Augustine: the Manuscripts of "De Genesi contra Manichaeos libri II" 
[CPL 265]

This work 1 was written by Augustine in Thagaste, around 389, with the intention of depriving the Manichaeans of their arguments against Genesis.  He mentions the work in his Retractiones 1, 10 and De Genesi ad litteram 8, 2, 5, and comments that he had great difficulty with the literal interpretation and was forced to resort to allegory.  

The work enjoyed great popularity in the middle ages, which means that a significant number of 9th century manuscripts exist.

Here are the oldest manuscripts, listed by Gorman with reference to the CSEL edition of Weber.  The notes in German are from Bernhard Bischoff's notes on Carolingian manuscripts.  The sigla are from Weber.



Shelfmark & Notes

Date /

K Cologne, Cathedral Library COLOGNE Dombibliothek 74, f. 113-167, saec. ix in. ('spätestens 819'), Cologne. Bischoff, Katalog 1.1900, p. 393. Family: F b, Weber, p. 49.  9 (before 819)
C KARLSRUHE Badische Landesbibliothek, Aug. perg. 187, 43 folios, saec. ix 2/4 ('vor 847'), Reichenau. Bischoff, Katalog 1.1688, p. 353. Family: F g, Weber, p. 51.  9 (before 847)
H LONDON British Library Harley 3039, f. 2-15, saec. ix med., Lorsch. Bischoff, Lorsch im Spiegel seiner Handschriften (Munich, 1974), p. 39; Lorsch (1989), p. 48. Family: F a, Weber, p. 44.  9 (middle)
E LYON Bibliothèque municipale 609 (525), f. 114v-133v, saec. ix 3/4, Lyon (Bischoff). Family: F b, Weber, p. 49.  9 (3rd quarter)
D MUNICH Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm 3824, f. 94v-135, saec. ix med., West Germany. Bischoff, SS 1, p. 12. Family: F b, Weber, p. 49.

This MS discussed by Gorman in 'Augustine Manuscripts from the Library of Louis the Pious: Berlin Phillipps 1651 and Munich Clm 3824', Scriptorium 50 (1996), p. 103; rep. The Manuscript Traditions of the Works of St Augustine (Florence, 2001), p. 353.

9 (middle)
V PARIS Bibliotheque nationale de France lat. 1924, f. 12v-89v, saec. ix in., Verona (Bischoff). The Maurists' codex regius. Family: Fb, Weber, p. 48. 9 (early)
- ST GALL Stiftsbibliothek 143, saec. ix 2/4, St Gall (Bischoff). Family: Fg, Weber, p. 52 (page numbers and contents not given).  9 (second quarter)
- VATICAN CITY Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana Pal. lat. 216, f. 1-19, saec. ix1, West Germany. Bischoff, Lorsch (1974), p. 49; Lorsch (1989), p. 58. Only book 2. Very closely related to the Baltimore manuscript; Weber, p. 33, n. 95.  Not collated by Weber, so family membership  unknown. 9
G LEIDEN Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit Voss. lat. F. 114, f. 22-31 v, saec. x in., West France (Bischoff). Family: Fg, Weber, p. 51.  10
O PARIS Bibliotheque nationale de France lat. 1923, f. 30-55, saec. x2 (Bischoff). Family: Fa, Weber, p. 45.  10
M PARIS Bibliotheque nationale de France lat. 2077, f. 10v-32, saec. x2 (Bischoff). From Moissac. 'Kontaminiert', Weber, p. 54.  10
R REIMS Bibliotheque municipale 395, f. 13-31, saec. x (Bischoff). Family: Y, Weber, p. 53. 10
A ANGERS Bibliotheque municipale 179 (171), f. 10v-37v, saec. x-xi, West France. Bischoff, Katalog 1, p. 19. Family: Y, Weber, p. 52 ('von einer Hand des 9. Jdts. geschrieben').  10-11
- ANGERS Bibliotheque municipale 180 (172), saec. x-xi. Family: Y, Weber, p. 54 (folio numbers and contents not given). Not in Bischoff, Katalog 1.  10-11
N MANTUA Biblioteca Comunale E.V.14, f. 46-69, saec. x-xi. Family: Fa, Weber, p. 51.  10-11
O* PARIS Bibliotheque nationale de France Nouv. acq. lat. 1447, f. 161-172v, saec. x-xi, Cluny. Family: F a, Weber, p. 45: 'Moglicherweise wurde die Handscrift nach einem L bzw. F Nahestehenden Codex korrigiert'—but both L and F were evidently written later than O*.

Gorman notes that the main work in this manuscript is Augustine's Contra Faustum, and perhaps this book can be identified with item 148 in Delisle's edition of the eleventh-century Cluny catalogue? De Genesi contra Manichaeos also appears in item 144. See Leopold Delisle, Le Cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris, 1874), vol. 2, p. 463.

B BRUSSELS Bibliothèque royale 9349-54, f. 134v-153, saec. xi. Family: Y, Weber, p. 53. 11
L LINCOLN Cathedral Chapter Library 13, f. 87-102, saec. xi. Family: Fa, Weber, p. 45. 11
S HEILIGENKREUZ Stiftsbibliothek 196, saec. xii. 'Kontaminiert', Weber, p. 55 (folio numbers and contents not given). 12
F PARIS Bibliotheque nationale de France lat. 1925, f. 1-31v, saec. XII. Family: Fa, Weber, p. 46. 12
T TROYES Bibliotheque municipale 40/I, saec. XII. 'Kontaminiert', Weber, p. 55 (folio numbers and contents not given). 12

No doubt there are further, later, manuscripts.

Weber gives a stemma with two MSS extant in the 7th/8th century, F and Y, from which all the MSS descend.  The F branch also is divided into three sub-branches, a, b and g.  However Gorman points out that, once Bischoff's dates of MSS are considered, in fact no exemplar of the Y family is extant which was copied before the 10th century.  In consequence he suggests that this group is not a legitimate branch of the tradition, but instead the product of deliberate 'correction' in the Carolingian era.

The beta branch seems to have been represented throughout the Carolingian world - Verona (V), Cologne and western Germany (K and D), and Lyon (E).  From the alpha branch we have only H, copied at Lorsch, and from the gamma family only C and St. Gall 143.

Other witnesses

An abbreviated version of the work is found in Baltimore, Maryland Walters Art Gallery W.2, f. 26-53v, saec. ix 3/4, 'Etwa Umkreis von Soissons'. Bischoff, Katalog 1.185, p. 43. See Edouard Jeauneau, 'Un dossier carolingien sur la creation de l'homme', Revue des Études Augustiniennes 28 (1982), p. 112-132; reprinted Études érigéniennes (Paris, 1987), p. 559-580. Weber, p. 33, n. 93.

The work was popular in the middle ages - for a list of usage, see Gorman's article on the manuscript tradition.

Chapter titles / Divisions

Present in the MSS.  However, "The only division in the commentary due to Augustine was the division into two books. The later divisions and numbering schemes have nothing whatsoever to do with the original form of Augustine's work. If numbers are to be placed in the text, they must be enclosed within square brackets to indicate they are not part of the original work, but they should be placed in the margins. We may speak of the first chapter in the second book, or the last section in the first book of Augustine's work, but these divisions are artificial and the result of editorial intervention centuries after Augustine's time." (Gorman, p.311).


1 Augustine also wrote two other commentaries on Genesis.  He began De Genesi ad litteram liber imperfectus in 393, which he abandoned with Gen. 1:26.  Later he wrote De Genesi ad litteram libri XII between 401-415.


Dorothea WEBER, Augustinus: De Genesi contra Manichaeos, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 91 (1998).  Vienna.  Not checked.  This new edition is the first since the edition of the Maurists, printed in vol. 1 of their edition of his collected works in 1679 (p. 645-686), which was reprinted in the Patrologia Latin 34, cols. 173-220.

Michael M. GORMAN, The Manuscript Tradition of Augustine's De Genesi contra Manichaeos, Revue des Études Augustiniennes 47 (2001), 303-311.  Checked.  The majority of the information on this page is derived from this very interesting article.  Gorman adds some interesting footnotes on further reading:

The procedures to use to identify the manuscripts used by the Maurist editors see: M.M. GORMAN, 'The Maurists' Manuscripts of Four Major Works of St. Augustine: With Some Remarks on Their Editorial Techniques', Revue Benedictine 91 (1981), p. 238-279; rep. The Manuscript Traditions of the Works of St Augustine (Florence, 2001), p. 62-103.

On determining which MSS were used by the first editors see: M.M. GORMAN, 'The Oldest Manuscripts of St. Augustine's De Genesi ad litteram', Revue Bénédictine 90 (1980), p. 30-45; rep. The Manuscript Traditions of the Works of St Augustine (Florence, 2001), p. 24-39, and Roger Gryson's 1993 edition of Jerome on Isaiah, AGLB 23, p. 109-119.

"Xerox copies of Bischoff s notes and opinions on ninth-century manuscripts are easily available from the Bavarian State Library in Munich. See Gabriel Silagi, Gazette du livre médiéval 27 (Fall 1995), p. 64. See M.M. GORMAN, 'Bernhard Bischoff s Handlist of Carolingian Manuscripts', Scrittura e civilità 25(2001), p.93-116.

An English translation of this work, plus the 'liber imperfectum' exists in the Fathers of the Church series, translated by Roland J. Teske, S. J. (1991).

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse.

This page has been online since 24th September 2002

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