My example comes from the milieu of the Paris schools (the proto-university of Paris) in the second half of the twelfth century. This was a period of enormous creativity and experiment in many fields; and in the area of text, one when secular commercial book-makers were challenging the monastic houses as the primary places where books were produced – even books of theology and Bible study.
The page I show is (apart from the small figure at the top right-hand corner) a representative sample of the Psalms commentary. It is the beginning of Psalm 52, Dixit insipiens in corde suo non est Deus: ‘The fool has said in his heart, there is no God’. It carries at least seven texts, laid out so as to make each one distinct, while running simultaneously with the others. The major texts, set out in two columns which read from left to right, are those of the Psalms, in two different translations (Gallican and Hebraic) by the patristic biblical scholar Jerome, surrounded by the commentary by Peter Lombard. The three texts are distinguished by position in the column, size of script, and size and complexity of decoration. The most ‘important’ or authoritative text is the Gallican version of the Psalms, also known as the Latin Vulgate version, which was the most commonly used for scholarship and liturgy. It is positioned in the middle of each column, in double-sized, double-spaced script, so that it can be easily read ‘on its own’, simply as ‘the Bible’. The Lombard’s commentary (the right-justified text in the main columns) incorporates short biblical quotations or lemmata; these are underlined to distinguish them from the rest of the commentary text.