The Digital Gumbertus Bible
A Jewel of the Middle Ages at your Fingertips
One of the most spectacular exhibits in the BAVARIAN BIBLE MUSEUM is our digital Gumbertus Bible. The Gumbertus Bible is a magnificent, illuminated giant Bible which was donated to the St. Gumbertus Abbey in Ansbach more than 800 years ago. Thanks to our new, state-of-the-art exhibit, it can now be examined in its entirety by you for the very first time.
The Gumbertus Bible – A Masterpiece of Superlatives
The Gumbertus Bible is considered to be one of the most stunning manuscripts of the High Middle Ages. Such giant Bibles were mainly produced during the Romanesque period in Italy, Austria and southern Germany. The Gumbertus Bible is one of the few giant Bibles to have survived.
The oversized Bible weighs 40 kilograms and measures 67 by 92 centimetres when opened. Its 394 pages of parchment were made from the skins of around 200 calves. Twelve different scribes and several illuminators worked on copying and illustrating the complete Vulgate version onto its pages. The ‘Vulgate’ is the name we give to the 4th century Latin version of the Old and New Testaments, largely written by Saint Jerome.
In total, the Gumbertus Bible contains 16 full-page illustrations, 35 miniatures and 65 brilliantly decorated initials. To complete these ornamentations, precious colours including gold, silver, lapis lazuli and purple were used.
For centuries, the Gumbertus Bible was kept in Ansbach, where it eventually ended up in the Palace Library. For the last 200 years or so, it has been one of the most important treasures in the Erlangen University Library. It was the university library which created this new digital copy, using a complex, state-of-the-art process.
Thanks to this high-resolution copy of the Gumbertus Bible, it is now possible to project virtual images of the giant codex onto a blank book of the same format. This literally enables visitors to ‘leaf through’ the entire Gumbertus Bible page by page, from beginning to end. Additional background information can also be displayed alongside the text if desired.
This groundbreaking combination of technology and rarely-seen art is now on permanent display at the BAVARIAN BIBLE MUSEUM.
Our Digital Highlight
Have we awakened your interest?
Perhaps you’d like to support our Digital Gumbertus Bible with a donation? The development and realisation of this groundbreaking exhibit has been a major venture for the BAVARIAN BIBLE MUSEUM, with costs amounting to approximately €50,000. So anything you’d like to offer would be a help!
We’d be happy to answer your questions about this project or your donations at any time. We can also send you some useful information material on the project, if required.