Literal Commentary on Genesis


De Genesi ad litteram (Literal commentary on Genesis) is an exegetical text on the first book of the Bible by Saint Augustine (354–430). This manuscript of Augustine’s commentary dating from between 1147 and 1164 was written and decorated in the diocesan town of Salzburg. In 1122 the earlier Salzburg cathedral chapter was replaced by a chapter regulated by Augustinian Canons, which may explain why in the following decade works by Saint Augustine were often copied in Salzburg. The manuscript is remarkable for its pen drawings, among them a full-page representation of Archbishop Eberhard I (died 1164) kneeling in front of Salzburg's first bishop and patron saint, Saint Rupert, and handing over the codex to the saint. This dedicatory drawing counts among the earliest examples of pen drawings from Salzburg; its attribution to the scriptorium of Saint Peter’s Abbey or to that of the cathedral remains controversial. The manuscript was transported to Paris in 1801 in the wake of the French occupation of Salzburg; it was transferred to the Munich court library in 1815.

Last updated: June 9, 2015