He was born in Bern, descended of an old Bernese family and, as far as can be ascertained, took clerical orders and became a monk; yet as it appears that he subsequently married, it is certain that he received the tonsure only, and was thus entitled to the benefit of the clerici uxoriati, who, on divesting themselves of the clerical garb, could return to secular life. He is mentioned in records between 1324 and 1349, but neither before nor after these dates.
He wrote, in Middle High German, a collection of fables entitled Der Edelstein (c. 1349), one hundred in number, which were based principally on those of Avianus (4th century) and the Anonymus (edited by I. Nevelet, 1610). Boner treats his sources with considerable freedom and originality; he writes a clear and simple style, and the necessarily didactic tone of the collection is relieved by touches of humour. He dedicated this work to the Bernese patrician and poet, Johann von Rinkenberg, advocatus (Vogt) of Brienz (d. c. 1350). It was printed in 1461 at Bamberg by Albrecht Pfister and was one of the first books printed in the German language.
Der Edelstein has been edited by GF Benecke (Berlin, 1816) and Franz Pfeiffer (Leipzig, 1844); a translation into modern German by K Pannier will be found in Reclams Universal-Bibliothek (Leipzig, 1895). See also GE Lessing in Zur Geschichte und Literatur (Werke, ix.); and C Waas, Die Quellen der Beispiele Boners (Giessen, 1897).
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- J. Victor Scholderer (1912). "'Albrecht Pfister of Bamberg' (book review)". The Library. S3-III: 230–6.