I have written a few times about The Book of Hildebald, also known as Cologne MS 106 (here and here). As many of you know by now, the archive in Cologne Germany collapsed this week to a level equal to intentional destruction (see here for more information). Hopefully archivists around the world are taking a second look at their archive buildings and getting a little of these economic stimulus packages to ensure that this never happens again.
Given that the manuscript is labeled Cologne MS 106, I have to assume that it was in the archive unless it was on-loan elsewhere. Keep an eye out for its mention as they begin shifting through the rubble. I quick online search hasn’t turned up any information on where it was stored.
And then there were two…
So why is the Book of Hildebald important? The book, written during the tenure of Bishop Hildebald of Cologne (794-819), contains most of the works that Alcuin collected for Bishop Arno of Salzburg before 805, including several of Bede’s works. It includes one of only three early copies of Bede’s Abbreviated Psalter. If Cologne MS 106 has indeed been lost, it will severely hurt future studies of Bede’s psalter. It also included an early copy of Bede’s hymn on St Æthelthryth and 12 of his other metrical hymns. I have hypothesized before that this manuscript contained a portion of Bede’s lost Book of Hymns. If that it true, it may have been one of a kind.
The best source I know of on the manuscript is: Leslie Webber Jones. (1929) “Cologne MS.106: A Book of Hildebald” Speculum 4(1): 27-61.