Today Inge Rider, Dianne Bennett and I went to the Blanton Museum of Art. We arrived in plenty of time to go upstairs first to see the Crusader Bible and then to hear a lecture and recital of 13th-century music by the Early Music Ensemble of the Butler School of Music. Afterwards we had lunch at the Blanton Café. Inge’s pastor joined us for lunch and then went back into the museum to see the Bible.
The Crusader Bible is in amazingly good condition and the colorful illustrations are still very vivid after nearly 800 years. Over the centuries the various owners added inscriptions written in Latin, Persian and Judeo-Persian. Each set of inscriptions was independent and did not always identify the scenes correctly. The Bible traveled from France to Italy, Poland, Persia, Egypt and England before finally being purchased in 1916 for the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan. It is on loan until April 3 from the Morgan Library & Museum of New York, where it has been since 1916.
The exhibit features more than forty unbound pages from the manuscript. The manuscript consists of eight gatherings. Each gathering is in a set of three bifolios folded in half and sewn together, which makes six folios. The front of a folio is called recto and the back verso. When the gathering is disbound and the bifolios are displayed separately, the biblical sequence is disrupted. Originally there were forty-eight folios. Forty-three of them are in the Morgan Museum, two in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, one in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and two are missing.
The Bible has a very interesting history. It originally had no text; it was designed to appeal to a largely illiterate population. It probably was created in Paris during the 1240s for French King Louis IX. In medieval France, Louis was compared to Solomon and the Sainte-Chapelle to the Temple of Solomon. Paris was regarded as the New Jerusalem and the French as the Chosen People. Even earlier French rulers saw themselves as Christian successors to the God-chosen kings of Judah. In the Crusader Bible those biblical kings wear crusader armor and fleur-de-lis crowns and scepters. There are 346 episodes from Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Samuel, about 40 percent of which are devoted to David’s life. They focus on Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samson, Samuel, Saul, Jonathan and David but are set in thirteenth-century France.
On a very different note, this afternoon Dr. Peña’s nurse called me to follow up on the spinal injections which I had last week. So far, the injections have not stopped the pain and they have caused strong muscle spasms in my legs and back and sometimes even in my hands. The nurse told me that it can take up to ten days for the injections to stop the pain. That's a bit hard for me to swallow but maybe it's true. She also told me that Dr. Peña had spoken with Dr. Geck about the protruding vertebra. He thought it might be a screw or the rod itself that is the problem. However, Dr. Geck still says that it's not what is causing me extra pain and is nothing to be concerned about. He will just see me for a regular six-month checkup on June 29. Nothing more will be done at this time. I'm just not feeling happy about the situation but don't know what to do.