Timothy Graham teaches students how to read, analyze, and handle ancient manuscripts.

Graham handling manuscript

Posted: August 26, 2019

In Zimmerman Library on the campus of The University of New Mexico, there is a facsimile of the Godescalc Gospel Lectionary, an illuminated manuscript created by a Frankish scribe named Godescalc.

Professor Timothy Graham, wearing white gloves and using a bone folder – a bookbinding tool – to keep fingerprints off the gleaming pages, explained the illuminated drawings and Latin text were commissioned by King Charlemagne more than 1,200 years ago. The four Evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – are portrayed with their animal symbols, the winged man or angel, the winged lion, the winged ox or bull, and the eagle, respectively. A young Jesus gazes from another page shimmering with gold highlights, his fingers raised in blessing.

“It’s not quite the same as touching parchment, but it’s a pretty close comparison to the feel of an actual medieval manuscript,” Graham observed, noting that the facsimile also reproduces wormholes and tears in the original document. The Godescalc Evangelistary is inscribed in gold and silver ink on purple vellum in uncial and Caroline minuscule characters, the latter a precursor to the modern Times New Roman font.

Read more at UNM Newsroom.