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Freisinger Denkmäler (Freising Manuscripts), Clm 6426
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Freisinger Denkmäler (Freising Manuscripts), Clm 6426
 
Freising, second half of the 10th century.
Parchment, I + 170 sheets, 25.5 x 20.5 cm.
Late gothic wooden board binding with leather cover (restored in 1958).
Provenance: Chapter of Freising.
 
 
The "Missionshandbuch" (mission handbook) of Bishop Abraham of Freising ranks among the most venerable and, in regard of content, most complex manuscripts held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. This work is not only a unique relic of the intellectual culture of Bavaria in late Carolingian times, but it simultaneously bears immense cultural and national importance for Slovenia.
 
The majority of the austere parchment manuscript written by numerous different hands in Carolingian minuscule script was created in Freising during the era of Bishop Abraham (957 to 994). It contains a complex corpus consisting mostly of Latin homiletic and liturgical texts, as well as some parts pertaining to secular and church law. Furthermore, several authentic homilies by Rather of Verona should be stressed, which bear witness to the cultural connections between Bavaria and Northern Italy, a Jewish oath of which only this one specimen has survived, and the single surviving copy of the "Beschlüsse des Landtags zu Ranshofen" (decisions by the Bavarian parliament of Ranshofen), which are regarded as the first territorial law in the German legal and constitutional history. Some smaller passages in the Greek language represent rare evidence of the living knowledge of this language before the high middle ages.
 
The mission handbook of Bishop Abraham owes its famousness primarily to the extensive research of the passages in Slavic languages, which was unfortunately partly carried out without taking sufficient account of the cultural context. The so-called "Freising Manuscripts" (in Slovenian: "Brižinski spomeniki"), taking up altogether 9 of the 338 pages (78rv, 158v to 161v), do not only represent the by far earliest evidence of the Slovenian language and of a Slavic language in Latin script, but at the same time one of the most important documents of medieval Slavic culture, the "Slavia christiana". Like the other texts of the codex, the Freising manuscripts were created in connection with the missionary activities of the Diocese of Freising, which also owned property in Carinthia and Carniola.
 
The Slavic passages contain two formulas for confession (manuscripts I and III) and a confession homily (manuscript II). The first and the third manuscript represented here show clear traits of oral tradition, which is presumably owed to the fact that the texts had to be repeated by the congregation. In contrast, the second Freising manuscript, which is most sophisticated from a literary perspective, is probably based on a written original. It is assumed that all three texts are based on - not included - translation source materials. So far, no agreement has been reached among researchers on the type of source material, but Old High German texts, or texts in other languages, for instance originating in the Patriarchate of Aquileia (Aquileia also played an important role in the conversion of the Western Slavic peoples), would be thinkable. Apart from this, there seem to be some connections to texts of theCyrillo-Methodian mission.
 
 
The manuscript was digitised comprehensively and is freely available on the Internet:
A historical-critical edition of the "Freising Manuscripts" was compiled by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences:  http://nl.ijs.si/e-zrc/bs/index-en.html