St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek MS 913 A Scholar's Handbook, including "Vocabularius Sancti Galli"

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Joseph P. McGowan


451. St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek MS 913

A Scholar's Handbook, including "Vocabularius Sancti Galli"

[Ker App. 29, Gneuss-, Lowe, CLA 7.976]

HISTORY: An informal, probably personal scholar's handbook or vademecum, in small format, written in the second half of the 8c, within the A-S missionary field (cf.B rauer 1926: 8-11, Bischoff 1971: 118-19) and within an A-S-Frankish glossary tradition (Sonderegger 1970: 24, 47-48, pl. 18, pp. 166-67). It is made up of foul sheets and leftover bits sewn together and was doubtless someone's personal "pocket" book of commonplaces. Mettke believed its exemplar to have been brought to Fulda by the A-S mission (1979: 36-38; he prints a selection of the Vocabularius, pp. 128-30). Baesecke (1933: 162) had posited its transmission to St. Gall via Murbach or Echternach, placing it in an A-S-Fulda tradition (but "Murbach" has not been generally accepted, cf. Bischoff 1971: 119). Bischoff (1971: 118-19) suggested the region of Main, Hessen, northern Bavaria, with perhaps Echternach as the focal point (see also Mettke 1987: 507) but ultimately, as Bischoff says, one must be satisfied with Lowe's observation that it was written in Germany in an imitative A-S majuscule hand and contains interpretations in OHG and OE. The OHG dialect is "Alemannisch (zum Teil auch als ostfrankisch bestimmt)" (Bergmann 1983: 16). Pp. 139-145 contain glosses to Leviticus that remain recognizably A-S, which Bischoff and Lapidge trace to the Canterbury school of biblical commentaries of Theodore and Hadrian (including in the bird-name list from Lev. 11 a direct reference on p. 143/1-2 to Hadrian: 'laru(m) hragra I adrianus d(ici)t meum e(ss)e' ; see also in same item, p. 140/9-10 'por'phi'rionem. Non fit in brit't'annia', p. 143/6-8 'Onocratulum ... nee nos habemus'; Bischoff and Lapidge 1994: 287-88, 291-94, 534-41, cf.D erolez 1989: 470-1). Altogether, the contents, language, and hand point to an A-S mission area in present southern Germany- Switzerland in the second half of the 8c. The electronic St. Gallen catalogue describes it as "a composite manuscript in small format written around 790 in Germany as a kind of diary by a scribe educated in the Anglo- Saxon tradition containing texts treating missionary, theological and educational questions:' Besides the famous "Vocabularius Sancti Galli" (at pp. 181-206), what Bergmann calls a Latin-OHG "phrasebook" of everyday words for someone who is not fluent in German (cf. Bergmann 1987: 38), the manuscript contains various works and extracts that might have served for teaching and/or compiling a glossary, including one of the earliest copies of the popular "Joca Monachorum" (at pp. 149-161, cf. Suchier 1955: 90, this copy is his"A'). The manuscript contains no signals of ownership. It was assigned the number "913" in the 1824 renumbering of St. Gall manuscripts by Stiftsbibliothekar Fr. Ildefons von Arx. A complete digital facsimile of the manuscript is available from Codices Electronici Sangallenses at ( htm).

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