The subject of this study is two printed books from the 1530s on metal mining and mining law, Der Ursprung gemeynner Berckrecht (“The Origin of Common Mining Laws”) and the Bergkordnung des Löblichen newen Bergkwergs/ auff dem Golmsbergk/ im Königreich Norwegen (“Mining Regulation for the praiseworthy new mine at Gullnes in the Kingdom of Norway”). I have created scholarly editions of each German text, translations into English, and the annotations and commentary requisite for understanding the works synchronically and diachronically in their historical and linguistic contexts. The two books occupy important positions in the early German literature on mining.
Ursprung, probably dating from 1535-1538, is the earliest printed compendium of legal and scientific texts on mining, containing several texts originally dating from the 13th to early 16th centuries. The collection, by known book producer Johan Haselberg, prints key early German laws on mining previously existing only in manuscripts, and it provides a new edition of the earliest printed book on mining and metallurgy, Ulrich Rülein’s “Bergbüchlein” from ca. 1500. A glossary of mining and smelting terms, a listing of mines in Bohemia, and information on mining officials complete the collection.
The other book, Bergkordnung Norwegen, was composed and printed in Saxony in 1540 for use in Norway. Commissioned by King Christian III of Denmark and Norway, the book constitutes the first mining regulations produced in Germany for use in another country. This work clearly and systematically summarizes prevailing contemporary German practices and served as the legal basis for Norwegian mining for several centuries. The introduction to this study begins with overviews of early German mining and mining literature. The two texts Ursprung and the Bergkordnung Norwegen are then discussed in their historical context, including earlier versions/sources and later editions of the works. Issues of textual transmission and compilation in the early printing period are emphasized in this study—how do the texts in question inform and/or problematize our understanding of the growth and progress of scientific knowledge in the Renaissance? Part 1.8 of the Introduction discusses the rationale and methodology used in producing the editions and translations.
Chapter 2 presents the edition of Ursprung; Chapter 3, the edition of the Norwegian Bergkordnung. The editions present near-diplomatic renditions of each text, with critical apparatuses to provide variants from the earlier and later versions of the texts. Chapters 4 and 5 are the respective English translations, with footnotes to illuminate various linguistic or technical aspects of the texts.
On the one hand, various practices and developments in compilation of technical information are demonstrated within and between these two texts. However, study of these texts also reveals some of the problems adherent to the transmission of texts from manuscript to print and among successive print editions in the early book press period.