Greek Church Fathers in the Bibliotheca Corvina of King Matthias of Hungary I.
The fourteenth and fifteenth century renaissance, as it is more and more highlighted in post-modern scholarship, brought not only the „rebirth” of classical Greco-Roman tradition, but also the revisiting and re-finding of the Christian Antiquity. This resulted in a deeper study of the works of the great Christian authors of 4th-7th century concentrating on their original Latin and Greek tetxts and contexts. In sharp contrast with the medieval practice, for the humanists Church Fathers were not only important theological authorities of the past, but authors whose works are interesting sources of the erudition, thought and struggles of the fathers who undoubtedly man-aged to create balance between the pagan Greco-Roman tradition and Christianity. The rediscov-ery of the church fathers in Italy has started in fourteenth century Italy and had a very interesting history consisting of various stages which stand in close connection with the most important events of the evolution of renaissance thought.
The library of King Matthias of Hungary, which apparently kept up with the flourishing ide-ologies of the Italian renaissance, was also deeply influenced by this renewing interest towards the works of the church fathers. As it is often stressed in the scholarship of the Corvina, the pa-tristic material has played a very important role in the formation of the library of Matthias, and beside classical authors, contemporary humanist writers and historiographers, the works of the Latin and also of the Greek church fathers constituted a considerable part of the famous humanist library in Buda. Contemporary descriptions of the holdings of the Corvinian Library always stressed how rich Matthias’ collection of the fathers was and how precious patristic material was preserved in it. Fortunately, a number of these manscripts are still extant which allow us to make an attempt to put the patristic collection into a wider European context and to make an attempt to draw some conclusions about the main interests of the intellectuals at the late fifteenth century Hungarian Royal Court in acquiring patristic manuscripts for the library. The present paper aims at sketching a short history of the renaissance of the Christian Antiquity in fourteenth and fif-teenth century Italy and attempts to place the patristic material of the Corvinian Library in this wider ideological context.
Unknown rarities in the Kornfeld-library
Kornfeld Móric dr., baron (1882–1967) industrial magnate, patron of arts was also a collector of arts objects and books. His library amounted to ten thousand volumes, of which his hungarica-collection was especially valuable. He was fully aware of the value of these early Hungarian printings, therefore he issued their catalogue consisting of 217 items under the title Index li-brorum Hungaricorum Bibliotheca Mauritii Baronis Kornfeld (Budapest 1913).
In the meantime owing to a coincidence the original „home-copy” of the 1913 Index was found in Budapest in the cellar of a house. Into this unique copy all the new acquisitions that happened since 1913 were entered, thus making the number of early and rare hungarica-books 542. That is, in the course of the decades between 1913 and 1944 the collection was more than reduplicated. This amended catalogue is now in the possession of the National Széchényi Library.
During the Second World War the Kornfeld-family deposited in the vault of the Commercial Bank in Budapest besides 6 chests of valuable paintings, silver, china and glass objects two chests of the most valuable and rare Hungarian books of his collection together with some early German printings. During the last months of the war the bank deposits were robbed first by German troops, later by Soviet troops. For almost fifty years there was no knowledge about the fate of the art objects and the hungarica books deposited in the bank.
It was only in the middle of the 1990s, in connection with the restitution activities in Hungary, that certain signs hinted at the survival and existence of these precious books in the Nizhny Nov-gorod State Library – the same library from where the books of the Sárospatak Reformed College were returned (in 2006, when the Hungarian state had to pay, according to certain sources, 400 thousand dollars to the Nizhny Novgorod Library for preserving the books). In 2007 the State Library arranged an exhibition about the books with Kornfeld-exlibris and also issued a representa-tive Russian-English bilingual book about these 74 volumes. There is a further catalogue about other „displaced” books of Hungarian origin, where there are 33 further early Hungarian printings from the Kornfeld-collection, although without exlibris. However, knowing the completed list of the Kornfeld Hungarica-collection (the Index of 1913 with hand-written additions) these books could be easily identified as those belonging originally to the Kornfeld-library. To our knowledge there are in Nizhny Novgorod 110 books from the Kornfeld-library, the list of which with bibliographical references is given by the author. Of these there are 7 unique books, all early relics of printing in Hungary.
However, according to the Index with hand-written additions, there must have been 11 other unique books, the whereabouts of which is not known at present. As the books deposited in the Commercial Bank were only a part of the whole Kornfeld Hungarica-collection, several hundred books remained in Budapest, of which some cropped up in antiquarian book-shops. However, the above-said 11 unique books were not among them – they are hiding as yet.
Mátyás Bél’s unknown plan of edition of sources: the Collectio scriptorum Hungaricorum
Mátyás Bél (1684–1749), exquisite historian and polyhistor, felt it very important to publish Hungarian historical sources: an ambition shown in his collection, the Adparatus. However, be-side the Adparatus, which contains miscellaneous materials, Bél also wanted to publish a series of seven volumes in order to issue the most important Hungarian historical works, provided with proper section arrangements, philological as well as explanatory notes, additions and introduc-tions, according to contemporary standards. Bél sent the plan of the series to Johann Gottlieb Buder, who published it in Burkhard Gotthelf Struve’s bibliographic work’s new and supple-mented edition (Bibliotheca historica selecta... I–II. Ienae, 1740. II. 1482–1484.). Bél’s concept is well structured and its goals are equally clear: he intended the works of the most significant Hungarian historiographs known in his time (Thuróczy, Bonfini, Istvánffy etc.) to be easily acces-sible and readable in good quality. By including the works created in the 17th century, applying new perspectives, themes and more rigid text criticism – the works of Révay, Nadányi, Ráttkay and especially the one by Lucius – Bél wanted to enrich the Hungarian historiographical canon, rendering it fresher and more up-to-date. An important characteristic of the plan is that it contains Transylvanian, Dalmatian and Croatian historiographs, which can be conceived as a warning: Bél suggested that the Hungarian historiography could not neglect the history and sources of Transylvania nor the territories over the Drava, even though the political and cultural links of these terri-tories with Hungary had loosened. Finally it has to be emphasised that Bél’s plan was based on rich Western-European antecedents: with the Collectio he meant to create a work in a genre of great tradition in German territory, the „collection of national historiographs”, similarly to Muratori (whose work, the Rerum Italicarum scriptores had also had a great influence on Bél). Unfor-tunately Bél could not get the support needed for his collection.
Bél was requested in 1744 to write an introduction to the critical text edition of Scriptores rerum Hungaricarum by the Viennese historian, Johann Georg Schwandtner. Although the first volume of the edition brought a scholarly sensation by publishing Anonymus’s work, the librari-ans of Vienna were not able to explore enough manuscript sources of Hungarian interest to fill up the second volume, therefore, they probably asked Bél’s advice who suggested the selection of the planned third volume of his own Collectio, namely the works of Révay and other works re-lated to the coronations of the Hungarian kings. As for the third volume of Scriptores with its Croatian and Dalmatian writers – containing first of all the work of Lucius, entitled De regno Dalmatiae… –, it was probably carried out following Bél’s initiative, knowing the fact that Bél had spent considerable time on publishing Lucius. Consequently, the second and third volumes of the Schwandtner-edition were framed on Bél’s conceptions and were prepared with his effective cooperation – as can be seen from many allusions in the introductions by Bél written for the three volumes of Scriptores. As a result, we have to consider Bél as a co-author and editor of the Scriptores rather than a mere writer of introducitons, and thus treat the work when studying his oeuvre.
La nomination et l’activité de censeur de József Mártonfi
Les études de l’histoire de la censure avaient déjá déposé les bases des recherches ultérieures. D’après les résultats de Elek Jakab et de Lajos György, la recherche d’aujourd’hui connaît une situation plus facile, vue l’examen des documents de langue latine et allemande déjà rangés. Malgré tout, aux Archives Nationales de Kolozsvár, on ne trouve qu’un petit nombre de documents qui puissent éclaircir, en outre des instructions officielles, l’attitude personelle des censeurs. D’une part, les textes des arrêtés sont déjà connus, d’autre part l’examen de leur transcription transyl-vaine paraît toujours nécessaire.
De l’activité de censeur de József Mártonfi on ne lit que dans quelques documents de cette décennie. Toutefois on peut constater, contrairement des opinions antécédentes, en 1781 Mártonfi n’était pas investi de plein pouvoir de censure, mais il est nommé réviseur, et il contrôlait les livres importés, non-catholiques. Non seulement sa nomination, mais encore un compte-rendu, d’un envoi de livres destinés à la bibliothèque du Collège Protestant de Marosvásárhely prouve son classement.
Comparant le compte-rendu aux relevés de comptes bibliothécaires de l’époque du Collège, on peut arriver à des suites intéressantes autant de l’activité de l’office de révision qu’ à la personne de József Mártonfi.
A propos de la rubrique „Plume et poignard” de ’A Hét’ (La Semaine) (1908–1913)
L’inauguration de la rubrique „Plume et poignard” a été un résultat relativement tardif de l’hébdomadaire fameux de József Kiss, intitulé ’A Hét’ (La Semaine). La nouvelle rubrique est née en 1908, donc après le départ de ’Nyugat’ (L’Ouest), et elle a été devenue dépôt des écrits polémiques. Son importance est due – entre autres – au fait, que la majorité des débats de ’A Hét’ avec ’Nyugat’ se sont également déroulés dans cette rubrique: donc le rapport des deux organes importantes de la littérature moderne hongroise peut être analysé à partir des articles de cette rubrique. Malheureusement, les écrits de la rubrique „Plume et poignard”, représentant les variants polémiques des écrits de la rubrique „A bàtons rompus”, conformément à sa pratique bien éprouvée, sont marqués par des signes qui symbolisent les auteurs.
L’étude présente procède au recensement de ces pictograms, cachants mais à la fois quand-même identifiants les auteurs, préparant avec la collection et la systématisation des données la base à une identification ultérieures des auteurs, actuellement anonymes. L’enjeu d’une pareille identification est grand, puisque c’est seulement à partir la définition des auteurs qu’on peut éclaircir les rapports personnels des débats de ’A Hét’ et ’Nyugat’.
L’étude s’occupe des années de 1908 jusqu’en 1913 de la rubrique.
A digitális változat és a nyomdai változat között kisebb eltérések lehetnek.