Number and geometry were seen as the fundamental dimensions of medieval spirituality and considered by early Latin theologians to be the key to achieving true enlightenment about creation and God´s revelation. Taking the only Portuguese illustrated Beatus as our central subject, this paper aims to analyse the symbology of number and geometrical form expressed in this late 12th century manuscript. Through this we attempt to show the crucial role that the ‘science of number’ played in the conception of this unique copy of the early Hispanic literary work: Commentarium in Apocallypsin of Beatus of Liébana.
The notion that the Book of Psalms contains seven psalms which are specifically penitential (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129 and 142) goes back to Cassiodorus (6th century). In my paper I shall trace the fortunes of the concept of the seven penitential psalms in medieval biblical exegesis from the 6th to the 15th century. I shall focus in particular on medieval commentators’ understanding of the significance of the number seven.
This paper examines the reasons put forward for the exact number of books pertaining to the canon of the Latin Bible. Covering the period from the Church Fathers to the twelfth century, this presentation will discuss the various arguments as to why not only the Bible, but also the Old and New Testament considered by themselves, contained the exact number of books they comprise. A focus will be on St Jerome as a major influence on the later period; and on Hugh of St Victor, who discusses this point in several of his works.