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Christus in natura

Quellen, Hermeneutik und Rezeption des Physiologus

[Christus in natura. Sources, Hermeneutics and Reception of the Physiologus]

Ed. by Kindschi Garský, Zbyněk / Hirsch-Luipold, Rainer

Funded by Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (SNF)

Series:Studies of the Bible and Its Reception (SBR) 11

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November 2019
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Der Physiologus Bernensis. Bild und Text

Eggenberger, Christoph


The illustrated Latin manuscript fragment in Codex 318 of the Burgerbibliothek Bern which contains parts of the Physiologus was written and illustrated around 830 in the monastery Hautvillers near Reims. The true meaning of an illuminated manuscript can be revealed only when the texts are complemented by the parallel stories told by the images. The images are never mere illustrations. In the case of the two outstanding Carolingian manuscripts in Bern, the Physiologus (Codex 318) and the Prudentius (Codex 264), the images allow us to determine which late antique originals were used as models. As for the Prudentius, it may be assumed that the model is the first edition of the Prudentius (Rome, before approx. 405 AD). If the Physiologus genuinely did originate in the 2nd century in Alexandria, there are hardly any possibilities for comparison. The Cotton Genesis of the British Library, probably written and illustrated in Alexandria or Antinoe, is in ruins. Because they were executed in another medium and reflect stylistic changes caused by the passage of time, the mosaics in the vestibule of San Marco in Venice, which were copied from the Cotton Genesis, have only limited relevance as a reference, primarily from an iconographic standpoint. The framed images in the Bern Physiologus are indebted to the 5th-century tradition of the studio of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, with the Vergilius Vaticanus (Vat. lat. 3225). The unframed images, which are arranged without frames between the lines, reflect the earlier iconographic customs of pictures in book rolls. The book illustrators always followed copies of the original. The illustrations of the Physiologus are undisputedly assigned to the Reims school around Archbishop Ebo (born probably 778; died 20 March 851).

Citation Information

Christoph Eggenberger (2019). Der Physiologus Bernensis. Bild und Text. In Zbyněk Kindschi Garský, Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (Eds.), Christus in natura: Quellen, Hermeneutik und Rezeption des Physiologus (pp. 189–194). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110494143-015

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110494143

Online ISBN: 9783110494143

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston. BY-NC-ND 4.0 This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

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