The word of God: captured, transcribed and embellished

November 12, 2006|By Joe Burris | Joe Burris,[SUN REPORTER]

Ninth-century Vikings almost certainly did not care that the elaborately ornamented book of New Testament works that they looted came out of a tradition including the commandment "Thou shalt not steal."

Yet the Codex Aureus (Latin for Golden Book) that the men stole from a church in Kent, England, was worthy of coveting -- made of purple-stained vellum pages and written in gold and silver ink. Its detailed drawings and lettering are a fusion of Roman, Byzantine, Celtic and German art.

IN THE BEGINNING: BIBLES BEFORE THE YEAR 1000 / / Through Jan. 7 / / Smithsonian Institution's Sackler Gallery, Washington / / 202-633-1000

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