It is obvious that Lorsch influenced by the court and Metz' cathedral developed something special: the scriptorium, and shortly after a very well stocked library. While it took decades at other locations, in Lorsch it happened within a few years. And especially at the end of the 8th century it is proved that Lorsch takes part in the court’s education policy, a program influencing the cultural development. The relatively short Carolingian era was very important while being the connection between the ancient times and the Middle Ages. The educational program would have stayed theoretic if a few centers would not have implemented these ideas.
Lorsch represents such a center during these decades: Claims by court scholars to provide clerics with knowledge about pharmacy, a discipline mistrusted by then, was written in the preface of Lorsch's pharmacopoeia, a key document of the Carolingian renaissance. The content of this library is today scattered in 54 places in 7 countries, including 300 preserved scripts.
As a very active center Lorsch combines as much knowledge as possible known by the end of the 8th century, and is connected to the empire's clerical elite through its abbots. If it was a place of communicating knowledge as well, is a bit more unclear, at least some traces of schools and literary productions are documented; even more impressive the library of St. Nazarius with its encyclopedic like inventory. Many years later still during the late period of the abbey many scholars came to Lorsch: Educated professors of the University of Heidelberg, humanists looking for ancient texts from the 15th or 16th century. Elector Ottheinrich's interest in the library after the monastery was closed (probably in 1556/1557) is understandable. He takes possession of it, and enqueues it into his court and university library, the famous 'Palatina'.
Dr. Hermann Schefers