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Mar 3 The First Concordance


Today we go back to year 1263 and look at the pioneering work of the Dominican Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher. Producing the first concordance or “correctorium", an an alphabetical listing of words and phrases found in the Bible and shows where the terms occur throughout all books of Scripture. With cross-references for verses, concordances make it easy to understand the meaning of terms and the context in which those words are used.


Hugh's work, was entitled "Correctio Biblie", because the copies of the Latin Vulgate, compiled and translated by St Jerome in the 5th Century had many subtle errors had crept in due to being copied by hand. Hugh’s first concordance was an attempt partly to counterbalance these errors, and it was such a vast undertaking that he employed 500 friars to assist him. Hugh’s was one of the first attempts to divide the Bible into chapters, but it is the arrangement of his contemporary and fellow cardinal Stephen Langton who created the chapter divisions which are used today.


De Clare also goes down in history as possibly the first person to painted wearing spectacles. In the 14th Century, Tommaso da Modena was commissioned to paint a fresco cycle of 40 different Dominican scholars. This was Dominican propaganda, in to showpiece the impressive intellect of the order. The work is in the chapter room of the former Dominican community of San Nicolo' at Treviso, which is now a seminary.