Armenian Gospels

[Armenian Gospels].
Manuscript written in ink on paper. [Turkey?], 1650. (BRMS 97)

This beautifully decorated manuscript is Bridwell Library’s earliest version of the Gospels in the language spoken in Armenia, a small kingdom to the east of Turkey. The text dates from the fifth century, when St. Mesrop Maštoc (c. 361–440) invented the Armenian alphabet and translated the Bible out of Syriac; later patriarchs revised the translation utilizing Greek sources. Written in traditional Armenian script, the manuscript also includes colorful bird-shaped initials. Dated 1650, the manuscript precedes the earliest printing of the Armenian New Testament by sixteen years.