.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.