Canon Tables

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Top left: London Canon Table
Top right: Charlemagne Coronation Gospels
Bottom left: Book of Kells Canon Table
Bottom middle: Lindisfarne Canon Table
Bottom right: Durrow Canon Table

The London Canon Table:

The single most replicated image in medieval books. E.g. in the Lindisfarne Gospels.
The page itself is painted in gold – the amount of monetary resources would have been spectacular. Way of making an argument about the preciousness of the content.
Revelas the new statement of power post Constantine.
A table made in an architectural format – a way of showing the harmony of the Gospels – shows which passage in corresponds to others in each Gospel. All possible combination are laid out.
No similar device for pre-Christian texts (?) Theological imperative to demonstrate the harmony of the texts.

Book of Durrow, 680:

o A version of a canon table in a simple grid format – not an architectural arch format, but rather in a table.

Lindisfarne Gospels:

o Another Canon page – elements of the arches, and elaborate cross carpet pages with great symbolism… Not beyond reason to believe that these were not used for some meditative purpose.

We know a lot of the Lindisfarne Gospels because in the middle of the 10th C, approx 250 years after the Lindisfarne Gospels were made, someone added an inscription telling us about the manuscript’s creation. Check Eadfrith (715 Colophon mid-10th C). There’s a massive debate about the trustworthiness of this Colophon – it appears fairly trustworthy. Bede also wrote an account of his life, and we even have his coffin. We calso have the Cross from the tomb of St Cuthbert from Durham Cathedral, found on his St Cuthbert’s chest when he was dug up.


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