Thursday, March 18, 2021

An 18th-Century Epistle Book from Notre-Dame de Paris

Following up on Tuesday’s post on the mid-18th century Gospel book used at Notre-Dame de Paris, here is the accompanying book of Epistles. (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Latin 8895) This is also just a selection of the images, but it does include all of the headers with illustrations for the various feasts, of which there are fewer than in the Gospel book.
“The book of Epistles according to the use of the metropolitan church of Paris, 1753.”
The Midnight Mass of Christmas
A sample of a the many floral decorations; this is the only one that fills its page, and is placed right before the Purification.

The Purification; the high priest is dressed rather like the Pope, and his servant like a page at the French court, of which the Temple in Jerusalem was merely a prefiguration... 
A nice example of a decoration to fill the remaining space at the bottom of a page, in this case, a red garland and a red dove for the vigil of Pentecost.
A particularly good decorated initial for the feast of the Holy Trinity.
Corpus Christi
A special Epistle for the Octave of Corpus Christi, Hebrews 7, 18-28, one of the better features of the Neo-Gallican Use of Paris.

The Birth of St John the Baptist
The feast of Ss Peter and Paul
The Translation of the Relics of St Marcellus, bishop of Paris, on July 26th.
The Assumption; the Neo-Gallican lectionary of Paris unfortunately anticipated one of the worst aspects of the post-Conciliar reform of the Roman lectionary by removing most of the readings from the Sapiential books that treat the personification of Wisdom as a prefiguration of the Virgin. The traditional Epistle of the Assumption, Sirach 24, 11-13 and 15-20, with St John’s vision of the woman clothes with the sun, Apocalypse 11, 19 and 12, 1.
St Louis IX, King of France
The Birth of the Virgin
The beheading of St Denys of Paris on his traditional feast day, October 9.
All Saints
All Souls
The feast of St Marcellus, November 3rd
The Conception of the Virgin, not yet formally defined as Immaculate. Here too, the traditional Epistle from Proverbs 8 is replaced by the second part of the story of the serpent in the garden of Eden from Genesis 3. 
The anniversary of a church dedication; the decorative image shows the anointing of the consecration crosses.

The Requiem for a bishop or priest, with the Prophet Ezechiel’s vision of the bones in chapter 37.
Decorations for another Requiem Epistle.
The funeral of a person who was not a priest.

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