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Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard
Psalm: 36
Iconography: In the upper part of the initial, Christ sits on the cross bar speaking intimately to the psalmist. The psalmist stands pointing beyond the barrier of the letter and beyond the blue realm of heaven, to a glum woman who holds a book with the word Delight written on it. The point of the psalm is to Be delighted in the lord: and he will give to you the requests of your heart. In that context, the psalmist has his mind fixed firmly on God and the humble woman in her earthly zone could equally represent the meek delighting in peace.The meek shall inherit the earth: and shall be delighted in the multitude of peace. However, to a monastic reader, the woman, excluded from the male and divine part of the letter, and clasping the word Delight to her breast, was a sign of temptation, delight in the flesh rather than the spirit. Dodwell (AP, 218) points out that the Rule of St Benedict exhorts monks to chastity with the words 'And in regard to the desires of the flesh, we must believe that God is always present to us, as the prophet saith to the Lord: O Lord, all my desire is before Thee'. (Rule, chapter vii)
Art: The right edge of Christ's cloak was drawn with jagged folds. The delicate drawing of the psalmist's face and beard has not been painted over.
Thread stitch: yes
Historical Relevance:
Quire: 9

Image © Hildesheim, St Godehard


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