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Adam S. Cohen. — The Uta Codex. Art, Philosophy, and Reform in Eleventh-Century Germany. University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

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ID: <10670/1.izrde3>


46th year, No 181 Fruit of a doctoral thesis in the history of Middle Ages supported by the author at Johns Hopkins University under the leadership of Professor Herbert Kessler, here is a beautiful book on one of the major monuments of the Ottonian enluminure. It is a very comprehensive and rich monography, carried out in the same spirit as Robert Deshman’s book on Ethelwold’s Dictionary, favouring a comprehensive study of the document. The manuscript referred to here is the famous reader or evangelary executed around 1025 in Regensburg (Regensburg), but known to specialists by the expression of Uta codex, the name of an abbesse from Niedermiinster in the first quarter of the nineteenth day. The manuscript is now kept at the Staatsbibliothek in Munich, where it bears the number CLM 13601. Its binding is enriched on the top dish with a beautiful piece of goldsmiths representing Christ in majesté. One hundred and nineteen folios contain evangelical pericopes for reading. Unlike most evangliaries and readers at that time, the Uta codex groups the readings of the Evangiles by author and not according to the calendar of the liturgical year. This typological originality, which is relatively neglected by A., certainly has to be seen with the probable function of the manuscript, which is more likely linked to the meditation of the Ecripts than to use in the eucharistic liturgy. The codicological description of the codex made by Adam Cohen appears succinct when one knows the importance of codicological observation for understanding the history of a manuscript and its illustration. The key point made by A. is to demonstrate that the Uta codex was designed for Evangiles meditation at the time when the Nierdermiinster monastery was confronted with the movement of monastic reform. The principal designer of the iconographic programme of the manuscript is the abbesse Uta which is known through various textual testimonies from the first quarter of the nineteenth century, in particular the charters coming from Henri II’s surroundings and that of Emperor Salien Conrad II. The location of the book in Niedermiinster is also clarified by the special place given to Saint Erhard, both in the iconography and in the textual content.

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