Mysterious Find Inside 1,035-Year-Old Gospel Book Has Experts Perplexed

A mysterious, hand-drawn prayer wheel inside of the Liesborn Gospel Book, a rare, 1,035-year-old text that is comprised solely of the Christian gospels, continues to perplex experts.

Little is known of the origins and use of the hand-drawn prayer wheel — which was written in Latin and was reportedly commissioned by a German nun — though the Daily Mail reported that it was drawn on a blank page in the book about a century after it was published.

One of the greatest objects at the 2015 TEFAF Fair is The Liesborn Gospels, which is being shown by Les Enluminures (stand 274) Described as one of the most valuable manuscripts of the gospel in private hands, this copy, which is in almost perfect condition, has an impeccable, virtually unbroken line of provenance and an asking price $6.5 millions.

The Liesborn Gospel Book, which dates to the year 980, is currently on sale for $6.5 million by New York City’s Les Enluminures Gallery, where it is being heralded as a rare and coveted text, but it is the wheel that is, perhaps, most intriguing.

“God” is in the center of the diagram, with outer circles surrounding it. The outer ring reads, “The order of the diagram written here teaches the return home,” though it is unclear exactly what this is referring to.

The second to last ring features seven quotes from the Lord’s prayer, with the third from the outside featuring the words “wisdom” and “counsel,” with a reference to “gifts of the holy spirit,” the Daily Mail reported.

Other rings include events from Jesus’ life, among other biblical sentiment.

With ongoing mystery surrounding the wheel, the intrigue quite naturally also continues.

The book was described decades ago as, “One of the most valuable manuscripts of the gospels in private hands.”

It’s possible that the wheel helped readers focus on prayer by moving ring by ring toward the center, though that’s just one theory on the matter.

“Monks and nuns in the Central Middle Ages often get a bad rap for unsystematic thinking — doing all this prayer by rote, mumbling and not caring about the sense,” Lauren Mancia, an assistant professor of history at Brooklyn College, told Religion News Service. “This diagram suggests that they’re not just mumbling, they’re using a mnemonic device to remember and internalize, or even to make an inner journey.”

Read more about the prayer wheel here.

(H/T: Religion News Service)

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