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Libelli Precum In The Central Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

The idea of the libellus precum as a distinct type of prayer collection in manuscript form emerged in the twentieth century. This chapter reviews the literature on libelli precum, emphasizing the diversity of materials encompassed by this term and arguing for greater consideration of the manuscript context in studies of prayer during the central Middle Ages. Wilmart?s edition of 1940 drew upon four manuscripts of the ninth century, all from ecclesiastical (and mainly monastic) scriptoria. In general, prayers from the libellus precum tradition are combined with prayers for the communal liturgy, calling into question any notion of a consistent division between ?private? and liturgical prayer. Furthermore, Salmon pointed out that the texts he designated as ?Carolingian prayers? actually appeared under many different rubrics and were transmitted in various genres of liturgical books. Salmon excluded psalmodic prayers, which he considered a genre extraneous to the libelli precum tradition.

Keywords: André Wilmart; Carolingian prayer; central middle ages; communal liturgy; libelli precum; monastic prayer; Pierre Salmon; psalmodic prayer



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