Medium: Illuminated Manuscript
Size: 45 x 31 cm
Date: ca. 1035
Location: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg.
Matthew 8:1-4 - When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
This leper was in a desperate and apparently lifelong situation. Biblical leprosy (distinct from modern Hansen's disease) was an assortment of serious skin problems that isolated the leper from the rest of society. In fact, Jewish law forbade touching lepers. By bowing down the leper not only shows physical signs of respect toward Jesus; he acknowledges that Jesus has the right to decide whether to grant the request. To acknowledge that God has the right to grant or refuse a request is the ultimate act of dependence on God's compassion, and takes deep trust and commitment. And thus it is no small matter for Jesus to touch the man.
The "Codex Aureus," the "Golden Book of Gospels Echternach" among the most important treasures of Middle Ages books. This Codex was constructed around 1040 in the Benedictine Abbey of Echternach near Trier, the principal scriptorium of the Salian. Latin transcriptions of the four Gospels are written on 136 sheets of size 445 x 310 mm vellum. This extraordinary Codex arguably stands as one of the most important manuscripts of Ottonian-Salian Arts