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A 15th-Century German Brangelary


Intended for populr use, rather
than for a Church or monatery.
V/ritten on paper, it has more than
three hundred illustrations.

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Fiftecnth-Century
By

THE

German Evangelary
Ju^ nyj'

MARGARET MUNSTERBERG

Library has recently acquired a German manuscript

of the Passion intendecl for populr use rather than for

a church or monastery. It

is

a finely preserved folio vol-

paper leaves, with more than three hundred illustrations and an impressive full-page picture. The book was
written in the middle or latter half of the fifteenth Century; the

ume

of 109

German script, two columns to a page, is in a strong, heavy


hand, with rubrics at the heads of sections. Initial letters are
painted red and green; a number enclose sketches of human

Words have

occasionally been crossed out and rewritten


end of the narrative the scribe has replaced the "Amen"
in black ink with one in red.
No Compiler or scribe is named, but an epilogue of six leaves,
addressed to a friend named Jos[eph], is signed by Johannes
Braxatoris of Elwang[en], who may have been the Illustrator.
The expert arrangement of Gospel passages and the familiarity
faces.

at the

with Church Fathers and scholastics, as well as the translation


from the Latin, suggest that the Compiler received help from
one of the monasteries of the city. This translation is forceful
and simple. A noteworthy characteristic is the frequent use of
Minne
a word associated with Minnelied (love song) rather

than with the Caritas of the Vulgate.


The narrative, which is based on

all four Gospels, begins


with the Sunday before Palm Sunday and ends with the Resurrection. It is interwoven with commentary and quotations. In
his desire for systematic presentation, the Compiler often resorted to enumeration. For example, there were four succes-

ways

which

enemies of Jesus plotted to kill him; for


Mary Magdalene's act of anointing him; fifteen "great things" took place in the house where
the Last Supper was held; for seven reasons Christ bowed his
head on the Gross. "Da ist ein fraug" (there is a question) introduces manj^ a passage of ingenious exposition; and significant points are emphasized with the exhortation "Merck"
sive

in

tlie

four reasons Christ defended

(note!).

The passages beginning with "O" suggest the "seven Os"


Os" of the sorrows of Mary in the Books of Hours.
The portions pertaining to Mary are of special significance
or "fifteen

since, in contrast to the fairly canonical representation of the


rest,

they are leg-endary. In medieval

Germany

the populr

Marian literature took the form of the so-called Marienklagen


(Laments of Mary); and the "Unser Frauen Klage" (Our
Lad3r's Lament) of the thirteenth Century was especially populr. Besides the lyrical expressions, there were the narrative
Marienleben (Lives of Mary), which had their sources in the
apocryphal Gospels. Most important

among

the latter

is

the

Protevangeliimi, or Gospel of

James the Minor, designed especially for the glorification of Mary. Although not accepted by
the Roman Church in ancient times, from the sixth Century on
this gospel was used in medieval homilies. That it was taken
seriously at the time when the Library's volume was made appears from the Statement (on f.iSr.) "As we read in the book
of the life of our Lord, which was written by St. James the
:

Minor,

whom

Scripture calls a brother of Christ

."
.

The manuscript includes comments from more than forty


authorities. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah are each quoted
at least nine times, the

Psalms five times, and there are references to Joshua, Solomon, Ezekiel, Job, and the historian Josephits.^The most frequently consulted authority is St. Augus-

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