[MR] BBC: Becket's Lost Psalter Found?
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Sun Dec 27 04:07:34 PST 2020
Today the BBC is presenting an exciting and very important story about the
rediscovery of a psalter which might, or might not, have belonged to St.
The book was already lovingly preserved in the library at
Cambridge's Corpus Christi College. In 2014 Librarian Dr. Christopher de
Hamil was having an after-lunch discussion with biblical scholar Dr. Eyal
Poleg when the subject of Becket's personal books was raised. A memory
flash of a book's description in a 1321 inventory of Becket treasures at
Canterbury Cathedral, hit de Hamil. He and Poleg abandoned their coffee and
rushed to the library. In the vault they removed a small psalter, donated
to the library in 1574 by another Archbishop of Canterbury. And the book
matched the inventory almost perfectly. Other clues including an
inscription verify that this is likely the same book.
Even more, through some great historical detective work the book is linked
to a 9th century Archbishop of Canterbury, Aelfric, whom Becket venerated
as his personal saint.
Is this a WOW or what? Of course, this might not actually have been
Becket's book, though obviously later Canterbury church officials believed
it was. Nor is it for certain to have been Aelfric's either, but apparently
Becket believed his psalter was. We will probably never know for certain,
but the possibility is intriguing.
The full story, with several other fascinating twists of fate, is found at
Thomas Becket, "this turbulent priest", was murdered on 29 December 1170 by
four of Henry II's barons acting on the King's orders, or what they
believed to be his orders. There might have been some "plausible denial" at
work to save the King's reputation once the deed was done. You can learn
more about Becket himself at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Becket .
Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge 🦆
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