The Bernward-Psalter and the library of St. Michael at Hildesheim

Initial D to Psalm 71,2 D[eus] ivdiciv[m] tuvm
(Wolfenbüttel, HAB, Cod. Guelf. 113 Noviss. 4°, fol. 51r)

In 2007 the manuscript known as the "Bernward-Psalter" was acquired by the Herzog August Bibliothek with the financial support of the federal state of Lower Saxony and several private foundations. The codex was commissioned by bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (993-1022) and it was written by the scribe Guntbaldus for the monastery S. Michael of Hildesheim, Bishop Bernward's favourite foundation.

The aim of the current research project (2008-2012) is to determine the codicological and palaeographic position of the codex, furthermore its significance within the development of liturgical and illuminated manuscripts. Based on further 60 medieval manuscripts the project will provide a reconstruction of the history of the monastic library of St. Michael up to late-medieval period and of its relation to the Library of the Cathedral in Hildesheim. The analysis of this group of lavishly illuminated liturgical manuscripts and texts of classical antiquity, as well as the theological and scholastic treatises, will give an outline of the spiritual and intellectual climate of the monastery. In a comparatistic approach these results will be confronted with the intellectual history and material culture of contemporary religious life.

The results of this project will be published in shorter form in the series Patrimonia and finally in a substantial monograph.

Accompagning the project the exhibition "Schätze im Himmel – Bücher auf Erden. Mittelalterliche Handschriften aus Hildesheim"



Schätze im Himmel – Bücher auf Erden. Mittelalterliche Handschriften aus Hildesheim. Ausstellung in der Herzog-August-Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel vom 5. September 2010 bis 27. Februar 2011, ed. by Monika E. Müller. Ausstellungskataloge der Herzog August Bibliothek 93 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2012).
Catalogue  HAB Publications

Einen Platz im Himmel erwerben. Bücher und Bilder im Dienste mittelalterlicher Jenseitsfürsorge, ed. by Monika E. Müller and Christian Heitzmann. Wolfenbütteler Hefte 32 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2012).
Catalogue  HAB Publications

Monika E. Müller: Der Bernward-Psalter im Wandel der Zeiten. Eine Studie zu Ausstattung und Funktion. Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien 23 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2013).
Catalogue  HAB Publications


Funding: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur