Written in the Stars

April 21, 2016 in Manuscript Studies, Photographic Exhibition

Breviary Fragment with Latin Lections on Astrology
from Sermons by Patristic Authors,
plus a Prayer

Detail of Folio Ivb, with the top of the column, within the first set of lections extracted from Homily 10 on the Gospels by Gregory the Great. Reproduced by permission.

[Published on 21 April 2016, with updates]

Our blog on Manuscript Studies observes a pair of consecutive leaves on vellum from the end of a 15th century Latin Breviary, possibly Italian, with a series of lections concerned with the nature of stellar determinism.  All in favor of its rejection, all in favor of divine essence instead.  

The Patristic authors of these extracts are by Pope Leo the GreatGregory the Great, and Augustine of Hippo. Heavy hitters when it comes to rhetoric and theology, that’s for sure.

In a nutshell:   The readings maintain that first Christ came to earth, and the stars followed.  Not vice versa.  So much for astrology, huh?

That a scrawling entry following those lections records a prayer for an unknown dead individual adds an extra resonance to the awareness of the fate of human beings on this earth.  The original and added texts thus enter into a tacit form of dialogue on the themes of divine and human destiny.

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