The Book of Kells is one of the great cultural icons of the medieval West. Its illustration and decoration have received a great deal of popular and scholarly attention, but only recently has the manuscript's labyrinth of meaning and references begun to be explored.
In The Book of Kells: its Function and Audience, Dr Carol Farr assesses the book as a liturgical document. By focusing on two of the more anomalous miniatures - the `Temptation' and the so-called `Arrest' - she deconstructs the rich legacy of biblical and early Christian literature and symbolism available to the Insular mind, while making a valuable contribution to the understanding of lection systems in the early western Church.
Dr Farr shows that the complex web of allusion found in the manuscript is not mere game-playing on the part of the original producers or subsequent commentators, but served to integrate the contemporary audience into the historical and supernatural continuum of the heavenly and earthly church, giving context and identity to the Insular role in cosmographical and salvation history.
Well illustrated throughout in black and white, with eight colour plates, and a lively, accessible introduction placing the manuscript in its social and historical context, this is a significant new contribution to the study of the Book of Kells for anyone interested in early medieval history and culture.
1st edition 1997, Pb, 196pp, Well illustrated throughout in black and white, with eight colour plates, 17.5 x 24.5 cm