Beatus of Liébana

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Monk and writer; b. Liébana, near Santander, Spain;d. Feb. 19, 798. He combated adoptionism and wrote a famous commentary on the Apocalypse in 12 books. al cuin mentioned him. In 784, he attacked the heretical proponents of adoptionism, Abp. elipandus of toledo and Bp. Felix of Urgel in two letters, Ad Elipandum epistulae duae (Patrologia Latina 96:8941030), composed jointly with Bp. Etherius of Osma. As teacher and adviser to Queen Adosinda of León, Beatus wrote the first redaction of the Commentary in 776, reediting it in 784 and 786. Since it was drawn from similar works of the Fathers from Irenaeus to Isidore of Seville, it was ascribed to various authors. Ambrosio de Morales and mabillon identified it as Beatus's work. flÓrez published it (Madrid 1770), as did H. A. Sanders (Rome 1930). But more important than the text are the illustrations in the 30 extant MSS (9th to 13th century), exemplifying the development of Spanish art. The geometric design and interlacing in the MSS are evidence of celtic (or coptic?) art influence; but the color, imagery, domed architecture, oriental flora and fauna are Mozarabic. The nimbus of red dots is Celtic, the "carpet-page" Coptic. The Commentary illustrations had an immense impact upon Romanesque sculptors at Vézelay, saint-benoÎt-sur-loire, and especially at moissac, where the tympanum shows 24 elders carrying, as viols, Spanish guitars identical with those in a Beatus MS of the same scene. Beatus probably wrote O Dei verbum, Patris ore proditum, a hymn for the feast of St. James.

Feast: Feb. 19 (Spain).

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum, Feb. 3:149150. m. r. james, The Apocalypse in Art (London 1931). É. mÂle, L'Art religieux du XIIe siècle en France (5th ed. Paris 1947). w. neuss, Die Apokalypse in Bibel-Illustration (Münster 1931). j. pÉrez de urbel, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912 ) 7:8990. f. stegmÜller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 195765) 2:8687.

[m. j. daly]

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Beatus of Liébana

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