This collection of prayers, sermons, tracts and excerpts for instruction in the spiritual life is considered to be the first edification book in German prose and originated around 1270 among the pupils of the Franciscan David of Augsburg (c. 1210-1271), the most important German representative of Franciscan piety and mysticism. The oldest text evidence of the collection is this manuscript with 214 chapters. Many of the texts are translations or free adaptations of excerpts from the writings of Bernhard von Clairvaux (1090-1153), David von Augsburg (around 1210-1272) and the sermons of Berthold von Regensburg (ca. 1200/10-1272).
The focus is on the question of the salvation or damnation of the individual, highlighting Christian and especially Franciscan piety's means that lead to Christian perfection. Virtues and vices are not treated separately, practical instructions outweigh the mystical and contemplative. Some chapters are addressed directly at a religious female audience. In the 15th century the edification book was adapted for laymen (Cgm 400).