On the Householder

Author Tomáš Štítný ze Štítného (Thomas of Štítné)
Genre Treatise
Keywords 14th century, Christianity, householding, needs of daily life
Title (in Czech) O hospodářovi
Title (in English translation) On the Householder
Editor Andrea Svobodová
Translator Sarah Gráfová – Jan Čermák
Edited source Manuscript, Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, XVII A 6, ff. 53r–64v
Introduction Jakub Sichálek – Andrea Svobodová
TEI P5 XML Encoding Michal Mocňák
Summary of content A didactic treatise on the management and running of the household
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Introduction to the Text

On the Householder, a didactic treatise written shortly before 1376 by the learned layman Tomáš Štítný ze Štítného (Thomas of Štítné, c. 1333-1405), gives instruction on how a God-fearing householder should behave towards his wife, children, and domestics; what qualities a wise and good Christian wife should have, how she should behave towards her husband and thus be an example to the children and the domestics; how the domestics and the children should behave towards the householder, his wife and each other. A brief commentary on the Ten Commandments is also included in the guidance to the domestics and children, along with instructions on how all are to honour God in heart, mouth, and deed. It is a thoughtful adaptation and amplification of two Latin sermons on the Christian household by the Bavarian Franciscan Berthold of Regensburg († 1272) and another of Berthold’s Latin sermons on the feast of St. Elizabeth. „The treatise may be situated as the crossroad of two, partly overlapping, medieval literary and textual traditions: that of philosophical and didactic texts on the household (yconomice), and (more relevant) sermons and conduct books for the members of a household. Both types of texts reflect the increased pastoral attention paid to the laity in later medieval West“ ( Blažek 2018a, see  Further reading below). The text of the treatise has survived in a total of four versions, the so-called redactions (see Introduction to the Source below).

Introduction to the Source

The oldest redaction of the treatise On the Householder is preserved in the so-called Klementinský sborník (The Clementine Collection) from 1376 (Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, XVII A 6, ff. 53r–64v; available online). It is a representative parchment codex in folio format, decorated with gilt initials and miniature figures, which was probably commissioned by the author and intended for him and his children (for a brief description see the entry in the Encyklopedie knihy, see Further Reading below). The treatise On the Householder is here recorded as the third in a series of six treatises devoted to the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love (the first treatise), the three states of virginity, widowhood, and marriage (the second treatise), the various professional and social groups (fourth treatise), how to draw near to God and resist the temptations of the devil (fifth treatise), how to obtain the remission of sins and eternal grace (sixth treatise).

The text of the treatise is available in three other authorial versions, written at the end of the 14th century. The 2nd redaction is preserved only in the so-called Vávra’s collection of Štítný (Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, XVII D 31, 1492, ff. 60r–72v; not edited yet; available online). The 3rd redaction is preserved in three sources, the so-called Museum collection of Štítný (Praha, Knihovna Národního muzea, III B 5, 1450, ff. 24v–32v; edited by Vrťátko 1873; available online), the so-called Jesuit collection of Štítný (Praha, Národní knihovna České republiky, XVII C 18, 1463, ff. 42v–59r; as yet unedited; available online), and the so-called Sázava collection of Štítný (Praha, Knihovna Národního muzea, III B 6, 1465, ff. 47v–59r; as yet unedited; available online). The 4th redaction, which is a reworking of selected texts of the 3rd edition for his daughter Anežka, is preserved only in the Opatovice collection of Štítný (Praha, Knihovna Národního muzea, III B 7, 1st half of the 15th century, ff. 181v–187v; as yet unedited; available online)

About this Edition

The given transcription was made according to the first redaction manuscript, taking into account the edition of K. J. Erben (see Existing editions below), especially as regards the division of the text. Compared to Erben’s reader’s edition, we register the emendations and, in accordance with medieval understanding, write the names of beings enjoying respect with a lower-case initial letter (bóh, hospodin, duch svatý apod.).

Existing editions

Erben, Karel Jaromír, editor. Tomáše ze Štítného Knížky šestery o obecných věcech křesťanských. Praha 1852, pp. 97-117 [first redaction].

Vrťátko, Antonín Jaroslav, editor. Thómy z Štítného Knihy naučení křesťanského. Praha 1873, pp. 52-68 [third redaction]

Svobodová, Andrea, editor. Štítný ze Štítného, Tomáš: [štítenský sborník klementinský]. Praha 2012. Available at: http://vokabular.ujc.cas.cz/moduly/edicni/edice/{8e225356-88da-42da-8808-f110b13b2b4e}/ [first redaction].

Further Reading

Rychterová, Pavlína. Die Offenbarungen der heiligen Birgitta von Schweden. Eine Untersuchung zur alttschechischen Übersetzung des Thomas von Štítné (um 1330–um 1409). Köln – Weimar – Wien 2004.

  • On pp. 111-140 a succinct explication of Štítný’s life, work, and the determinants or desiderata of the previous research.

Karczubová, L. La teologia di Tomáš Štítný, teologo boemo del XIV secolo. Uno studio storico-analitico delle sue opere teologiche. Roma 2011.

  • A detailed inventory of Štítný’s works and a brief outline of his theological thought.

Blažek 2018a: Blažek, Pavel. Thomas of Štítné’s On the Householder (O Hospodářovi) and its Latin Model, in: Pursuing a New Order, vol. I. Religious Education in Late Medieval Central and Eastern Central Europe, ed. P. Rychterová, J. Ecker. Turnhout 2018, pp. 91-119.

  • An analysis of Štítný’s tract compared with its Latin model.

Blažek 2018b: Blažek, Pavel. Zwei unedierte Predigten Bertholds von Regensburg († 1272) für den christlichen Hausstand, in: Sacramentum magnum. Die Ehe in der mittelalterlichen Theologie – Le mariage dans la théologie médiévale – Marriage in Medieval Theology, ed. P. Blažek. Münster 2018, pp. 477–515.

  • Edition of two Latin sermons on the Christian household by Berthold of Regensburg, which were the models of Štítný’s treatise (the edition of Berthold’s sermon for the feast of St. Elizabeth is still missing).

Encyklopedie knihy: Přispěvatelé Encyklopedie knihy, Klementinský štítenský sborník [online], c2018, Datum poslední revize 30. 12. 2018, retrieved on 10. 08. 2021 <https://www.encyklopedieknihy.cz/index.php?title=Klementinsk%C3%BD_%C5%A1t%C3%ADtensk%C3%BD_sborn%C3%ADk&oldid=16109>

  • A brief description of the art and content of the Clementine Collection.
On the Householder


MECZ [online], On the Householder, ed. Tomáš Štítný ze Štítného (Thomas of Štítné), trans. Sarah Gráfová – Jan Čermák. KREAS Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Retrieved 07.12.2022, from https://mecz.kreas.ff.cuni.cz/publication/on-the-householder/ Bibtex citation

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