Leaf from a Benedictine Psalter


The 1459 Psalterium Benedictinum cum canticis et hymnis (Benedictine Psalter with canticles and hymns) was the third major project from the cradle of printing in Mainz, and the earliest example of a Benedictine printed book. After Johann Gutenberg printed his famous Bible of circa 1455, his principal creditor, Johannes Fust (1400−66), sued to recover his investment and was awarded Gutenberg's press and its accoutrements. Fust and Peter Schöffer of Mainz then went into business together, printing a Psalter arranged for the Roman Divine Office in 1457, and a second Psalter rearranged for monastic use commissioned by the Benedictines of Mainz. The monks of Mainz belonged to the Congregation of Bursfeld, an example of monastic renewal in northern Germany on the eve of the Reformation. Although Benedictine monks usually are thought of as copyists of manuscripts, they enthusiastically embraced the new technology of printing. This leaf, featuring Psalms 63(64) and 64(65), was reused later in a book binding.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Johann Fust


Title in Original Language

Psalterium Benedictinum cum canticis et hymnis

Type of Item

Physical Description

Folio 40, verso ; 41.7 x 28 centimeters

Last updated: November 14, 2013