The Language of Spirituality: Reading, Writing, and Reciting Latin and the Vernacular

1In the monastery of Töss, the nun Anna of Klingnau often spun wool in her bed at night because of her devotion to manual labor and common work. On the distaff she used, the following German words were written in the form of a prayer that she said God had spoken to someone (the author of the vita remarks that that someone was Anna herself):

The sicker you are, the dearer you are to me.
The more despised you are, the closer you are to me.
The poorer you are, the more similar you are to me.1

When Elsbeth Hainburgin read the lesson Primo tempore in the St. Katharinenthal choir at Christmas, she saw the Christ Child wrapped in a little diaper on the pages of the book from which she piously read.2 And when the Adelhausen prioress Luggi of Snabelburg prayed, she sometimes used a book and "as she prayed holding her little book, it seemed to her as if it was golden in her hands, the letters and everything, and it was so all the time that she prayed."3 All three of these examples, taken from three different female Dominican monasteries, show how important words, texts, and books were for the spirituality of Dominican women. It is here, in the textual environment, that the senses of sight and sound come together, interacting with each other to varying degrees, and pushing out the boundaries of the women's spirituality.

2We have already seen how much of Dominican women's spirituality was enacted in choir, often in connection with the office celebrated there. The Divine Office composed of words and actions was textually based. So we must look to the books that these cloistered women utilized to discover more of the basis for their spirituality. The words that the women learned, read, and recited from manuscripts provided them with the vocabulary that they used to express their religious experiences. The images found within their books influenced the nuns' understanding of the saints to which they prayed. The texts they themselves wrote or copied were at the same time integral to constructing their own spiritual expectations and behaviors.

3There are no exact figures for literacy rates in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Europe. We have at best educated guesses. European society was in the process of transforming itself from an oral culture to one in which written documents were given precedence over memory.4 And what one means by literacy has to be clearly defined. In medieval Europe, to be literate meant to be literate in Latin, the language of the Church.5 Even if you could read and write your native tongue, you were considered unlettered without knowledge of Latin. The knowledge of Latin was limited among the lay population and depended greatly on one's social class and gender.6 Most people knew a few prayers in Latin such as the Pater noster (Our Father), but that was all.

4In thirteenth-century Germany, along with a transformation from oral to written culture, there was a general shift from Latin to German dialects as the language of writing. The end of the century and the beginning of the fourteenth were an especially dynamic period. Within the documents of practice associated with female Dominican houses in the region one sees this change clearly. At the foundation of the early houses like Unterlinden and Adelhausen, all documents were written in Latin. As the century progressed, those documents not issued by the Church, Order, or royal officials were increasingly written in the local German dialect. Latin remained the language of religious men, whereas religious women and the laity of both sexes embraced the vernacular although not exclusively.7 Letters and other documents from officials of the Order to its nuns continued to be written in Latin.8 Latin, often described as a gendered language, became even more gendered.9 When the nuns of St. Katharine compiled their cadastral register in 1309, the document and the colophon identifying its female nun / scribe were in the vernacular.10 In their anniversary book from 1354, the colophon by the scribes is also in the vernacular, but it is followed by a Latin notice by Johann of Constance, sacerdotus.11 However, there is a difference between documents of practice that recorded the economic aspect of Dominican life, and documents of spirituality that inform us about their religious and devotional practices and behaviors.

5The two documents that legislated female Dominican life, the Rule and the constitutions, remained in Latin. Even copies of these documents from the fifteenth century (the period after this study and one supposedly rife with the use of the vernacular) remain in Latin.12 The only exception comes from the end of the thirteenth century where a manuscript from St. Katharinenthal contains some parts of the constitutions in Latin, but has German versions of other parts.13 It also included an incomplete German translation of Hugo of St. Victor's explanation of the Augustinian Rule, a fragment of the Rule in Latin, as well as part of a Latin Visitation report. The manuscript has been rebound, so parts may have been lost or added.

6We must distinguish, where possible, between reading, reciting, and writing—all different uses of the two languages—if we are to understand the relationship between Dominican women and their language of spirituality.14 The written word was important for Dominican women. When connected with the Divine, it held a value in its own right, serving not as a representation or substitute for what the letters spelled out, but as the thing itself.15 And these words could be in Latin or German. Marie-Luis Ehrenschwendtner has considered the relationship between the two languages in female Dominican houses at the very end of the fourteenth and into the fifteenth centuries. She found that

Latin as the language of the divine service was imposed on the sisters by ecclesiastical legislation, and as the language of the table readings it had been inherited as a time-honored custom, but the evidence suggests that in other areas of religious life, the nuns often chose the vernacular. The Dominican nuns preferred their mother tongue when they said their private prayers, as is shown by a great number of extant texts which were used by Dominican sisters. Exceptions were, of course, the most important liturgical prayers, not only the Pater noster, but also the Ave Maria, the Te deum or the Psalms . . . 16

However, the majority of vernacular texts that Ehrenschwendtner cites were not written until the close of the fourteenth century, the period after the one examined here. Few vernacular texts survive from this earlier period. The evidence suggests that the relationship of Dominican women to the two languages was different in the thirteenth and at least the first two-thirds of the fourteenth century from what it came to be later. The Latin of the Divine Office (and the liturgy in general) was not imposed on the women, but heartily embraced by them. Throughout most of the Sister-Books there is a combination of the two languages. Some vitae indicate the language of the materials that the women read, as when the foundress of Engelthal, a beguine in Nuremberg named Alheid, read in German to her young community over meals.17 Other vitae indicate the language that the women (and those associated with them) sang or spoke. This can be seen in another example from Engelthal, chronologically later than the previous instance, but while the community was still one of beguines. The incident occurred when the women of Engelthal were invited by their patron Ulrich of Königstein, the Schenk of Reicheneck, to Reicheneck to sing their newly learned Latin liturgy. As they gathered in a chapel and recited Mass for Pentecost, Ulrich sang along with the women, even though he had never learned to read.18 This recitation of Latin by an unlearned layman was seen as miraculous and fortuitous for the new community.

7The constitutions required that the choir nuns be able to read and recite Latin. Lay-sisters were not required to possess these skills, in fact they may have been discouraged from learning the language. They were only required to know the basic prayers of Pater noster and Ave Maria. Since the Sister-Books employ Latin, the nuns (and possibly the lay-sisters) must have been familiar with the language. Indeed, the Sister-Books mention the nuns learning Latin. Along with devotional prayers, Margaret Finkin's life says that "teaching Latin and writing" were also her primary activities.19 Her fellow nun, Anna of Klingnau, may have been her student, for Anna's vita notes that she "read and learned Latin."20 The Adelhausen nun Reinlint of Villingen was often told to read Latin by the biblical figures in her visions. John the Evangelist made her recite a passage from his Revelations (Apoc. III, 4:5) from a book he held up before her, while Isaiah made her read aloud from the Old Testament.21 Both texts were recited by Reinlint in Latin.

8In the early years of these first monasteries, many women joined the new communities with their children. Unterlinden had its origins in a group of widows and their children. In the fervor of the thirteenth-century religious movement with its emphasis on apostolic poverty, entire families entered the religious life. A husband took his sons to a male house (according to the Sister-Books either a Dominican house or a community of Teutonic Knights) and the wives brought their daughters with them into the Dominican monastery. There are many allusions to daughters, mothers, sisters, and nieces in the vitae of the women. And those children were joined by girls who appear to have entered the houses as child oblates. These girls, educated in the monastery, had the opportunity to be choir nuns, and they were taught the Latin liturgy using the monastery's choir-books to learn the proper words. When Anne of Ramschwag entered St. Katharinenthal as a child, she did not apply herself to her studies and did not even look at the book in front of her. But once when the mistress placed the open book before her, Anne looked down and saw a tiny child lying on the page. And the child took its tiny feet in its tiny hands and lay there totally naked before her eyes. Anne thought about this. And then the child spoke to her, saying, "I unite myself with my heavenly father and with you." After that Anne gladly applied herself to everything that was required of her.22 Elsbeth, a child oblate at Weiler, was a diligent and devoted student who learned to read and recite so quickly that she eventually helped teach the other girls. On cold winter nights she would study by her bed so devotedly that she never noticed the bitter cold in the dormitory that cramped her fingers as they held the book she read.23

9 Cross Reference:
Table 2: Devotional and Instructional Texts from Female Dominican Monasteries.
Libraries of devotional literature, such as that well-documented at St. Catherine's in Nuremberg, do not come into existence in female Dominican houses until the fifteenth century. The reforms of the Dominican Order, and the increase in private book ownership, helped greatly to add to the monastic libraries of many female Dominican communities in that period.24 Before that time in Dominican women's monasteries, the liturgical manuscripts far surpassed those of any other kind. What non-liturgical texts survive for these years include works by Henry Suso, John Tauler, and anonymous devotional texts, probably authored by Dominicans.

10However, the texts that survive from female Dominican houses may not give a complete picture of the non-liturgical textual environment in which the women were immersed. Wars, fires, poverty, dissolutions, anti-clericalism, and secularization have all decreased the survival chances for their manuscripts. The Sister-Books and other sources provide a few references to texts with which the women were familiar, adding to the larger picture of the works found in the female Dominican sensual environment.

11The author of the Töss Sister-Book was familiar with some of the works of Bernard of Clairvaux. At the opening of Margaret Finkin's vita she quotes Bernard in Latin and provides a German translation, whether her own or that of someone else is unclear.25 Catherine of Unterlinden was familiar with unidentified works of Augustine, for twice she makes reference to the theologian. The first instance refers to Augustine's interpretation of a passage from the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 13:43) concerning resurrection after the Last Judgment.26 The second reference discusses Augustine's description of the Trinity and knowledge.27 The Töss author also mentions Augustine.28 Reference is made as well to reading the Old Testament book of Job.29

12Upon her deathbed, Diemut of Nuremberg shared with another Engelthal sister the "three graces that God had given her before her death." The third of these was a vision in which her soul left her body through her mouth and "traveled to heaven, and the entire way was hung with burning lamps as it is written in St. Benedict's legend."30 The image of the burning lamps lighting the way to heaven is not found in the Martyrologies, although Saint Benedict is commemorated in the Usuard Martyrology on March 21, with his translation on July 11, the day of his feast.31 However, such an event is described in Jacob of Voragine's Golden Legend. His vita of the saint records: "[t]he day Saint Benedict departed this life and went to Christ, the same revelation came to two monks, one of whom was in his cell, the other some distance away. They saw a shining road strewn with rugs and lighted by countless lamps, rising toward the East from the blessed Benedict's cell to heaven."32 These meager references provide us with an idea of at least a few other texts to which Dominican women had access.

13What the nuns read was occasionally augmented by divine understanding. In the vita of Alheit of Trochau, the author remarks that "when in a state of grace, she could often explain difficult books as well as any learned priest, but when the state had passed, she could no longer do so, because she was not learned."33 It is unclear here if Alheit could actually read in either language. Also at Engelthal, the nun Cristin of Kornburg is described as having "learned a small amount of learning and through it came to God's grace, so that she could explain the large and difficult books at meals."34 In both cases, the women's understanding and learning is depicted as a small thing and attributed to God's grace; its ramifications were hidden under the cloak of the humility topos.

14For the discussion so far we have been looking at the lives of choir nuns, women supposedly educated in reading and reciting the Latin liturgy, if not their mother tongue. One cannot assume, however, that all of the lay-sisters were illiterate in both languages. When the lay-sister Metze of Adelhausen was deep in her devotion, "she found stars and flowers in her little book."35 The use of a book in private devotions implies some kind of reading. The stars and flowers in her book may indicate some kind of illustrated or even illuminated manuscript, most likely something with pen-and-ink decoration. The well-known Books of Hours with richly illuminated borders decorated with extravagant ornamentation were a product of the fourteenth and fifteenth century. The description of Metze's book certainly suggests something of that nature, but no such examples survive from any of the female Dominican monasteries.36 The text is unnamed, but it could be a Psalter or a devotional treatise. But given the examples of Dominican manuscripts that survive, the decorations were probably simple, although not simplistic. According to the Sister-Books however, some women were illiterate. At Weiler, Adelheid of Weiblingen, who is not identified as either a nun or a lay-sister (although the author does note that she was married for one year before she entered the cloister), had a sickness of her eyes, which did not allow her to learn to read.37

15Many nuns could do more than read and recite texts; some had also learned the skills of writing and copying. The 1410 fire at Adelhausen did more than just demolish the monastery's church; it also destroyed books to the value of 1500 guilders.38 Among these lost texts may have been some from the monastery's own scriptorium or manuscript workshop. One surviving text from the community—a collection of vernacular sermons by the Dominican preacher Johannes Tauler—originated in the Adelhausen scriptorium in the 1350s.39 The manuscript itself is worn and stained, indicating some usage and possible damage in the 1410 fire. The copying of sermons in Adelhausen is not surprising, for roughly four decades earlier, the prioress Anna of Münzingen had summarized three sermons at the end of her Chronik.40

16According to her vita, the Engelthal nun Reichgart, who was a former Benedictine and sister of the community's chief patron, could make great art.41 Perhaps she was a skilled manuscript illuminator. At St. Katharinenthal, Mechthilt of Wangen supposedly had "never learned Latin or writing, and yet she wrote out in her own hand the four passions [Gospels] in German."42 At Töss, the unnamed sister of Margaret of Klingenberg was an illuminator or painter and either a writer or copyist of German manuscripts, as her life praises her for her many "good pictures" and "many German books that she made".43 At Unterlinden, Adelheid of Apiaco copied many elegant manuscripts for use in the Divine Office.44 Her fellow nun, Gertrude of Rifelden, also devoted many years to copying texts for the choir.45

17 Burial office with text feminized.Burial office with text feminized. The Nuremberg gradual of St. Katharinenthal was partially copied by the nuns there.46 The first part of the manuscript, folios 1–245, seems to have been professionally copied, perhaps at the workshop where the Zurich gradual would later be produced. But the remaining folios (246r-277v) were added to the manuscript after it came to be at St. Katharinenthal. In some instances the nuns adopted various texts that were not originally intended for their use, for instance changing the gender of the Latin used in the rituals—usually the burial rite—from male to female. This can be seen in manuscripts from the Freiburg and Strasbourg houses where pronouns like eo are changed to ea.47 This rewriting of the text extended beyond simple endings that indicated the gender of the readers. Often the word servus is changed to the appropriate ancilla.48 Or sometimes sorores is inserted into the text. It was also common for the nuns to have annotated their choir-books, adding rubrics or marginal notes in German that instructed them when to sing or recite which texts.49

18But the women did other types of writing as well. The Sister-Books and the various documents of practice—cadastral register, rentbooks, and anniversary books—prove this, going beyond the mere copying of texts into the realm of original composition. According to the life of the nun Willi of Constance, who had been in Töss since she was three years old, she wrote or compiled a wonderful book full of all the things that she had heard about God.50 The Sister-Books themselves, which as texts were written, read, and read aloud, point to the bilingual nature of female Dominican life in the Upper Rhine. Two of the nine were originally composed in Latin, with the remaining texts written in dialects of Middle High German. The mid-fourteenth century translation of Anna of Münzingen's Chronik into German may indicate a wish to make the text more accessible to an audience whose Latin was based on knowledge of the liturgy, or perhaps it was felt that the lay-sisters or novices could not benefit from the vitae because of the language. How long the original Latin version remained in use is unknown since it does not survive. But, one did not need to be able to read in order to benefit from the exemplary vitae of the monastery's early members, for the Sister-Books were a collection of lives meant not merely to be read by subsequent generations but to be read aloud. So a listener just needed to understand the language in which the text was written. Some of the texts even begin or end with the comment "whoever hears this book read" or "who reads or hears this read."51 It remains unclear just how much Latin the women comprehended and how much of their knowledge of Latin was just rote memorization. A German text allowed for the greatest possible audience. But even those Sister-Books that were written in German contain Latin.

19In the Töss Sister-Book, the author shows off her Latin learning by beginning three of the vitae of the community's sisters with Latin quotes. In a manner similar to the delivery of vernacular sermons, she quotes a passage from scripture in Latin, provides a German translation, and then points to how the passage is exemplary of the life of the individual sister being described.52 The Weiler Sister-Book is also sprinkled with scriptural Latin. Dying nuns in the vitae have a tendency to quote Saint Paul in Latin, which the author then translates.53 Katherina, niece of Guta Jungin, had a vision in the Weiler choir in which she saw a blooming palm tree heavy with fruit. This she knew represented the crucified Christ. Katherina said that her heart trembled with the sweetness of the fruit, as it was written, "I will climb up into the palm to grasp its fronds" (Song 7:8).54 The passage that she quotes from the Song of Songs is given in Latin, without translation.

20The vitae often speak of specific parts of the Latin liturgy, but unlike quotation of scriptural passages these references in Latin are seldom translated. Mention of the liturgical text is used to mark either the time of the events described or the context in which a mystical experience occurs. The liturgy was Latin as the women learned it and hence was not in need of translation, unless the author wished to emphasize some aspect of the situation. This liturgical citation in Latin shows some fluency, or at least familiarity with Latin, but is meant to showcase the author's or the individual nun's knowledge of the Word of God, more than the particular language in which that Word existed. The Bible and the liturgy were in Latin and that is how Dominican women knew them and adopted their language into their lives and devotions. It was not so much the language of the words, but the origin of the words that mattered to the women. This can be seen in the Unterlinden Sister-Book, composed in Latin by Catherine of Unterlinden. There are twenty-one identifiable scriptural allusions in the text, almost all from either the Psalms or the New Testament.55 But whether scripture is cited in Latin or the vernacular is not as important as the knowledge of scripture itself.

21Because Latin is often the language of their religiosity, Latin creeps into the visions and dreams of the nuns. The saints, the Virgin Mary, and Christ himself (all of whom usually speak in German except in the case of the Unterlinden Sister-Book) pepper their dialogues or revelations with the occasional Latin word or phrase, made familiar to the recipient of the vision or dream through the liturgy or communal readings. So when Christ appeared to Alheid Ortlib of Nuremberg, he identified himself to her in both Latin and German, saying in both languages, "I am called the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords."56 At other times the authors of the Sister-Books do the translating. In the life of Adelheit Pfefferhartin, the vespers antiphon Hodie deus homo factus marked the beginning of a mystical experience for the nun. The author of the St. Katharinenthal text wanted to make sure her audience understood the importance of this song, so she supplied her readers (or listeners) with a translation, saying, "which means in German 'Today God has become man.'"57 In the life of the Töss nun Anna of Klingnau, she has a vision of Christ in which he calls himself the reparator, which Anna herself translated into German as restorer.58

22Both Latin and German had a function in the spirituality of Dominican women.

Dominican sisters were not denied access to Latin culture because of their gender; after all, during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the nuns in convents of the older monastic tradition continued the use of the Latin language. From the foundation of their order, the Dominican sisters actively chose to use the vernacular whenever possible. They did this not only because of the conditions in which they lived but because of the potential which the vernacular had as an expression of a transformed spirituality. The Dominican approach to the religious life was much more direct and individual, and therefore the vernacular served them well.59

The use of German dialects was very important for the rapid growth of German female mysticism in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and vice-versa, but the vernacular did not completely usurp Latin. The vernacular may have given individuality, but Latin conferred authority and the aura of divinity. And when it remained in the arena of familiar vocabulary, learned by novices within the monastic walls as it was with most paraliturgical devotions, it could easily be understood by the female monastic audience untrained in the complexities of scholastic Latin. While there was a shift in this period from a predominately Latin-based spirituality to one that was vernacular based, it was not a complete transformation. Among documents of practice this shift was almost complete (from the women's point of view), but within those sources that provide evidence of female Dominican spirituality, the vernacular never achieved full sway because Latin, as the language of the church, had a continued presence in their daily lives. Nowhere is this continued Latin presence more clear than in the surviving liturgical manuscripts.


The Manuscripts of German Dominican Women

23 Cross References:
Table 3: Liturgical Manuscripts from Unterlinden, St. Katharinenthal, Adelhausen, Maria Magdalena, St. Agnes, and St. Katharina. Table 4: Liturgical Manuscripts from Southern German Female Dominican Monasteries.
A survey of manuscripts belonging to the six female Dominican houses in this study provides insight into the Latin textual environment in which the women were immersed and which informed their spirituality. The vast majority of surviving manuscripts are liturgical in nature. These texts were used to perform the daily monastic offices and to celebrate the Mass. Liturgical manuscripts shed light on the regularized, sanctioned spirituality of a monastery. They also provided the enclosed women with a vocabulary that is then seen in their paraliturgical devotions. A comparison between these manuscripts and a broader survey of manuscripts belonging to female Dominican houses in the region, including the core six, shows that most manuscripts from the core houses were those commonly surviving for all female communities of the Order within Germany.

24The 1256 General Chapter of the Dominican Order, led by the Master General Humbert of Romans, called for the creation of a manuscript prototype for the Order's liturgical texts. The General Chapters of 1257, 1258, 1259 and 1265 ordered that this text be the one copied for all Dominican usage and also be used to correct already existing texts, although the manuscript itself was not completed until 1259-60.60 This exemplar included fourteen books: an ordinary, antiphonal, lectionary, Psalter, collectar, Martyrology, processional, gradual, conventual missal, the book of Gospels, the book of Epistles, the small missal, pulpitary, and portable breviary.61 Papal approval of the prototype was given in 1267.62 A major revision to these texts was probably made between 1348 and 1355, although the Order's records for the General Chapter during that period do not survive in their entirety.63

25In liturgical manuscripts the annual cycle of celebrations was divided in two ways.64 The first and most important of these was the Temporale. Here all the prominent Christian holy days, periods (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost), as well as Sundays, were provided with the appropriate liturgy needed to celebrate the events they marked during the Divine Office or Mass throughout the year.65 The second division of the liturgical year was the Sanctorale.66 The Sanctorale organized the celebration of saint's days and commemorations throughout the year, beginning in January with Andrew and ending in December with Saint Silvester. The feasts of saints which took place between Christmas and Epiphany were usually included in the Temporale, except in Dominican and usually Cistercian usage. These two orders included the saints with feasts during this period in the Sanctorale.67 The Dominicans kept the number of saints' days celebrated in the Sanctorale to a minimum during March and April in order to reflect the observance of Lent.68

26 January calendar page from fourteenth century Psalter.January calendar page from fourteenth century Psalter. Calendars at the beginning of many liturgical manuscripts provide information about the nuns who used the book. Calendars can be found incorporated into Psalters, graduals, processionals, books of rites, duirnals, and martyrologies.69 Saints' feast days and fixed dates from the Temporale were included in these calendars, which indicated among other things, the rank of each saint's feast (from least to most celebrated: commemoration, three lessons, simplex, semiduplex, duplex, or totum duplex).70 Many calendars were individualized to include obituary notices commemorating the deaths of community members, important patrons, or clergy associated with the house. Such calendars are useful from the historian's point of view because they include material that allows us to date January calendar page from a late thirteenth/early fourteenth century collection.January calendar page from a late thirteenth/early fourteenth century collection. and geographically locate the makers and users of individual manuscripts. Unfortunately the Dominican calendar was, like its other liturgical materials, fairly uniform across Europe, so the inclusion of particular saints within the calendars cannot be used very effectively to aid in identifying the manuscript's provenance. But since the Order added saints to their calendars or changed the rank of the saint's feast through legislation from the Dominican General Chapter, dating manuscripts by the saints' days commemorated in the calendar is effective. For instance, St. Martha was adopted in 1276, St. Wenceslaus in 1298, in 1300 the feasts for the Nativity of John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, and Mary Magdalene were raised to totum duplex. St. Louis was added in 1301, the feast of Corpus Christi was introduced in 1306, St. Thomas Aquinas in 1323, while St. Vincent of Saragossa was raised to a totum duplex feast in 1328, St. Martial was added in 1336, and finally the translation of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1369.71

27 Litany of the Saints [right-hand column] in a thirteenth-century ferial Psalter-hymnal from Unterlinden.Litany of the Saints [right-hand column]. Like calendars, the litany of saints was included in different types of liturgical manuscripts. The litany commemorated those saints listed in the calendars. The litany was "a series of invocations for deliverance and intercession usually addressed to the Trinity, the Virgin, angels, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins, individually and as groups."72 Also like calendars, litanies are used to identify the provenance and date of a manuscript. When the Order's legislation added saints' days to the calendar it also added them to the litany, producing a litany common to the entire Order. The doubling or embellishing of certain saints' Litany of the Saints with additions made.Litany of the Saints with additions made. names, such as St. Dominic or a monastery's patron, help establish where the text might have been used. The nuns were careful to keep the litanies in their manuscripts up to date by adding in new saints in the margins. In addition to being part of the liturgy, the litany of saints served another function as a form of powerful prayer for intercession, often at a deathbed. For instance, as Sophia of Rifelden lay on her deathbed, the nuns of Unterlinden continuously recited the litany of saints over her.73 The nuns of Engelthal did the same for the sister Berht Makerin of Nuremberg.74 Calendars and litanies appeared in many of the individual manuscripts discussed below. These manuscripts give us an idea of the extent of the female Dominican textual environment.


In the Beginning: The Psalter

28The Psalter was the essential monastic text. It was the vehicle of the primary work of monastics—to pray for themselves and others by performing the Opus Dei. Composed of the 150 Psalms contained in the Old Testament, the Psalter was a compilation of lyrical songs of praise directed at God. They received their name from the psaltery, the instrument for which the biblical King David was said to have composed the songs. Long before the thirteenth century, the Opus Dei (also known as the Divine Office) was divided into eight daily offices or services, based on the canonical hours.75 In the sixth century, Benedict of Nursia created his Rule for Monks around the celebration of the Divine Office, and at the center he placed the Psalter. All 150 Psalms were to be recited over the course of a week, divided among the eight daily offices with the bulk of them being recited at Matins, Lauds, and Vespers.76 This practice remained constant throughout the Middle Ages.

29Within each manuscript, the Psalter was traditionally divided into sections in one of four arrangements.77 The first was the five-part or biblical division. The second was the eight-part or liturgical division, based on the eight canonical hours. Despite the impression given by the name of this division, Psalters of this nature were intended for secular, not monastic use. The third arrangement was tripartite, and based on early Irish manuscripts. The final arrangement was the ten-part division, which merged the eight-part and three-part divisions. The Psalters used in female Dominican monasteries belonged to this last group.78 The text was divided at Ps 1 (Beatus vir), Ps 26 (Dominus illuminatio), Ps 38 (Dixi custodiam), Ps 51 (Quid gloriaris), Ps 52 (Dixit insipiens), Ps 68 (Salvum me fac), Ps 80 (Exultate Deo), Ps 97 (Cantate Domino), Ps 101 (Domine exaudi) and Ps 109 (Dixit Dominus Domino). In manuscripts the divisions are denoted by the use of large initials and in more elaborate manuscripts by historiated initials or miniatures. Although a handful of Psalters were rather mundane and lacking in any kind of decorative scheme, the biblical origins of the text lent the manuscripts an aura that called for artistic embellishment in honor of the sanctity of the text. Thus many Psalters belonging to female Dominican women in the thirteenth and fourteenth century, even those that contain no miniatures, do show an effort at decoration, though few could be described as overly ornate or lavish. All Psalters begin with a large, often ornate initial B to herald the opening of the Psalms, Beatus vir. This initial was traditionally decorated with a depiction of David playing his psaltery.79 That the psalms were associated with the biblical figure and his instrument was not lost on Dominican women. In her youth Berht Makerin of Nuremberg suffered a severe illness that caused the other nuns to fear for her death. She assured them that she would not die until King David came and "harped her soul out of her with his playing."80 Years later she knew her death was approaching when she heard "the sweetest psaltery that a person had ever heard."81

Initial D opening psalm 26.Initial D opening psalm 26. Initial D opening psalm 38.Initial D opening psalm 38. Initial Q opening psalm 51.Initial Q opening psalm 51.
Initial E opening psalm 80.Initial E opening psalm 80. Initial D opening psalm 101.Initial D opening psalm 101. Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir.Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir.
Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir.Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir. Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir.Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir. Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir, with King David.Initial B opening psalm 1, Beatus vir, with King David.

30 Initial Q opening psalm 51 in a ferial or choral psalter.Initial Q opening psalm 51 in a ferial or choral psalter. The Psalter was a popular devotional text in the early and high Middle Ages, both in monastic communities and the secular world of the laity, as evidenced by the numerous famous examples of the genre, best known for their pictorial cycles.82 Apart from the manner of dividing the 150 Psalms, the Psalter never changed. The essential text was never added to or deleted from, except to correct those errors made by a careless scribe. While readings, antiphons, or responses might be added to the margins of Psalters or incorporated into the text proper during the copying process, creating what was known as a ferial or choral Psalter, the Psalter itself remained the same, no matter who the user was. This explains the large number of relatively early Psalters in the hands of Dominican women in the thirteenth century. A Psalter would be the first liturgical text required in a newly established monastic foundation. And since the text never changed, older manuscripts could remain in use for Cross References:
Table 3: Liturgical Manuscripts from Unterlinden, St. Katharinenthal, Adelhausen, Maria Magdalena, St. Agnes, and St. Katharina. Table 4: Liturgical Manuscripts from Southern German Female Dominican Monasteries.
centuries. It was not necessary for a new monastery to wait for manuscripts to be produced for their use, nor were there order-specific modifications that needed to be made to the essential text. Of the twenty Psalters or Psalter-Hymnals owned by south German Dominican women, constituting just over a quarter of the surviving manuscripts (26.3%), half were created in the thirteenth century and the remaining half in the following century . The distribution of manuscripts among the six core houses is also fairly even. By 1300 there were five volumes, with six further examples being added in the fourteenth century. These manuscripts represent 25.6 percent of the surviving manuscripts from the six communities. All of these figures indicate a steady usage of the text.

31The Psalter was easily memorized by monastic men and women. Repetition of the entire text fifty-two times a year, or more if one was particularly pious, made it a work that many women must have known by heart. The vita of Margaret Finkin remarks that from the day she learned the Psalter until her death she recited the entire work every day.83

32 Saint Dominic in initial E.Saint Dominic in initial E. Since the Psalter was arranged with little distinction to monastic order, it is often difficult to ascertain the provenance of many of these texts. In some cases, the insertion of Dominican-related imagery indicates the original or intended owner of the manuscript as Dominican (either singularly or corporately). The most common indication is the addition of Saint Dominic to an illumination cycle.84 Another is the doubling or embellishing of Dominic's name in the litany of saints when a litany is included in the manuscript. Other signs of ownership or affiliation, especially in connection with Psalters not originally commissioned for Dominican foundations or as collaboration for internal evidence, include ownership notices, shelf or catalogue numbers, and distinctive binding decorations.

33 Initial D opening psalm 26.Initial D opening psalm 26. Psalters associated with southern German Dominican monasteries in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are varied. They range in size from 10 x 5 cm to 20 x 15 cm. Most contain some abbreviation, both in the text and rubrics. The prevalent color scheme is black, red, and blue ink, although some also use green, yellow, and orange. We can compare some of the Psalters belonging to Dominican women with Humbert of Roman's Psalter contained in the prototype manuscript for the Order, which was a ferial Psalter. It contained the responsories and versicles for the hours, the different tones of singing the psalms, and their "various 'mediations' and terminations," Initial Q opening psalm 51.Initial Q opening psalm 51. otherwise known as modes.85 The Psalms are given with their antiphons, followed by the canticles—Magnificat, Benedictus, Nunc Dimittis, Quicumque, Credo— the litany of the saints, the Te Deum, and the Office of the Virgin.86 A hymnal was appended to this. However, not all Dominican Psalters followed Humbert's template. An Unterlinden Psalter from the latter half of the thirteenth century is non-ferial.87 It does contain the responsories and versicles at the beginning with tonary and modes, but also includes a calendar, and then a non-ferial Psalter, unadorned with antiphons or any other material. The Psalms are then followed by the materials stipulated by Humbert's manuscript, including the hymnal.

34 Initial S opening psalm 68.Initial S opening psalm 68. A contemporary example from one of the Strasbourg women's communities is a ferial Psalter that follows the format of the prototype manuscript.88 The opening of Psalm 68 in this example shows the invitatorium and the antiphons that the nuns and their choir leader should sing. Also from the close of the thirteenth century is a non-ferial Psalter from St. Katharine in Freiburg.89 Its contents are the same as the manuscript from Unterlinden, except for the order of the materials that follow the canticles, which in this case run Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, Pater noster, Credo, Te Deum, Quicumque, and then the litany of the saints. There is no Office for the Virgin or hymnal. The manuscript does, however, contain two full-page illuminated miniatures. They appear on folio 12. The recto side shows St. Catherine and a female saint who may be Mary Magdalene, while the verso side depicts the Adoration of the Magi.90 Most female Dominican Psalters are not decorated with miniatures. Of the twenty examples, only four contain miniatures or historiated initials, but all the examples have decorated initials. A late thirteenth-century Dominican Psalter now at Nuremberg, probably from a Bavarian house, has the most elaborate illumination cycle of the group.91 There is copious use of gold illumination and bright colors that highlight the nineteen full-page miniatures and ten historiated initials in the manuscript. The miniatures and initials work together to illustrate the life of Christ, with additional portraits of the apostles accompanying the calendar pages and a depiction of St. Dominic opening Psalm 97.


Graduals, Antiphonals, and Processionals

35Among southern German female Dominican houses, the number of Psalters is surpassed by graduals and antiphonals from the beginning of the fourteenth century.92 These texts represent 27.6 percent of the manuscripts in the larger survey (Table 4) and almost half, 48.8 percent of the surviving manuscripts from the six core houses (Table 3). As the monasteries and the Order itself became firmly established, their liturgical requirements grew. These types of manuscripts provided the texts for the expanding liturgy as developed for the Order in its prototype manuscripts. Graduals contained the choral parts of the Mass, arranged according to the Temporale, the Sanctorale, and then the Common of the Saints.93 They included graduals (responses and versicles to the Epistle readings of the Mass), introits (the first sung elements of the Mass), tracts, alleluias, offertories, and communions.94 Sometimes they also gave the sequences (extended melodies sung by a soloist or the choir). There were twenty-seven used throughout the year, many of them dedicated to the saints.95 According to Humbert's prototype, the gradual should instruct the choir how to sing the choral elements of the Mass, including the Asperges, Kyrie, Gloria in excelsis, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and the Gloria Patri throughout the liturgical year.96 The graduals used by Dominican women all follow Humbert's format and apart from stylistic and decorative differences vary little, although not all of them include the sequences.

36The graduals of Dominican nuns are certainly large, in some cases monumental, but none of those surveyed are composed of more than a single volume. Two of the graduals from St. Katharinenthal, one now in Nuremberg, the other in Zurich measure 44.5 cm x 32 cm and 48 cm x 35 cm respectively.97 Two Unterlinden graduals are almost identical, measuring 48 cm x 33 cm and 48 cm x 32 cm.98

37 Initial A opening Advent.Initial A opening Advent. Graduals could be decorative as well as functional. Like Psalters they often contained historiated initials or at least decorated initials that marked important liturgical events such as Christmas. The introit for the first Sunday in Advent, Ad te levavi, was usually one of the most elaborately decorated as this introit opened the Temporale and hence the gradual proper.99 None of the graduals of German Dominican women were decorated with miniatures, only decorated or historiated initials. In the similar pair of Unterlinden graduals there are six historiated and illuminated initials each, all marking the same liturgical passages.100 A third gradual from that house has no such initials, although it mirrors the other two manuscripts in all other respects.101 Instead, more simplified decorated initials mark important passages in the text. The two graduals from St. Katharinenthal contain much more extensive decorative schemes, with many illuminated initials throughout the Temporale and Sanctorale.102

Christ and a praying Dominican nun in initial A.Christ and a praying Dominican nun in initial A. Nativity in initial P.Nativity in initial P. Resurrection and Mary Magdalen in initial R.Resurrection and Mary Magdalen in initial R.
Ascension in initial V.Ascension in initial V. Gift of the Holy Spirit in initial S.Gift of the Holy Spirit in initial S. John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D.John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D.
Christ and a praying Dominican nun in initial A.Christ and a praying Dominican nun in initial A. Nativity in Initial P.Nativity in Initial P. Resurrection with Mary Magdalen in initial R.Resurrection with Mary Magdalen in initial R.
Ascension in initial V.Ascension in initial V. Gift of the Holy Spirit in initial S.Gift of the Holy Spirit in initial S. John the Baptist in initial D.John the Baptist in initial D.

38Antiphonals contained everything sung for the Divine Office arranged by the Temporale, Sanctorale, and the Common of the Saints. In Humbert's manuscript, the text is divided in two parts.

The first contains the antiphons, responsories, and the various invitatories; also the Salve Regina, the Ave Regina, and the Te Deum. The second part is really a hymnal. It contains all the hymns with music of the entire Divine Office. In the Common of the Saints, Humbert gives the various ways of singing the hymns of the little hours, vespers, matins and lauds.103

The manuscripts examined here all adhere to the prototype, although not all of them include the hymns. None of the antiphonals include a calendar or the litany of saints.104 "Like the gradual, antiphonaries are usually large manuscripts for easy visibility by the members of the choir, and are often in two to six volumes."105 Antiphonals were sometimes divided by the season, although none of the women's manuscripts were divided in this manner. However, many of the antiphonals belonging to male Dominican houses were broken up into two volumes for winter and summer usage.106 Occasionally, houses had diurnals, manuscripts containing antiphonal materials for the daytime offices but excluding compline and matins. Five such manuscripts survive. The material for compline and matins were recorded in nocturnals, none of which survive from the houses.

39Some antiphonals are even larger than the graduals mentioned above. Two antiphonals from Adelhausen are 53 cm x 37.5 cm and 49 cm x 16.5 cm.107 We gain a sense of their weight and cumbersomeness in the life of Beli of Liebenberg. Beli, who had been bedridden for three weeks, heard a voice ordering her to rise up and go to Matins. This she did carrying the two large books from which she read the Office, two books that she normally could not carry.108 Although the type of book is not specified, they were probably liturgical in nature. Usually these manuscripts remained in place in the choir mounted on lecterns, because their size and weight (they were bound in leather between thick wooden boards) made them awkward to move frequently. Diurnals tend to be on a smaller scale than antiphonals, suggesting that the two night offices involved a lot of singing by the choir. They range from a diminutive 11.5 cm x 7.5 cm to 15.6 cm x 11.3 cm.

40The antiphonals of German Dominican women are less decorated than their graduals. Whereas the graduals sometimes have fairly extensive illumination cycles in their initials, the initials in the antiphonals are merely decorated. As in the graduals, the opening initials of the Temporale are emphasized prominently.

41 Cross Reference:
Table 3: Liturgical Manuscripts from Unterlinden, St. Katharinenthal, Adelhausen, Maria Magdalena, St. Agnes, and St. Katharina.
The manuscript diversification of 1300 also saw the proliferation of special office books for processions and essential rituals.109 Among the broader survey of manuscripts (Table 4), there are as many processionals as there are graduals, antiphons, and diurnals together, 21 out of 76 or 27.6 percent.110 However, from the six core houses, these types of manuscripts represent only 14 percent of the total. The books tended to be small and easily portable by individual nuns or pairs of nuns. This also explains the large number of texts. A smaller number of graduals or antiphonals placed in fixed locations near the nuns' choirstalls could supply the entire community with accessible texts from which to recite during the Opus Dei or Mass (at least one volume for each side of the choir). But the activity of processing and actively participating in rites such as that of burial, would have required smaller, moveable texts presumably in greater numbers.

42The processions included in the processional were usually for the Purification of the Virgin, Palm Sunday, and other Easter-related events. These included the washing of the apostles' feet (ad mandatum), Easter itself, the Feast of the Ascension of Christ, the Assumption of the Virgin, and sometimes the dedication of the Church and the receiving of officials and royalty. Like many of the other liturgical manuscripts, certain elements help identify those processionals belonging to Dominican women. Processionals sometimes detail the altars and their patrons to be washed during the Paschal season.111 If the altars listed can be matched to the known altar dedications of specific religious houses, then the manuscript's users can possibly be identified.

43 Occasionally these manuscripts have miniatures, as in the case of two processionals from communities in Strasbourg. Both date to the early fourteenth century. One has six full-page miniatures, whereas the other manuscript has eight smaller miniatures placed before the opening initial of the procession that they mark.112 An early-fourteenth-century processional, now in Freiburg but not clearly linked to any of the four Dominican houses there, also contains miniatures.113 They are four rather simple images on one face of the folio page. They show Christ's entry into Jerusalem [1v], Christ washing the feet of the apostles [9av], the Assumption of the Virgin [31r], and the Nativity [36v]. They seem to have been produced separately from the processional as only one of them has writing on the other side.114 They may have been produced in the monastery and added to the appropriate processions in the manuscript. However, for the most part processionals were plain, serving a functional rather than decorative purpose. They had no calendars or litanies to be decorated.

Miniature of presentation of Christ.Miniature of presentation of Christ. Miniature of Christ's entry into Jerusalem.Miniature of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. Miniature of Christ in the Garden.Miniature of Christ in the Garden.
Miniature of Christ washing the apostles' feet.Miniature of Christ washing the apostles' feet. Miniature of Christ's Ascension.Miniature of Christ's Ascension. Miniature of the Death of the Virgin Mary.Miniature of the Death of the Virgin Mary.
Page with miniature of Christ's Presentation.Page with miniature of Christ's Presentation. Miniature of Christ's entry into Jerusalem.Miniature of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. Miniature of Christ washing apostle's feet with Dominican nun.Miniature of Christ washing apostle's feet with Dominican nun.
Miniature of Vesperbild.Miniature of Vesperbild. Miniature of the Resurrection.Miniature of the Resurrection. Miniature of Christ's Ascension.Miniature of Christ's Ascension.
Miniature of the Death of the Virgin Mary.Miniature of the Death of the Virgin Mary. Page with miniature of the death of a Dominican nun.Page with miniature of the death of a Dominican nun.

Other Liturgical Manuscripts

44The majority of extant female Dominican manuscripts contain those texts that were performed in community as choral efforts. In contrast, texts utilized by only one person during the Office or Mass survive in far fewer numbers, perhaps because there were fewer copies of these manuscripts to begin with. From the six houses under consideration, these manuscripts include Martyrologies and collectars.

45Martyrologies contain the lives and martyrdoms of saints, selections of which were read daily during the Office of Prime on the appropriate day. The arrangement of the Martyrology followed the Sanctorale. Dominicans used the Usuard, attributed to the ninth-century French monk, Usuard.115 The Martyrology along with the liturgy familiarized Dominican women with a multitude of saints to whom they could address their prayers. At Engelthal a sister heard sweet harp music accompanying the death of the nun Anne Vorhtlin of Nuremberg. The women understood that it was Saint Achacius and his fellow martyrs who had come to be with Anne as she departed the earthly life.116 Another nun, Diemut Ebner of Nuremberg, said a prayer everyday to Saint Gervase. One time that saint's brother, Protase, appeared to her and said, "Why do you not also pray to me? I am as high in heaven as he is: you should also pray to me." And Diemut did so fervently.117 These women may have known about these saints from hearing their lives read during the Office, at chapter, or even in the refectory.

46 Beginning of the Usuard Martyrology.Beginning of the Usuard Martyrology.Neither of the two Martyrologies from the core houses exists as its own manuscript. The Unterlinden example is found in a manuscript that dates to the end of the thirteenth century with some additional fourteenth-century material, as well as continuous additions to the necrology in the calendar.118 The collection begins with a computation table and a calendar (incorporating a necrology for the community). This is followed by instructions for assigning offices for the week to male clergy, a table of contents listing basically the rubrics of the Martyrology, and then the Martyrology itself. The manuscript also contains the litany of saints, incipits for the annual cycle of readings from the Gospels known as an Evangelary, a copy of the nuns' constitutions, and additional Opening of the Constitution for Dominican nuns.Opening of the Constitution for Dominican nuns. liturgical instructions not included in the constitutions.119 The collection of material included with the Martyrology is similar to that found in Humbert of Romans' prototype of the 1250s.120 His prototype manuscript begins with a calendar of the obituaries of the Master Generals of the Order, followed by the contents or rubrics of the Martyrology, instructions for assigning offices for the week, and then the Usuard Martyrology. Next were the Gospel readings used at pretiosa (text recited after the reading from the Martyrology in the chapterhouse after the Office of Prime).121 At the close of the manuscript are the Augustinian Rule and Raymond of Peñafort's version of the Order's constitutions.122 A comparison between the prototype and the Unterlinden manuscript shows that the necrology is specific to the codex's community, in the first case the men in charge of the Marginal notations made to Martyrology.Marginal notations made to Martyrology. Order and in the second the women of the Colmar house. The prototype does not contain a computation table nor the litany of the saints, while the Unterlinden example does not contain the Rule. The nuns made good use of the manuscript, adding rubrics and marginal notes to the text at later dates. For instance, the outer margin at the end of the constitutions is marked, "This is the end, stop here" in Latin and German.123 The nuns kept the manuscript up to the Order's requirements by adding saints to the litany. We know that part of the text was written before 1323 because Thomas Aquinas is added in the margin with indications that he should be inserted after Dominic in the list of saints [140v], and the saint's two feasts (his death and his translation) are marked in the margins of the Martyrology [46r and 34r].

47The Martyrology from Maria Magdalena in Freiburg [SAF, B1 162] is a later example from the second half of the fourteenth century. This example also has other materials bound in with it. The manuscript is composed of two halves, the latter part containing two early-sixteenth-century anniversary books. The first half begins with a necrology and calendar for the nuns, prioresses, and confessors of Maria Magdalena, as well as the General Masters of the Order based upon the Humbert prototype. The Martyrology begins with a computation table for the lunar cycles and calculating months. The manuscript continues with the incipits for the Gospel readings arranged by Temporale and Sanctorale, followed by the nuns' constitutions. After that is the material added to the constitutions, then the beginning of the litany of the saints that breaks off with the martyr Saint Vincent. Except for the placement of the litany of the saints, the text is the same as the one at Unterlinden. Neither contains the Rule of St. Augustine, which perhaps reflects a higher worth placed on the way of life established by the constitutions. The sixteenth-century binding of two rather disparate sections suggests they may have been connected in the women's eyes. On the one hand is a text celebrating the Church's martyrs to whom the women prayed, on the other are the anniversary books, texts containing the names of departed nuns and patrons for whom the living nuns should pray. Those who should be saved by prayer were remembered in the same volume with those who would hopefully intercede on their behalf, two halves brought together by the nuns of Maria Magdalena. And this applies to the earlier sections of both the Unterlinden and Magdalena manuscripts. The calendars with their necrological entries also served this purpose. When the saints were remembered, so too were those departed who benefited from prayers to the saints.

48The final type of liturgical manuscript from these houses are collectars, which contained the collects or prayers for the different hours of the Divine Office.124 According to Humbert's prototype, the collectar starts with a calendar and then describes "the manner of singing all the capitula, the blessings before the lessons in matins, the versicles before lauds, all the antiphons, all the prayers (or orationes)."125 It was meant to be used by the hebdomadarian (the choir leader for the week), and hence was not a choral book like those manuscripts described above. That only three collectars survive is not surprising, because each monastery only required one copy of the text in order to organize for the Divine Office.

49The manuscripts of German Dominican women were mainly choral liturgical manuscripts. They were the texts that the women themselves read, sang, recited, memorized, and heard others sing and recite. The words within them, and often their decorations and pictures, were not hidden away from the nuns. They were a constant, accessible source of inspiration to their piety, their prayers, and their visions.


Textual Spirituality and the Two Johns

50Although all kinds of texts could support the spirituality of Dominican women, liturgical manuscripts are especially important because they were a constant presence in the daily lives of all Dominican nuns. They provided a vocabulary of words and images shared in common and made a significant contribution to the sensual environment of the women's spirituality. These liturgical manuscripts indicate the importance of specific saints to religious communities either through the saints' inclusion in the calendar at the beginning of a manuscript or the litany of saints. Large and / or elaborate initials at the beginning of the text for a saint's feast day also marked saints who had special significance. We have already seen the female Dominican devotion to John the Evangelist and John the Baptist as it played out at the intersection of the visual and spiritual environment of the women's monasteries, especially in the form of the Christus-Johannes-Gruppen.126 Therefore it is not surprising that the two saints appear with some prominence in the textual environment of German Dominican women.

51In texts, as in sculpture, John the Evangelist continues to be the Beloved of Christ, the one He loved the most and the one who suffered the most at the foot of the Cross. But where female Dominican spirituality comes into contact with the textual environment, other aspects of John's life are developed. One of these is the saint as a figure of authorship. Not only was he the author of the fourth Gospel, which proclaimed that "[i]n the beginning was the Word and the Word was God," but medieval scholars also attributed several biblical letters to him, as well as the Book of Revelations. A common medieval depiction of John the Evangelist was the author's portrait as seen at the bottom of an initial from the Nuremberg gradual of St. Katharinenthal.127 The saint is shown composing his Gospel, seated at a lectern, pen or stylus in hand.128 In other non-visual ways John was portrayed as an author and associated with the texts he wrote or contributed to. For example, a sister in the monastery of Engelthal saw John come to the deathbed of Elsbeth of Klingenburg in the company of the other apostles. Standing over the dying woman, John read from his Gospel, beginning In principio.129 However, while such depictions can be found among images of the saint associated with German Dominican women, they do not constitute a majority.130 Rather, images from the female Dominican textual environment tend to emphasize other aspects of John's life and passion.

52When the St. Katharinenthal novice Kathrin Brümsin had troubling learning liturgical texts, she prayed to John for help. He appeared to her in a dream celebrating Mass for the community, which culminated in her being brought to the altar. The saint placed a book with golden letters before her and told her that she must recite the sequence for him that began, Verbum dei deo natum. Kathrin read out all twenty-four verses of the sequence as directed by John. When she awoke, she was able to recite from memory the entire text to an incredulous nun.131 Similarly, although none of the community's extant manuscripts were written entirely in golden letters, there are certainly numerous examples of golden initials among the surviving texts. Of particular interest are the two graduals from St. Katharinenthal. Both of these contain illuminated initials in which Saint John is dressed as a bishop (as he appeared in Kathrin's dream) celebrating Mass. In the earlier Nuremberg gradual, the image is less elaborate, focusing on John himself, while the later Zurich gradual provides the saint with an audience, which anachronistically contains two Dominican nuns.132 In the second and later example, the initial E in which the scene is placed begins the Exiit sermo, which closed the saints' section within the Proper of the Saints.

53 Cross Reference:
Sequence for John the Evangelist
However, in the earlier Nuremberg gradual, the initial depicting John is the V opening the sequence Verbum dei, the one that Kathrin Brümsin learned under the tutelage of the saint. 133 This sequence was seen as so important that the Sister-Book's author, in recapping Kathrin's life later in the text, provided a translation of all twenty-four verses in Middle High German along with the incipits of the Latin verses.134 Although we know the date of the Nuremberg Gradual is 1300, we do not know the date of Kathrin's dream. Did the miniature perhaps suggest the imagery of her dream, providing her with a proper depiction of John the Evangelist? Or did her dream become a monastic legend, entering into the communal memory of the house and eventually finding its way into the manuscript John the Evangelist as bishop.John the Evangelist as bishop. illuminations of the community's graduals? Since neither of the two initials appear in sections of the manuscripts created in the monastery, their inclusion would have been specified when they were commissioned. Although the scene is meant to represent John's preaching of his final sermon before his martyrdom, one does wonder why, of the multitude of images associated with the saint, just this one was given prominence. It is a scene that is much less frequently depicted, although it does appear in an antiphonal / hymnal from about 1300 that once belonged to a male Dominican house and now resides in Karlsruhe. This particular depiction of John inhabits a marginal architectural frame, where he kneels before the altar upon which is placed a book bearing his name. John's face and praying hands are upturned toward three figures that peer out from the upper part of the frame. They are Peter and Jacob, conveniently labeled, and, in the center Christ.

54John's name even receives special treatment within the pages of female Dominican manuscripts. In several instances his name is adorned and embellished with black or blue ink, surrounded by flourishes. Similar decorative schemes are also used in the Nuremberg gradual for the Virgin Mary and once for Saint Catherine (the monastery's patron).135 In the Zurich gradual, much the same decoration scheme is used. The names of Mary, the two Johns (the Evangelist and the Baptist), and Saints Paul, Dominic, Nicholas, and Catherine, as well as the Crown of Thorns are all similarly adorned. But only Mary and both Johns repeat with any frequency. The others only occur once or twice. This scheme also extends to the incipits linked to the saint. Also decorated with filigree is the familiar introit, In medio ecclesie, in which the initial I is inhabited by ten scenes from the life of John the Evangelist.136

55John's importance to the nuns of St. Katharinenthal is most evident in the Zurich gradual. Of the seventy-two miniatures and historiated initials in the manuscript, thirty-four contain John the Evangelist. Most of these initials are contained within the Proper for the Feast for the saint. In a departure from the format and decorative program found elsewhere in the manuscript, the Feast of Saint John is copiously illuminated. The beginning of each verse within the Feast is marked by a small miniature of the saint. These images show the various events of John's ministry, along with the occasional rendering of John with images from the Book of Revelations. Twenty-four of these mini-miniatures grace this section of the manuscript. The abundant attention given to the saint emphasizes his role as the Bringer of the Word. The nuns of St. Katharinenthal link words with John the Evangelist, reinforcing his authority as the author who proclaimed that the Word was God and God was the Word. The words that celebrate this saint were favored by the women, both in their written form on the pages of parchment and in their sung form as prayers honoring him.

56While the Zurich gradual shows the importance of John the Evangelist for the nuns of St. Katharinenthal, the Nuremberg gradual celebrates John the Baptist. It contains eighteen surviving images, five of John the Baptist and two of the Evangelist. Unfortunately some of the historiated initials have been removed, cut out in the intervening centuries, but none of them appear to have contained John the Baptist.137

57 John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D.John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D. Other female Dominican houses had a special devotion to the Saint John the Baptist who was also a patron of the Order. Unterlinden was dedicated to John the Baptist, its full name being Saint John the Baptist under the Linden Trees. At Unterlinden, John the Baptist's connection to the monastery is made visually clear by inclusion in the illumination cycles of two of the monastery's fourteenth-century graduals (the only two with illuminations). The saint is recognizable as John the Baptist from the hairy cloak and the Agnus Dei that he carries. In the first example, he is venerated by three Dominican nuns who are visible in the lower left corner.138 The initial they inhabit marks the opening of the feast of the birth of John the Baptist. The other scenes in this gradual are from Christ's life. They show Christ with a praying Dominican nun, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and finally the granting of the Holy Spirit. The last image is the only one other than John's John the Baptist in initial D.John the Baptist in initial D. initial that depicts saintly figures, but the initial is meant to mark the beginning of Pentecost, not any particular saint's feast. John the Baptist is the only saint singled out for inclusion in this liturgical manuscript. The other illuminated gradual contains the same sequence of historiated initials, but with less detail.139 John is no longer in the company of his venerators, but he remains the only saint depicted in the Sanctorale of the gradual. The similarity between the two graduals, with an identical program of illuminations, may indicate that they were intended to be a set, one used by each side of the choir. However, they were not illuminated by the same artist, which suggests one may have served as the exemplar for the other.

58John the Baptist's persona as understood by Dominican women was epitomized by his title the Baptist. Ite of Hallau had a vision in which she witnessed the baptism of Christ. "Then she saw our Lord in the holy hands of St. John, as he was baptized by him, and she heard the Father's voice: hic est filius meus dilectus140 and she saw the holy ghost on his head in the form of a dove. And she was in this grace for eight days."141 Unlike other passages in the St. Katharinenthal Sister-Book, the Latin in Ite's vision is not translated, perhaps because the women were so familiar with scriptural passages concerning one of their favorite saints. At Engelthal, Alheit of Trochau had a vision in which Christ revealed to her that she had not been properly baptized. This was remedied, at least as far as the heavenly authorities were concerned, when Christ allowed St. John to baptize Alheit. This vision took place in the choir where the other sisters saw the water fall on the nun.142 Manuscript illuminations of John baptizing Christ would most certainly have supported the visions that the nuns had of the saint. Such images were included in the Nuremberg and Zurich graduals, as well as other Dominican manuscripts, like the Nuremberg Psalter.143

59Not only did John baptize Christ, but the saint was also the first to recognize him, serving as a witness to the Divinity of Christ. It was he who exclaimed that Christ was the Lamb of God.144 In the Nuremberg gradual, Saint John the Baptist witnesses the resurrection. John can be seen on the left, watching a typical Resurrection scene. His separation from the scene may represent his waiting in Limbo for the resurrected Christ to come lead the worthy souls to Paradise.145 His role as a messenger and witness can be seen in the life of Alhaid Ortlibin of Nuremberg. Shortly before her death, John the Baptist appeared to her and said, "I bring you greetings from our Lord Jesus Christ, that he has surely granted to you eternal life; he does this as reward for all that you have done to serve him. . . "146

60Elsewhere, illuminations celebrate the birth of John the Baptist. The Nuremberg gradual has an illuminated initial for both the announcement to John's unbelieving father of John's conception by the angel, and John's birth.147 Apart from the birth of Mary on folio 170v, this is the only other birth celebrated in the manuscript. At one time there probably was a Nativity initial, but it has since been removed.

61The martyrdom of John the Baptist receives little attention in the devotions of German Dominican nuns. Certainly they celebrated the feast of his martyrdom, and Unterlinden received an indulgence in association with that feast, but the visual images and the texts that record the nuns' spiritual life rarely bring up John the Baptist's death. Among images of the saint, more emphasis is given to the announcement of his conception, his early life, and his adult ministry, than to his martyrdom. An initial I in the Nuremberg gradual contains six scenes from the life of John the Baptist.148 At the top is the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth. Below that is the child John taking a bath (perhaps meant to echo his role as a baptizer), and then John appears as a hermit in the wilderness. The scenes continue with John preaching in the wilderness, followed by the Baptism of Christ, and at the very end we have the Beheading of John.

62A similar initial in the Zurich gradual also contains six scenes from John's life, but none of his martyrdom. That image is saved for the feast celebrating the event. Instead, the six scenes emphasize other aspects of the saint's life, some similar to the Nuremberg manuscript and others different. This initial also begins John's life with the Visitation. The sequence then skips ahead to the adult John in the wilderness, and then to the saint preaching, an appropriate image for the patron saint of the Order of Preachers. This is followed by John holding the Agnus Dei and recognizing Christ before the apostles. John's death is entirely skipped over and the sequence picks up John's life (or rather, life after death) with Christ leading John and other holy people out of Limbo. The sequence ends with the Last Judgment. Christ judges the resurrected, with Mary on his right and John the Baptist on his left. This placement of John, in the place occupied by the other John in Crucifixion scenes, links the two men.

63The popularity of the cults of the two Johns, especially at St. Katharinenthal, may explain the linking of the two saints. One such connection can be seen in the Nuremberg gradual on folio 250r that opens the hymn Gabrielis vox jucunda for the birth of John the Baptist.149 This section of the text was produced within the monastery, which accounts for the visual decoration of this folio. There are two images on the page, first the historiated initial G and then the marginal drawing on the upper right. In the pen and ink initial, one sees John the Baptist praying in the wilderness, surrounded by birds and animals. In the upper right hand margin is the evangelist symbol for John—the eagle. In its talons, it clutches a scroll upon which is written the incipit for a passage in John's Gospel reporting the activities of John the Baptist. The scroll reads, "Fuit homo missus a deo cui nomen . . ." The audience was expected to know that the verse concluded with, erat Johannes, the missing name made obvious by the verse's placement near the image of John in the wilderness.150 On this page, John the Evangelist introduces the praying man to the viewer, indicating his privileged place in the Gospel of John. And the name of John receives special treatment, encased in pen flourishes.

64Elsewhere, the two saints appear together in the initial in the Zurich gradual, which begins the feast for the Nativity of John the Baptist.151 The initial contains two scenes. In the upper one, the adult Baptist points to Christ in a mandala, acknowledging that Christ is the Lamb of God. Below, the other John can be seen writing his Gospel on a desk supported by an angel. The scene seems to suggest that John the Evangelist is recording John the Baptist's witnessing of Christ's divinity. Even though John the Baptist appears in all four of the Gospels, he is always associated visually with the Gospel of John.

65 John the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial DJohn the Baptist with Dominican nuns in initial D. The interaction of Dominican women with their textual environment was acoustic, visual, and tactile. Books were read aloud and heard, they were viewed for both their text and images, and they were touched and manipulated, opened and closed. That Dominican women saw their spirituality closely tied to books is evident from the depictions of the Order's nuns that found their way into the manuscripts. Nuns can be seen observing biblical figures, like the nuns surrounding John the Baptist in one of the Unterlinden graduals. They serve as audiences for hagiographic events, like the nuns listening to John the Evangelist preach in the Zurich gradual. Nuns are also shown in the margins of initials, like in the birth of Mary in the Nuremberg gradual, where a kneeling habited figure venerates the newborn child.152 Another nun in a Strasbourg processional observes Christ washing the feet of an apostle. Throughout the Zurich gradual the small figure of a nun, labeled as Katharina of Rannegge can be found watching many scenes. And finally there are the Dominican nuns who open the illuminated Unterlinden graduals, devout praying nuns kneeling beneath the throne of Christ.

Miniature of Christ washing apostle's feet with Dominican nun. Miniature of Christ washing apostle's feet with Dominican nun. Page with Christ and a praying Dominican nun. Page with Christ and a praying Dominican nun. Christ and a praying Dominican nun in initial A. Christ and a praying Dominican nun in initial A.

66These images reinforce the idea that these are the women's books. And there is a close connection between sight, sound, and spirituality. Words and texts—written and spoken—were important for the spirituality of Dominican women. Because of this, they favored those saints who were associated with words, like John the Evangelist who wrote the words of the Gospel and proclaimed the Word of God. They went further and also connected this John with the other John—John the Baptist—the patron saint of their Order, an Order that preached the Word. The saints' words on the pages of liturgical manuscripts became cherished emblems of the saints. Words connected to them (their names, sequences in their honor, and the texts for their Feast days) all received special treatment. And because of the saints' special place in the women's spirituality, their images appear frequently in the texts from these communities.

67This honoring of the two Johns and the words associated with them leads us back to the role of language and image in female Dominican spirituality. The large number of liturgical manuscripts that survive, and the women's attitude toward Latin as the language of divinity and authority, show the prevalence of that language in their conception of their spirituality. Their individual devotions were often in the vernacular, but their communal devotions embraced the Latin words that constituted the rituals of their community. Together, Latin and German, written and spoken words, images and objects, all combined to create a sensual environment rich in the sanctity that these women desired.


Note 1: "Ie siecher du bist, ie lieber du mir bist.
Ie verschmächter du bist, ie necher du mir bist.
Ie ermer du bist, ie gelicher du mir bist." TSB, 37. back

Note 2: KSB, 125–26. This appearance of the Christ Child is very similar to the experience of her fellow nun, Anna of Ramschwag, mentioned below. KSB, 128–29. back

Note 3: "so si bettete an irem büchlin, so wart es ir ettwan guldin in iren henden, die büchstaben vnd alles samet, vnd werete das alle die wile so si bettete." ASB, 173. back

Note 4: See Michael T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England 1066–1307 (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1993). While Clanchy's study focuses on England and on contractual records in particular, the proliferation of documentation that accompanied the change that he describes could be found in most parts of Europe. back

Note 5: See Herbert Grundmann, "Litteratus-illitteratus," Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 40 (1958): 1–65; and Clanchy, 224–52. back

Note 6: See the lectures "Erziehungs- und Bildungsmöglichkeiten," "Bildung und Lesefähigkeit der Frauen," and "Zur Lesefähigkeit der mittelalterlichen Gesellschaft," in Manfred Günter Scholz, Hören und Lesen: Studien zur primären Rezeption der Literatur im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert (Wiebaden: Franz Steiner, 1980), 202–5, 205–11, 221–30, respectively. "During the Hohenstaufen period, as in the preceding age, the customary education for women of rank consisted chiefly in learning to read the Psalter. This sort of education was common, it is quite clear, but of course one infers that it meant only a very limited knowledge of Latin. A broad training in Latin letters was still considered an unusual and notable achievement for a woman . . . " James Thompson, The Literacy of the Laity in the Middle Ages (New York: Franklin, 1963), 100. Heloise in twelfth century Paris certainly falls under this last category. In Germany, the women with "a broad training in Latin letters" were to be found within the monastic walls, like Hildegard of Bingen and the nuns of Helfta. See Mary Jeremy Finnegan, The Women of Helfta: Scholars and Mystics (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1991). However, not all cloistered women necessarily had a high degree of Latin literacy. See Alison I. Beach, Women as Scribes: Book Production and Monastic Reform In Twelfth-Century Bavaria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). For more on the education of women in Europe, see Joan M. Ferrante, "The Education of Women in the Middle Ages in Theory, Fact, and Fantasy," in Beyond Their Sex: Learned Women of the European Past, ed. Patricia H. Labalme (New York: New York University Press, 1980), 9–42. back

Note 7: This can be seen by comparing documents in FUB, TUB, and UBB. back

Note 8: See for example those letters edited in Heinrich Finke, Ungedruckte Dominikanerbriefe des 13. Jahrhunderts (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1891). All of the letters are in Latin. back

Note 9: See Barbara Newman, "Authority, Authenticity, and the Repression of Heloise," in From Virile Woman to WomanChrist: Studies in Medieval Religion and Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1995), 4675. back

Note 10: SAF, B4 101. back

Note 11: SAF, B1 152, 44rb. back

Note 12: BVC, ms. 578; and SAF, B1 162. back

Note 13: ZBZ, Rh. 99b. back

Note 14: One such study has looked at the actual language or words that the women used in their mysticism and how they may have contributed to the development of mystical vocabulary. Hester Reed Gehring, "The Language of Mysticism in South German Dominican Convent Chronicles of the Fourteenth Century" (PhD diss., University of Michigan, 1957). back

Note 15: See Judith Oliver, "Worship of the Word: Some Gothic Nonnenbücher in their Devotional Context," in Women and the Book: Assessing the Visual Evidence, ed. Jane H.M. Taylor and Lesley Smith (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1997), 106–122. Oliver calls this a "focus on the spiritual power of individual words. . . . [which] remained far more faithful to the essential monastic traditional of lection divina, the worship of the Word." Oliver, 116. back

Note 16: Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner, "Puellae litteratae: The Use of the Vernacular in the Dominican Convents of Southern Germany," in Medieval Women in their Communities, ed. Diane Watt (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997), 53. See Chapter 3 for prayers used by Dominican nuns. back

Note 17: ESB, 2. In the text this description occurs before the convent was admitted to the Order. back

Note 18: "In den ziten da sie daz gesank heten gelernt, da bat der stifter der frawen maisterin, daz sie irre frawen hintz Reichnek breht. Daz sie nu messe sungen in einer capeln, an dem pfingstag daz geschach, da sank der stifter die messe alle mit den frawen, und het bustaben nie gelernt." ESB, 6. back

Note 19: "Latin leren ald schriben." TSB, 34. back

Note 20: "lesen und latin lernen." TSB, 37. back

Note 21: ASB, 174. back

Note 22: KSB, 128–29. The Psalter was often used to teach children their alphabet. Susan G. Bell, "Medieval Women Book Owners: Arbiters of Lay Piety and Ambassadors of Culture," in Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages, ed. Judith M. Bennett, et al. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 163. back

Note 23: WSB, 141–42. back

Note 24: Maria-Luise Ehrenschwendtner, "A Library Collected by and for the Use of Nuns: St. Catherine's Convent, Nuremberg," in Women and the Book: Assessing the Visual Evidence, ed. Lesley Smith and Jane Taylor (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 123–32. Ehrenschwendtner notes that the convent's book collecting started in 1428 and by the end of the century their library contained between 500 and 600 volumes. Ehrenschwendtner, 123–24. Also see Anne Winston-Allen, Convent Chronicles: Women Writing About Women and Reform in the Late Middle Ages (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004). back

Note 25: "Es spricht der hailig Sant Bernhard: 'Got ist ungenem, was du wúrkest, ob du das versumest das du schuldig bist.'" TSB, 33. The author also begins Margret's life with another of the Latin/German translations that one finds sprinkled through the Sister-Books, especially those of Töss and Kirchberg. "Sy quis non vivet in justicia, ille non potest manere in sapiencia. Wer nit lebet in der gerechtikait, der mag nit wonen in der wishait." TSB, 33. back

Note 26: USB, 432. In note 1 on that page Ancelet-Hustache lists nineteen possible works by Augustine that the reference could have come from. As none of these works survive from the community and I could not find them among manuscripts of the male Dominicans of Colmar (with the idea that Catherine may have borrowed a work from the neighboring community or heard it preached), the exact text to which she had access remains unknown. back

Note 27: USB, 442. back

Note 28: TSB, 65. back

Note 29: TSB, 22. Whether this refers to the biblical book or Gregory the Great's commentary is unknown. back

Note 30: "in himel gevarn ist, und all mein weg waren behangen mit brinnenden lampen als in sand Benedicten legend geschriben stet." ESB, 23. back

Note 31: For Martyrologies, see below. back

Note 32: Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, trans. William Granger Ryan, vol. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 193. back

Note 33: "Ez kom oft die zit von genaden, daz sie die sweren buch als wol bedeuten kond als ein wol gelerter pfaff: als die zit denne vergink, so konde sie sin niht mer, wanne sie waz niht gelert." ESB, 13. back

Note 34: "Sie het ein cleine kunst gelernt unde kom dar zu mit den gnaden gotes, daz sie grozze swerew buch ze tisch deutet." ESB, 30. back

Note 35: "sternen und blümen vand si in ir büchlin." ASB, 165. The type of book and its language is not identified. However, a book used in individual prayer does indicate some level of literacy. back

Note 36: On Books of Hours see R. Wieck et al., Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (New York: Walters Art Gallery, 1988). See also Jeffrey F. Hamburger, "Before the Book of Hours: The Development of the Illustrated Prayer Book in Germany," in The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany (New York: Zone, 1998), 149–96. back

Note 37: WSB, 77. back

Note 38: SAF, B1 107, f. 228v. back

Note 39: Freiburg, UBF, Hs. 41. See the catalogue description for attribution to Adelhausen in-house scriptorium. back

Note 40: ASB, 189–93. back

Note 41: ESB, 26. back

Note 42: "Disu sälig swester gelernet nie latin noch schriben vnd schreib doch die vier passion in tútsch mit ir hant." KSB, 122. back

Note 43: "Wir hand och fil nach alle únser gütten bild von ir; fil túscher bücher hat sy gefrúmet." TSB, 45. back

Note 44: USB, 411. back

Note 45: USB, 431 back

Note 46: GNM, Ms. 21897. back

Note 47: SAF, B1 132, f. 110r; and BLB, St. Peter perg. 70, f. 34r. back

Note 48: SAF, B1 132, f. 106 v, 110r. back

Note 49: This can be seen in the collection of Tauler's sermons. back

Note 50: TSB, 48. back

Note 51: "Wer nun dis buchly hor lessen," TSB, 16; "Wer das liset oder höret lesen." ASB, 183. back

Note 52: TSB, 33, 50, 60. back

Note 53: WSB, 70, 78. back

Note 54: WSB, 76. back

Note 55: USB, 350, 353, 357, 361, 366, 370, 375, 386, 390, 409, 441, 451, 455, 459, 468, 493, 496, 498, 500, 502 (2). In general, USB can be characterized as the most "intellectual" of the Sister-Books, containing theological discussions of the Trinity and the Holy Spirit. At the same time, it also contains the greatest number of examples of extreme religious discipline in the form of hairshirts, flagellation, and other types of bodily mortifications. It is the longest of the texts, but both of these elements (theological discussions and ascetic practices) are described with a marked frequency not found in the other Sister-Books. back

Note 56: "'Ich haiz Rex regum et dominus dominancium: ich bin ein kunig der kunig und ein herre der herscher.'" ESB, 24. back

Note 57: "das spricht ze tvtsch: >Hút ist got mentsch worden<" KSB, 152. back

Note 58: "Do sprach er: 'Ich hais reparator', das sprichet in túsch: ain widerbringer." TSB, 38. back

Note 59: Ehrenschwendtner, "Library," 60. In some ways, Ehrenschwendtner may be reading later sources back into the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Just how active and conscious a choice the women made between the two languages is hard to prove from the evidence. back

Note 60: Hinnebusch, 348–49; and Leonard Boyle, "Dominican Lectionaries and Leo of Ostia's Translatio S. Clementis," AFP 28 (1958), 368. This prototype is described in William R. Bonniwell, A History of the Dominican Liturgy (New York: Joseph F. Wagner, 1944), 85 ff. back

Note 61: Bonniwell, 84. The Parisian-made exemplar is in the General Archives of the Order, identified as MS XIV L 1. back

Note 62: John Stinson, "The Dominican Liturgy of the Assumption: Texts and Music for the Divine Office," in The Art of the Book: Its Place in Medieval Worship, ed. Margaret M. Manion and Bernard J. Muir (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1998), 171. back

Note 63: This is Bonniwell's assertion based on the next set of revisions from the 1370s. Because these later revisions refer to earlier texts, which are different from those created in the 1250s, and the 1355-legislation mentions revisions recently made, there must have been a revision in the interval between those of the 1250s and the 1370s. Bonniwell, 232. back

Note 64: For the terminology of medieval manuscripts, see Andrew Hughes, Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to their Organization and Terminology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982); and Michelle P. Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Library, 1994). back

Note 65: Brown, 120. back

Note 66: Brown, 113. This should not to be confused with the book called the Sanctoral, although a Sanctoral did follow the Sanctorale. back

Note 67: Hughes, 9. back

Note 68: Bonniwell, 115–16. back

Note 69: F. P. Pickering, The Calendar Pages of Medieval Service Books: An Introductory Note for Art Historians (Reading: Reading Medieval Studies, 1980); Brown, 30–31; and Hughes, 275–80. back

Note 70: Bonniwell, 132. back

Note 71: Bonniwell, 199, 201–3, 222–23. back

Note 72: Brown, 80. back

Note 73: USB, 434. back

Note 74: ESB, 24. back

Note 75: These hours are Matins (midnight or 2:30 am), Lauds (3:00 or 5:00 am), Prime (6:00 am), Pierce (9:00 am), Sext (noon), Nones (3:00 pm), Vespers (4:30, 6:00 pm or sunset), and Compline (6:00 or 9:00 pm). back

Note 76: Hughes, 229–31. back

Note 77: The following summary is based on Hughes, 225. back

Note 78: The following twenty Psalters or combination Psalter-Hymnals form the basis of this section (in rough chronological order). An asterisk marks those manuscripts belonging to the six core houses in this study and included in Table 4. All of the following are included in Table 4:
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 11a (after 1234)
Nuremberg, GNM, Hs. 4981 (after 1234)
*Colmar, BVC, ms. 404 (13th century)
*Colmar, BVC, ms. 301 (13th century)
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 139 (1260)
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 111 (second half 13th century)
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 110 (second half 13th century)
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 19 (second half 13th century)
Nuremberg, GNM, Hs. 56632 (second half 13th century)
*Freiburg, AMF, Codex St. Katharina A (late 13th century)
*Freiburg, EBA, Hs. 1 (1287–1303)
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 8b (1300)
*Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11735 (1300)
*Freiburg, SAF, B1 121 (1303-1326)
*Freiburg, EBA, Hs. 2 (before 1323)
*Rome, Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 10774 (1325–1350)
*Colmar, BVC, ms. 405 (14th century)
*Colmar, BVC, ms. 402 (14th century)
*Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 95 (14th century)
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 104 (14th century) back

Note 79: This authorship is often reflected in illuminated Psalters by depicting King David playing his harp / Psaltry on the opening folio of Psalm 1. See BLB, St. Peter perg. 11a, f.1r. back

Note 80: "'herpf die sel auz mit sinen clengen.'" ESB, 23. back

Note 81: "daz suzest saitenspil daz mensch ie gehoren solt." ESB, 24. In the Engelthal Sister-Book, the motif of the sweet psaltery playing upon the imminent death of a sister is used frequently. back

Note 82: These examples include the Utrecht Psalter (c. 820, which integrates the text of the Psalms with its images), the Cotton Psalter (1050), the St. Albans Psalter (1119–1123, possibly created for a woman), the Psalter of St. Louis (1260), and the Windmill Psalter (late 13th century). The popularity of the Psalter was eclipsed by the Apocalypse during the thirteenth century in England, but until the advent of Books of Hours, the Psalter maintained its popularity throughout continental Europe. back

Note 83: TSB, 34. See Chapter 3 for the place of the Psalms in the acoustic environment. back

Note 84: GNM, Hs. 56.632, f. 101r, for a Dominic initial opening Psalm 97. back

Note 85: Bonniwell, 90. On the tonary, see Hughes, 112-16; and on modes, Hughes, 111–12. back

Note 86: Bonniwell, 90. back

Note 87: BVC, ms. 404 . back

Note 88: BLB, St. Peter perg. 19. back

Note 89: AM, Codex St. Katharina A. back

Note 90: See Heinrich Schneider, "Ein Psalter aus dem Freiburger Katharinenkloster," Freiburger Diözesan-Archiv 41 (1941), 254–68. back

Note 91: GNM, Hs. 56,632. back

Note 92: This section is based on the study of 8 graduals, 7 antiphonals, one manuscript, which bound together an antiphonal and a gradual, and 5 diurnals. All come from the six core houses and are included in Table 3. (G = gradual, A = antiphonal, A/G = combined manuscript, D = diurnal):
Karlsruhe, BLB, St. Peter perg. 55 (late 13th. century) D
Zurich, ZBZ, Rh. 123 (1290–1310) D
Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11738 (1300) D
Nuremberg, GNM, 21897 (1300) G
Zurich, SNM, MS LM 26117 (1312) G
Freiburg, Priesterseminar St. Peter, Cod. ms. 16 (early 14th. century) D
Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11722 (before 1326) A
Rome, Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 10773 (1300–1330) G
Rome, Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 10769 (1325–1350) G
Rome, Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 10770 (1325–1350) A
Rome, Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 10771 (1325–1350) A
Rome, Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 10772 (1325–1350) A
Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11723 (first half 14th century) A
Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11725 (1350) G
Colmar, BVC, ms. 136 (14th century) G
Colmar, BVC, ms. 312 (14th century) G
Colmar, BVC, ms. 317 (14th century) G
Colmar, BVC, ms. 303 (14th.century) A/G
Colmar, BVC, ms. 386 (14th century) D
Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11729 (second half 14th century) A
Freiburg, AMF, Inv. Nr. 11726 (second half 14th century) A back

Note 93: "The Common of the Saints provides those texts proper to classes of saints which, with a suitable name inserted, become proper to an individual within the class. Thus, there are prayers for martyred bishops used for all such saints not given a proper name of their own: rubrics within the Sanctorale will there specify cetera (or oratio or responsoria, etc) de communi (unius confessoris et pontificus or unius virginis non martyris, etc)." Hughes, 37–238. back

Note 94: Brown, 62. back

Note 95: Bonniwell, 92. See Appendix for the sequence of John the Evangelist. back

Note 96: Bonniwell, 92. back

Note 97: GNM, Hs. 21897 and SNM, MS LM 26117. back

Note 98: BVC, ms. 136 and BVC, ms. 317. back

Note 99: Brown, 62. back

Note 100: BVC ms. 136 and BVC, ms. 317. back

Note 101: BVC, ms. 312. back

Note 102: See below for more detail. back

Note 103: Bonniwell, 92. back

Note 104: However, two of the diurnals have calendars. BVC, ms. 386; and BLB, St. Peter perg. 55. back

Note 105: Robert Calkins, Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), 226. back

Note 106: See for example BVC, ms. 135 (summer) and BVC, ms. 311 (winter). back

Note 107: AM, Inv. Nr. 11722 and AM, Inv. Nr. 11723. back

Note 108: TSB, 30. back

Note 109: Dominican processionals included the burial service at the end of the book. Bonniwell, 90. back

Note 110: The addition of the manuscript listed under Other (which contains Dominican Rituals) balances out these manuscripts. Psalters and Psalter-hymnals run a close second with 20 out of 76 (26.3%). back

Note 111: "In cena Domini, ad ablutionem altarium." back

Note 112: BLB, St. Peter perg. 21 and BLB, St. Peter perg. 22. back

Note 113: SAF, B1 122. back

Note 114: There is text on f. 36r. back

Note 115: Bonniwell, 88–89. Le Martyrologe d'Usuard: Texte et Commentaire, ed. Jacques Dubois (Brussells: Société des Bollandistes, 1965). back

Note 116: ESB, 37. Achacius [Achaicius or Acacius or Achatius ] is found on March 30 (III KL. April) in the Usuard Martyrology. back

Note 117: "'War umb betest du mir auch niht? Ich bin in dem himel als hoch als er: du solte mir auch beten.'" ESB, 33. Gervase and Protase were early Roman martyrs about which nothing was clearly known. St. Ambrose is said to have had a vision that revealed the location of their remains. They appear in the Usuard Martyrology on June 19. back

Note 118: BVC, ms. 302. back

Note 119: Evangelaries contained the Gospel readings for the Mass and were arranged according to the liturgical year. A fourteenth-century Evangelary also survives from Oetenbach. ZBZ, C170. back

Note 120: Bonniwell, 89. back

Note 121: "While the psalm Laudate was being said [at the close of the Office of Lauds], the friar appointed to read the martyrology approached the prior and inquired in a low voice: 'Chapter?' If he replied: 'No,' the martyrology was read in the choir; if he said, 'After prime,' it was deferred until this time; but if he answered, 'Yes,' then the reading was to take place in the chapter-room as soon as lauds ended. Accordingly the friars left the chapel and entered the chapter-room where the martyrology was read and the pretiosa were recited. The reading of the martyrology and the recitation of pretiosa in the chapter-room, especially after prime, was the common practice of the monastic Orders in the Middle Ages. On the feasts of nine lessons, Ash Wednesday and the vigil of Christmas, it was customary to have a sermon after pretiosa." Bonniwell, 140–42. back

Note 122: See Introduction on this text. back

Note 123: "hic est finis. Dz ist dz Ende hie hör uff'." BVC, ms. 302, f. 179v. back

Note 124: Brown, 43. back

Note 125: Bonniwell, 89. back

Note 126: See Chapter 2. These observations and those that follow were initially made before the newest study on St. John the Evangelist was published. Jeffery Hamburger, St. John the Divine: The Deified Evangelist In Medieval Art and Theology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002). back

Note 127: GNM, 21897, f. 146r. back

Note 128: This initial I opens In medio ecclesia, the introit often associated with the feast of St. John (although it is used on several occasions throughout the liturgical year). See the Introduction for the text of Kathrin Brümsin's dream where John begins Mass with this passage, as well the life of an anonymous St. Katharinenthal nun in Chapter 3, in which the priest begins Mass for another saint with this introit and then mistakenly switches to the Mass for St. John. back

Note 129: ESB, 38. back

Note 130: Among the illuminated manuscripts surveyed, author portraits appear five times in manuscripts connected with St. Katharinenthal. The instances are GNM, 21.897, f.146r; SNM, Hs.26117, f.3v (two depictions in the same initial), f.159v, and f.178r. back

Note 131: KSB, 124, 159. The text of the dream can be found in the Introduction. The acoustical aspect of this incident is discussed in Chapter 3. See Appendix for the text of the sequence in Latin and the Middle High German translation provided by the author of the St. Katharinenthal Sister-Book. back

Note 132: GNM, 21897, f. 219v and SNM, MS LM 26117, f.161v. back

Note 133: GNM, 21897, f.219v. back

Note 134: KSB, 159 ff. The sequence also appears in the life of Luggi of Stein. See Chapter 3. back

Note 135: GNM, 21897, f. 168v and f. 177r. back

Note 136: SNM, MS LM 26117, f. 158v. back

Note 137: The missing images are from the Temporale. back

Note 138: BVC, 136 f.165v. back

Note 139: BVC, 317, f. 122v. back

Note 140: Matthew. 3:13. back

Note 141: "do sah si vnsern herren in den heiligen handen Johannes, als er von im getovffet ward, vnd hort des vatters stimm: >Hic est filius meus dilectus<, vnd sah den heiligen geist vff sinem hovpt in einer tuben glichnúss. Vnd in dirre gnád was si die acht tag." KSB, 108. back

Note 142: ESB, 11. back

Note 143: See for example GNM, 56897, f. 9r. back

Agnus Dei doodle in margin.Agnus Dei doodle in margin. Note 144: In one of the Colmar graduals, BVC, ms. 312, someone has drawn a small Agnus Dei in the upper margin of f. 79v, above the text for Easter. back

Note 145: GNM, 21897, f. 96r. back

Note 146: "'Ich tun dir kunt von unserm herren Jesu Christo, daz er dir sicherheit hat geben ewigez lebens: do wil er dir allez dez loenen dez du im ie gedient hast.'" ESB, 24. back

Note 147: GNM, 21897, f. 160v and f. 161v. back

Note 148: GNM, 21897, f. 249v. back

Note 149: AH 8, Nr. 198. back

Note 150:"And God sent a man whose name was John." John 1: 6. back

Note 151: SNM, MS LM 26117, f. 178r. back

Note 152: GNM, 21897, f.170v. back