Selected incunabula from Freising Cathedral library and the Metropolitan Chapter of Munich library

The collections in the Freising Cathedral library and the Metropolitan Chapter of Munich library hold a total of 285 incunabula. When the incunabula collections were newly catalogued or transferred to the Bavarian Library Network, it was established that 18 editions had not yet been included in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek's collections. The only known example of an incunabulum (J 115) is kept in Freising.

A library has existed on Freising's Domberg since the foundation of the diocese of Freising in 739. In total, more than 650 codices with ancient and medieval texts have been preserved from the cathedral library. The "Freisinger Denkmäler" (Freising monuments), the oldest texts in the Old Slavic language, contained in a manual for the Slav mission which was written under Bishop Abraham (957-994) in Freising are of particular importance. Bishop Otto I. of Freising (1138-1158) achieved fame as a scholar and author of a great world chronicle.

After secularisation of the prince-bishopric of Freising in 1802, all manuscripts and the most valuable printed books were selected and taken away for state libraries. Only a fraction of the former collections remained in Freising. It became the basis for the seminary library, which was established in the former residence in 1826. Most of the book collections, which were subsequently steadily expanded, remained on the Domberg when the seminary was relocated to Munich in 1968.

Freising Cathedral library has 225 incunabula today. The content ranges from theological, philosophical and legal to medical works. Some works still come from the old cathedral library, e.g. from the possession of the prince bishop Johann Franz Eckher von Kapfing und Liechteneck (1649-1727, prince bishop 1696-1727), the Freising cathedral chapter and the cathedral canon Sigismund Scheufler (1475-1522). Several incunabula were formerly in the possession of Father Amandus Ruepp (1749-1822), the last confessor of the Dominican convent Altenhohenau. Canon Michael Hauber (1778-1843) acquired some incunabula in the first half of the 19th century from the Hof- und Staatsbibliothek's duplicate collection in Munich (today's Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) and later bequeathed them to the Cathedral Library. Additions were also made through donations or targeted purchases. The cataloguing of the incunabula was begun before 1948 by the Germanist Professor Gerhard Eis (1908-1982). The volume catalogue was first supplemented and continued by Dr. Maria von Hoop, then by Dr. Sigmund Benker, the long-standing director of the Prelate's Office. On this basis, the Freising incunabula collections were included in the Bavarian Library Network in 2009-2010, enriched with the digitised entries of the volume catalogue.

The 60 incunabula from the Metropolitan Chapter of Munich library are theological, philosophical, legal and medical works. Eight come from the prior possession of the Augustinian monastery Höglwörth, which was abolished in 1817, others from the estates of Ruedorffer, Heckenstaller and Deutinger as well as the diocesan priest Georg Westermayer (1836-1893). Based on the existing card catalogue and an autopsy, the incunabula were re-catalogued in the Bavarian Library Network in 2009/2010.

>> This collection is part of the the holdings of the Dombibliothek Freising (Cathedral library of Freising) and the Bibliothek des Metropolitankapitels München (Metropolian Chapter of Munich library).