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les Enluminures

HENRICUS DE HASSIA (HENRICUS DE LANGENSTEIN), Expositio super Pater Noster; CONRADUS DE SAXONIA, Speculum beatae Mariae Virginis sive expositio salutationis angelicae "Ave Maria gratia plena" ; ANONYMOUS [ERICUS OLIVI?], [Commentary on the Paternoster]

In Latin, manuscript on paper
[Southern Germany or Austria, c. 1400-25]

TM 163

62 folios, complete, in quires of 12 (collation i-iv12, v12+2), on paper (watermarks close to Briquet 4016, "cloche": Augsburg, 1414 and Briquet 14648, “tête de bœuf“: Innsbruck 1425, with similar variants earlier), written in dark brown ink in a Gothic cursive bookhand, text on double columns, up to 39 lines per folio (justification 216 x 134 mm), ruled in plummet, horizontal catchwords, scriptural quotations in a larger angular gothic script underlined in red, some passages and notes stroked across in red, capitals touched in red, over 40 large initials in red, with some pen flourishing in red and brown ink, some marginal notes, VELLUM SEWING GUARDS FROM A CAROLINGIAN MANUSCRIPT. Bound in modern pale blue paper boards (Generally fine condition; some light dampstaining in upper margin of second half of manuscript). Dimensions 297 x 205 mm.

All three of these commentaries, focusing on the theology underlying the two most popular medieval prayers, the "Paternoster" and the "Ave Maria," exist in separate, later incunable editions, but no imprint joins the three complementary texts. There are no modern critical editions of two of the three works, both of which exist in only a small number of manuscripts (only Conrad of Saxony has been edited). In view of the fact that there is little systematic research on Paternoster explications, the present manuscript could offer a useful starting point for such an investigation.


1. Written in southern Germany or possibly Austria based on the watermarks, which point to Augsburg, 1414, and Innsbruck, 1425. There are a few words in German in the margins of ff. 25 and 48v, doubtless pentrials: “und ich und dale.”

2. Ex-collection Dr. André Rooryck, his MS. 7.


ff. 1-23, [Henricus de Hassia], [Expositio super Pater Noster]; underlined in red: Sic vos orabitis pater noster qui es in celis et cetera. M[attheus], vi; incipit, "Quia discipuli domini audientes magistrum…"; explicit, “[…] qui solus in trinitate perfecta … deus per secula seculorum. Amen”; [Stegmüller, no. 3205, Vienna, ONB, Cod. 3894 (dated 1425), ff. 71-90; Bloomfield, 1979, no. 8980, who records only 5 manuscripts; Hohmann, 1976, no. 216];

Henricus de Langenstein or Henry of Langenstein (c. 1325-1397), also known as Henry of Hesse the Elder, was a German theologian, mathematician, and scientist. He studied at the University of Paris, where he became professor of philosophy in 1363 and of theology in 1375. After taking the side of Pope Urban IV when the Western Schism erupted in 1378, Henry was forced to leave the University of Paris. In 1394, he became rector of the University of Vienna. He was a prolific writer. Roth (see below) ascribes to him seven works on astronomy, eighteen historico-political treatises on the schism, seventeen polemics, fifty ascetical treatises, and twelve epistles, sermons and pamphlets.

This treatise comments on and explains the Paternoster or Lord’s Prayer, known in competing Vulgate texts, the longer version of Matthew 6 and the shorter of Luke 11. Augustine’s De Sermone in Monte gave rise to the tradition that associated seven petitions of the Paternoster with the gifts of the Holy Ghost as listed in Isaiah 11, 2-3, and seven of the eight Beatitudes (heptomerology). Later, the symmetries of sevens extended to include the seven sacraments, the four cardinal and three theological virtues, the seven deadly sins, etc. Medieval commentators from Augustine to Thomas Aquinas to Francis of Assisi to Martin Luther commented on the Lord's Prayer, its place in Christian catechism and its importance as "the finest prayer that anyone could have ever thought up" (Martin Luther). Although there is an incunable edition of this commentary on the Paternoster (Henricus de Hassia, Expositiones super orationem dominicam et Ave Maria, [Speier, Printer of “Gesta christi,” c. 1473]; see Goff, H-28), there exists no modern critical edition.

ff. 23-59v, [Conradus Saxo or de Saxonia], [Speculum beatae Mariae Virginis sive expositio salutationis angelicae ”Ave Maria gratia plena” ]; incipit prologus, “Ave Maria gracia plena dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui. Dicit Jeronimus nullum dubium quoniam totum ad gloriam laudis dei pertineat…” [ed. Conradus de Saxonia, 1904, p. 1 and following]; following rubric, “Ave maria gracia plena dominus tecum. Quia dilectissimi ut dictum est supra de gloria…”; explicit lectio XVIII, “ […] Adiuva nos O Mater dulcissima ut dulcedine tui fructus eternaliter per frui mereamur, qui cum patre et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat deus per omnia secula seculorum. Amen. Deo gratias”; [see Conradus de Saxonia, 1904, for a list of 149 known manuscripts, pp. XVIII-XXVIII; see also Alcantara Martinez, 1975, for a new edition; Stegmüller, no. 1046, attributes this work to Albertus Magnus; more recently, see Cerra, 1998, for an Italian translation].

Originally attributed to Saint Bonaventura, this commentary on the Ave Maria or "Hail Mary" was included amongst his works in Bibliotheca Franciscana Medii Aevii (Quaracchi, 1904), although its author is actually Conrad Saxo or Conradus Holzinger de Saxonia (died 1279). The Franciscan Conrad of Saxony was a famous preacher and renowned theologian, who became provincial minister of the province of Saxony in 1247. He wrote several large and popular collections of sermons as well as the Speculum beatae Mariae Virginis or Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which exists in more than 247 manuscripts, was translated several times into German, and was first printed in Augsburg, Antonius Sorg, 1476 (Goff, B-960) and again in 1477 (Goff, B -961). Although the present version does not follow word for word the critical edition, it is clearly the same text. A more careful comparison with other preserved copies of this text would allow scholars to identify better and situate this version.

Dating from the eleventh century, the prayer the "Hail Mary" (sometimes called the "Angelical salutation," sometimes, from the first words in its Latin form, the "Ave Maria") is the most familiar of all the prayers used by the Catholic Church to honor the Virgin Mary. Synods beginning in the late twelfth century incite the clergy to encourage the devout to recite this prayer, and it became a central feature of Rosary devotion, so popular in the fifteenth century. Conrad's work presents a lengthy Mariology in the form of an explanation of the "Ave Maria."

ff. 59v- 62v, Anonymous [Ericus Olavi?], Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer; incipit, “Sanctus Thomas de Aquino sequitur Pater Noster. Pater non dominus quia amari appetit non timeri. Crisostomus [and not Cyprianus as in Stegmüller, no. 2249,7, who refers to MS. Uppsala, C 242 ff. 51-53]: Patrem se magis dici voluit…”; explicit, “[…] infine posuit, amen. Deo gracias. Sit laus et gloria Christo per infinita secula seculorum amen”; [Stegmüller, Anon. Pater Noster, no. 9763; Stegmüller also attributes this work to Ericus Olavi (Stegmüller, no. 2249,7), but our manuscript presents different references to Fathers of the Church and a different explicit; see also Bloomfield, 1979, no. 9200, with the same incipit as our manuscript. Bloomfield lists numerous manuscripts and an incunable edition in 1473, in De eucharista ad modum decem praedicamentorum…, [Cologne, Printer of Augustinus, “De fide”], 1473 (Goff, T-291), but there appears to be no modern critical edition.

According to Jaye, "There is still much work to be done on Paternoster explanations. There is no systematic catalogue of the extant medieval explications… “(1990, p. 5), although see in the meantime Chan (1993). A study of the present manuscript, containing two unedited texts and an unusual anthology of theological treatises on popular prayers, two of which are on the Paternoster, could offer a starting point for such an investigation.


Alcantara Martinez, P. de (ed.). Speculum seu salutatio Beatae Mariae Virginis ac sermons Mariani, Grottaferrata, Editiones Collegii S. Bonaventurae ad Claras Aquas, 1975 [Bibliotheca franciscana ascetica Medii Aevi, no. 11].

Bloomfield, M.W. Incipits of Latin Works on the Virtues and Vices, 1100-1500, including a section of incipits of works on the Pater Noster, Cambridge, Medieval Academy of America, 1979.

Carmignac, J. Recherches sur le Notre Père, Paris, Letouzey and Ané, 1969.

Cerra M. (tr.). Commento all’Ave Maria. Corrado di Sassonia; a cura e con introduzione di Felice Accocca, traduzione di Modestino Cerra, Casale Monferrato, Piemme, 1998.

Chan, Anna Kai-Yung. Il "Padre nostro" nei principali commenti patristici e il suo uso nella liturgia Latina, Rome, 1993.

Conradus de Saxonia. Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis fr. Conradi a Saxonia…, Quaracchi, Ad Claras Aquas, 1904 [Bibliotheca franciscana ascetica Medii Aevi, no. 2; see revised edition, Alcantara (1975) above].

Hartwig, O. Henricus de Langenstein, dictus de Hassia, Marburg, 1857.

“Henricus de Langenstein”, in Repertorium Fontium Historiae Medii Aevi, Roma, Fontes, 1984, vol. V, p. 430.

Hohmann, Thomas. “Initienregister der werke Heinrichs von Langenstein,” Traditio 32 (1976), pp. 399-426.

Koch, J. “Heinrich von Langenstein,” in Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlexikon, II, pp. 292-296.

Jaye, B. H. The Pilgrimage of Prayer: the Texts and Iconography of the Exercitium super Pater noster, Salzburg, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Universität Salzburg,1990.

Roth, F. W. E. Zur Bibliographie des H. Hembuche de Langenstein in II Beiheft zum Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, Leipzig, 1988
Stegmüller, F. Repertorium biblicum medii aevi…, Matriti [Madrid], 1940-1980.

Online resources

On Henry of Langenstein

On Conrad of Saxony

Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Conrad of Saxony) in English

Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Conrad of Saxony) in English