German devotional miscellany, circa 1510-1540.

  • Multiple languages
  • German
  • Latin
1 v. 10.1 x 7.4 cm


Getty AAT genre
circa 1510-1540.
Summary note
  • One-volume collection of devotional texts and prayers in German and Latin, which were copied over a period of 30 years by various German scribes on different paper stock. The manuscript, organized into twelve booklets, was probably compiled for Euphemia Pirckheimer (1486-1557), abbess of the Benedictine convent of the Holy Cross at Bergen, in Neuburg an der Donau, Bavaria. She was the sister of the German humanists Caritas Pirckheimer (1467-1532) and Willibald Pirckheimer (1470-1530).
  • Three scribes (3, 4, and 5 above) were responsible for copying most of the text in the early sixteenth century, based on the evidence of the script and watermarks. The third scribe's attribution of an indulgence to Pope Julius II (r. 1503-13) on fol. 6v shows that booklet III could not have been copied before the beginning of his papacy. The fourth scribe not only copied most of the manuscript, but may also have been its compiler. The manuscript could not have been completed earlier than 1530, when Euphemia Pirckheimer succeeded her sister Sabina as abbess. Though the manuscript lacks any definitive indication of her ownership, the evidence suggests that the fourth scribe was in fact Euphemia Pirckheimer herself, who not only copied part of the manuscript but supervised its compilation and was an early owner of the manuscripts, as asserted on the second flyleaf, 19th century?): "Passions betrachtungen und Gebete von Eufenia Pirkhamerin circa 1500." Internal evidence suggests that this manuscript was almost certainly copied for use at Bergen. Third, the hand of the fourth scribe bears an extremely close resemblance to those attributed to Euphemia and Sabina Pirckheimer in their correspondence with their brother Willibald.
Binding note
Bound in nineteenth-century quarter leather over pasteboards, with 15th-century parchment on the sides (from a single manuscript leaf containing verses from Hosea and Isaiah and a German rubric copied in a fifteenth-century semihybrida script), smooth spine blind-stamped along top and bottom and lettered in gilt, "Deutsches Gebetbuch. 1500 1 Hälfte."
  • fols. 1r-v: Prayers to be said on Holy Thursday while contemplating Jesus at the Mount of Olives.
  • fols. 2r-3v.: German prayers and Latin responsories associated with Holy Thursday.
  • fols. 4r-9v: Includes common Latin prayers to be said before Matins and after Compline, including the Paternoster and Ave Maria; prayers addressing God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; short rhyming prayers in Latin that address the Christ child, to be said while performing daily monastic activities; prayers to the Virgin Mary, the first of which includes an indulgence granted by Pope Julius II (r. 1503-13); Regina coeli, a hymn to the Virgin Mary included in the Divine Office during the Easter season; Tres veritates Gersonis, a brief excerpt from chapter 16 of Jean Gerson's commentary on the The Ten Commandments, the first part of his Opus tripartitum; two excerpts from the Liber specialis gratiae of the German mystic Mechtild of Hackeborn (1240/41-1298).
  • fols. 10r-23v: Prayers dedicated to the love and knowledge of God on Sundays, to the recognition of all good in God, and to the ordering of work in God, followed by three prayers attributed to Saint Augustine.
  • fols. 24r-41v: Prayers to be said at different points in the Mass, including the Confiteor, the Offertory, the Elevation, and the Sanctus, followed by prayers to be said before and with the Seven Penitential Psalms (beginning on fol. 31v). Accompanying rubrics also key each Psalm and prayer to the seven occasions on which Jesus shed blood in the Gospels. These are followed with a prayer to be said after the litany of the saints (beginning on fol. 35v), five prayers to be said before the crucifix (beginning on fol. 36v), and a prayer to the Holy Trinity on Sundays and holy days.
  • fols. 42r-89v: German prayers for the intercession of particular saints, keyed to the Sanctorale (beginning with the feast of Saint Andrew and concluding with the feast of Saint Catherine) and the Temporale (with tabs marking the beginning, on fol. 54r, Ash Wednesday, and Easter); prayers for the feast of the Transfiguration, the dedication of a church, peace, and the canonical hours of Prime and Compline; a cycle of Passion prayers, in Latin and keyed to the hours of the divine office (beginning on fol. 82r); and a prayer in German attributed to St. Peter and equipped with an indulgence (beginning on fol. 89r).
  • 90r-105v: German translations of eight hymns from the Commons of the Apostles, Martyrs, and Confessors, followed by an assortment of prayers including several focused on the Holy Trinity (beginning on fol. 95v) and one attributed to Saint Odilia, patron saint of Alsace (beginning on fol. 101r). The earlier of two versions of a rhyming prayer attributed to Nicholas of Flüe (1417-87), a Swiss soldier and judge who became a hermit and mystic in 1467 and was henceforth known as "Brother Klaus." Prayer attributed to Kaspar Schatzgeyer (1463-1527), a Bavarian friar who belonged to the Observant branch of the Franciscan order and defended the Catholic faith and religious orders against Reformation attacks.
Source acquisition
Purchase, 2015. AM 2016-11
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