Book of Mulling

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Folio 193 of the Book of Mulling contains a portrait of John the Evangelist.

The Book of Mulling or less commonly, Book of Moling (Dublin, Trinity College Library MS 60 (A. I. 15)), is an Irish pocket Gospel Book from the late 8th century. The text collection includes the four Gospels, a liturgical service which includes the "Apostles' Creed", and in the colophon, a supposed plan of St. Moling's monastery enclosed by two concentric circles.

The name derives from a former notion that the scribe was the Leinster saint St. Moling (d. 697), founder of Tech-Moling (St. Mullins, Co. Carlow), whose subscription occurs in the colophon at the end of St John's Gospel: [N]omen scriptoris Mulling dicitur. However, the manuscript is younger and the script reveals that three scribes were involved: one for the prefaces, another for the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and a third for St John's Gospel.[1] It remains possible that the manuscript was copied from an autograph manuscript of St Moling.

The script is a fine Irish minuscule. This is in fact one of the latest surviving documents to use the high style in illuminated manuscripts. The decoration includes illuminated initials and three surviving Evangelist portraits: those of Matthew, Mark and John. Its jewelled shrine or cumdach is also preserved at Trinity College. The pocket gospel book is a distinctively Insular format, of which the Book of Mulling is a leading example.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William O'Sullivan, "Manuscripts and Palaeography." In A New History of Ireland vol 1. Prehistoric and Early Ireland, ed. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín. Oxford, 2005. 535


  • Doyle, Peter. "The Text of Saint Luke's Gospel in the Book of Mulling." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 73 C 6 (1973). 177-200.
  • Lawlor, Hugh Jackson. Chapters on the Book of Mulling. Edinburgh, 1897. Available from Internet Archive
  • Nees, Lawrence. "The Colophon Drawing in the Book of Mulling. A Supposed Irish Monastery Plan and the Tradition of Terminal Illustration in Early Medieval Manuscripts." Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 5 (1983). 67-91.
  • Sterick, Robert D. "The plan of the evangelist portrait pages in the 'Book of Mulling'." Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 121 (1991): 27-44.