i (modern paper, now detached) + 140 + i (modern paper) folios on parchment, contemporary foliation, upper center recto, in Roman numerals, i-cxl, complete (collation i-xiv10), horizontal catchwords, lower center verso, ruled in crayon, often quite faintly, with full-length vertical bounding lines (justification 153-155 x 91-96 mm.), written in dark brown ink in a well-formed gothico-antiqua script in thirty-nine long lines, running titles added by the scribe, upper outer recto, on ff. 2-134, rubrics in red, one-line paraphs in blue and red, enlarged one- to two-line initials in dark brown ink, many set outside of the ruled space, guide letters for painted initials, one three-line red initial faintly decorated with white penwork (f. 135), two- to three-line red and blue initials with contrasting pen decoration in faded pink or red (ff. 2v-10, 104-105v), one eight-line blue initial with red pen decoration (f. 123), FOURTEEN LARGE ILLUMINATED INITIALS of eight to twenty-one lines, thirteen painted in magenta, decorated with white penwork, with blue backgrounds, and on square grounds of liquid gold, with green and red foliate decoration and individual golden leaves painted in the border (ff. 1, 10v, 15v, 21v, 24v, 41v, 56, 66, 67, 74, 91, 104, 123), and one painted in blue, decorated with white penwork, on a diapered, painted golden ground, with green and red foliate decoration highlighted with yellow penwork (f. 135), marginal corrections and annotations by the scribe, marginal bracketing, pointing hands, and annotations added in at least four later hands, some fading and staining without diminished legibility, initial and text on f. 91 rubbed and stained with diminished legibility, moisture damage to lower outer corner, particularly noticeable on ff. 1-5, where there has also been worm damage, but no harm to the text, but overall in very fine condition, clean and well-preserved. Bound in a late seventeenth-century German binding, possibly at Weissenau, of white pigskin, blind-tooled and blind-stamped with foliate and floral designs, over beveled wooden boards, spine with four bands, traces of an inscription on upper spine, now illegible, one intact fore-edge clasp, back to front, with traces where another has been lost, some waterstaining of the binding, with particular damage and wear to the lower outer corners, owner’s entry on verso of front flyleaf. Dimensions 230-232 x 160 mm.
This collection of texts was written in Italy but brought back to the celebrated Abbey of Weissenau, where it may have been bound. The luxurious manuscript with many illuminated initials attests to a renewed regard for the writings of Augustine in the Renaissance; later marginal annotations are evidence of its continued use. The single non-Augustinian text, a dialogue on the Mass, may have been copied here during the author’s lifetime. The attentive scribe left lacunae where text was lacking in his exemplar and included variant readings.
1. Evidence of script and the decorative style employed in the illuminated initials suggest that this manuscript was produced in Northeastern Italy, possibly in Venice, in the opening decades of the fifteenth century, c. 1400-1440, perhaps in the first quarter of the century. The first thirteen initials in this manuscript bear some stylistic resemblance to those in London, British Library, Arundel MS 124 (produced in Northern Italy, possibly in Bologna or Veneto, in the first half of the fifteenth century) and two manuscripts associated with Venetian illuminator Cristoforo Cortese (active c. 1390; died Venice, before 1445), Egerton MS 3266 (produced in Venice around 1390) and King’s MS 321 (produced in Venice in 1400; see also TM 11, produced in Venice around 1405, described on this site.)
The final text was clearly copied to be part of the same volume – it has been copied by the same scribe, with continuous foliation and an identical page layout – but differences in the execution of its initials suggest that it was completed late in the manuscript’s production or even added by the scribe after the initials had been painted for the rest of the manuscript. Since this was a contemporary text, copied here soon after its composition, or even during the author’s lifetime, its inclusion in this manuscript otherwise devoted to the actual and spurious works of Augustine, is of special interest and warrants further study.
2. Belonged to the library of the abbey of Weissenau as indicated by the eighteenth-century inscription “Bibliotheca Weissenaviensis” in the upper margin of f. 1. This Premonstratensian monastery, located near Lake Constance, was founded in 1145, raised to the status of imperial abbey in the thirteenth century, and suppressed in 1803. Over two hundred manuscripts survive from its library, most now in Liebenau, Prague, and Saint Petersburg (Krämer, 1989, pp. 818-822). A survey of the surviving manuscripts suggests that works of Augustine were in demand at a fairly early date; Weissenau’s acquisition of this manuscript suggests that this interest continued much later. This manuscript’s white blind-stamped pigskin binding is similar to bindings originating at Weissenau (Michon, 1990, p. 27). At the time of the abbey’s suppression, Weissenau’s last abbot, Bonaventure Brem (1755-1818) retained many of the library’s printed books and manuscripts (Lehmann, 1918, p. 408; Michon, 1990, pp. 23, 25). It is possible that this book was initially among those kept by Brem, but more likely that it was acquired at this time by Isfried Winkler (see below).
3. Belonged to Isfried Winkler (d. 1832), a canon of Weissenau from 1785 until its suppression and the last librarian of the abbey. After 1803 he was a parish priest in Obereschach, to the northwest of Lake Constance; his dedicatory inscription on the verso of the front flyleaf (now loose), “Plurimum Reverendo Domino Josepho Korros NeoMystæ die sexta Septembris 1827. Hunc librum manuscriptum dedicat Isfridus Winkler Parochus in OberEschach, Olim Capitularis in Weissenau Canonici Ordinis Præmonstratensis.”
4. Belonged to Joseph Korros, possibly a relative of Johann Christoph Korros (abbot of Weissenau, 1696-1704); presented to him in 1827 as a gift by Isfried Winkler, as noted in the inscription given above.
ff. 1-10v, Incipit Sermo Aurelij Augustini de Symbolo et fide contra paganos et hereticos vel Iudeos, incipit, “INter pressuras atque angustias presentis temporis et nostre officia seruitutis cogimur ... Ibi intelligemus quod cor humanum comprehendere hic non ualuit. Explicit Sermo Aurelij Augustini de Symbolo et fide contra paganos et hereticos uel Judeos”;
Pseudo-Augustine, Sermo de symbolo contra Judaeos, Paganos, et Arianos; printed Patrologia latina, vol. 42, col. 1115-1129.
ff. 10v-15v, Incipit feliciter libellus eiusdem Augustini Episcopi de disciplina christianorum, Lege memoriter etc., incipit, “LOcutus est ad nos sermo dei et promtus [“depromptus” offered in the margin as an alternative to“promtus”] est ad exhortationem nostram ... Recole euangelium quod audisti. Ego et pater vnum sumus. Conuersi ad dominum. Deo gratias. Amen. Explicit libellus Augustini Episcopi de doctrina christiana”;
Augustine, Sermo de disciplina christiana; printed Patrologia latina vol. 40, col. 669-678; edited R. Vander Plaetse, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 46, 1969.
ff. 15v-21, Incipiunt eiusdem Augustini dicta de predestinatione. Iste liber est responsio sexta yponosticon. Eiusdem Aurelij Augustini dicta seu libellus qui de predestinatione intitulatur Incipit, incipit, “ADdere etiam hoc quam maxime huic operi oportet ... gratiam predestinationis indebitam prerogare. Aurelij Augustini Episcopi libellus de predestinatione Intitulatus Explicatur feliciter”;
Pseudo-Augustine, Hypomnesticon contra Pelagianos et Coelestianos, Book 6; printed Patrologia latina vol. 45, col. 1657-1664; edited J. E. Chisholm in The Pseudo-Augustinian Hypomnesticon against the Pelagians and Celestians, 2 vols., Fribourg, 1967-1980. Text is lacking from the end of chapter 5 and the beginning of chapter 6 (following the divisions in the Patrologia latina). Corresponding to the place where text is lacking, space has been left blank from the bottom of f. 18 through the bottom of f. 19, along with a note at the bottom of f. 18, “Hic multum deest, Deficit vna carta” (Here much is lacking; one leaf is wanting); evidently a leaf was missing in the exemplar and space was left to fill in the resultant gap in the copied text.
ff. 21-24, Consequenter sequitur sermo eiusdem Augustini In die Natiuitatis domini nostri Ihesu Christi habitus et pronunciatus, Sermo Aurelij Augustini Episcopi de Natiuitate domini, incipit, “ROgo vos fratres carissimi ut libenti animo sermones quos deus dabit suscipiatis ... Qui uiuit et regnat cum patre in unitate spiritus sancti per omnia secula seculorum. Amen. Explicit Sermo Aurelij Augustini Episcopi de Natiuitate domini”;
Pseudo-Augustine(?), In natali domini I (Sermon 117); printed Patrologia latina vol. 39, col. 1977-1981.
ff. 24-41v, Incipit liber eiusdem Sanci Augustini feliciter. Cuius titulus est de Mendatio, incipit, “MAgna questio est de mendatio que nos in ipsis quottidianis actibus nostris sepe conturbat ... si faciet cum temptatione etiam exitum vt possitis sustinere. Explicit liber Aurelij Augustini Episcopi de Mendatio”;
Augustine, De mendacio; printed Patrologia latina, vol. 40, col. 487-518; edited J. Zycha in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 41, 1900; English translation in Augustine, Treatises on Various Subjects, trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney, ed. Roy J. Deferrari, Fathers of the Church 16, New York, 1952. The scribe has left empty spaces periodically within lines for one or more missing words, possibly where something was not quite legible in the exemplar.
ff. 41v-60v, Incipit liber eiusdem ad Eutropium et Paulum Episcopos hyspanos de Perfectione Iusticie. Lege feliciter, incipit, “SAnctis fratribus et episcopis Eutropio et Paulo Augustinus. Caritas uestra que in nobis est tanta et tam sancta ... ab auribus omnium remouendum et ore omnium anathematizandum esse non dubito. Amen. Explicit liber Augustini Aurelij Episcopi ad Eutropium et Paulum Episcopos hyspanos de perfectione Iusticie”;
Augustine, De perfectione justitiae hominis; printed Patrologia latina vol. 44, col. 291-318; edited C. F. Vrba and J. Zycha in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 42, 1902; English translation in Saint Augustine: Anti-Pelagian Writings, trans. Peter Holmes and Robert Ernest Wallis, ed. Philip Schaff, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, series 1, vol. 5, reprinted Grand Rapids, 1978. Rubrication identifies most of the syllogisms of Celestius and responses by Augustine by their respective names.
ff. 60v-66, Incipit liber eiusdem Augustini ad Paulinum Episcopum Nolanum de Cura pro mortuis gerenda. Perge legendo feliciter, incipit, “DIu sanctitati tue coepiscope uenerande Pauline rescriptorum debitor fui ... profecto interrogationi tue mea responsio defuisset. Explicit liber beati Augustini Episcopi ad Paulinum Episcopum Nolanum de Cura pro mortuis gerenda”;
Augustine, De cura pro mortuis gerenda; printed Patrologia latina vol. 40, col. 591-610; edited J. Zycha in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 41, 1900; English translation in Augustine, Treatises on Marriage and Other Subjects, trans. Charles T. Wilcox et al., ed. Roy J. Deferrari, Fathers of the Church 27, New York, 1955.
ff. 66-67, Incipit sermo eiusdem feliciter de consolatione mortuorum, incipit, “ADmonet nos beatus apostolus ut de dormientibus hoc est mortuis carissimis nostris non contristemur ... qui suos carne non spiritu mortuos non solum carnaliter sed etiam spiritualiter amant”;
Augustine, De verbis Apostoli (Sermon 172); printed in the Patrologia latina vol. 38, col. 936-937.
ff. 67-71, Incipit Expositio sancti Augustini Episcopi supra Symbolum, incipit, “PRo modulo etatis rudimentorumque nostrorum pro tirocinio suscepti muneris ... et eius confessione tamquam signo dato christianus fidelis agnoscitur. Amen”;
Augustine, In traditione Symboli (Sermon 214); printed Patrologia latina vol. 38, col. 1065-1072.
ff. 71-72v, Quod Paulus apostolus Thesalonicensibus in prima epistola de resurrectione mortuorum docuerit ex libro Sancti Augustini de ciuitate dei libro vigesimo et titulo uigesimo colligitur, incipit, “Sed hic apostolus tacuit de resurrectione mortuorum ... si quemadmodum futura sit perfecte comprehendere non ualemus”;
Augustine, De civitate dei, XX.20; printed in the Patrologia latina vol. 41, col. 687-689; edited E. Hoffman in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 40, 1899/1900 and B. Dombart and A. Kalb in Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 47-48, 1955. Numerous English translations, including R. W. Dyson, ed. and trans., The City of God against the Pagans, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
ff. 72v-74, Vtrum statim in aduentu domini credendum sit futurorum esse iudicium in libro de quo supra Ieronimus, incipit, “Tertio tua questio est vtrum statim in aduentu domini credendum sit futurorum esse iudicium ... Quanto magis ego uel tu uel quilibet huius temporis homines quanto nobis uidemur esse doctores”;
Augustine, De octo Dulcitii quaestiones, I, Question 3; printed Patrologia Latina vol. 40, col. 159-161; edited A. Mutzenbecher, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 44A, 1975; English translation in Augustine, Treatises on Various Subjects, trans. Mary Sarah Muldowney, ed. Roy J. Deferrari, Fathers of the Church 16, New York, 1952.
ff. 74-90v, Aurelij Augustini Episcopi de Spiritu et anima liber, Incipit feliciter, Lege ergo, incipit, “QVoniam dictum est michi ut meipsum cognoscam sustinere non possum ... ut quicquid supra illud est aliud non sit quam ratio. Explicit feliciter. Explicit liber”;
Pseudo-Augustine, De spiritu et anima, I.1-33; printed Patrologia latina vol. 40, col. 779-803. The scribe has left empty spaces periodically within lines for one or more missing words, possibly where something was not quite legible in the exemplar.
ff. 91-103v, Incipit liber Aurelij Augustini Episcopi ad sororem suam de uita christiana. Lege feliciter, incipit, “ET ego peccator et ultimus [“vilissimus” offered in the margin as an alternative to “ultimus”] Insipientiorque ceteris et imperitior vniuersis ... ut quid presentes prestare non possimus conferamus absentes. Explicit liber Aurelij Augustini Episcopi ad sororem de uita christiana”;
Pseudo-Augustine, De vita christiana; printed Patrologia latina vol. 40, col. 1031-1046.
ff. 103v-122v, Incipit liber eiusdem Augustini ad Paulinam de videndo deum, incipit, “MEmor debiti quod ex tua petitione et mea promissione factum est religiosa famula dei paulina ... De corpore uero spirituali si deus iuuerit opere alio experiemur quid disputare ualeamus. Explicit Aurelij Augustini liber ad Paulinam de uidendo deum”;
Augustine, De videndo deo (Epistola 147); printed Patrologia latina vol. 33, col. 596-622; edited A. Goldbacher in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 44, 1904; English translation Augustine of Hippo: Selected Writings, trans. Mary T. Clark, New York, 1984. Textual divisions here do not match those in Goldbacher (1904).
ff. 132v-134v, Aurelij Augustini episcopi de decem cordis liber incipit feliciter; f. 123, prefatory poem, incipit, “ISste [sic] liber modico tennis sit corpore quamuis / Haud tamen exiguas fert tibi lecto opes ... Exempla istius fuerit quicumque secutus / Hic possessor erit o paradise tuus”; f. 123, incipit, “DOminus et deus noster misericors et miserator longanimis et multum misericors et uerax ... Erit ergo illud sabbatum sabbatorum quod hic desideramus ibi inueniamus. Amen. Explicit Sancti Augustini liber de decem cordis”;
Augustine, De decem chordis (Sermon 9); printed Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 75-91; edited C. Lambot in Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 41, 1961. Preceded here by a short poem that often accompanies it in manuscripts (Dieter Schaller and Ewald Könsgen, ed., 1977, no. 8419; printed Benedictines of Bouveret, 1965-1982, vol. 6, no. 22121).
ff. 134v-140v, Exhortatio quedam notabilis ad sacerdotes qui raro legunt missam feliciter incipit, incipit, “QVando uox illa iustitie auribus meis insonuit ... qui est benedictus semper in seculorum secula. Amen. [in later hand: Finis]”.
Heinrich von Altendorf, Dialogus de celebratione missae. This text circulated in manuscript form during the fifteenth century – Franz identifies four manuscripts (1902) in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and further searching suggests that the text survives in additional fifteenth-century manuscripts in Southern German and Austrian repositories. It was printed twice before 1500, first in 1473 in Esslingen and then in 1482 in Strasbourg (GW 9511 and 9512). The speakers in this dialogue, “Pontifex” and “Sacerdos,” have been indicated with rubrication throughout.
Heinrich von Altendorf (c. 1360-1427) was a professor at Heidelberg between 1400 and 1411, after which he became a member of the Carthusian Order. From 1417 to 1424 he was Prior of the Charterhouse of Freiburg im Breisgau and was concurrently, starting in 1418, a Visitor for the Rhine province. In 1424, he became prior of the Charterhouse in Monnikhuizen, near Arnhem, where he died in 1427. His movements would have brought him into contact with theologians like Matthew of Krakow, whose writings in favor of frequent communion connect him to the Bohemian Eucharistic movement, and with the Devotio Moderna movement expanding in the early fifteenth century in the Low Countries. Heinrich’s Dialogus focuses on the preparation for the Eucharist within the framework of a dialogue between a priest and a bishop, who exhorts the priest in his Eucharistic obligations.
The contents of this manuscript are predominantly works written by, or attributed to, St. Augustine, whose importance in the history of Western thought can hardly be exaggerated. In the words of a recent scholar, Augustine from the Middle Ages to the present “has remained the most prominent and most widely studied author in Western Christianity,” second only to biblical writers such as Paul (Drobner, 2000, p. 18). It is also worth noting that, especially in the modern era, Augustine is still read and studied in a wider, non-religious context, for he is valued as a philosopher and as the author of what is widely considered to be the earliest known Western autobiography, the Confessiones.
De mendacio is the first of two treatises Augustine wrote on the subject of lying; in this 395 work he probes the nature and moral gravity of dishonesty. De perfectione justitiae hominis, written around 414 or 415, responds to sixteen syllogisms within an alleged work by Caelestius that argues the possibility of human sinlessness; in this treatise, Augustine answers each of these syllogisms in turn and asserts his own belief in universal human sinfulness and the consequent need of divine salvation. In De cura pro mortuis gerenda, a brief treatise written around 422, Augustine responds to a query by Paulinus, bishop of Nola, regarding the advantages of burying the dead near the memorials of saints with a compassionate reflection on the value of care and prayer for the dead. De videndo deo, also addressed to Paulinus, bishop of Nola, addresses the manner in which God may be apprehended before and after death; Augustine dismisses the possibility of corporeal visions of God, arguing instead that the ultimate happiness of humans lies in intellectual visions of God. De decem chordis is an oft-cited sermon on the Ten Commandments.
This manuscript also contains a number of works falsely attributed to Augustine. An abundance of pseudo-Augustinian work circulated under his name during the Middle Ages. In fact, pseudo-Augustinian texts like the Sermones ad fratres in eremo were just as popular at the time, if not more so, than genuinely Augustinian works, and they contributed significantly to medieval reception of Augustinian thought. One of the most heavily annotated texts within this volume is the popular pseudo-Augustinian work De spiritu et anima.
The question of why these particular texts were chosen for inclusion in this manuscript is an interesting one, and one worthy of further exploration, as part of the history of the reception of Augustine in the fifteenth century. The Italian Renaissance saw a renewal of interest in Augustine’s writings. Petrarch, for example, is known for his admiration of Augustine. Humanist authors produced editions and new commentaries on Augustine and other early Church Fathers, whom they regarded as part of the corpus of classical Latin literary texts. The evident care with which this manuscript was copied and emended by its scribe – particularly evident in the lacunae left by the scribe where text was lacking in his exemplar and in his inclusion of variant readings – indicates the scribe’s dedication to presenting an accurate copy of Augustine’s works. The scribe’s use of running titles for all of the works attributed to Augustine and the marginal annotations added by him and several later readers all point to the eager attention with which these texts were still being read in the early Renaissance and beyond. The curious inclusion of a single work within this volume that has not been attributed to Augustine, Heinrich von Altendorf’s dialogue on the celebration of Mass, also warrants further attention, particularly in light of the fact that this text largely survives in German and Austrian manuscripts.
Augustine was born in 354 in Thagaste in North Africa. His mother, Monica, was a Christian; his father, Patricius, converted only on his deathbed. Of modest means, Augustine nonetheless received a good education and studied at Carthage. After various spiritual and moral struggles, known to us through his Confessiones, Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in Milan in 387; he became Bishop of Hippo in 395, a position he held until his death in 430. He was a prolific writer, composing more than one-hundred and twenty works (James O’Donnell estimates that Augustine left behind 5,000,000 words that survive today). These works survive in a vast number of manuscripts, which are being catalogued in the series Die Handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke des heiligen Augustinus, Õsterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Bd. 263, 267, 276, 281, 289, 292, 350, 601, 645, 685, 688, 791, Vienna, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1969-<2010>, as well as in numerous printed editions. The first complete printed edition of his work was produced in Basel by Johannes Amerbach from 1505 to 1517.
Benedictines of Bouveret. Colophons de manuscrits occidentaux des origines au XVIe siècle, Fribourg, 1965-1982.
Brown, Peter. Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, London, Faber and Faber, 2000.
Schaller, Dieter and Ewald Könsgen, ed. Initia carminum Latinorum saeculo undecimo antiquiorum: Bibliographisches Repertorium für die lateinische Dichtung der Antike und des früheren Mittelalters, Göttingen, 1977
Drobner, Hubertus R. “Studying Augustine: an Overview of Recent Work,” Augustine and his Critics; Essays in Honor of Gerald Bonner, ed. Robert Dodaro and George Lawless, London, Routledge, 2000, pp. 18-34.
Drüll, Dagmar. Heidelberger Gelehrtenlexikon 1386-1651, Berlin, Springer, 2002, p. 215.
Fitzgerald, Allan D. Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, Grand Rapids, MI, W. B. Eerdmans, 1999.
Franz, Adolf. Die Messe im deutschen Mittelalter: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Liturgie und des religiösen Volkslebens, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1902.
Grosse, Sven. Heilsungewißheit und Scrupulositas im späten Mittelalter, Tübingen, J. C. B. Mohr, 1994.
Die Handschriftliche Überlieferung der Werke des heiligen Augustinus, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Bd. 263, 267, 276, 281, 289, 292, 350, 601, 645, 685, 688, 791, Vienna, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1969-<2010>.
Krämer, Sigrid. Handschriftenerbe des Deutschen Mittelalters, Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweiz, Ergänzungsband I, Munich, 1989.
Lehmann, Paul. Bibliothekskataloge Deutschlands und der Schweitz, vol. 1, Munich, 1918, pp. 407-412.
Michon, Solange. Le grand passionnaire enluminé de Weissenau et son scriptorium autour de 1200, Geneva, Editions Slatkine, 1990.
O’Donnell, James J. Augustine, Sinner and Saint: A New Biography, London, Profile, 2005.
Worstbrock, F. J. “Heinrich von Hessen d. J.,” Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters: Verfasserlexikon, ed. Wolfgang Stammler, Karl Langosch, et al., vol. 3, Berlin, 1981, cols. 756-757.
Augnet (life and works of Augustine, with extensive bibliography)
Mendelson, Michael. “Saint Augustine,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2010
Nuova biblioteca Augustiniana (comprehensive Italian site on Augustine and his writings, including his works in Latin, from the Patrologia Latina edition, and Italian translations)
O’Donnell, James J. Augustine of Hippo