Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Liborius: Bruckenbauer Europas: Die Mittelalterlichen Viten Und Translationsberichte

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Liborius: Bruckenbauer Europas: Die Mittelalterlichen Viten Und Translationsberichte

Article excerpt

Liborius: Bruckenbauer Europas: Die mittelalterlichen Viten und Translationsberichte. By Volker de Vry. (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh. 1997. Pp. xviii, 382. 88 DM.)

To commemorate the alleged 1600th anniversary of the death of Bishop (St.) Liborius of Le Mans, whose body was translated to Paderborn in 836, the bishop, chapter, and city of Paderborn underwrote the lavish publication of Volker de Vry's 1996 dissertation from Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat at Freiburg im Breisgau (directed by Hubert Mordek). The production values are extraordinary. The photographs, usually of excellent quality, include eighty-nine reproductions, many in full color, of pages of the major manuscripts and incunabula. This book is a bargain for students of paleography! There are also fifteen images of Liborius and his reliquaries and even eleven pictures of scholars who have examined the dossier.

This is the first comprehensive study of Liborius materials to systematically survey the manuscript evidence. After presenting what little is known about the historical Liborius and his cult prior to the 836 translation to Paderborn, De Vry analyzes, in individual chapters, the parallel translation accounts. Then he edits the vita and translatio (Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina 4912-4913) written by the "Paderborn Anonymous" who was commissioned by Bishop Biso at some point between 888 and 909. De Vry inventories many minor late medieval Latin and vernacular Liborius texts. He offers a seventy-two-page descriptive catalog of "Manuscripta Liboriana" as well as other useful indexes. He even itemizes his unsuccessful initiatives, specifying all the libraries where he made inquiries, all the places where he examined manuscripts, and all the research strategies he employed.

How does this magnum opus advance our knowledge of the dossier of Liborius? Everyone will welcome the critical edition of the "Paderborn Anonymous," the most widely distributed version of the legend and the major source for the early history of the Diocese of Paderborn. …

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