Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Sunday, February 16, 2014

MS Junius11 and Satan

Images can be found at http://image.ox.ac.uk/show?collection=bodleian&manuscript=msjunius11
Focusing on p24, 28 and 30

I chose to examine pages 24, 28, and 31 of the Junius 11 MS because of the way the images on these pages revise or rework the same images. Page 24 has wide top, left, and bottom margins. The text takes up the beginning half of the page, with the illustration framed in a box at the bottom. The text is a single piece, not laid out in separate columns. The scene is an angel with dark hair/head covering and a red crown pointing, perhaps instructing Eve. Eve holds a piece of fruit in her hand. The scene is set on Earth, as can be seen by the trees that frame the far left and right side of the illustration box as well as the ground Eve and the angel are standing on. There is a darkly shaded plant that separates Eve and the angel.
          Page 28 mirrors page 24 with the top of the page is taken up with text, and an illustration occupying the bottom of the page. There are no glosses or translations on the page, although p28 has three lightning/S marks about halfway down on the text. There are wide margins on the top, left side, and bottom of the page. The illustration is framed in a box and shows an angel offering fruit to both Adam and Eve. Eve is already eating the fruit, but Adam appears to be hesitating. Adam and Eve are shown naked, so pre-lapsarian, although this illustration would seem to illustrate the moment of the Fall. The angel is shown with wings, but a dark head covering. This appears to mark him as different, although it is not as dark as it was illustrate on p24. This illustration appears to build on the one on p24.
         Page 31 shows a revision of the previous two illustrations. Page 31 has two boxed illustrations on the page, with no text, although there are wide margins on the top and right, with a large empty space at the bottom. The top illustration shows Eve offering Adam the fruit, on the right hand side, with a different angel on the left, observing. There is no dark covering, so the implication is not that the angel is the one that offered Eve the fruit, but rather just observes the transgression. To the right of Eve is a tree, but it does not hold the same fruit as what Eve is offering to Adam. The tree is also different in appearance than the trees shown on p24, it is less stylized.
The bottom illustration appears to be after the Fall. Adam is shown on the left, prostrated on the ground, but looking towards the heavens. A tree separates Eve from Adam. Eve appears to be drinking or eating from something, and there is a smile on her face. An angel stands to Eve’s right, blowing something out of his mouth, and he is shown with dark hair. He has wings, but is also shown with a tail, and is pointing at Eve. At the bottom of the page, in the blank space below the boxed illustrations is an odd faded lion, which appears almost as a watermark, barely discernable.
These three illustrations are found in Gathering 3 lines 235-490 (page 24) and 4 showing lines 491-485 (page 28 and 31) of the manuscript, and cover the text of Genesis B. Genesis B is an interprolated text, inserted into Genesis, an English version of a 9th century German source. The text covers line s235-851 and tells the story of Lucifer’s fall due to pride, his view of Adam and Eve as usurpers of his place, a reward to any of his followers that can get Adam and Eve to rebel against God, Eve’s temptation, the Fall, and their expulsion from the Garden.
Reading the illustrations in conjunction with the text, we can first see that we have two different illustrators, with the illustrations of 24 and 28 belonging to one hand, and the illustrations on 31 as belonging to another. While the images clearly build on one another, the artistic differences mark them as belonging to two different hands. The framing on 24 and 28 is similar, as is the detail and the portrayal of Lucifer. 24 and 28 seem to show Lucifer himself tempting Eve, and then Adam and Eve, as he is shown with a red crown, a mark of his own fall. The dual illustrations on 31 are simpler, and the characterization of Lucifer is different. He doesn’t wear a red crown, but his dark hair marks him as other, as does his tail.  Another argument for the illustrator of 31 being different from 24 and 28 is the portrayal of Eve. The characterization of Eve on p24 and 28 is of innocence, the facial given to her and Adam is similar. However, the expression on her face in 31 points to a more devious, beguiling characterization. Not only is she not looking towards the heavens as Adam is, presumably asking for forgiveness, but she continues to consume. There is also the composition, with the tree separating her and Adam, and Lucifer placed on the right side with Eve, associating one with the other.
The illustrations on 31 also rewrite the story of the previous illustrations. The story as shown on 24 and 28 is that Lucifer offers the fruit first to Eve, and then offers the fruit to Adam and Eve. While Eve is the first to eat, the perpetrator is clearly shown as Lucifer. The illustrator of 31 though clearly puts the blame on Eve as the angel that is shown in the top illustration is clearly not Lucifer, rather just an observer to the transgression, perhaps one of Lucifer’s followers who was able to tempt Adam and Eve to rebel although there are no markers of Other in the illustration, or it could be one of God’s angels set to watch over the garden. It is Eve alone who is shown as tempting Adam to sin.  The illustrator of 31 clearly wants to characterize Eve as the reason for the Fall, and as one who is unrepentant of her sin.
Genesis B is a unique text because it is the first text to present Satan, named Lucifer thereafter by his followers, as an angel that fell from heaven because of his pride, and his subsequent jealousy of man for taking his place. The illustrations of this piece in the MS Junius 11 not only show Lucifer’s complicity in the Fall (not present in the Biblical Genesis text) but also characterize Lucifer as modern readers would recognize- as someone who schemed, and then took great joy in the Fall of man.

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