Last week I visited the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland, to take another look at the Book of Kells which dates to about A.D. 800.
Entrance to Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Two volumes of the famous illuminated Gospels in Latin were on display in a special case. One showed the first words of Luke 4.
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. (Luke 4:1, ESV)
Two full pages were used for these words and the associated drawings. Another volume was open to John 7:31-40.
The Book of Kells is famous for its drawings showing the The Four Evangelists, that is, the four writers of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Souvenirs may be seen in shops throughout Ireland with these images imprinted on them. Here is a plate depicting John as an eagle.
John as an Eagle. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
In A.D. 597 Saint Columba went from Ireland to Iona, an island near the coast of Scotland, to teach Christianity. The famous Book of Kells, an illuminated Gospels, was likely prepared by the monks of Iona about A.D. 800.
It is not certain that anything remains on the island of Iona from the time of Columba, but there are numerous medieval ruins. Here is a photo I made a couple of years on the island.
Columns on the Isle of Iona, Scotland. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Eventually the Book of Kells was brought to the Abbey of Kells, a monastery that had been founded by Columba, about 40 miles north of Dublin.
Trinity College was founded in in 1592 under a charter of Queen Elizabeth. The oldest remaining buildings date to the early 1700s. Visitors are allowed to visit the Long Room of the Old Library. This room, almost 200 feet long, is impressive to anyone who loves books.
The Long Room of Trinity College Library. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
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