University of Erfurt

Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt

Projekt von Jelle Willem Visser M.A.

Gotha, Forschungsbibliothek, Membr. I 70 as Gesamtkunstwerk and source for medieval relic thought

The project concerns the manuscript, Gotha, Forschungsbibliothek I 70, written in Echternach in the early twelfth century, containing several works by one author, Thiofrid, abbot of Echternach (d. 1110), celebrating the relation of the abbey with its patron saint, Willibrord, and including a treatise on relics, which has recently gained significance in Relic Studies. The project aims to explore what the intentions of those compiling the manuscript were, how they set about their task, and what the reception of their product was.

Both the texts themselves and their interrelation in the manuscript are not without their difficulties. Thiofrid's style is heavily influenced by his reading of classical and patristic authors, and are dense with intertextuality. The question is how this plays out in the presentation of the text in this manuscript. From the description of the manuscript and its contents in existing scholarship, moreover, it would seem that the manuscript was conceived as a Gesamtkunstwerk, in which the texts are interrelated in such a way as to enhance a common strand of thought. If this is indeed the case this must have its repercussions for our assessment of the individual texts.

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