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British Library buys Seventh-century St. Cuthbert Gospel for $14 million

April 17, 2012

St Cuthbert Gospel: 'undoubtedly one of the world’s most important books', according to the British Library. Photograph: British Library/PA

The Guardian reports the British Library has acquired a 7th century AD manuscript known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel for £9m ($14 million):

The manuscript copy of the Gospel of St John, called the St Cuthbert Gospel, was produced in the north-east of England in the late seventh century and placed in the saint’s coffin on the island of Lindisfarne, probably in 698.

His remains were carried to the mainland when the monks and people of the island fled Viking invaders, and ended up in Durham where the coffin was opened in 1104 and the gospel discovered.

Cuthbert’s body was reburied in the Norman cathedral there and became a focal point for pilgrims.

“It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important books,” said Scot McKendrick, head of history and classics at the British Library.

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