TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Devotional Miscellany, including prayers; HENRICUS SUSO, Prayer from Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit; Speculum artis bene moriendi (third West-Middle-German translation); Meditations on the Passion and Life of the Virgin; SAINT BERNARD, Seelgerät and Goldene Kette; PSEUDO-AUGUSTINE, Speculum peccatoris ; Der klare Spiegel uneres Herren; treatise and sermon on the ten commandments, quotations from MEISTER ECKHART; NICHOLAS OF CUSA, Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer (Sermo XXIV), JEAN GERSON, Opusculum tripartitum (excerpt); THOMAS A KEMPIS, De imitatione Christi and others texts.

In Ripuarian German, manuscript on paper
Lower Rhine (Cologne, St. Agnes ad Olivas?), c. 1460-1485

TM 543

iv+337+iv leaves, paper, watermarks: ff. 1-23 bull’s head, type Piccard VII, 150ff, ff. 26-127 grape, ff. 128-338 letter Y, type Briquet 9179, 9182, 9184 (Neuburg 1455, 1483, Cologne 1467), several different letters P; key, type Piccard III, 3ff, (1460s, 1470s), crowned lily, type Piccard I, 683-686 (Frankfurt am Main 1481, Aachen, Cologne 1487); modern foliation in pencil on rectos in the upper right corner (1–277, 278a, 278b, 279–338); mostly in quires of twelve leaves (collation: i2 lacking 1 (f. [I], modern flyleaf), ii2 lacking 1 (f. [II], old vellum flyleaf of maculature, tipped in), iii2 (ff. [III–IV], flyleaves), iv12 (ff. 1–12), v12 lacking 12 (ff. 13–23, no loss of text), vi–xxiv12 (ff. 24–251), xxv.8 lacking 7 and 8? (ff. 252–257, no loss of text), xxvi–xxxi12 (ff. 258–277, 278a–b, 279–328), xxxii4 (ff. 329–332), xxxii6 (ff. 333–338), xxxiv2 lacking 2 (f. [339], old vellum flyleaf of maculature, tipped in), xxxv2 lacking 2 (f. [340], modern flyleaf); horizontal catchwords on ff. 47v, 59v, 71v, 83v, 95v, 119v, 143v, 155v, 167v, 179v, 191v and 203v, no signatures; written below top line in a littera hybrida by three hands: Hand A ff. 1r–23v, Hand B ff. 26r–127v and 132r–211v, Hand C ff. 127v–131r and 211v–336r, a slightly later fourth hand on f. 24r; ruled in very pale brown ink, prickings for all horizontal en vertical lines still present in ff. 24–95 (= quires vi–xi), ff. 132–143 (= quire xv) and ff. 156–170, 1 column, justification: 100–95 x 65–60 mm. (ff. 1r–23v), 90-85 x 60-55 mm. (ff. 26r–336r); 19–28 lines: Hand A 19–20 lines, Hand B 21–28 lines, Hand C 20–24 lines; one three-line ornamental initial in red (f. 1r), many one- to eight-line lombards in red, paragraph signs in red, from f. 327r onwards lombards and paragraph signs alternating red and blue, majuscules in text stroked in red, rubrics in red (occasionally in black with red underlining), in fine condition. Contemporary binding, wooden boards covered with brown leather, blind-tooled with double and triple fillets and small rectangular stamps (very faint), two brass clasps and catches (the lower one new) on new thongs, spine with five raised bands and head and tail bands, rebacked and neatly restored by bookbinder Sonnfriede Scholl from Munich (Both covers worn, In a tailor-made box of grey linen over pasteboard, made in c. 2000, from the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, see below). Dimensions 144 x 105 mm.

This extensive miscellany, in its contemporary binding and written in the German dialect spoken in the region of Cologne, witnessese the widespread influence of the spirituality of the Devotio Moderna in that region. The selection of texts that focus on meditation on the Passion, along with works by Augustine, Bernard, Henricus Suso, Meister Eckhard, Nicolas of Cusa, and Jean Gerson, among many others, displays a common concern for the inner life of the believer. Possible localization at a Franciscan monastery confirms ties between the Modern Devout and the Franciscans.


1. The mentioning in the Litany of Sts. Victor, Gereon, Pantaleon (f. 10v), Severin, Cunibert (f. 12r) and Adelgonde (f. 13r) suggests that the manuscript was made for use in Cologne. Other textual aspects point out that it was intended for use by Franciscans: St. Francis is mentioned first among the confessors in the Litany (f. 11v); also mentioned in the Litany are Saints Clara and Elizabeth of Hungary, one of the first members of the Third Order of St. Francis (f. 13r); there is a prayer to St. Francis, in which he is addressed as “heilge vader” (holy father) and “heilge ind lieve vader” (holy and dear father, ff. 23r–24r); and the manuscript contains excerpts from a legend of St. Elizabeth of Hungary (ff. 178v–185r).

Apparently the manuscript was made for use by monks, not by nuns, given the presence of a text on the sinfulness of having nocturnal ejaculations (ff. 93v–99r). Moreover, the reader of one of the sermons is addressed as “aller liefste broeder,” “goide broder,” and “lieve broder” (dearest brother, good brother, dear brother, ff. 155r–156v).

Assuming that the manuscript was made for a community of Franciscan monks in Cologne, the monastery of Minor Friars of St. Agnes ad Olivas is a plausible candidate. It would explain why St. Agnes is mentioned not only first but also twice among the virgins in the Litany. The monastery, founded in 1291 and dissolved in 1802, followed the rule of the Franciscan Order since 1328/9. Although nothing is known about a scriptorium there, the manuscript may also have been produced in this monastery.

2. Heribert Tenschert in Rotthalmünster, Germany, extensively described by Karin Schneider and Kurt Ruh in Leuchtendes Mittelalter, Neue Folge II, 1998, no. 19.

3. Belonged to Joost R. Ritman (b. 1941), Amsterdam, the Dutch businessman and distinguished collector of art and books, who acquired it from Tenschert in 1999; Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica MS 205; printed ex libris glued ot the front pastedown bookplate.


ff. 1r–19r, Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany, rubric: “Hee begynnent de seuen Salmen. Dit is der eirste. Domine ne in,” incipit: “Here in dinre verbolgenheit in straiffe mych neit,” explicit: “Alle gelouvyghen moissen rasten in vreden. Amen.”

ff. 19r–23r, for Communion:

ff. 19r–20r, Henricus Suso, prayer when attending Communion, from his Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit, rubric: “Eyn gebet als du gain woult zo deine heilgen Sacrament. Oracio,” incipit: “O levendige vrucht du soisse gemynde,” explicit: “ind giff myr minne ind kraifft zo doichden myt wilcher ich dir behegelich moichte werden Amen”; edition in Heinrich Seuse 1907, p. 303.

ff. 20r–21r, no rubric, incipit: “Here Ihesus Cristus ich in bin zo maill niet wirdich dat du in gais onder myn dach,” explicit: “Overmytz dich selver leyve here Ihesu Criste de mit deme vader ind mit deme heiligen geist leifft inde rengeneirt ein got ewenclich sonder ende. Amen.”

ff. 21v–22v, Prayer after receiving the Sacrament, rubric: “Eyn gebet als man dat heilige sacrament intfangen hait,” incipit: “O almechtige ind barmhertzige got, ich saigen dir danck. Want du mich unwirdigen sonder gespist hais,” explicit: “zo stichtinge ind exempel uns crysten ind zo unsser ewiger selicheit Amen.”

ff. 22v–23r, antiphon O sacrum convivium, rubric: “Antiffen,” incipit: “O heilge wirtschaff in wilcher Cristus yntfangen wirt,” explicit: “Opdat wir altzyt ind sceitlichen gevoillen moissen de vrucht ind de bate van dinre verloissinge. De leves ind rengeners eyn got ewenclichen sonder ende. Amen.”

ff. 23r–24r, Prayer to St. Francis, rubric: “Eyen gebet van sente franciscus,” incipit: “Sente franciscus ein knecht ind eyn vrunt des alren oversten was ein insetzer ind ein vurgenger der mynre broider oirden,” explicit: “Ind dat onse offerhande ind geloffnysse intfencklichen moisse wessen vur deme angesichte gotz. Amen” (ff. 24v–25v blank).

ff. 26r–49v, Gospel Harmony relating the Last Supper and the Passion:

ff. 26r–36v, rubric: “Hye beghynnet die leste aeuentz rede die vnse lieue here Ihesus Cristus leirde sinen lieven iungeren doe he van in wolde scheyden. Matheus, Marcus, Lucas, Johannes,” incipit: “Ind it geschach dat ihesus alle diese rede volbracht hadde. Doe sprach he zo sinen iongeren,” explicit: “ind sal in noch kunt doin dat die mynne mit der da du mich mit gemynt hais, in yn sy ind ich in yn.”

ff. 36v–49v, rubric: “Dit is die passie Cristi als die veir ewangelisten concordieren. Matheus, Marcus, Lucas, Iohannes,” incipit: “Doe Ihesus diese wort gesprochen hadde doe ginck he vss mit synen iungeren in eyn dorp dat heisch Getzemani,” explicit: “Gait ind hoidet als ir wisset ind si gingen ewech ind bewarden dat graff, ind zeichenden den steyn mit den hoederen Deo gracias.”

ff. 50r–80v (rubric on 49v), Speculum artis bene moriendi, in the third West-Middle-German translation (cf. Rudolf 1957, pp. 80–81), rubric: “Hye begint eyn tractait wie der mynsch sal waill sterven leren die wyle he noch gesunt ys,” incipit: “Synt den maille in der zijt der iaemerheit der aeverganck des dodes in des stervens,” explicit: “Dat wir van gode nummer gescheiden yn werden des help uns der vader ind der sun ind der heilige geist Amen.”

ff. 80v–84v, :

ff. 80v–83r, Prayer to Christ when dying, rubric: “Eyn gebet zo unsen lieven heren,” incipit: “O here ihesu cristi erhoere myn gebet want ich ytzont bekennen dat myne zijt hie by is,” explicit “Dat is wair in den namen des vaders des sons ind des heiligen geistes amen.”

f. 83r-v, Prayer to the Virgin, rubric: “Zo der jonffer Marie,” incipit: “Ich groissen dich aller heiligeste ionffrouwe Maria Eyne vrouwe der engel ind eyne koninckynne der hemele,” explicit: “O gebenedide vrouwe bis uns genedich ind versoene uns mit dyme kinde updat wir inschauwen mogen ewelich sonder ende amen.”

ff. 83v–84r, Prayer to Christ, rubric: “gebet,” incipit: “O koninck aller konincken here aller heren Du heillich aller heylich Eyn loff der engelen,” explicit “Alleyne here bis Alleyne der oeverste bis Ihesus Cristus mit dem heiligen geist Amen”

f. 84r–v, Prayer to God the Father, no rubric, incipit: “ Vader van den hemel got In dem namen Ihesu Cristi dins sons bidden ich dat du mir vergeves alle myne sunden,” explicit: “In den namen Ihesu Cristi dins sons bidden ich dat du in der lester uren myns dotz nemes mynen geist.”

f. 84v, Prayer to Christ, no rubric, incipit: O aller goitlichste Ihesus sich up mich arme sunder mit den ougen diner barmhertzicheit,” explicit: “Ind mit dem scheicher yn deine hemelschen paridise beschouwen moisse sonder ende amen”; edition of a Latin version in Leroquais 1927, p. 345.

f. 84v, Prayer to Christ, no rubric, text: “O vliessender born aller lutergeit drencke mich mit dem wasser diner genaden dat in mir intsprenge die beche der doechden ewiger selicheit Amen.”

f. 84v, Prayer to Christ in question and answer form, no rubric, text: “O here wae sal ich dich soicken In dyme gebede Wae sal ich dich vinden Ane deme cruce Wae sal ich dich behaldenIn eyme oitmoidigen hertzen Amen.”

ff. 85v–93r, On the life and passion of Christ, with reference to St. John of Damascus, no rubric, incipit: “Damascenus schrift ind spricht dat dat leven uns heren Ihesu Crist ind alle sine wercke staint ane XIII stucken. Dat eirste was anheven, dat ander was zonem, dat derde was wircken,” explicit: “Ind setzet uch neit up genoigde dieser zijtlicher dinge Ind siet vursichtich ind niet sorgveldich Ind wiss als die slange ind eynveldich als die duve Amen.”

ff. 93v–99r, On the sinfulness of having nocturnal ejaculations, with references to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, no rubric, incipit: “Sent Thomas spricht van der befleckinge die des nachtes dem mynschen geschuyt in dem slaiffe Soelen wir zwey dinck mercken Dat eyne dat by noit hindert die intfanginge des heilgen sackermentz,” explicit: “Is it also dat deme mynschen behaget dae ane die verlichtinge der naturen ind anders neit nie, dan dat die nature intlichtet weirt dae van dae sy mit besweirt was. Des gelouvet nu dat dat egeyne sunde in sy.”

ff. 99v–102v, Quotations:

ff. 99v–100v, Quotation from St. Bernard, no rubric, incipit: “Sent Bernart spricht yn der personen des brudgums zo der mynnender selen alsus. Want du umb mynen willen neit gedruckt in wolt sin noch vervolginge liden,” explicit: “Mer als si eme ave gient, so weirt he waille gewar wie lichtlichen dat he er sich getroisten kan”;

ff. 100v–103r, Quotation from Ps-Ruusbroec (Godeverd of Wevele), no rubric, incipit: “Ruyschbroeich spricht Dat is eyn recht geistlich mynsch in wilchen is eyn oitmoidich gelaissen grunt,” explicit: “Ind aller selichste is sy die van mynnen stirft als die nachtegale Also starff des mynsch sun Ihesus ane deme cruce.”

ff. 103v–118r, Meditation on the Passion of Christ, divided over the seven canonical hours, no rubric, incipit: “Seven maile hain ich dir loff gesacht ane deme dage here. Dit spricht der proffete ind is die meynynge dat it waille moegeliche weire got ayn underlais zo loven,” explicit: “dat he mit sent Pauwelus moege sprechen Alzijt drage ich den doit Cristi in myne vleische. Amen.”

ff. 118r–121v, Quotations from Saints Bernard, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Paul, Isidore, Basil and Jerome, and from the Liber positionum, attributed to Meister Eckhart (cf. Pfeiffer 1857, p. 642, No. 36), rubric: “Dit sint guede mirckliche puntgyn,” incipit: “Sent Bernardus spricht also ducke als yemant oeverdenckt die passie uns heren Ihesu Cristi mit ynnicheit ind mit sanckberheit,” explicit: “Here he in mynnet dich niet Der yet mit dir mynnet dat he niet umb dich in mynnet.”

f. 121v, Devotional rhyme, no rubric, text: “Kunde ich gesterven mynen synnen | ind myns selves ussgegain | ind mich vernyeten in allen dingen |solde myn hertze in vreden stain.”

ff. 121v–122v, Meditations on the Life of the Virgin, divided over the seven days of the week, at Matins and Vespers, incipit “Hye begynnent XIII puntgyn van unser liever vrouwen die man durch die weche alle dage oiffenen sal. Des maendages zo metten zijt saltu dencken wie unse lieve vrouwe intfangen wart,” explicit: “Zo vesper zijt dencke wie sy zo hemel gevoirt wart mit groisser unsprechlicher vreuden.”

f. 123r (rubric on f. 122v), Dialogue between the loving soul and her groom Christ, rubric: “Dit spricht die mynnende sele zo eirme gemynden brudgum,” incipit: “Die geware mynende sele spricht Ich mynnen myn lieff baeven alle dat in hemel ind in erden is,” explicit: “All haistu mich gelaissen ich in sal dich nochtant net laissen.”

ff. 123v–124r (rubric on f. 123r), Seven stages of humility (although the text only mentions six), adaptation of a passage in Anselm of Canterbury’s Similitudes, Chapter 37, rubric: “Van VII greden der oitmoidicheit,” incipit: “Sent Ancelmus leirt seiss grede der oitmoidicheit in deme boiche der gelichenisse Der eirste grait is dat sich der mynsche erkennen sal als wie he der allerneiderste,” explicit: “Der diese grede upclymmet dat is eyn oitmoidich mynsch.”

ff. 124r–127v, Quotations from St. Bernard, the prophet David, St. Dionysius, St. Anselm of Canterbury and unnamed others, no rubric, incipit: “Wer heymelich wilt werden deme eynigen eyn Der mois unheymelichen werden van hertzen allen creaturen,” explicit: “der sal sich dicke spiegelen in der passien ind in den wunden uns heren Ihesu Cristi.”

ff. 127v–129r, Sixteen advantages of observing the Passion of Christ, rubric: “Van nutzen lijden uns heren Ihesu Cristi,” incipit: “Van nutze des lijdens uns leven heren Ihesu Cristi zo bedencken ind zo betraichten de dem mynschen werden gegeven der sich steitlich da ynne oiffent der nutze sijnt XVI de beschryvet uns sente Bernardus,” explicit: “myt der selver vreuden wilt god ordelen alle de synen doit ee versmaden myt gedencken myt worden off myt wercken”; cf. Illing 1975, pp. 76-77, no. 15.

ff. 129v–130r, Seelgerät of St. Bernard, no rubric, incipit: “Do der lieve sent s. Bernard an syme ende lach do leys hey sijnen iungeren dit selve gerede ind sprach: mijn leve broder synt dat ich eyn geistelich m[ynsch] wart so vlijsse ich mich dat ich myn hertze reynde van allen werentlichen dyngen,” explicit: “dat ich alle tzijt van susgedaner materien redede des help ouch uns der vader ind der son ind der heilger geist Amen”; cf. Illing 1975, p. 73.

ff. 130r–131r, Goldene Kette (“Golden Chain”) of St. Bernard, rubric: “Dit is eyn gude lere,” incipit: “So wer tzo reichter bescheydenheit komen wilt der vle der werelt weisheit want also vil as an mynre bescheidenheit is also vil byn ich gode gehoersam,” explicit: “also vil wil ich dat got wil ind got wil dat ich will”; cf. Schneider 1981, pp. 88–89, and Schnell 1984, p. 147.

f. 131r, Quotation from Meister Eckhart, no rubric, text: “Eyn meister spricht: so wer in allen steden is da heyme der is gotz weirdich. So wer in allen dyngen is alleyne deme is got zo allen tzijden yntgaen woerdich. In deme gebeirt der hemelsche vader synen eyngeborenen sun Amen”; edition in Pfeiffer 1857, p. 598, Spruch 4 (f. 131v blank).

ff. 132r–155r, Tract on the Ten Commandments, rubric: “Hye begynnent die X gebot, dye Moyses intfinck van gode up den berge van Synay, mit eirre vercleiringen ind bedudyngen nae den worden der heilger leirer Augestinus, Thomas van Aquino ind Ramundus [= Raymond of Peñafort], Inocencius [= Pope Innocent III] ind Hostiensis [= Henry of Segusio] ind ander leirer der heilger schrift ind des geistlichen rechts,” explicit: “Als gewoenden zo sweren machet den mynschen bereit zo versweren. Also als Johannes [= John of Freiburg] spricht in Summa confessorum li[ber] III c[ap]y[tulum] XXXIIIus.”

ff. 155r–156v, Sermon on the Ten Commandments for brethren, no rubric, incipit: “Davit spricht in dem selter: Vermalendijt sy der mynsche der sich neyget van den geboden gotz. Her umb aller liefste broeder syet sorgveldich zo behalden die gebode gotz,” explicit: “Wye waille dat du niet in bis geleirt, du mois wissen ind halden die X gebot gotz, woltu behalden sijn.”

ff. 156v–160r, Enumerations of the Seven Fruits of the Holy Ghost, the Eight Beatitudes, the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy, the Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy, the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Virtues, the Seven Corporal Gifts of the Glory, the Seven Spiritual Gifts of the Glory, the Six Sins against the Holy Ghost, and the Nine Ways of Participating on Others’ Sins.

ff. 160r–161v, Quotations from Sts. Bernard, Augustine and Gregory the Great, no rubric, incipits: “Sent Bernart spricht: also soellen wir leven so wanne dat der licham weirt gessen van den wormen,” “Sent Augestinus spricht: Alle zijt is got bereit uns unse sunden zo vergeven,” “Sent Gregorius spricht: wir in doint neit vor unse wairaftige penenetencie [sic].”

ff. 161v–178v, Tract on Confession, with examples, rubric: “Dit is van der biget suverlich underscheit,” incipit: “Wanne dat du bichten wolt so saltu dich vor waille bedencken dat du wisses so wat du vor den preister sagen salt,” explicit: “Woltu syn in gewaire penetencien, so raste van sunden ind lais aff me zo sundigen. Want die penentencie is ydell die man bevlecket mit navolgenden sunden. Deo gracias.”

ff. 178v–185r, Legend of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, excerpts:

ff. 178v–184r, rubric: “Van sent Elisabet,” incipit: “Als sy zo spelen plach mit den cleynen meitginer umb eynich dinck zo wynnen so satte sy ere hoffen zo wynnen zo gode’, explicit: ‘Dat sievende is dat ich dich ewentlichen behalden mach.”

ff. 184r–185r, rubric: “Van Lodewich dem eirlichen vursten [= Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia],” incipit: “He was eyn soisser troister der lude ind eyn mitwircker der waildait die sy dede,” explicit: “Ind als it geschach dat it yeman sprach der wart hertzlichen gekastiget. Also levede he mit sent Elysabeth siner vrouwen.”

ff. 185r–188r, Peter Damian, letter to Countess Blanca, excerpt, rubric: “Van veirveirlicheit des dodes,” incipit: “Petrus Damyani spricht in eyner epistelen die he schreiff zo der greffynnen van Blanckenburch alsus: It is oever zo dencken wie bitterlichen ind wie seire dat die sundige sele verveirt sal werden van den benden des vleisches ind sterven,” explicit: “ind eynen starcken upsatz der volkomenheit zo vercrigen ind unbewegelichen zo bewaren. O myn ewiger got Ich bidden dich keire dine zornicheit van mir Die enxstliche sentencie der ewiger verdoemenisse st verre van mir”; edition of the Latin version in Petrus Damianus 1988, p. 259.

ff. 185v–189r, Quotation from St. John Chrysostom, incipit: “Sent Iohannes spricht in siner heymelicher offenbaringe van deme ewigen leven alsus: Die stat is clair gulden,” explicit: “Vil billicher so in sal man egeyne scharpheit vlien in dieser zijt dae der hemell zo eyme loene aff bereit ist,” rubric at the end: “Dit spricht sent Johannes mit den gulden munt dat hier vor steit. Laus tibi Criste et Maria mater eius.”

ff. 189v–205v (rubric on f. 189r), Ps-St. Augustine, Speculum peccatoris (Mirror of Sinners) in German, rubric: “Hye heift ane der spiegell des sunders seir mircklich,” incipit: “O aller lieifste broder want wir sin in diesem wege dieser vliender werelt Ind unse dage vergaint als der scheine der sonnen,” explicit: “Up dat du deme ewigen dode intgain moeges. Und mit Ihesu Cristo ewentlichen leven. Dat he uns moisse verlenen die in ewicheit is gebenendit Amen. Hye endet der spiegel des sunders”; edition in Roth 1991, pp. 183–226.

ff. 205v–209r, Marquard of Lindau, Decalogue, a cathechism on the Ten Commandments, excerpt from the section on the Fourth Commandment, rubric: “Eyne goide maneire wie man sal leren sterven. Der iunger vraiget den meister,” incipit: “Ich begeren in diner mynnen seder dat vegvuir so bitter ind so swair is ind der selen so balde vergessen wart,” explicit: “Ind den mynschen straift umb syne undanckberheit Ind eme ouch vorhildet den richen schatz sins verdienstes ind sins durbarn lidens”; cf. Rudolf 1957, p. 105 and nt. 1.

ff. 209r-211r, Der klare Spiegel uneres Herren (The Clear Mirror of our Lord), no rubric, incipit: “Eyn geistlich mynsch sal syns selffs nau warnemen van bynnen,” explicit: “Ind war umb he die dinck doe. Ind blyve stede in der doegent ind in der wairheit bis in den dot”; edition in Quint 1940, pp. 276–277, and Stammler 1948, pp. 158–159.

f. 211r–v, On the Imitation of the Passion of Christ, no rubric, incipit: “Ich sal mich liden Ind wille mich mit der hulpen gotz gerne leren lyden Dem zo love ind zo eyner ewiger eren,” explicit: “Ussginck syner zarter naturlicher junfferlicher moder Ussginck syner gebenedider selen. Got si geloft amen.”

ff. 211v–214r, Repetition (by Hand C) of the text (by Hand B) on ff. 209r–211r.

f. 214r, Nicholas of Strasbourg (attr.), Nine virtues of spiritual life, rubric: “Dyt synt nyen dynck der eyn eiclich,” incipit: “D[yt] synt IX dynck der eyn eickelich geistelich mynsche wael bedaerff. Dat eirste dat der mynsche gerne bidde ind aendeichtlichen,” explicit: “Dat nyunde is de mynne dragen ordencliche weme deser IX dinck eyn gebricht der en is niet eyn volkomen geistelich mynsche”; edition in Bihlmeyer 1917, p. 47, lines 28–34.

ff. 214r–215r, St. Bernard (attr.), Praise of solitude, no rubric, incipit: “Sanctus Bernardus spricht: vil wort ind werck ind bywesens aen noyt dat krencket den ernst ind verlesschet de leyffde,” explicit: “O eymode wer in dir woenet der en hait anders vegevuyrs neit.”

f. 215r–v, Allegory of the heart as a monastery, no rubric, incipit: “Eyn vredesam hertz is eyn cloister da is got selver eyn abt ynne,” explicit: “Eynmode de celle Eyn getwege hertz ser selen strosack vrede is der bungart”; cf. Bauer 1981, pp. 1161–1164.

ff. 215v–218r, Three short tracts:

ff. 215v–216r, How to choose what is best, rubric: “Hee maichstu leren wie du ayn eyme eickelichen dynge dat beste erwelen ind erkennen salt,” incipit: Dat beste an dem lyve is kuyscheyt in eyme tzuchtichen wandelen,” explicit: “in alle unverschuldiger ind verschuldiger wederwoerdicheit in sanffmodiger gelaessenheit.”

ff. 216r–217r, On suffering, avoiding and being silent, rubric: “Mynsche woultu dynen syn na dem leiffsten willen gotz reichten,” explicit: “it soichent ind begerent vil lude doegeden de doch arbeit der deuchden bleynde synt.”

ff. 217r–218r, How to use time well, rubric: “Eyn sunderlige gode lere,” incipit: “Goder heilger mynsche sich vur dich ind nym war we du dyn zyt verdoist,” explicit: “de wyr moechten gewynnen in kurtzer tzyt ind herna groesse weridicheit” (text breaks off mid-page, f. 218v blank).

ff. 219r–243r, Nicholas of Cusa, Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer (Sermo XXIV), incipit: “Jesus in eyner aller demodichster mynscheit war got was Ind also waren syne wort ind lere,” explicit: “dar umb heischt der vursten erloeser van allen oevel den wir bidden uns zo erloesen van der hellen ind allen oevel Amen”; edition in Nicolaus Cusanus 1940, pp. 24-90.

ff. 243r–257v, Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer, rubric: “Hie begynnet eyn suverliche bedudynge des heilgen Pater Nosters uss den spruchen der lerer vergadert,” incipit: “Want der heilge apostel sent Paulus spricht: wir en sijnt neit mogich yet goitz zo dencken van ons selven,” explicit: “Nochtant dat hey niet myt allen en sprach dan myt ynnyger betrachtunge syns hertzen dat hey zo gode keyrde Also gunne uns got allen zo bidden Amen.”

ff. 257v–265r, Paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer, rubric: “He volget nae eyne suverliche rede van groisser nutztzicheitt [sic] zijtlichs liden krenckden spruchen der heilger lerer,” incipit: “Vader unsse du bis in den hemelen. O almechtige ewige got alre mogenheit we unsprechelich is dyn guede ind barmhertzicheit,” explicit: “Ind wils uns guetlich gunnen dat it uns allit geschee ind verleynt werde dat wir gebeden hayn Amen.”

ff. 265r–267r, Jean Gerson, Opusculum tripartitum, excerpt, on the three truths at the confession, rubric: “Dese nageschreven genoechliche leere hait beschreven eyn grois vernoempt lerer geheisschen meister Johannes Gerson canceller ind doctoer van Parijs,” incipit: “Got unse barmhertzige vader wissende ind bekennende unsse groesse gebrechlicheit ind zo neigen zo dem quoiden,” explicit: “Want it en is geyn also cleyn goit werck got en wil it up dat leste lonen myt ewigem off myt tzytlichen lone”; edition of the French text in Jean Gerson 1966, pp. 204–205.

f. 267r, Quotation from St. Augustine, rubric: “Sent Augustijn spricht,” text: “Lijs ind weder lijs alle de schrijffte der heiligen ind du en vynds niet soerchligers dan dat der mynsche dar in sulchen stade leven in dem hey niet en doerststerven.”

f. 267r, Quotation from St. Bernard, rubric: “Sent Bernart spricht,” text: “Niet en is sichers dan der doit ind niet so unsicher als de oere des doitz Dar umb vermaent uns unsse leve here in dem ewangelio ind sait: Waicht want ir daich noch oere en wisset.”

f. 267r, Devotional rhyme, no rubric, text: “Sij sijnt doit de des doitz neit en aichden | Sij ligent in der noit de des ends neit en bedaichden | Eyn cleyne verblijt in deser tzijt vur got erhoren | is sicherlich umb ewich rich zo vil verloren | Genoichde zijtllich Pine ewelich | Wille cleyn Unwilles ende geyn” (ff. 267v–270v blank).

ff. 270r–326v, Thomas à Kempis, De Imitatione Christi, Book I, rubric: “Van navolgynge Ihesu Cristi ind van versmeonge alle ydelheit deser vergencklicher werelt” tabula (list of the chapters of Book I), second rubric: “Van na volgynge Ihesu Christi ind van der versmaonge alre ydelheit deser vergenclicher werelt,” incipit: “Wer myr navolget der en wandelt neit in den duisternissen. Also spricht der here Ihesus Dyt sijnt de wort Cristi In wilchen worden wyr werden beweget ind gemaynt,” explicit: “Also vil saltu in doichden vortgaen ind wymen also vil du dich selver yntgaen undoicht ind sunde wederstaende gewalt deist. Explicit liber qui sequitur me etc.”; edition of the Latin version in Thomas à Kempis 1904.

ff. 327r–335v, Short tracts on Mass:

ff. 327r–330r, no rubric, incipit: “Alle cristen mynschen als yr zo der kirchen geit ind de heilge mysse hoeren wilt So sult yr alle boese ind ydel werck wort ind gedancke under wegen laissen,” explicit: “In dem ordel so moestu rede geven alle dynre mysdait.”

ff. 330v, no rubric, incipit: “Tzo der heilgen missen komen drierleye mynschen besunder,” explicit: “Ind ouch eynen anderen hynderen myt claiffen off myt ritzen tzo sunden.”

ff. 330v–333r, no rubric, incipit: “Id sijnt vierer leye mynschen de sich der genaden der heilger myssen berouvent,” explicit: “want it hait eyn byrnende verwe de uns allen erwecken sall zo der ewiger mynnen Amen.”

ff. 333r–335v, no rubric, incipit: “Selich is der mynsche die gerne mysse hoert myt rechter andaicht deme gyft got XII genaden,” explicit: “Alle de dynck de got gedaen hait ind noch doen sal in der werelt van dem anbegynne bys an den iunxten dach Amen”; cf. Franz 1902, pp. 39–40.

ff. 335v–336r, Prayer, rubric (in brown, not underlined): “Eyn man de eyn overdedich sunder was de wart behalden umb dat hei saicht dese bedynge also dick als hey vur dem crucefixe laich,” incipit: “Aalmechtige myldecliche here Ihesu Criste ich bidden dich durch dyne bitter pynen de du haist geleden vur mych,” explicit: “Ind verlene myr dat ich dyn mynnencliche angesicht an myme lesten ende myt vrouden beschauwen moisse Amen” (ff. 336v–338v blank).

The contents of this extensive miscellany in the German dialect spoken in the region of Cologne, Bonn, and Aachen speak to the widespread influence of the spirituality of the Devotio Moderna in that region. First and foremost, we note the presence of their classic work, the Imitation of Christ, here in Ripuarian German. But, their influence can be traced throughout the texts gathered here (all, significantly, in the vernacular). The impressive range of texts includes prayers, adaptations from the Gospels, and excerpts from theological works with practical “how-to” instructions for pious behavior. It tells the reader how to choose what is best and how to use time well, it advises on god-fearing conduct and on the art of dying, and it even proposes how to cope with the “befleckinge die des nachtes dem mynschen geschuyt in dem slaiffe” (the pollution which happens to men when asleep). There is an obvious connection between this extensive vernacular collection and manuscripts originating in Devotio Moderna circles, seen in their common concern for the inner life of the believer and the emphasis on the meditation on the Passion of Chrst.

There are five texts here focusing on the Passion, including a Gospel Harmony and a text divided into seven for each day of the week, numerous extracts from Augustine and Bernard of Clairvaux, both authors esteemed among the Modern Devout, a prayer from Suso’s Little Book of Eternal Wisdom, as well as short aphorisum, like quotations from German mystics, Meister Eckhard (c. 1260-1327/8) and Ps-Ruysbroec (Godeverd of Wevele). Also noticeable are the texts by two important advocates of reform, an excerpt from the Opusculum tripartitum by Jean Gerson (1363-1429) a widely disseminated catechism with explanations of the Ten Commandments, the virtues and vices, the Apostle’s Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, and an early copy of an excerpt on a Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by the canon lawyer, bishop and cardinal, Nicolas of Cusa (1401-1461).

Chronologically closest to the manuscript is Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1461), or Kues, as his native town is called in German. Besides making a career as doctor of canon law, papal legate, bishop and cardinal, Nicholas engaged in mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. He was especially noted for his mystical writings, such as his Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer. Kurt Ruh, who identified the excerpt included here, argues that it represents a version close to (but not copied from) the version in Cod. germ. 813/1343 of the Stadtbibliothek of Trier, which in turn is considered as very close to the original text of Nicholas.

What makes this manuscript especially interesting, in addition to its unusual compilation of devotional and practical texts and its transcription in a local dialect, is the indication that it was made for Franciscan use, possibly for the Franciscans of St. Agnes ad Olivas in Cologne. This may account for the inclusion of a text by the German Franciscan friar Marquard of Lindau (c. 1320/30–1392), an excerpt from his influential, originally German-language Decalogue, a catechism on the Ten Commandments intended for a Franciscan audience, and as such it fitting perfectly in this miscellany. The connections between the Franciscans and the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life, many of whom adopted the Rule of the Third Order Franciscans, are significant.


Arntz, L., Heinrich Neu and Hans Vogts. “Franziskaner-Observanten-Kloster ad Olivas,” in Paul Clemen a.o., eds., Die Kunstdenkmäler der Stadt Köln, Ergänzungsband, Düsseldorf, 1937 (repr. 1980), pp. 178–187.

Bauer, G. Entry in: Verfasserlexikon, III. Berlin etc., 1981, pp. 1161–1164.

Bihlmeyer, K. “Kleine Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Mystik,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der Renaissance und Reformation. Munich/Freising, 1917.

Franz, A. Die Messe im deutschen Mittelalter. Beitra ge zur Geschichte der Liturgie und des religio sen Volkslebens, Freiburg, 1902.

[Henricus Suso]. Deutsche Schriften, ed. K. Bihlmeyer, Stuttgart, 1907.

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Jean Gerson. Oeuvres complètes, VII, ed. P. Glorieux, Paris, 1966.

König, Eberhard. Mit Beiträgen von Gaudenz Freuler, Johannes Gottfried Mayer, Kurt Ruh, Karin Schneider, John Sharpe and Heribert Tenschert. Leuchtendes Mittelalter. Neue Folge II. Dreiunddreißig mittelalterliche Handschriften aus Byzanz, Italien, Frankreich, Deutschland, Flandern und den Niederlanden vom 11. bis zum frühen 16. Jahrhundert, Rotthalmünster, 1998.

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Roth, G. Sündenspiegel im 15. Jahrhundert. Untersuchungen zum pseudo-augustinischen “Speculum peccatoris” in deutscher Überlieferung, Deutsche Literatur von den Anfängen bis 1500, 12, Bern/New York, 1991.

Rudolf, R. Ars moriendi, Cologne/Graz, 1957.

Schlager, P. Patricius. “Zur Geschichte der Franziskanerobservanten und des Klosters ‘ad olivas’ in Köln,” Annalen des Historischen Vereins für den Niederrhein 82 (1907), p. 51–91.

Schneider, K. Entry in: Verfasserlexikon, III. Berlin etc., 1981, pp. 88–89.

Schnell, B. Thomas Peuntners Büchlein von der Liebhabung Gottes. Edition und Untersuchungen, Münchener Texte und Untersuchungen, 81, Munich, 1984.

Stammler, W. Gottsuchende Seelen. Prosa und Verse aus der deutschen Mystik des Mittelalters, Germanistische Bücherei, 1, Munich, 1948.

[Thomas à Kempis]. Thomae Hemerken a Kempis Opera omnia, II, ed. M.J. Pohl, Freiburg, 1904.

Online resources

Census of German-language texts in medieval manuscripts: http://www.handschriftencensus.de

Database of watermarks (incorporating Briquet Online, Piccard Online, and others):

Thomas à Kempis, De imitatione Christi, in Latin:

Thomas à Kempis, De imitatione Christi, in English: