I find that basing my writing on aspects of reality makes the fiction appear more real. Therefore I am always on the lookout for fascinating snippets of history, religion, art or culture that can bring a richness to the story.
The Devil's Bible, also called the Codas Gigas, was one of those serendipitous findings as I was searching for an appropriate ‘MacGuffin‘ for Prophecy.
Legend tells of its creation at the hands of monk who sinned grievously. In order to prevent the punishment of being walled up alive, he promised to write down all human knowledge in one night. Finding himself overwhelmed and unable to complete the task, he bargained with the Devil – his soul for the finished book.
The Devil's Bible contains the books of the Latin Bible but also spells, incantations, exorcism prayers and images of the Devil and the Kingdom of Heaven. There are pages missing which was brilliant as the search for the pages became a key part of the story that merged art history with religion, both passions of mine.
You can watch a brilliant National Geographic program on the Devil's Bible – here's the National Geographic article that refers to it.
For more information, you can view the following:
The Codas Gigas official page at the National Library of Sweden
The entire Codas Gigas scanned so you can see it for yourself