Amelia Carr

title.none: Weber, Handschriftliche Ueberlieferung . . . Augustinus

identifier.other: baj9928.9308.004 93.08.04

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Amelia Carr, Allegheny College

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 1993

identifier.citation: Weber, Dorothea. Die Handschriftliche Ueberlieferung der Werke des Heiligen Augustinus.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: Bryn Mawr Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 93.08.04

Weber, Dorothea. Die Handschriftliche Ueberlieferung der Werke des Heiligen Augustinus.

Reviewed by:

Amelia Carr
Allegheny College

After more than a decade's hiatus, the project of listing all manuscripts of the works of Augustine continues in these new volumes, treating Austrian libraries.1 The author has followed the practice of the more recent editors towards ever fuller apparatus to include concordances to the CSEL, PL and Clavis, detailed descriptions of fragments and excerpts, careful identification of Epistles and Sermons, and a broad range of pseudo-Augustinian material. In addition to noting references to library catalogues, many of which date from the beginning of this century, Weber has added recent bibliography for each manuscript, indicating, for example, discussions in Bischoff's Schreibschulen, analyses of manuscript stemmae in Recherches augustiniennes, or catalogues from exhibitions where the codex was displayed and discussed. The result is an excellent, up-to-date reference tool which excellently serves the mandates of the project: to aid in preparation of critical editions and to facilitate research in the history of libraries, text transmission, and intellectual development.

Austrian libraries are indeed rich in Augustinian texts. To be expected, the Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek contains by far the most manuscripts, more than 525, reflecting its absorption of imperial collections, as well as the libraries from Seckau, St. Georg in Weltenburg and so on. Yet, since the great monastic libraries were not secularized and centralized in Austria to the extent that they were in other European countries, significant collections appear at the Benedictine convent of Melk, with 172, and the Augustinian Chorherrenstift in Klosterneuburg with 166 manuscripts, to name only two.

It seems unlikely that these volumes will change the present pattern of preparation of critical editions. Austria holds few early, that is, pre-tenth century, manuscripts, and all of these have been signalled in the literature. But this fastidious catalogue will be very fruitful in answering the more difficult questions concerning transmission of texts and Augustinian influence in the middle ages. The preservation of these monastic libraries in situ can give us some idea of medieval patterns of copying and, perhaps, using texts. Augustinian writings were clearly basic necessities, and appear among the oldest holdings in any library. The Carolingian foundations in Salzburg, particularly the Erzabtei St. Peter, and nearby Mondsee tend to house the earliest manuscripts. Since Salzburg was the seat of the Archbishop over Austria until the late 15th century, we might speculate that these manuscripts were also exemplars for later copies within the archdiocese. Yet the Salzburg libraries are the most scattered, and the holdings of the cathedral chapter, an Augustinian canonry, are now primarily in Munich.

The great monasteries of Austria were founded in the reform movements of the 11th and 12th centuries, and, as a result, the main corpus of Augustine in these houses dates to the 12th century. Admont, Goettweig, St. Florian, Klosterneuburg, Heiligenkreuz, Lambach, Vorau and Zwettl all seemed to have had a more or less complete Augustine, and their copies of the Retractations (Weber lists 13) probably made them acutely aware of what they were lacking. Yet the12th-century Augustine was not our Augustine. There exists only a handful of copies of the philosophical treatises, often copied into single manuscripts like ONB cod lat. 1009 from St. Georg in Weltenburg, which we might speculate had a focussed and limited readership. Not a single manuscript of De musica remains in Austria.2 More widely circulated were the bishop's pastoral works. One popular grouping seems to have been De nuptiis et concupiscentia, De bono coniugali, De sancta virginitate, De bono viduitatis, and Ep. 200, treatises considered "rules" for the various estates by the 15th century. Enarrationes in psalmos and In Iohannis evangelium tractatus seem to be read as often as De civitate Dei and Confessiones. But it is the sermons, authentic and pseudo-, which comprise the basic oeuvre of the saint, reflecting medieval patterns of the oral transmission of texts within a monastery.

Even where thorough studies of textual history already exist, as in the case of the Augustinian rule, these new volumes can make significant contributions to our knowledge. Weber lists 95 copies of the Regula, of which only 44 are included in Verheijen's already exhaustive study of the form (See Etudes Augustiniennes 15, Paris, 1957). One new manuscript is early, an 11th century exemplum from Salzburg Erzabtei St. Peter, and others come from foundations not studied by Verheijen, including Augustinian Herzogenburg, Premonstratensian Schlaegl, and the Cistercian Wilhering and Zwettl. The so-called Melk reforms after the Council of Constance stipulated that the Rule was to be more often read and better understood, probably accounting for the multiple copies in convent libraries, as well as the 22 German and one Dutch translation, at least a few explicitly directed toward canonesses. And might not the eight manuscript copies dating from the 17th and 18th centuries be evidence of the personal piety which clung to the scribal act after the advent of printing? We also learn that, in Austria, the Rule was often accompanied by the 12th-century commentary attributed to Hugo of St.-Victor and, later, the 14th-century commentary of the Dominican Humbert of the Romans.

It is sobering to recognize the patterns of late medieval reading of Augustine as reflected in Austrian manuscripts. Very few "complete" works are copied after the 14th century. (The exception here is Melk, whose library was substantially destroyed in a fire of 1297 and which seemed determined to replace its Augustinian oeuvre, at least.) Again and again Weber lists 14th and 15th century Augustinian manuscripts as Excerpta patrum, and Bartholomaeus de Urbino's Milleloquium Sancti Augustini of 1401-1402 must rank as a bestseller. Whereas Augustine's Soliloquiorum is preserved in only 19 copies, the late medieval pseudo-Augustinian Soliloquia animae ad Deum weighs in with 84 Latin and 16 vernacular manuscripts. Heavy usage obviously necessitated that libraries produce multiple copies and translations, some specifically for use by nuns or, in Spanish, perhaps for the Habsburgs. Any attempt to write the history of Augustinian authority in the later middle ages will have to reckon with this clearly-documented prominence of what are (for us) spurious works and the limitations of interpretations based on reading only fragments.

The prospects of answering questions of text transmission based on Austrian manuscripts, at least, is made easier for American scholars by the existence of the microfilm collection of the major Austrian libraries in the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, in Collegeville, Minnesota. Yet the task is daunting, even with reliable guides. If the history of Augustinian influence is to be written at all, it must rely on such thorough scholarly tools as these superb volumes by Weber.

1 The earlier volumes are: v. I/1 & 2, Manfred OBERLEITNER, HUWHA, Italien, Sitzungsberichte Bd. 263 (1969) and Bd. 267 (1970); II/1 & 2, Franz ROEMER, HUWHA Grossbritannien und Irland, Sitzungsberichte Bd. 281 (1972) and Bd 276 (1972); v. III, Franz ROeMER, HUWHA, Polen. Anhang: Die skandinavischen Staaten Daenemark- Finnland - Schweden, Sitzungsberichte Bd. 289 (1973); v. IV, Johannes DIVJAK, HUWHA, Spanien und Portugal, Sitzungsberichte Bd. 292 (1974); and v. V/1 & 2, Kurz RAINER, HUWHA, Bundesrepublik Deutschland und Westberlin, Sitzungsberichte Bd 306 (1976) and Bd 350 (1979).
2 Among the titles missing in the Austrian holdings are De benedictionibus Iacob patriarchae, De compassione beate Mariae virginis, Contra Cresconium Grammaticum partis Donati, Principia dialecticae, Contra Fortunatum Manicheum, De grammatica, In Heptateuchum locutionum, In Heptateuchum quaestionum, De utilitate ieiunii, Adversus judaeos tractatus, Contra secundam Julian, De musica, De moribus Manichaeorum, Sermo in natalem Cypriani, De oratione et eleemosyna tractatus, as well as many of the pseudo-Augustinian works that might have been considered standard in medieval libraries, like De altercatione ecclesiae et synagogae, De amicitia, Commonitorium quomodo sit agendum cum Manichaeis, Caesarius of Arles' Expositio in apocalypsim, Gestae et predicationes Iesu Christu, De praedestinatione Dei, Cyprian's Liber de oratione, Alcuin's Quaestiones de trinitate et de Genesi, Principia rhetorices, De unitate sanctis trinitatis, and De vera cultu.