Vulgate Bible folio with marginal notes.

Pocket Bibles were made with the intended purpose of being carried around. These portable texts are sometimes called 'girdle books' or 'belt books,' as they could be attached to a belt or carried in the pocket for easy transportation. They were extremely popular among friars of the mendicant orders as they were considered essential tools for preaching, which had become the most influential method of delivering religious and moral instruction and combating heresies within the increasingly urbanized landscape of the thirteenth century. Indeed, a survey of one hundred seventy-five pocket Bibles showed that one hundred and ten of them had evidence of early or original ownership by members of mendicant orders.

The Church encouraged preaching through Canon 10 of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), which urged bishops to select preachers who would also be tasked with hearing confessions, thereby creating a union between these offices. Preaching occurred in Cathedrals, churches, and public spaces where crowds could gather to listen. The relationship that developed between a preacher and his audience would often determine the content of the sermons that would be delivered. This kind of pastoral engagement with the community was a change from the segregated monastic life characteristic of the early medieval period. 

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Table of introits and mass readings added by a contemporary hand.

This particular Bible contains evidence of use by both Dominicans and Franciscans, who practiced and preached apostolic poverty. Both orders were highly adept at establishing themselves within the hustle and bustle of rapidly changing urban centres and guiding the intellectual, spiritual, and moral needs of the laity within cities. However, the success of the mendicant orders was largely dependent on the preachers' understanding of heretical beliefs and their ability to offer decisive counterarguments.

Although pocket Bibles were essential for preaching, they were also important for their liturgical functions, namely the Mass and the Divine Office. The table of Introits (passages sung or recited while the priest brought the Eucharist to the altar), readings for the Mass (including the Advent Mass), and church dedication written in the back of this Bible were made by a contemporary hand. The table begins with Dominican readings but is soon after continued by Franciscan readings.

This Bible follows the precedents of what is known as the 'Paris model', meaning that it follows the specific order of Biblical chapters established by an influential thirteenth-century Biblical codex copied in Paris; this Bible therefore demonstrates the authority of the Paris model and its widespread popularity during this period. The inclusion of an extra-Biblical text detailing the interpretation of Hebrew names, as well as highlighted passages that appear in marginal notes throughout the manuscript, all illustrate the diverse ways that preachers used their Bibles to practice their liturgical offices.

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