The three Garima Gospels are the earliest surviving Ethiopian gospel books. They provide glimpses of lost late antique luxury gospel books and art of the fifth to seventh centuries, from the Aksumite kingdom of Ethiopia.
This book reproduces all of the Garima illuminated pages for the first time, and presents extensive comparative material. It will be an essential resource for those studying late antique art and history, Ethiopia, eastern Christianity, New Testament textual criticism, and illuminated books. 316 colour illustrations. Preface and photographs by Michael Gevers.
Like most gospel manuscripts, the Garima Gospels contain ornately decorated canon tables which function as concordances of the different versions of the same material in the gospels. Analysis of these tables of numbered parallel passages, devised by Eusebius of Caesarea, contributes significantly to our understanding of the early development of the canonical four gospel collection. The origins and meanings of the decorated frames, portraits of the evangelists, Alexandrian circular pavilion, and the unique image of the Jerusalem Temple are explored.
Publisher: Manar Al-Athar
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 1338 g
Dimensions: 285 x 213 x 23 mm
`The meticulous scholarship in evidence throughout The Garima Gospels is worthy of the series in which it appears
`Lavishly illustrated volume, with its 268 colour pictures and fifty-two full-page plates.'
J. K. Elliott, TLS 2 June 2017
`Judith McKenzie (with her colleagues) takes the reader through this scholarly fest with a sure touch and with justified enthusiasm. Here is the evidence for a spread of a late classical art with deep roots in the great Hellenistic cities of the East - most notably Alexandria - for whose existence she has long been a passionate advocate.'
Peter Brown, NYRB May 2017
'It's not every day that scholars discover new Bible Manuscripts from the ancient world. It's ever rarer to discover new ones endowed with luxurious painted images. Yet this is preceisely what has happened over the past decade thanks to groundbreaking research into three ancient codices from Ethiopia.
'To put the discovery in perspective, the Abba Garima manuscripts are among the very oldest illustrated Gospels in the world.
'Although the three manuscripts show abundant parallesl to the arts of the wider late antique world, they also demonstrate in dazzling fashion the vitaility of local culture in Ethiopia itself. In fact, their beauty and sophistication suggest that these were not the first fruits of a traditiona bout to blook, but the mature efforts of a tradition that had already been flowering for generations. We owe McKenzie, Watson, and their team a great debt for making these codices accessible to the general public. Their fine volume will hopefully serve as a stimulus for further research on ancient Ethiopia more broadly, a great crossroads of culture whos significance to world history we are only beginning to appreciate.'
Christian C. Sahner, Research Fellow in History, St John's College, University of Cambridge, Marginalia March 2017
'A magnificent study.'
Christopher Howse, The Telegraph December 2016
'The group of early Christian illuminated manuscripts known as the Garima Gospels -- written in an old Ethiopic translation of the Bible -- are among the very earliest and most important illustrated Christian books. They have never been published in a properly illustrated edition before, nor with a sound scholarly introduction and discussion such as presented here. Judith McKenzie and Francis Watson's remarkable publication of Michael Gervers' photographs is not only the first fundamental presentation of this immensely important set of visual and textual materials, but it is also a record of the state of the manuscript at the moment of its discovery by contemporary scholarship. The volume is a landmark in early Christian studies and in late antique art history.'
Jas Elsner, Professor of Late Antique Art, University of Oxford
'How many movable objects have been in use ever since late Antiquity, in the same place they were produced? The battered and well-thumbed Garima Gospels may never have left the sequestered Ethiopian monastery where they still reside -- and which no woman may enter. The English artist Beatrice Playne first noticed them in 1948 (they were carried out for her to inspect). She perceptively compared them with the Syriac Rabbula Gospels of 586 in Florence. Now Judith McKenzie has taken the lead in publishing and discussing all the illustrated folios for the first time, while Francis Watson's analysis of the canon tables drives home the point that images should not be studied in isolation from the texts they adorn. This attractive and learned book will at last ignite informed debate about one of the most important manuscripts to have survived from Antiquity.'
Garth Fowden, Professor of Abrahamic Faiths, University of Cambridge