Introductory Note to The Edition of The Letters of Archbishop Hincmar of Reims (MGH Epistolae 8)
The first two fascicles of the MGH Epistolae edition of the letters of Hincmar of Reims (845-882) have already been published by Ernst Perels and Rudolf Schieffer (MGH Epistolae 8, 1  und 8, 2 ) comprising letters 1 - 206 from the years 845 to March 868 in Epp. 8, 1 and letters 207 - 341 from June/July 868 to December 872 in Epp. 8, 2. Neither volume contains an introduction, an index of sources and literature, concordances, or a register. This is due to the fact that both Ernst Perels and Rudolf Schieffer expected that they would be able to quickly complete their work and publish it, and hence that their readers would not have to wait long for the remaining parts of the edition.
In both cases, fate had other plans: Ernst Perels died in the concentration camp Flossenbürg on May 10, 1945, as Rudolf Schieffer explains in his preliminary notes to fascicle 2. Rudolf Schieffer himself undertook the continuation of the Epistolae edition on taking up work for the MGH in 1975. In 2003, he published a separate volume (MGH Conc. 4 Suppl. 2; see below) with Hincmar's polemic writings (Streitschriften) and his correspondence with his nephew, Bishop Hincmar of Laon (858-871) to reduce the bulk of the Episolae edition. Finally, as he laid down the MGH presidency and retired in 2012, Rudolf Schieffer found time to work intensively on the Hincmar's letters and brought the second fascicle to print in 2018. On September 14 2018, two weeks after its publication, he died.
Both Ernst Perels and Rudolf Schieffer left behind material for the continuation of the Epistolae edition. As Schieffer indicates in his edition of fascicle 2, he was able to draw on the preparatory studies by Perels and his colleague Nelly Ertl (with married name Friedrich; 1910-1991) covering the letters up to nr. 328 dated to the end of 871. Rudolf Schieffer himself left behind a collection of material for the last fascicle of the edition extending over the remaining 11 years of Hincmar's years in office, but limited to the lost letters as recorded in Flodoard's History of the Church of Reims. Schieffer's Nachlass covers around two thirds of the lost letters but contains no preparatory work on the letters that have been transmitted and no introduction to the edition.
On this basis, the edition of Hincmar's letters with a full introduction will still require some time to complete. We have therefore decided to provide users of the already published fascicles with a provisional introduction explaining the structure and use of the volumes and facilitating their use through a source and literature index and concordances.
13 June 2019