Books, Scribes and Authors

from the Collections of the
Bamberg State Library and the
Bavarian State Library in Munich

An exhibition by the Bamberg State Library
in the Neue Residenz on the Cathedral Square

April 22 through July 19, 2008

Monday through Friday 9:00 – 17:00
Saturday 9:00 – 12:00
Admission free

Opening April 22, 2008 at 18:15, all are welcome.

The Bamberg State Library presents the exhibition Anglo-Saxon Manuscript Heritage (‘Angelsächsisches Handschriftenerbe’). Outstanding medieval exemplars from the collections of the Bamberg State Library and the Bavarian State Library in Munich will be on display.

In the 7th and 8th centuries England reached a cultural and religious heyday, which in the 8th century was spread to the continent through missionaries – including Boniface, Willibald and Willibrord. Not only manuscripts arrived with the missionaries; scribes were also taught by the Anglo-Saxons. Works by Anglo-Saxon authors experienced increased circulation on the continent and English authors on the continent also continued to write books.

The exhibition presents a selection of 40 manuscripts related to Anglo-Saxon England spanning the period from the 7th century through the 12th century. Insular manuscripts as well as continental manuscripts written in insular script will be displayed. Among these are texts of Anglo-Saxon authors such as Aldhelm, the Venerable Bede – including one of the oldest textual witnesses of his posthumously recorded Death Song in Northumbrian Old English –, Boniface, the nun Hugeburc, and Alcuin.

Treasures of this exhibition include the oldest complete manuscript of the Bamberg collection – with texts of the Church Fathers Jerome and Augustine – dated to ca. 540 with a marginal note in 8th century insular script, early insular Gospels, a fragment of an illustrated Prudentius manuscript of the 10th/11th centuries from England, as well as a Sacramentary of the same period from Fulda with a miniature showing the baptism of pagans by St. Boniface as well as
his martyrdom.

The Irish theologian and philosopher Johannes Scotus Eriugena broadens the scope of the exhibition beyond the Anglo-Saxons: The Bamberg manuscript Msc.Ph.2 contains a contemporaneous copy of his treatise ‘De divisione naturae’ with marginal notes in insular script, which may stem from the author himself, and is thus of extraordinary importance to medieval studies.

The manuscripts from the collection of the Bavarian State Library were previously presented in August 2005, in cooperation with the Chair of English Philology and Medieval Literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (Prof. Dr. Hans Sauer). The catalogue of this exhibition will also be available at the Bamberg exhibition:

Angelsächsisches Erbe in München / Anglo-Saxon Heritage in Munich.
Angelsächsisches Handschriften, Schreiber und Autoren aus den Beständen der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. / Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, Scribes and Authors from the Collections of the Bavarian State Library in Munich.
Edited by Hans Sauer in cooperation with Birgit Ebersperger, Carolin Schreiber und Angelika Schröcker. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2005 (119 pages, many plates, € 9,80)