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Speculum Humanae Salvationis

testament illustrated text preachers

The Speculum humanae salvationis (Mirror of Human Salvation) was composed in the early fourteenth century by an anonymous author, perhaps a German Dominican. Drawing from a variety of sources (e.g., *Josephus, the * Golden Legend , Saint *Thomas Aquinas), the text is a detailed typological description of the redemption of human-kind through *Christ as prefigured in the Old Testament. Intended as a manual for preachers, it was widely copied and illustrated in manuscript form and appeared in early printed editions. It was translated into several languages (including Dutch, French, German, English, and Czech). The text and its standardized program of illustrations exerted a profound influence on late medieval Christianity and art; it was used as a sourcebook by both artists and preachers. In most versions, forty-two chapters are each illustrated with four images (one scene from the New Testament correlated with three Old Testament prefigurations); three additional chapters (with nontypological illustrations) concern stages in the Passion of Christ the *Seven Joys, and the *Seven Sorrows of the Virgin *Mary.
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