Latin Christian Writers in Late Antiquity and their Texts 9780860789819, 0860789810

Seeks to delineate a histographical problem, at the same time rendering patristics as part of the subject matter of a ne

594 120 11MB

English Pages [352] Year 2005

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

Latin Christian Writers in Late Antiquity and their Texts
 9780860789819, 0860789810

Citation preview

«— /*■

•. • ■— i á —

^ w Ki— ,


:i •-





y X-5 f- ■■■- ri •• "■ ..

.r - -

: 'y

tí. . rr* l.

S» ' V. *

; *v~. r—- r-~/'-'•*/, -r'***'**—r‘

’ó ‘

’e y

C s /

•»— < w ,y- ^ ' «a


, y*

-* --

¿ .m

¡« . * * *-— >■•-«.**■ ’ «-

r' #

«— -»T' •/ - •—

^ y * ~ a/**S /... —•.*»•—* — .; fc -- --- «,-»

m ~ ^U « ¿ t « « *

V_ ' t - - û

*— / r~*

S ç * * ’c ^ —


Also in the Variorum Collided Studies Series:

HENRY CHADWICK Studies on Ancient Christianity

ROBERT A. MARKUS Sacred and Secular Studies on Augustine and Latin Christianity

GERARD O’DALY Platonism Pagan and Christian Studies in Plotinus and Augustine

CHRISTOPHER STEAD Doctrine and Philosophy in Early Christianity Arius, Athanasius, Augustine

MICHAEL W. HERREN Latin Letters in Early Christian Ireland

C.P. BAMMEL Tradition and Exegesis in Early Christian Writers

T.D. BARNES From Eusebius to Augustine Selected Papers 1982-1993

T.D. BARNES Early Christianity and the Roman Empire

R.A. MARKUS From Augustine to Gregory the Great History and Christianity in Late Antiquity

JEAN-MICHEL SPIESER Urban and Religious Spaces in Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium

NEIL WRIGHT History and Literature in Late Antiquity and the Early Medieval West Studies in Intertextuality

LESLIE S.B. MacCOULL Coptic Perspectives on Late Antiquity


Latin Christian Writers in Late Antiquity and their Texts

Mark Vessey

Mark Vessey

Latin Christian Writers in Late Antiquity and their Texts


SR A ,

Mark Vessey has asserted his moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.


Published in the Variorum Collected Studies Series by

6 > 0


This edition © 2005 by Mark Vessey

' Ashgate Publishing Limited O f \ f \ ¿'Trower House, Croft Road, ^ Aldershot, Hampshire GUI 13HR Great Britain

Ashgate Publishing Company Suite 420 101 Cherry Street Burlington, VT 05401- 4405 USA

Ashgate website: ISBN 0- 86078- 981-0

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Vessey, Mark Latin Christian writers in late antiquity and their texts. - (Variorum collected studies series) 1. Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo 2. Latin literature Christian authors - History and criticism 3 . Christian literature, Early - History and criticism 4 . Christianity and literature - Europe - History - To 1500 I. Tide 878\010942

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Vessey, Mark. Latin Christian writers in late antiquity and their texts / Mark Vessey. p. cm. - (Variorum collected studies series; CS837) ISBN 0- 86078- 981-0 (alk. paper) 1. Fathers of the church, Latin. 2. Christian literature, Early - Latin authors. I. Vessey, Mark. II Collected studies; CS837. BR 60A 65L 38 2005 270.1-dc 22


The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American N ational Standard for Information Sciences - Permanence ofPaper for Printed Library Materials,ANSI Z 39.48- 1984. (©o) ™ Printed and bound in Great Britain by TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall


/] //)

U /t /o r -




The Epistula Rustici ad Eucheriurrr. from the library of imperial classics to the library o f the fathers Society and Culture in hate Antique Gauk Revisiting the Sources, ecL Ralph W. Mathisen and Danuta Shanger. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Lid, 2001


L i t e r a r y H i s t o r ie s



Patristics and literary history: reflections on the programme o f a new history o f late antique Latin literature Journal ofLiterature and Theology 5. Oxford, 1991 Literacy and litteratura, A.D. 200-800 Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Histoiy N.S. 13. New York, 1992

J e r o m e , A u g u s t in e







Read ers

Jerome’s Origen: the making o f a Christian literary persona Studia Patristica 28. Leuven, 1993


Conference and confession: literary pragmatics in Augustine’s ‘Apologia contra Hierortymum’ Journal ofEarly Christian Studies 1. Baltimore, MD, 1993


The Augustinian reader Review ofBrian Stock, Augustine the Reader Meditation, Self-Knowledge, and the Ethics ofInterpretation (Cambridg, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996). Bryn Mawr Classical Review 96.9.1. Bryn Mawr, PA, 1996





Opus imperfectum. Augustine and his readers, 426-435 A.D. Vigikae Christianae 52. Leiden, 1998


L a t e r L a t i n T e x t u a l i t i e s : O r t h o d o x y , ‘L i t e r a t u r e ’, L a w




The forging of orthodoxy in Latin Christian literature: a case study Journal ofEarly Christian Studies 4. Baltimore, MD, 1996


Peregrinus against the heretics: classicism, provinciality, and die place o f the alien writer in late Roman Gaul Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 46. Rome, 1994


The origins o f the Collectio Sirmondiana: a new look at the evidence The Theodosian Code: Studies in the Imperial Law ofLate Antiquity, ed Jill Harries and Ian Wood London: Duckworth, 1993


Sc r ib e s A n d S c h o l a r s : B e t w e e n P a t r is t ic s A n d L a t e A n t iq u it y


The demise o f the Christian writer and the remaking of “late antiquity’: from H.-I. Marrou’s Saint Augustine (1938) to Peter Brown’s Holy Man (1983) Journal ofEarly Christian Studies 6. Baltimore, MD, 1998


Erasmus’Jerome: the publishing o f a Christian author Erasmus ofRotterdam Society Yearbook 14. Lexington, KY, 1994


After the Maurists: the Oxford correspondence of Dom Germain Morin, OSB Patristique etAntiquité tardive en Allemagne et en France de 1870 à 1930: Influences et échanges. Actes du Colloquefranco-allemand de Chantilly (25-27 octobre 1991), ed Jacques Fontaine, Reinhart Hençpg and Karla Polltnann. Paris, 1993




Addenda and Corrigenda



1-6 This volume contains xii + 338 pages

PREFACE You urge me to follow the example o f [Suetonius] Tranquillus and to set in order the writers o f thechurch, so that what he did in listing the notable men o f foreign letters \gentilhtm btterarut^, I should do for our kind [/* nostris\. Jerome. De vtris iUustribus, prol 1

Released from the theological discipline o f patristics, the writings o f the Church Fathershave in recent decades become the common property o f students o f earlyChristianity,late antiquity and the classical tradition. In principle, they are now no more (nor less) than sources, documents and literary texts like any others from their time and milieux. Yet even now, when considered in relation to the longer history o f Western ‘textual’ and ‘literary’ practices and institutions, the collective oeuvre o f Latin-writing clerics, monks and freelance ascetics o f the Later Roman Empire may seem to occupy a place o f special, if not canonical importance. How does one explain the abiding formativeness o f Latin Christian writing o f the fourth and fifth centuries? What demands does such writing lay on a modem history o f ‘literature’? These are the questions that lie behind the articles collected here. My aim has been to register the prise de conscience o f a Latin, Christian literary enterprise proclaimed by Jerome in passages like the one quoted above, and to begin tracing some o f its sequels. The genesis o f these articles falls in the gap between a narrower study o f ‘Ideas o f Christian Writing in Late Roman Gaul’ (unpubL Oxford D.PhiL thesis, 1988) and a more wide-ranging study o f the workings o f Latin ‘scriptures’ in Western literary history and theory, which I hope shortly to complete. The limits o f the earlier project and ambitions o f the later one have inevitably marked and marred these interim essays, which have also — more happily for their author — taken directions from good books and company encountered along the way. Mistakes and blind alleys, where seen, have been signalled in the Addenda and Corrigenda - together with other possibly relevant work o f mine outside the present collection. Otherwise, I must hope that the reader o f these pieces will excuse their shortcomings in return for a share in the interest o f problems still under discussion.



After a preliminary piece (I) chosen for the vantage it gives on the general terrain to be traversed, two review-amclcs (II and III) broach the leading themes and problems o f the collection. What do we mean by ‘Christian literature’ in a late Roman, Latin context? What kind(s) o f ‘history’ can now be written o f it? How far, and with what necessary precautions, are late ancient Roman vocabularies and theories o f ‘letters’ convertible into the modem idiom o f ‘texts’ and ‘textuality’? The immediate horizon o f these linked reviews was defined by books published in 1989- 90 . A great deal o f new work relevant to the issues has appeared since then, which is only haphazardly accounted for in the annotation o f other pieces below. Nevertheless, the lines sketched out a decade and a half ago still seem to me to define a ‘real’ landscape o f research, in which much remains to be discovered even now. The rest o f the volume falls into three sections, devoted respectively to authors, discourses and disciplinary histories. The section entitled ‘Jerome, Augustine and Readers’ focusses on what I take to be the scene o f emergence o f an identifiably Christian sense o f ‘letters’ among Latin­ speaking elites, locatable in time between the consolidation o f an empirewide Nicene orthodoxy in the early 380 s and the first clear signs o f a loosening o f the Roman polity in the West in the 420s. On the chronology once proposed for Latin literary history by my master in this art, Jacques Fontaine, the period in question would be the siecle de Thiodose. On another suggested for religious history by Robert Markus, it would come near the beginning o f ‘the end o f ancient Christianity’. In the narrative outlined here, the two principal authors and actors are the men who, at either end o f a nearly fifty-year span, cast the history o f Rome and the apparatus o f Latin literary culture into new and spectacularly durable shapes: Jerome, in his adaptation o f Eusebius’ Chronicle (ca. 380), and Augustine, in the City of God (completed in 427). The central dialogue is sketched in Study V , to which not only IV but also V III and much o f X II are accessory with respect to Jerome. Study V I extends an earlier review (in III), suggesting obiter the need to situate Augustine’s readerly career within a broader complex o f Christian reading-relations for the period, a task taken up for his own texts as read in Study VII. The section on ‘Later Latin Textualities: Orthodoxy, “ Literature” , Law1 brings together studies devoted separately to each o f the three discourses named in the subtitle. Its ulterior purpose, albeit not made sufficiendy plain in the articles themselves, is to raise a doubt about the continuing historical utility o f a threefold division that can be shown to have its own rather particular history in modem scholarship (as hinted at the close o f III and



argued more folly in a recent article on ‘The Sacred Letters o f the Law* cited in the Addenda to Study X). Such reflexive doubt is part o f the general strategy o f these essays. In the light o f work done by Michel Foucault, Roger Chartier and other contemporary theorists and historians o f literature, textuality and Western book-culture, scholars o f post-classical and early Christian writings have reason to be increasingly alert to the possibility that longstanding normative ways o f thinking about such properties as ‘the text”, ‘the work’ and ‘the author’ may have been partly fashioned by or in relation to our texts o f first resort. T o put it more blundy: we should be aware o f the potential for short-circuiting between our objects and methods o f research Study V III takes its cue from Foucault’s famous analysis o f the ‘authorfunction’ (see also X II and X III), in order to consider whether the demands o f doctrinal controversy in the Theodosian Age could have encouraged a new kind o f literary-critical’ sensibility among Christian intellectuals. Study IX , without acknowledging its inspiration, adapts a scheme from the framing essays o f the late Edward W. Said’s classic collection o f articles, The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), to plot the contours o f a canonical type o f ‘clerical criticism’. Opening paragraph aside, study X (on the Sirmondian Constitutions) may seem out o f place in its more traditional concern with issues o f textual provenance. I have included it because the subject has remained lively (see Addenda) and because a preoccupation with the handling o f issues o f textual provenance and attribution, by modem historians and critics as much as by ancient monks and bishops, is one o f the unifying principles o f this volume. The articles in the final section, ‘Scribes and Scholars: Between Patristics and Late Antiquity’, seek to make explicit the synergy between ancient and modem, at the same time playing on a number o f symmetries internal to it The middle piece (XII) uses the opportunity o f recent work on Erasmus’ great edition o f Jerome (1516, 1524) to project the history o f Christian-Latin textual practices simultaneously backwards from Erasmus to his patristic models and forwards from the Renaissance to those o f us who, at however great a remove and with whatever new scruples, continue today in textual professions similar to his. The order o f Studies X I and X III might have been reversed, so that the tale o f Dom Morin’s solitary revival o f the glories o f an earlier Benedictine Christian philology would recall Erasmus by prior association, while that o f Peter Brown’s skilful redirection o f some o f the most powerful impulses o f the mid-twentieth century French Roman Catholic renaissance in patristic studies would bring us back in the end to a future that we already know. I would have no quarrel with such a reading. The present arrangement, by underlining the singularity and



incommensurability o f Brown’s and Morin’s scholarly achievements, may serve instead to magnify the outstanding challenge for a future history o f Latin, European and western ‘letters’, if not also o f ‘literature’ in a global sense: to make a place for the readers, writers, critics and literary theorists avant la Uttre who, by the time they were belatedly reborn as ‘men o f late antiquity’, had been venerated for fifteen centuries as Fathers o f the Church (Selective subject-entries in the Index are designed to help the reader navigate between studies.) For permission to reproduce these materials, I am very grateful to the following organizations and their representatives: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. (I); Oxford University Press (II); AM S Press, Inc. (Ill); Peeters Press (TV); Johns Hopkins University Press (V, V III, XI); Bryn Mawr Classical Review (VI); Koninklijke Brill N V (VII); the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum (IX); Gerald Duckworth and Co. L td (X); the Erasmus o f Rotterdam Society (XII); and the Institut d’Etudes Augustiniennes (XIII). Finally, I wish to offer my warmest thanks to the editors and other scholars who variously accepted, commissioned and provoked these articles in the forms in which they originally appeared, and to John Smedley for believing that they would now make a book. M A R K V E SSE Y

Vancouver, B.C., January 2005

PUBLISHER’S NOTE The articles in this volume, as in all others in the Variorum Collected Studies Series, have not been given a new, continuous pagination. In order to avoid confusion, and to facilitate their use where these same studies have been referred to elsewhere, the original pagination has been maintained wherever possible. Each article has been given a Roman number in order o f appearance, as listed in the Contents. This number is repeated on each page and is quoted in the index entries. Corrections noted in the Addenda and Corrigenda have been marked by an asterisk in the margin corresponding to the relevant text to be amended.


The Epistula Rustici ad Eucherium: From the Library of Imperial Classics to the Library of the Fathers

OPUS MEMORATUM In a letter to a senior colleague written around the year 450 CE, a Gallic priest * named Rusticus recalled a library he had once visited as a boy. It was decorated with images of famous orators and poets, and beneath each image the owner of the library, a lover of secular learning (studiosus saecularium litterarum), had placed an epigram. Rusticus quotes the verses accompanying the portrait of Rome’s foremost poet: Vergil’s own poems praise the poet better: "As long as rivers flow seaward, shadows Play on mountain slopes, and heaven feeds the stars, So long will your honour, name, and praise remain.”1 For "images" (or "portraits") Rusticus uses the term effigies, followed by a latinization of a Greek word, autotyp[o]i, literally "the very models," an expression so rare that it has escaped the lexicographers. The library epigram for and from Ver-

1 Epistula Rustici ad Eucherium: K. Wotkeed., CSEL 31.198-9 (text reproduced as an appendix below; tnuuladon of Vergil adapted from that of R. Fitzgerald); see Clavis no. 496. The quotation of Vergil (,Ken. 1.607-9) is noted by P. Courcelle, Lecteurs paiins et lecteurs chrétiens de l'Énéide, vol.l: Les témoignages littéraires (Paris, 1984) 121 n.632.

I 279


gil may be thought of as a kind of verbal "autotype." Even before they are quoted by Rusticus, the Vergilian lines yield a self-prophecy of the poet In the Aeneid, they are spoken by Aeneas to Dido, in a world without libraries where fame depends on memory and oral transmission. As soon they are given voice in the real world, by Vergil or another reader, their truth becomes a function of writing, their subject as much the poet as the unlucky queen of Carthage. Books too have their fates, as a Roman grammarian apdy observed.2 The cosmic order of rivers, mountains, and planets - the "primary" epic world of Vergil’s poetic imagination submits in real time to the social and material conditions of reading and writing, to what has been called "the order of books."3 When the poem is no longer avail­ able to read, no longer read, or no longer understood, its prophecy will be as false as Aeneas, even though nature keep its wonted course. Until then, or the world’s end, the poet’s name and Dido’s are surety for each other. A frequenter since boyhood of such visual and verbal autotypes, this fifthcentury reader is alert to their ironies. He even compounds them, conjuring up a library Vergil in order to prognosticate greater glory for the addressee of his let­ ter, some of whose works he has recently read and transcribed. "Truly," he contin­ ues, If you will forgive roe in your prayers for producing examples from worldly writ­ ings amid sacred letters and memorials of the saints, it was fitting that the work here recalled should come to mind as I was thinking of Lord Eucherius. For as long as those things before mentioned endure, your name will be in the mouths and loves of all Christians. You will be proclaimed to posterity for as long as you teach those who come after you. Whereas Vergil prophesied his own renown ex eventu, from Dido’s fame as he was then confirming it, Rusticus projects the literary future from a literary past rendered ephemeral even in its literal monumentality.4 Vergil’s fame was univer­ sal, but the universe had changed. No matter that rivers still flowed to the sea; henceforth another name would be on every tongue. The memory of Rome’s na­ tional poet, however exemplary for a nascent world of Christian writers and read­ ers, becomes at this instant the artifact of an unnamed owner of a distantly recol­ lected library, the insubstantial subject of an epigram read in passing (praetereundo) by a curious youth. The paradox of praeteritio is integral to the letter, which is crammed with conceits of inexpressibility. "Rightly may I determine," ventures Rusticus, "that there could be no better proclaimer of so outstanding a work than its own inventor

2 Tercntianus Maurus 1286: Pro captu Uctoris habent sua fata libellu 3R. Chattier, The Order o f Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries, L.G. Cochrane tr. (Stanford, 1991). 4The phrase omnium Christianonun ore. . . celebrabere distantly echoes Vergil, Georg. 3.9, virum volitare per ora, itself a reminiscence of the epitaph of Ennius, volito vivus per ora virum. Cf. Ovid, Met. 15.133-35; Ausonius, Mos. 476.

I 280 and creator, for just as no one else could produce anything like it, no (me else can praise it.” It is at this point that he introduces his memory of the memory of Ver­ gil, and begins to overwrite it.5 The inscribed name of the Roman poet is spoken to be forgotten, swallowed up by a subject whose praise will obliterate the memo­ rials of previous Latin writers as completely as it exceeds the commemorative powers of the present one. Read literally, Rusticus’ letter disappears in the reading. And disappear it near­ ly did, surviving in just one manuscript. Scribes and editors have not favoured it. Why should we heed it now? At first glance its documentary significance seems slight. Late antique Gallo-Roman writers who extravagantly praise one another’s literary works are no rarity. Even if we could securely identify this writer as one of the Gallic Rustici otherwise known from the fifth century, the prosopographical record would not be much enriched.6 If the Epistula Rustici is worth a second look, it must be for other reasons. We have noted the oddness of its writer’s choice of the term autotypus for the likeness of an author. That hapax legomenon, it will be argued, points to a larger singularity, which may bear the weight of a more fully contextualized reading. While the habit of decorating public and private libraries with statues, busts, mosaics, and painted portraits of famous philosophers, poets, and orators is well attested in the ancient Mediterranean world from the fourth century BCE onward,7 literary evidence for its continuation in the western provinces during the Late Em­ pire is scant. The archaeological record includes floor-mosaics, among which are two portraits of Vergil in the company of the Muses,8 and several portrait busts.9 Surprisingly, for all the statues that survive of Homer, the Greek tragedians, and Menander the comedian, no ancient sculpture has yet been certainly identified as a portrait of the author of the Aeneid, although such objects must once have ex­ isted in considerable numbers.10 In a passage describing the villas of Silius Itali-

5 The phrase Sed dum haec tacitus mecum revolvo already echoes Vergil, Eel. 9.37, Id quidem ago et tacitus, Lycida, mecum ipse voluto (I owe this parallel to Michael Putnam). 4 For the Gallic Rustici, see PIRE II, 961-5. The VLupi 9 mentions a presbyter Rusticus at Troyes by 453; M. Heinzeimann, "Gallische Prosopographie, 260-527,” Francia 10(1982) 685 (Rusticus 5). Eucherius’correspondent is too young to be the famous bishop Rusticus of Narbonne and probably too old to be either the priest Rusticus, son of Taurentius, attested ca.490 (Ruric. Ep. 2.17; Taurentius, Ep. "Litterae sanctitatis": CCL 64.398-400) or the Rusticus who was bishop of Lyon and died on 25 April 501 : see CIL 13.2395; and L. Duchesne, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule (2nd ed.) (Paris, 1910)2.165-6. 7 K. Schefoid, Die Bildnisse der antiken Dichter, Redner und Denker (Basel, 1943); T. Lorenz, Galerien von griechischen Philosophen- und Dichterbildnissen bei den Römern (Mainz, 1965); P. Zänker, The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity, A. Shapiro tr. (Berkeley, 1995). 1 One from Trier, the other from Hadiumetum (Sousse, Tunisia), both datable to the third century; H. von Heintze, "Ritratd antichi," Enciclopedia Vergiliana 5.2 (Rome, 1991) 98-99. * See L. Stirling, "Gods, Heroes, and Ancestors: Sculptural Decoration in Late Antique Aquitania," Aquitania 14(1996) 209-30, for busts of a "philosopher or poet" and a "‘pseudo-Seneca*." 10 Von Heintze, "Ritratti antichi," 100-1.

I 281


cus, the Younger Pliny evokes what may have been a characteristically Roman medley of sculpture and works in other media (statuae, imagines)-, these likenes­ ses, he writes, Silius "not only owned but revered, above all Vergil’s, whose birth­ day he used to celebrate more religiously than his own, especially at Naples where he would approach his monument as though it were a temple."" The same quality of quasi-religious veneration is perhaps discreetly hinted at in Rusticus’ designation of the space housing the library of "pagan classics" as aedes, a word commonly used of temples as well as more generally of other kinds of buildings. His letter may, in fact, be our sole eye-witness account of this class of author-me­ morial from later Latin antiquity.12He describes monuments in two polychromatic media, "likenesses expressed and fashioned in little stones or in wax of different colours" (expressas lapillis aut ceris discoloribus formatasque effigies).13 Al­ though the Latin is not conclusive, the statement that the verses referring to the poets and orators were put beneath their portraits (subdidisset) could indicate that the mosaics were wall-mounted. If so, and if there was some uniformity of arrangement, we might imagine the wax busts as set on supports close to the wall, either between the cases containing the books or - depending on their height - on top of them.14 The culture and cult of Vergil flourished greatly in Late Antiquity among pa­ gans and Christians alike.15 His poems were staples of Latin grammatical training, familiar to all who would call themselves litterati in a more than merely pragma­ tic sense. The school tradition and its extracurricular attachments are represented directly by the fourth- and early fifth-century Vergilian commentaries of Donatus and Servius, and indirectly by countless quotations, allusions, and imitations in contemporary Latin writing across a wide range of genres. The Christian exegesis, beginning with Constantine, that made Vergil a prophet of Christ, sprang from the same fertile soil that nourished the bawdy Nuptial Cento of Ausonius of Bordeaux and doubtless hundreds of similar but less well-sheltered growths. For Romans of

11Pliny, Ep. 3.7.8. On the phrase statuae et imagines as "convenient shorthand" for "all representations of persons," see H.I. Flower, Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture (Oxford, 1996) 33. 12Von Heintze, "Ritratti antichi,” 98, cites SHA SevAlex. 31.4 (portraits of Vergil, Plato, Cicero and other great men) but misses this text of Rusticus. 11 On wax portraits in antiquity, see J. von Schlosser, "Geschichte der Portrtttbilderei in Wachs," in H. von Heintze ed., Römische Porträts, (Darmstadt, 1974) 76-101 (first published in 1910/11). 14Bookshelves in private libraries were normally placed against the walls, rather than inset into them (as in public libraries). See C. Wendel, "Bibliothek," Reallexikonfür Antike und Christentum 2(1954) 261-7; also A. Masson, The Pictorial Catalogue: Mural Decoration in Libraries. D. Gerard tr. (Oxford, 1981) 2; P. Fedeli, "Biblioteche private e pubbliche a Roma e nel mondo romano," in G. Cavallo ed., Le Biblioteche nel mondo antico e medievale (Rome/Bari, 1989) 46*7 ("Biblioteche come orna­ mento"); and H. Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History o f Early Christian Texts (New Haven. 1995) 183-9. 15 Courcelle, Lecteurs; S. MacCormack, The Shadows of Poetry: Vergil in the Mind o f Augustine (Berkeley, 1998) chs.1-2.


the Latin-speaking part of the empire, Vergil was poeta noster ("our poet") par excellence, the touchstone of cultural values and guarantor of Rome’s imperial destiny. Among the few parchment codices of classical texts that survive from the period before the sixth century are two deluxe editions of his works, the Vergtiius Vaticanus and Vergilius Romanus. The illustrations in the latter include three identical portraits of the poet, seated, book-roll in hand; the former once con­ tained a medallion-style image of Vergil of a type also attested for a late antique edition of Terence.16These author-portraits in books are the functional equivalent of the more plastic ones known to Rusticus. They were the icons of late classical literary culture. Late Antiquity is recognized as an age of portraits. Making the periodization for religious history, Brown set an image of the classical temple against one of the medieval cathedral; "In between," he wrote, "it is the portraits that strike the imagination."17 The topic has been elaborated by Swain; The period o f the Roman Empire shows a great increase in the portraiture o f the individual in writing and art, i.e., in biographical texts in the widest sense . . . It is not only the case . . . that so great an interest in biographical information was something new: the point lies in its connection with the greater attention to the individual in the moral, legal, political, and religious domains. Biographical inter­ est is a manifestation o f social and political changes that led to the formation of later antiquity. It is also part o f those changes and illuminates them from within.1*

Swain associates the late antique turn to the "biographic" with three major de­ velopments: an intensified concern with social status and the supervisory control of individuals, resulting from the centralization of power in the person and en­ tourage of the emperor, a new interest among members of the urban elites in questions of personal and family discipline, especially with respect to the emo­ tions, sexuality, and the body; and, finally, the emergence of a new sense of the inner "self* in both pagan and Christian speculation on the human being’s relation to a transcendent Deity. The proper discernment of these linked tendencies, he

ME. Rosenthal, The Illuminations o f the Vergilius Romanus (Cod. Vat. Lot. 3867): A Stylistic and Iconographical Analysis (Zurich, 1972) 84-7; D.H. Wright, The Vatican Vergil: A Masterpiece of Late Antique Art (Berkeley, 1993) 60-1; and Idem, The Organization of the Lost Antique Illustrated Terence,'* in C.A. Chavannes-Mazel, M.M. Smith eds., Medieval Manuscripts and Latin Classics: Production and Use (Los Altos/London, 1996) 43. 17P. Brown, T he Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity," Journal o f Roman Studies 61(1971) 80-101 = Idem, Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 1982) 103-52, at 135. In a later view, Brown compounds the language of portraiture with analogies from late classical bookculture: P. Brown, The Saint as Exemplar in Late Antiquity,” Representations 1(1983) 1-25. See also M. Vessey, T he Demise of the Christian Writer and the Remaking o f ‘Late Antiquity’: From H.-I. Marrou's Saint Augustine (1938) to Peter Brown’s Holy Man (1983),” JECS 6(1998) 403-11. " S. Swain, 'Biography and Biographic in the Literature of the Roman Empire," in S. Swain, MJ. Edwards eds., Portraits: Biographical Representation in the Greek and Latin Literature o f the Roman Empire (Oxford, 1997) 2.

I 283


suggests, requires a willingness on the part of historians not only to make but also when necessary to suspend distinctions between the public (civic) and private (domestic) spheres, pagan and Christian sensibilities, Greek (eastern) and Latin (western) cultures, literary and other kinds of biographical representation. It is in the context of such a general problematic of the later imperial Roman "portrait" that the Epistula Rustici makes its strongest claim for a second reading. Poised between pagan and Christian visions of the (literary) world, deferring to the prophet of Roman imperium sine fine while confining him to a vanished library, rare verbal witness to a visual-plastic autotype, this text stands in a line of commemoration that leads directly to the "classical" Christian culture of the Latin Middle Ages. The precariousness of Rusticus’ Christian neo-classicism will become clearer when we consider the nature of the literary works that it was designed to cele­ brate. Its socio-political dimensions, if less immediately obvious, are also partly recoverable. The memory of Vergil intrudes inter sacros apices commemorationesque sanctorum ("amid sacred letters and memorials of the saints"). The first half of the prepositional phrase evokes the protocols of the late Roman chancery, which held the very letter-forms (apices) of imperial rescripts to be holy.19 For Rusticus, however, the letters stand for God’s "laws" in Scripture and their interpretative transcription by the newly proclaimed Christian author. The second half of the phrase implicitly subordinates the epigraphic praise of Vergil to the current genres of Christian hagiography, including those practised by the addres­ see.20 These touches ensure that the lapse into pagan memory that Rusticus confesses and for which he seeks intercessory prayers is committed, so to speak, in the textual presence of a late imperial tribunal, with the saints standing as so many high-ranking functionaries of God. At the same time Rusticus invites another, less public, kind of exposure. Fol­ lowing Foucault, Swain writes of a cooperation "between the individual’s scrutiny of himself and the external controls and restraints imposed by a monarchical soci­ ety." He refers to the increased "spatial compartmentalization" of domestic archi­ tecture in Late Antiquity, explaining it both as an extension of traditional paterfamilial authority and as a concession to outside political pressures.21 It is worth considering what functions might be attributable under such a regime to a library belonging to a member of the local nobility. In the Epistula Rustici the secret memory-theatre of pagan literature entices and excludes the reading sub­

'* Thesaurus Linguae Latinae 2, s.v. apex, col. 227, line 81f. gives examples from the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes: divinorum apicum\ caelestium litterarum . . . his apicibus; sacri apices', cf. Avit. Ep. 84 (MGHAA 6.2.101,8) where the same terms are used of a Merovingian monarch’s writ Apices appears as a term for the writer’s own epistolary texts in Sid.Apoll. Epp. 4.5.1,6.8.1. 20 For Eucherius’ memorials of Gallic holy men of his own acquaintance, see below. He also wrote an extended hagiographic text, the Passio Acaunensium martyrum (Clovis no.490). 21Swain, "Biography," 20, citing Y. Thdbert, "Private Life and Domestic Architecture in Roman Africa," in P. Veyne ed., A History o f Private Life, A. Goldhammer tr. (Cambridge, Mass., 1987) 313-409.


ject. It first implicates him as a curious child, then grows opaque to his adult counterparts. Designed by a paterfamilias (the aedis ordinator ac dominus who, for all we know, may be Rusticus’ natural father), the library is a compartment divided into compartments, each containing the monument of a famous orator or poet. Lured into this private domain as a boy, with or without leave, Rusticus takes a fleeting view of its contents, and his readers watch and join him in the act We are not left with him for long, however. After the sentence-final first-person legissem, attention shifts to the library’s creator and owner. In the course of his "ordering," this person had come to the portrait of Vergil and there given voice in writing to the poet’s prophecy. At the moment when Vergil’s fame is acknow­ ledged in the letter, Rusticus contrives to be outside the domestic space he is de­ scribing. As master of his own text and of the brave new order of books it repre­ sents, he silently retreats from the paterfamilial library of imperial classics, draw­ ing a veil between other readers, ourselves included, and the monuments it con­ tained. In his discussion of "the biographic," Swain observes that later pagan Greek biography (for example, the lives written by Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Eunapius) returned to subjects characteristic of its earliest stages in the fourth and fifth cen­ turies BCE, when "more effort was expended on recollecting the lives of the phil­ osophers, sophists, and writers/poets" than on political or military figures.22 The emphasis of these late pagan lives, he argues, is on monumentality rather than imitation; they already seem to offer themselves as documents of a bygone cul­ ture. A similar trend, although with different implications, is detectable in (wes­ tern) Christian hagiography from the fifth century onward: "The records of the early Church were records for imitation. But in the end the dominant genre of the saint’s life itself aspired more and more to the condition of the monument . . . Now the importance of the biographic is not so much to construct roles to copy as to mark off the chosen few as the legitimate intercessors between the human and the divine."23 As an instrument of literary canonization, the Epistula Rustici ad Eucherium participates in this new, or newly christianized, monumental discourse. Late antique pagan Latin literature contains nothing to set beside the Greek lives of philosophers and sophists. It does, however, boast a certain number of broadly biographic monuments of poets and other intellectuals. There was a dis­ tinctively Latin tradition in such matters, inaugurated by the Hebdomades or Imagines of Varro, a collection of 700 pictorial likenesses of famous men, each accompanied by a commemorative epigram (titulus) and scholarly notes.24 How

22For Greek biography, see also T. HSgg, P. Rousseau eds., Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 2000). 23 Swain, "Biography," 35. 14Pliny, HN 35.11; AuLGell. NoctAlt. 3.10. See A. Momigliano, The Development of Greek Biography (expanded ed.) (Cambridge, Mass., 1993) 96-7; Flower, Ancestor Masks, 33; and, for late Roman Gaul, M. Heinzeimann, Bischofsherrschaft in Gallien: Zur Kontinuität römischer Führungsschichten vom 4. bis zum 7. Jahrhundert (Munich, 1976) 33-59 and passim. E. Rawson, Intellectual Life in the

I 285


much of Vairo’s compilation survived into late antiquity, and in what state, is hard to say, but the model and some of the contents were evidently still current The fourth-century Gallo-Roman poet Ausonius cites the tenth book of the Imagines when he lists famous architects in his Mosella, and the father of his friend, the Roman senator Symmachus, claims Varro as a precedent for composing poetic elogia of famous men of his own time.25 Some medallion-style portraits of Latin authors in late antique editions, such as the one reproduced in a ninth-century manuscript of Terence (mentioned above), were presumably based on Vaironian models. Even if not directly dependent on Varro, the depictions of Greek and Latin poets in floor mosaics of the late imperial period reveal the same interest in making lively visual presences of past genius.27 Pliny the Elder (HN 35.9-11) as­ sociates the Imagines with the initiative of Asinius Pollio in furnishing Rome’s first public library with portrait-busts of eminent authors, and it seems that the decoration of books and of the buildings that housed them partly followed parallel lines.2* Here, as elsewhere, the new Christian culture of the fourth century and after­ wards imitated pagan fashion. In a text of the 380s, Jerome compares the zeal of a Christian book-collector to that of Pisistratus of Athens and Demetrius of Phaleron, who went in search of "images of genius, which are true and everlasting monuments" (imagines . . . ingeniorum quae vera sunt et aetema monumenta). Imago stands in this case for the "image" of the author’s mind in his writings, as opposed to the visible representation of his (imagined) physical person, but die opposition is mainly rhetorical, depending for its effect on the continued vitality of traditions of monumental representation at Rome, with which Jerome was well

Late Roman Republic (London, 1985) 199, finds "no certain Greek parallel for [Varro’s] work." 25 Ausonius, Mos. 305-17, with commentary of R.P.H. Green (Oxford, 1991) ad loc.; Symmachus, Ep. 1.2.2. Note also Aus. Mos. 403-4 for the unrealized project of a work on the "famous men" of Belgica Prima, for which the Commemoratio professorum Burdigalensium may be considered a partial substitute. Ausonius’Parentalia, to which the Commemoratio is presented as a sequel, belong to the main tradition of aristocratic ancestor-commemoration; having risen to the consulate on the strength of his literary prowess, the poet had the right to display imagines at home, if only in this textualized form. 24 Wright, "Organization," 43. 77Von Heintze, "Ritratti antichi."The Monnus mosaic at Trier has two sets of eight portraits of Greek and Latin poets, arranged concentrically around one of Homer. For description and photograph, see the exhibition catalogue from the Rheinisches Landesmuseum: Trier: Kaiserresidenz und Bischofssitz (Mainz, 1984) 284-5. The portraits of Hesiod, Ennius, and Vergil are reproduced in colour in a matching volume, Die Römer an Mosel und Saar (Mainz, 1983) 289. a After E. Bethe, Buch und Bild im Altertum (Wiesbaden, 1945) 84-93, see K. Weitzmann, Ancient Book Illumination (Cambridge, Mass., 1959) 116-27, and Idem, "Book Illustration of the Fourth Century: Tradition and Innovation," in H.L. Kessler ed.. Studies in Classical and Byzantine Manuscript Illumination (Chicago, 1971) 116-7. w Jerome, Ep. 34.1.1; cf. Ep. 33.4.1 (of Origen, compared with Varro): Vultisnosse, quanta ingenii sui reliquerit monimenta?

I 286 acquainted.30 There is material evidence of portrait-programmes in Christian li­ braries at Rome by the sixth century, and we may guess that these already existed in the west some decades earlier.31 In Gaul Sidonius Apollinaris corroborates the idea of the Christian "order of books" propounded in the Epistula Rustici?2 In the half-century or so after 392/3, when Jerome produced his catalogue of Christian writers, the De viris illustribus or De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis (a work without immediate analogue in the east), the miniature "gallery" of famous Christian men of letters became almost a commonplace in some circles. A good example is to be found in the writings of the man hailed by Rusticus with the titulus of Vergil, Eucherius of Lyon, who in one place gathers together Clement of Rome, Gregory the Wonderworker, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, Paulinus of Nola, a certain Hilary, Petronius of Bologna, Lactantius, Minucius Felix, Cyprian, Hilary of Poitiers, John Chrysostom, and Ambrose of Milan.33 OPUS PRAECLARUM The text of Rusticus' letter is preserved in a single manuscript, the Codex Sessori* anus 77 (hereafter the Sessorianus), copied in northern Italy and dated by Lowe to the eighth century.34 It is part of a distinct ensemble appearing at the be

30Note, e.g., his mention of the statue of Marius Victorinus outside the Ulpian Library in Rome (Chron. s.a.354), where it would be joined a century later by one of Sidonius Apollinaris (Ep. 9.16.25). 31Portrait of Augustine, seated with a book open in front of him, in a fresco from a library at the Lateran Palace; inscription from the library of Pope Agapetus (535-6) on the Caelian Hill, referring to a "venerable company of the saints seated in a long row / Teaching the mystical precepts of the divine law [i.e., Scripture]." See Gamble, Books and Readers 162-5; and G. Henderson, "Cassiodorus and Eadfrith Once Again," in R~M. Spearman, J. Higgitt eds.. The Age o f Migrating Ideas: Early Medieval Art in Northern Britain and Ireland (Edinburgh, 1993) 85-6. A convergence of textual and plastic traditions of the imagines in aristocratic literary culture of this period may be attested by the Ordo generis Cassiodororum or Anecdoton Holderi: see A.M. Milazzo,"VAnecdoton Holderi: Un gencre letterario contaminato," in S. Leanza ed., Cassiodoro: Della corte di Ravenna al Vivarium di Squillace; Atti del convegno intemazionale di studi, Squillace, 25-27 ottobre 1990 (Soveria Mannelli, 1993) 177-89, with A. Momigliano, "Second Thoughts," in The Development of Greek Biography, 115, on the genre of "short biographies probably kept together by a genealogical tree." 32See Wendel, "Bibliothek," 252, citing Sid. Apoll. Epp. 2.9.4-5 (a library containing "paired" authors such as Varro and Augustine, Horace and Prudentius), 4.9.6 (triplex bybliotheca. . . Romano, Attica, Christiana), 8.4.1, 8.11.2, and Carm. 24.90. 33 Eucherius, Epistola ad Valerianum de contemptu mundi et saecularis philsophiae (PL 50.718-9). On the sources, which include Jerome, Vir.iU., see P. Courcelle, "Nouveaux aspects de la culture terinienne," Revue ties Etudes Latines 46(1968) 383-91 = Idem, Opuscula Selecta (Paris, 1984); and R.W. Mathisen, "Petronius, Hilarius, and Valerianus: Prosopographicai Notes on the Conversion of the Roman Aristocracy," Historia 30(1981) 106-12. 34 K. Wotke, CSEL 31 .vii-xi (MS "S," dated by him to the sixth century); E.A. Lowe, Codices Latini Antiquiores 4 (Oxford, 1947) no. 423. Fol. lr of the manuscript, carrying a list of the contents entered by a ninth-century librarian, is reproduced by H. Zimmermann, Vorkarolingische Miniaturen (Berlin,

I 287


ginning of the manuscript and listed in the table of contents as OPUSCULA . . . EUCHERII. This title refers to a collection in three books of the biblical-exegetical writings of Eucherius, one-time member and a leading mythographer of the monastic community of Lirins, and bishop of Lyon ca.431-51. As bishop, Eucherius produced two exegetical manuals, compiled from the works of earlier Latin authors such as Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Cassian.3* One of these, the Formulae spiritalis intellegentiae ("Guidelines for Spiritual Understanding"), dedicated to his son Veranus, is a compendium of broadly allegorical interpreta­ tions of biblical signs, arranged under ten headings; its preface includes an influ­ ential statement of the three- and fourfold schemes of biblical meaning.37 The oth­ er, the Instructiones, is dedicated to Veranus' brother, Salonius. Book 1 contains concise solutions to selected exegetical problems, arranged in the order of the biblical books from which they derive or to which they can be referred. Book 2 extends and partly overlaps with the exegetical repertoire of the Formulae, sup­ plying chapters on Hebrew and other proper names, and on assorted exotica. In the Sessorianus, Book 2 of the Instructiones comes immediately after the Formulae, and is followed by Book 1. Although consistent with the works' con­ tents, this arrangement conflicts with the one announced for the Instructiones in the preface to each book, and presumably reflects the initiative of a redactor. Nev­ ertheless, the Sessorianus appears to represent an earlier recension of the In­ structiones than that of the other family of manuscripts.38 It is the Sessorianus tradition alone that transmits the letter of Rusticus.

1916) pl.241. The remaining items, mainly creedal and dogmatic texts of the fifth century, are no longer present in the codex. 35For Eucherius, his sons Salonius and Veranus (both of whom later became bishops, at Geneva and Vence), and the circle of Llrins, see S. Pricoco, L’Isoladei santi: ¡1 cenobio di Lerino e le origini del monachesimo gallico (Rome, 1978) 44-8; and R.W. Mathisen, Ecclesiastical Factionalism and Religious Controversy in Fifth-Century Gaul (Washington, 1989) 79-85,90 and passim. For Eucherius' dates, see R.W. Mathisen, "Episcopal Hierarchy and Tenure in Office: A Method for Establishing Dates of Ordination,” Francia 17(1990) 125-40. For ideological and cultural contexts, see also R.A. Markus, The End o f Ancient Christianity (Cambridge, 1991) 181-211; and C. Leyser, "This Sainted Isle’: Panegyric, Nostalgia, and the Invention of Lerinian Monasticism," in W.E. Klingshira, M. Vessey eds., The Limits o f Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R.A. Markus (Ann Arbor, 1999) 188-206. 36K. Wotke ed., CSEL 31.1-161. Clavis nos.488-9; on thefontes, add J.F. Kelly, "Eucherius of Lyon: Harbinger of the Middle Ages," Studia Patristica 23( 1989) 138-42. In his De viris illustribus of ca.470 Gennadius of Marseille refers to these works, without distinguishing them by title: "Eucherius . . . also addressed expositions of some obscure passages of the Holy Scriptures to his sons, later to become bishops, Salonius and Veranus" (64). 37C. Curti, "'Spiritalis intellegentia': Note sulla dottrina esegetica di Eucherio di Lione," in Kerygma und Logos: Festschrift C. Andresen (Gottingen, 1979) 108-22; H. de Lubac, Medieval Exegesis, vol. 1: The Four Senses of Scripture, M. Sebanc tr. (Grand Rapids/Edinburgh, 1998) 137-9. 31 See Wotke, CSEL 31.viii-xiiii.

I 288 At the head of the collection in the Sessorianus, before the author’s prefaces to his sons, are three letters to Eucherius from colleagues who had made copies of his writings.39 The first letter, from Salvian, monk of Llrins and later priest of Marseille, speaks of books of spiritual instruction making a unitary work "de­ signed for the best possible education of [your] holy and blessed dear ones," that is, the author's sons.40 The second, from Hilary, bishop of Arles (428-49), alludes to opera instructionum and asks Eucherius to include Hilary himself, despite his years, among the "youth" for which he had composed them.41 The third, from Rusticus, opens with a reference to two volumes (volumen utrumque) and to the light of spiritual understanding (spiritalis intellegentiae lumen) that shines from them. Evidently all three men had before them the same collected work in two parts and three books, the parts being inseparably linked by dedications to the author's sons. The conditions under which they received it are stated more or less clearly in each case. Salvian writes simply of books sent to him by Eucherius (libros quos transmisisti). Hilary and Rusticus refer to a process of copying from an ex­ emplar that was now to be returned to the author, and in both cases there are signs of urgency, either real or affected. Hilary fears for the safety of the bishop's book as his messenger hurries home with it in a rain-storm, while Rusticus speaks of a transcription made "with great joy and haste" (exultanter ac raptim ). Rusticus alone indicates that he had expressly asked for the exemplar (deprecante me exemplanda misisti). Although it is possible that Salvian was the beneficiary of a gift denied to the others, the verb transmittere (like mittere in the phrase just quoted) also could denote the sending of an exemplar for copying. The most economical inference seems to be that all three had access to Eucherius' work on the same terms. Following the normal practice of the time, Eucherius would then have "published" his work by making an exemplar - or per­ haps several exemplars - available for copying by certain close acquaintances, who in turn would publicize it to others.42 Under these conditions of publication, to obtain a "new" work meant to have access to an exemplar for transcription. If the author himself provided that exemplar, asked or unasked, he could expect to receive a complimentary letter with its return.43 Such letters of courtesy, or a

" The full sequence is as follows: letter of Salvian (beginning Legi libros), letter of Hilary (Cum me libellos), letter of Rusticus (Transcriptis exultanter), preface to Salonius (refers to Instructiones [Book 1]), preface to Veranus {Formulae). Then come the Formulae and Instructiones (Book 2 with a separate preface to Salonius, followed by Book 1). 40CSEL 31.197: Legi libros... instructions perfectos... opus ad institutionem potissimum sanctorum ac beatorum pignorum. . . quos morali institution formaveras, spiritali instructione decorastL 41 CSEL 31.198. 42 For this practice, see also Mathisen in this volume. 43Mathisen, Factionalism, 85, has Salvian and Hilary receiving "review copies.”See Sid.Apoll. EpA.3 for Mamertus Claudianus’ pique when the dedication and gift of his De statu animae was not acknowledged by Sidonius.

I 289


choice of them, might then be gathered as a commendatory garland for a subse­ quent "edition." As noted above, the surviving manuscripts appear to represent two states of Eucherius’ collected exegetical works. The earlier (represented by the Sessorianus) contained all three letters to Eucherius, the second only those of Salvian and Hilary. Did one or both of these editions have the author’s sanction? Nothing that we know about Gallo-Roman writers of this time would exclude the hypothesis. Taken together, the epistolary prefaces to the Opuscula Eucherii, authorial and non-authorial, compose a model of Christian literary "authorship" - as it were, a collective autotype - of some complexity and historical interest In his first pre­ face to Salonius, Eucherius introduces the Instructions as follows: You often press me for an explanation o f the many things in the divine volumes that require an interpreter (multarum rerum absolutionem quae in divinis voluminibus interpretem postulant). As far as my memory serves, I will collect the questions that you, my Salonius, in your desire for knowledge, have abundantly and diligently uttered. And I will answer them, not by my wit but after the judg­ ment o f famous men of learning (non ex meo ingenio sed ex inlustrium doctorum iudicio), nor out o f my own rashness but on the authority of others (neque ex pro­ pria tem eritate sed ex aliorum auctoritate), striving not so much for the amplitude o f proud eloquence as for the measure of necessary brevity.43

Beneath the surface topos of humility - the usual prefatory "finish" to late classi­ cal works, often brought to a distractingly high gloss by Christian ascetic writers important claims are advanced. First, a natural role is defined for the interpres divinorum voluminum, the ide­ ally proficient interpreter of the otherwise unintelligible matter (res) of Holy Scripture. Although Eucherius does not directly arrogate that role to himself, his whole undertaking in the Instructions and the Formulae argues for its identity with the process of Christian writing. The obscurity of large parts of Scripture is the main premise of the preface to the Formulae, addressed to Veranus: It is no wonder that the divine discourse uttered by the mouth of the prophets and apostles should differ considerably from the usual style of human writing (ab usitato illo hominibus scribendi modo), giving easy access to simple things and withholding great things in its innermost recesses. For it was indeed fitting that as the holy sayings of God were set off from other writings by merit, they should also be so by appearance (ut sacra dicta dei a ceteris scriptis sicut m erito ita et specie discem erentur), lest the dignity o f the heavenly secrets be exposed to all and sundry . . *

** For prefaces in general, see T. Janson, Latin Prose Prefaces. Studies in Literary Conventions (Stockholm, 1964). 45 Instr. 1, praef. (CSEL 31.65). * Form, praef. (CSEL 31.3). Eucherius’theory of the providential obscurity of parts of the Bible has close parallels in Augustine and Origen, among others. See, e.g., Augustine, De doctrina Christiana 2.7, with C. SchaUblin, "De doctrina Christiana: A Cassie of Christian Culture?" in D.W.H. Arnold,

I 290 The thesis of the ontological and stylistic distinctiveness of Scripture as spokenword-of-God-made-text dictates and justifies the activity of the biblical exegete. It does not, however, exactly specify the place or status of written biblical interpre­ tation within the universe of divine and human spoken and written words (dicta/scripta). The collective title given to the Formulae and Instructions in the contents-list of the Sessorianus, Opuscula conscribta divinarum [sc. rerum?] sci- * entiae Eucherii episcopi ("Little works of bishop Eucherius, written of divine matters of knowledge"), with its awkward and lacunose syntax, may reflect the conceptual uncertainties of a compiler. On the one hand, these writings were the works of bishop Eucherius, products and examples of an interpretative discipline (,scientia) which he himself had mastered, and so attributable to him. On the other hand, they were exegetical transcriptions of utterances already divinely encoded in human writing, forever attributable to God, their ultimate source. A second notable feature of the preface to the Instructions is the way its au­ thor attempts to solve (and thereby complicates) the potential problem of attribu­ tion. The interpretations offered to Salonius are said to derive from intermediate sources (ex inlustrium doctorum iudicio, ex aliorum auctoritate). Between the originary dicta of Scripture and the present opuscula conscribta of Eucherius are interposed the utterances of an anonymous class of more learned or authoritative teachers - in practice, if not explicitly in theory, earlier Christian writers. Such authorial aliases are part of the stock-in-trade of Christian Gallic writers from Eucherius’ milieu.47 In the Sessorian edition, the placement of Rusticus’ letter, with its Vergilian model, immediately before the preface for Book 1 of the Instructions effects a double displacement of the reader’s attention: from Vergil’s text (sua carmina in the epigram for Vergil) to the prior and superior text of Scripture, and from the poet himself as author (Rusticus’ inventor et conditor) to the auctoritas of other writers more expert than the present one. Were there no more to his prefaces than this, we might make Eucherius answerable for the awk­ ward title later given to his Opuscula. In the event, he is at pains to assert a distinctively domestic self-presence in his texts. Both the Formulae and the Instructions open with an address to the au­ thor’s son: Eucherius Verano/Salonio filio in Christo salutem. In the former, the parental relationship is explicitly extended to encompass the literary undertaking: "I have thought it good to compose and transmit to you these guidelines for spiri­ tual understanding (formulas spiritalis intellegentiae) as an earnest of my fatherly

P. Bright eds., "De Doctrina Christiana A Classic o f Western Culture (Notre Dame, 1995) 59 n.50 (on pagan analogues); and F.M. Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation o f Christian Culture (Cambridge, 1997) 275 n.38. For the use of Augustine in Gaul at this time, see also Brittain and Wood in this volume. 47Salvian and Vinoentius of Lérins provide striking examples: see N. Brox, "Quis ille auctor? Pseudonymittt bei Salvian," Vigiliae Christianae 40( 1986) 55-65; and M. Vessey, "Peregrinus against the Heretics: Classicism, Provinciality, and the Place of the Alien Writer in Late Roman Gaul," Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 46(1994) 549-58, 564.

I 291


care for you (pro studio patemae erga te sollicitudinis)."4* In the latter, the famil­ ial context is evoked at the outset in the memory of frequent conversations, and reaffirmed at the close with the request that Salonius "recognize [himself] as questioner and [Eucherius] as respondent in what follows."49 The literary form of die dialogue, potentially (if only conventionally) a means of abrogating authorial responsibility, serves in this case as a device of filiation and legitimation. As Ro­ man fathers were expected to acknowledge and legally adopt their sons, the sons of Eucherius would now "take up" their father’s literary inheritance, answering his paternal sollicitudo with an appropriately filial duty. They would do so, moreover, in the presence of highly competent witnesses. Having set the agenda for Book 1 of the Instructions and indicated the sub­ ject-matter of Book 2, Eucherius inserts a carefully judged reminiscence of Salo­ nius’ early training in the company of such renowned Gallic masters of the spiri­ tual life as Honoratus, Hilary, Salvian, and Vincentius, all published and publish­ ing "saints" of the monastery of Larins and its neighbouring sees.50 "Having had so many and such teachers," he concludes, "you will hear what you have asked to know from me, the least of all men." Of the four individuals mentioned, Honora­ tus was certainly dead and Vincentius may have been. The other two, Hilary and Salvian, were among the first to respond to the Eucherian exegetical opus as now collected. In their tactics of self-deprecation and mutual promotion these Lerinian literati were perfect and practised partners. Most striking is the collegial valida­ tion they implicitly provide for the writings of Eucherius, minimus omnium. As a beneficiary of their instruction through lived example as well as living speech, Salonius will know exactly how to "hear" what his father offers him in writing. The near-symmetry between the unnamed doctores of the preface to Veranus and the named magistri of that to Salonius is doubtless calculated. Whatever we may discover about his textual sources, Eucherius meant to be read as the exponent of an identifiably local, even familial, tradition of "spiritual understanding." Early in the second quarter of the fifth century, within a few years of Eu­ cherius' consecration as bishop of Lyon, the Roman senator Ambrosius Theo­ dosius Macrobius arranged his readings from Greek and Latin writers (and earlier compilers) into a dialogue, entitled Saturnalia, and dedicated it to his son. "Many and various, Eustachius my son," he states in the preface, are the things on which in this life of ours Nature has led us to set our affections; but o f all Nature’s ties the strongest is our love for our children, and it is her will that we should take such pains to train and instruct them that nothing else could

**CSEL 31.3. 49 CSEL 31.66. 50 CSEL 31.65-6:... enutritus es sub Honorato patre, illo, inquam, primo insularum postea etiam ecciesiarum magistro; aun te illic beatissimi Hilarii tune insulani tironis sed iam nunc summi ponüficis doctrinaformaret per omnes spiritalium rerum disciplinas, ad hoc etiam te postea consummantibus sanctis viris Salviano atque Vincentio eloquentia pariter scientiaque praeeminentibus. For the contcmporary reputation of Hilary, Salvian, and Vincentius, see Gennadius, Vir.ilL 70,68, 65.


give a parent so much pleasure as to succeed in these aims and nothing so much distress as to fail. That is why I too regard your education as my chief care. In seeking to make it complete I have preferred the short cut to the roundabout route and, impatient o f all delay, instead o f waiting for you to make your own way for­ ward through those studies, and only those, on which you are yourself diligently engaged, I purpose to put my own reading as well at your disposal.51

His method, he explains, is that of the judicious excerptor and paraphrast: You should not count it a fault if I shall often set out the borrowings from a mis­ cellaneous reading in the authors’ own words . . . but be content with information o f things of ancient times, sometimes set out plainly in my own words and some­ times faithfully recorded in the actual words o f the old writers, as each subject has seemed to call for an exposition or a transcript (prout quaeque se vel ertarranda vel transferenda suggesserint) (1 pref.4).

Rather than simply restate the opinions of ancient writers, Macrobius has them voiced in conversation by a group of learned men who had gathered during the festival of the Saturnalia at Rome in 384 CE. Included in the otherwise mainly aristocratic company is the grammarian Servius, a professional expert on Vergil, whose poetry is at the centre of the discussion for most of its duration. Sabine MacCormack has pointed out that the S atu rnalia shares important fea­ tures with Augustine’s work on the principles of biblical exposition, the D e d o ctrin a Christiana ("On Christian Teaching"), begun in the mid-390s and com­ pleted ca.427: Both works focus on a single body o f writing that is viewed, for all its diversity, as coherent and - this is the crucial point - as universal. Just as in Augustine’s world, the books of the Christian Scriptures somehow enshrined everything that was worth saying and moreover form«! the speech and collective imagination of a Mediterranean-wide community, so in the world of Macrobius did Vergil and some of the Latin classics. As read in the earlier fifth century, therefore, Vergil and the Scriptures redefined, and this not only in the writings o f Augustine and Macrobius, what it was to be an author and what it was to speak. In some crucial respect, to be an author was to comment: to perform on a large scale the humble but exacting task that grammarians had for centuries performed in their sch ools. . ,SJ

The D e d octrin a Christiana may indeed appear, in retrospect, as the fullest and most clear-sighted early reconnaissance of the new "world" or "universe" of (La­ tin) Christian letters that was opening to readers and writers in the fifth century, but there are few outward signs of its impact in the first decades after Augustine’s death. Nor need we suppose that the S aturnalia was quickly disseminated outside the Roman aristocratic milieu for which it was apparently conceived. To the ex­

51 P.V. Davies tr., Macrobius, Saturnalia (New York, 1969), 1 pref. 1-2. For composition in the early 430s, see A.D.E. Cameron, The Date and Identity of Macrobius,” JRS 56(1966) 25-38. 52 MacCormack, Shadows, 73.

I 293


tent, then, that Vergil and the Scriptures - as newly opposed to each other - may have redefined what it was "to be an author" in the late Roman period, the pro­ cesses of that redefinition have to be inferred from a wide array of texts besides those of Augustine and Macrobius. The letter of Rusticus offers a curiously double vision of the textual worlds envisaged by the Saturnalia and De doctrina Christiana, here represented respec­ tively by the opus memoratum of Vergil and the opus praeclarum of Eucherius. It indicates rather concisely what it could henceforth mean to be "an author." The point of view is simultaneously anti-classical and classicizing. Rusticus insists that Eucherius’ own writings - like Vergil’s poems, which they are unlike - are his best recommendation. To improvise any other praise of his work is to intrude upon the exegesis of Scripture (sacros apices) and the memory of the holy men who have laboured over it (commemorationes sanctorum). Thus far, he accurately represents the positions taken by Eucherius himself in his attention to the biblical text and in his deference to learned authority. Taken literally, such professions amount to little less than a redefinition of the "author" as a species of grammar­ ian, a Christian counterpart of the humbly erudite Servius.” They also qualify him to join the collective enterprise of interpretation outlined in the De doctrina Christiana. This is the anti-classical aspect of the Rustican laus Eucherii, which paradoxically ought to leave the author with no "name" at all except in the com­ pany of his betters or, in a more Augustinian view, his peers. As we have seen, however, Rusticus not only praises Eucherius in the terms suggested by the latter’s own writings; he also and most emphatically praises him in terms suggested by the library Vergil. That gesture is "classicizing" in two re­ spects. First, like the Saturnalia, but more explicitly, it creates a closed universe of non-Christian texts (mundiales scripturae) in opposition to Christian writing: the pagan classics are a by-product of Christian literary self-definition. Second, it prophetically canonizes the bishop of Lyon by thrusting him into the hallowed company of Roman writers: the Christian classics are an after-effect of pagan lit­ erary self-definition. The fame of Eucherius as an individual author is assured by an act of association that promises to raise him - and the whole company of Gal­ lic "saints" named in his writings - to a status like that of Vergil: their own works, too, will be their best monuments. The analogy with pagan grammatical culture is thus not exact. Grammarians, as such, were rarely honoured with statues. Servius owed his place at the tables of the great to noble condescension.54 The writing saints of L£rins, by contrast, would put up their own memorials. Whatever accident it was that led Rusticus to the unusual word "autotype" for images of authors, it may be a felicitous choice for modem understanding of his

53 On the social status of the late Roman grammarian, see R.A. Raster, Guardians o f Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 1988) chs.3,6; and Idem, "Macrobius and Servius: Verecundia and the Grammarian's Function," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 84(1980) 219-62. 54 And he was too young in 384 to participate in any table-talk set that December: P. Bruggisser, "Précaution de Macrobe et datation de Servius,” Museum Helveticum 41(1984) 162-73.


social and intellectual milieu. To be a "classic" in the Roman sense implied by Warm's Imagines meant to hold a place in a gallery of portraits visited by educa­ ted persons across the empire. Modeled partly on aristocratic traditions of ancestor-worship, this visual-discursive space of honourable memory was open from the start to new talent and subject to continuous restructuring over the centuries. Modem studies of saints’ cults and elite politics in late Roman Gaul have revealed a subtle interplay of continuity and change in habits of public and private com­ memoration. Rusticus’ letter points to the intersection between these concerns and the study of Latin literary history and Christian biblical culture. The insights it affords into hagiographic and bibliographic procedures for "making persons into classics"53 invite us to return to the sites at which some of our oldest ideas about the Bible and literature were forged, and to reflect upon the ways in which the copying of an exemplar could help to create a monument.36 APPENDIX

Epistula Rustici ad Eucherium DOMINO VERO SANCTO ATQUE AMICO DEI ET MIHI IN CHRISTO OMNI CULTU SUSCIPIENDO PAPAE EUCHERIO RUSTICUS PRESBYTER Transcriptis exultanter ac raptim quae deprecante me exemplanda misisti illico ad beatitudinem vestram volumen utrumque direxi; unica vero ilia et sine coraparatione doctrina, qua ex utroque testamento magnorum aenigmatum absolutissime aperiens quaestiones amoto velamine oculis cordis verum spiritalis intellegentia lumen infundit, quam admirationi mihi fuerit, manifestius declarare non potui, quam ut earn a me faterer digne non posse laudari. Quamquam quid ego ad adtollenda ea quae editis solum me esse imparem dicam? Pace dictum sit omnium qui sunt optime his quae liberalia appellant studia instituti, nec ab his quidem mira librorum tuorum praeconia satis digne excoli posse existimo. Quia licet facilius esse decemant iudicare quam dicere, mihi tamen adeo persuasum est non esse hoc facile, ut mento definiam, quod nemo rectius tam praeclari ope­ ns praedicator existeret quam eius inventor et conditor, quia, quod nemo sic potuit inveni­ re, utique sic nemo laudat Sed dum haec tacitus mecum revolvo, occurrit mihi quod in bibliothecis studiosi saecularium litterarum puer quondam, ut se aetatis illius curiositas habet, praetereuDdo legissem. Nam cum supra memoratae aedis ordinator ac dominus inter expressas lapillis aut ceris discoloribus formatasque effigies vel oratorum vel etiam poetamm specialia

55Brown, T he Saint as Exemplar,” 1; intended here in a sense that retains more of the specifically literary denotation of the "classic.” * Earlier versions of this study were aired at a colloquium on text and commentary at Rice University and at the Thirteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies in Oxford, both in 1999.1am grateful to my hosts and audiences on those occasions, and to my friend Paul B. Harvey, Jr. of Pennsylvania State University for many an insight into Roman monumental traditions from Varro to Jerome and beyond.

I 295


singulorum autotypis epigranunata subdidisset, ubi ad praeiudicatì eloquii venit poetam, hoc modo orsus est: Vergilium vatcm melius sua carmina laudani, in frcta dum fluvii current, dum monti bus umbrae lustrabunt convexa, polus dum sidera pascet, semper honos, nomenque tuurn laudesque manebunt. Et vere, dummodo orationibus tuis culpa caream, quod inter sacros apices commemorationesque sanctorum mundialium a me scrìpturarum promuntur exempla, merito mihi dominum Eucherìum mente recolenti memoratum in memori am opus recurrit. Nam dum erunt superi us conprehensa, omnium Christi anorum ore et amore celebrabere praedicandus in posterum, dum doces posteros. Ora pro me, domine vere sancte atque amice dei et mihi in Christo omni cultu suscipiende pater.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bethe, E., Buch und Bild im Altertum (Wiesbaden, 1945) Brown, P., "The Rise and Function o f the Holy Man in Late Antiquity," JRS 61(1971) 80-

101 Brown, P., "The Saint as Exemplar in Late Antiquity," Representations 1(1983) 1-25 Brox, N., "Quis ille auctor? Pseudonymität bei Salvian," Vigiliae Christianas 40(1986) 55-65 Bruggisser, P., "Précaution de Maerobe et datation de Servius," Museum Helveticum 41 (1984) 162-73 Cameron, A.D.E., "The Date and Identity of Macrobius," JRS 56(1966) 25-38 Chartier, R., The O rder o f Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries, L.G. Cochrane tr. (Stanford, 1991) Courcelle, P., Lecteurs paièns et lecteurs chrétiens de l'Énéide, vol.l: Les témoignages littéraires (Paris, 1984) Courcelle, P., "Nouveaux aspects de la culture lérinienne," Revue des Etudes Latines 46(1968) 383-91, repr. in Idem, Opuscula Selecta (Paris, 1984) Curti, C., "'Spiritalis intellegentia': Note sulla dottrina esegetica di Eucherio di Lione," in Kerygma und Logos: Festschrift C. Andresen (Göttingen, 1979) 108-22 de Lubac, H., M edieval Exegesis, vol.l: The Four Senses o f Scripture, M. Sebanc tr. (Grand Rapids/Edinburgh, 1998) Duchesne, L., Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, vol.2 (2nd ed.) (Paris, 1910) Fedeli, P., "Biblioteche private e pubbliche a Roma e nel mondo romano," in G. Cavallo ed.. Le Biblioteche nel mondo antico e medievale (Rome/Bari, 1989) Flower, H.I., Ancestor Masks and A ristocratic Power in Roman Culture (Oxford, 1996) Gamble, H., Books and Readers in the Early Church: A H istory o f Early Christian Texts (New Haven, 1995) Hägg, T., P. Rousseau eds., Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity (Berkeley,

2000) Heinzeimann, M., Bischofsherrschaft in Gallien: Zur Kontinuität römischer Führungs­ schichten vom 4. bis zum 7. Jahrhundert (Munich, 1976) Heinzeimann, M., "Gallische Prosopographie, 260-527," Francia 10(1982) 531-718

I 296 Henderson, G., "Cassiodorus and Eadfrith Once Again," in R.M. Spearman, J. Higgitt eds., The Age o f M igrating Ideas: Early M edieval A rt in Northern Britain and Ireland (Edinburgh, 1993) Jansoo, T., Latin Prose Prefaces. Studies in Literary Conventions (Stockholm, 1964) Kaster, R.A., Guardians o f Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 1988) Kaster, R.A., "Macrobius and Servius: Verecundia and the Grammarian’s Function," Har­ vard Studies in Classical Philology 84(1980) 219-62 Kelly, J.F., "Eucherius o f Lyon: Harbinger of the Middle Ages," Studia Patristica 23(1989) 138-42 Leyser, C., "‘This Sainted Isle': Panegyric, Nostalgia, and the Invention o f Lerinian Monasticism," in W.E. Klingshim, M. Vessey eds., The Limits o f Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor o f R.A. Markus (Ann Arbor, 1999) 188-206 Lorenz, T., Galerien von griechischen Philosophen- und Dichterbildnissen bei den Rö­ mern (Mainz, 1965) Lowe, E.A., Codices Latini Antiquiores 4 (Oxford, 1947) MacCormack, S., The Shadows o f Poetry: Vergil in the Mind o f Augustine (Berkeley, 1998) Markus, R.A., The End o f Ancient Christianity (Cambridge, 1991) Masson, A., The Pictorial Catalogue: M ural Decoration in Libraries, D. Gerard tr. (Ox­ ford, 1981) 2ff. Mathisen, R.W., Ecclesiastical Factionalism and Religious Controversy in Fifth-Century Gaul (Washington, 1989) Mathisen, R.W., "Episcopal Hierarchy and Tenure in Office: A Method for Establishing Dates of Ordination," Francia 17(1990) 125-40 Mathisen, RW ., "Petronius, Hilarius, and Valerianus: Prosopographical Notes on the Conversion of the Roman Aristocracy," Historia 30(1981) 106-12 Milazzo, A.M., "L’A necdoton H olderi: Un genere letterario contaminato,” in S. Leanza ed., Cassiodoro: D ella corte d i Ravenna al Vivarium di Squillace, A tti del convegno intem azionale d i studi, Squillace, 25-27 ottobre 1990 (Soveria Mannelli, 1993) 17789 Momigliano, A., The Developm ent o f Greek Biography (expanded ed.) (Cambridge, Mass., 1993) Pitra, J„ "Sanctus Eucherius Lugdunensis, Codex saeculi VI," Analecta sacra 2(1884) 484-575 Pricoco, S., L'Isola dei santi: Il cenobio di Lerino e le origini del monacheSimo gallico (Rome, 1978) Rawson, E., Intellectual Life in the Late Roman Republic (London, 1985) Rosenthal, E., The Illuminations o f the Vergilius Romanus ( C od Vat. Lot. 3867): A Stylis­ tic and Iconographical Analysis (Zurich, 1972) SchaUblin, C., "De doctrina Christiana: A Classic o f Christian Culture?" in D.W.H. Ar­ nold, P. Bright eds., "De Doctrina Christiana": A Classic o f Western Culture (Notre Dame, 1995) Schefold, K., Die Bildnisse der antiken Dichter, Redner und Denker (Basel, 1943) Stirling, L., "Gods, Heroes, and Ancestors: 'Sculptural Decoration in Late Antique Aquitania," Aquitania 14(19%) 209-30

I 297


Swain, S., "Biography and Biographic in the Literature of the Roman Empire," in S. Swain, M.J. Edwards eds.. Portraits: Biographical Representation in the Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire (Oxford, 1997) 2ff. Thibert, Y., "Private Life and Domestic Architecture in Roman Africa," in P. Veyne ed., A History of Private Life, A. Goldhammer tr. (Cambridge, Mass., 1987) 313-409 Vessey, M., "The Demise of the Christian Writer and the Remaking of 'Late Antiquity': From H.-I. Marrou's Saint Augustine (1938) to Peter Brown's Holy Man (1983)," JECS 6(1998) 403-11 Vessey, M., "Peregrinus against the Heretics: Classicism, Provinciality, and the Place of the Alien Writer in Late Roman Gaul," Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 46(1994) 549-64 von Schlosser, J., "Geschichte der Porträtbilderei in Wachs," in H. von Heintze ed., Römi­ sche Porträts, (1910/11; repr. Darmstadt, 1974) 76-101 Weitzmann, K., Ancient Book Illumination (Cambridge, Mass., 1959) Weitzmann, K., "Book Illustration of the Fourth Century: Tradition and Innovation," in H.L. Kessler ed.. Studies in Classical and Byzantine Manuscript Illumination (Chi­ cago, 1971) Wright, D.H., "The Organization of the Lost Antique Illustrated Terence," in C.A. Chavannes-Mazel, M.M. Smith eds.. Medieval Manuscripts and Latin Classics: Produc­ tion and Use (Los Altos/London, 1996) 43ff. Wright, D.H., The Vatican Vergil: A Masterpiece of Late Antique Art (Berkeley, 1993) Young, F.M., Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (Cambridge, 1997) Zanker, P., The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity, A. Shapiro tr. (Berkeley, 1995) Zimmermann, H., Vorkarolingische Miniaturen (Berlin, 1916)


PATRISTICS A N D LITERARY HISTORY Reflections on the programme o f a new history o f late antique Latin literature [Reinhart H erzog and Peter Lebrecht Schm idt (eds.), Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der A ntike, vols. 5 - 8 (M unich, C . H. B eck: 19 8 9 -)]*

[Note: This paper was given at the annual meeting o f the North American Patristic Society held at Loyola University o f Chicago, May 24-26 1990. A major theme o f discussion at the meeting was the fitness o f ‘patristics’ as the name o f a modem discipline— a topic which the Society will debate again after the next International Conference on Patristic Studies in Oxford in 1991.] the meaning and usefulness o f the term ‘patristics’ in scholarly discourse is not a new condition. Like some other recurring disorders o f the body academic it is, paradoxically, a symptom o f robust health. Never has the study o f early Christianity been more energetically or competently prosecuted than in the period between c. 1850 and the outbreak o f the First World War. Nowhere is that energy and competence more evident than in the work o f German scholars o f the time. It is heartening, then, to discover that it is precisely in Germany in the third quarter o f the nineteenth century that the first voices are raised against the use o f ‘patristics’ in its current sense. Then as now there were some who would do away with the term altogether, while others sought to redefine it. ‘Granted that what goes by the name o f patristics is surely and recogniz­ ably a necessary and important object o f scholarly research and academic instruction,’ wrote Friedrich Nitzsch in 1865, ‘and granted that everyone who hears the name knows that the content o f this alleged discipline is centred on the Church Fathers, it [that is, patristics] nevertheless seems to lack not only a clear and unified rationale but even a defining concept.’ 1 Nitzsch believed that the indeterminacy o f ‘patristics’ was the result o f two factors, namely (1) the collapse o f the old dogmatically motivated theologia pattistica in the face o f the new Dogmengeschichte and (2) the failure o f A

n x ie t y


bo ut

* A French translation of this work is in preparation. Vol. 5 appeared in 1990.

II 342


historical study o f the literary works o f the Fathers, also known as ‘patrology’, ever to produce anything better than a bibliographical catalogue. He wished to establish whether it was ‘worthwhile, and possible, to use the debris o f the old patristics and the abundant material o f old and new patrology to raise a new scientific edifice’ that would stand apart from adjacent disciplines and deserve a name o f its own (39). Convinced that there was no sense in reviving the ancient theologia patristica, he argued that the future o f patristics lay in a reformulated patrology or, as he called it, kirchliche Literargeschichte (49). Since the interest o f early Christian writing consisted principally in its content and only incidentally in its form, this ‘literary history’ would, he suggested, be nothing other than a ‘history o f theology in its foundation period’ (55). Nitzsch’s proposal to redefine patristics as a species o f literary history was taken up and radically modified by Franz Overbeck, notably in an article o f 1882 entitled ‘Ober die Anfange der patristischen Literatur’, or on the origins o f patristic literature.2 Rejecting out o f hand Nitzsch’s equation o f early Christian literary history with the history o f early Christian theology, Overbeck insisted that ‘the history o f a literature is in its forms’ and that since ‘any real literary history must therefore be a history o f forms’, the proper aim o f patristics was to provide a Formgeschichte o f early Christian literature (423). This prescription received widespread approval from a younger generation o f German scholars that included such men as A dolf von Hamack, Gustav Kruger and A dolf Julicher.3 In due course several attempts were made to implement the Overbeckian programme. Regret­ tably, there seems not to have been any consensus as to what that programme was, or as to how the history o f the forms o f patristic literature was to be written. The one point generally agreed upon was that such a history ought to proceed by a division o f its subject-matter according to formal types or Gattungen (what we should call ‘genres’). In practice, however, the pursuit o f this principle beyond the period o f the Apostolic Fathers was found to lead either to absurdity or to insuperable problems o f organization. As a result, although Overbeck’s article generated much interesting debate, par­ ticularly among Protestant scholars in the years leading up to the First World War, it did not bring about any lasting change in the style o f early Christian literary history. Nor for that matter did it succeed in establishing literary history as the sole or even the primary task o f patristics. In recent decades, most general treatments o f patristic writing— including those best known to English-reading students, such as Goodspeed’s History of Early Christian Literature as revised by Robert M. Grant, Quasten’s Patrology, Cross’s Early Christian Fathers and its continuation for the Later Latin Fathers by William G. Rusch— have followed in the tradition o f the older patrologies. Thus (1) they are constructed mainly on the biographical model sane-

II tioned by Jerome and Eusebius and (2) they are conceived primarily as aids to the study o f early Christian doctrine and institutions. Insofar as these works may be said to reflect a common conception o f the literary-historical task o f patristics, it is a conception that would have been perfectly familiar to scholars o f one hundred or even three hundred years ago. From what has just been said, it might appear that Overbeck’s attempt (following Nitzsch) to redefine patristics as the history o f early Christian literature was a false start, no longer worthy o f consideration except as a curious incident in late nineteenth-century intellectual history. As you may have gathered from the title o f this paper, I do not myself believe this to be the case. On the contrary, I wish to argue that Overbeck’s statements are directly relevant to the present situation o f patristic studies— for two reasons. First, because the indeterminacy o f patristics as he saw it in the 1 880s is still a feature o f the discipline in the 1990s. And secondly, because his conception o f the literary-historical task o f patristics provides a vantagepoint from which to view the programme o f a new history o f late antique literature, quite unlike that offered by our patrologies. In order to appreciate the long-term value o f Overbeck’s contribution to the theory o f patristics, we must be clear about what he was saying. That this is now possible is due in large part to the careful work o f Martin Tetz.4 Following Tetz, I shall here insist on three elements in Overbeck’s presentation o f Patristik als Literaturgeschichte. These are (1) the theological implications o f his position, (2) his concern with continuity and discontinuity in the tradition o f Christian literature, (3) his emphasis on literary form as the primary subject-matter o f the literary historian. Having attempted to clarify these points as they emerge from Overbeck’s article o f 1882, I shall then use them as a basis for considering the project announced in the first volume o f the late antique part o f the new Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike— a work that promises to be o f the greatest significance for the literary historiography o f the patristic period. Patristics, both before and since the time o f Overbeck, has generally been considered a theological discipline. At first sight, this fact would seem to constitute a serious obstacle to any theory o f Patristik als Literaturgeschichte. B y redefining patristics as a kind o f literary history, it may be argued, we risk de-theologizing it. And yet as long as we retain the traditional theo­ logical reference o f patristics there seems little prospect o f arriving at a genuinely literary history o f early Christian writing. Consequently, from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, most proponents o f literary-historical approaches to the works o f the Fathers have felt obliged to steer an uncertain course between the Scylla o f a de-theologized patristics and the Charybdis o f an unliterary and (worse still) de-historicized literary history. The casehistory o f this methodological schizophrenia is nicely evoked by Joseph de

II 344


Ghellinck in a chapter entitled ‘Patrology or History o f Ancient Christian Literature’ which, though published more than forty years ago, still makes instructive reading today.9 What de Ghellinck forbears to notice is that Overbeck had already solved the problem that afflicted so many o f his successors. For Overbeck, the act of writing itself, when undertaken in a Christian cause, had intrinsic theological significance. It is this conviction that underlies his famous dictum that the Fathers o f the Church were writers against their own will: Die Kirchenväter sind Schriftsteller, die es nicht sein wollen (447). Taken literally, the statement is manifestly false; only the readiest pens could have produced the huge quantity o f patristic texts that we now possess. On another level, however, it captures an important truth. The recourse to writing as a means o f defending or transmitting Christian doctrines and values was not something qui allait de soi in the early postApostolic church. Even less was the Christian use o f the higher forms o f Graeco-Roman literary culture to be taken for granted. Perhaps predictably, Overbeck sees great significance in the rehearsal by Clement o f Alexandria o f Plato’s misgivings about the fitness o f writing as a medium o f philosoph­ ical instruction (Strom. 1,1). The very structure o f the Stromateis, he argued, was symptomatic o f an ambivalent attitude towards writing. Whether or not we accept this interpretation o f Clement’s work, or any o f the more specific literary-historical judgments in Overbeck’s article, there is no reason to doubt the validity o f the intuitions on which they are based, namely: that the content o f the Christian message (as o f any message) is likely to be affected by the form in which it is expressed and that the Fathers, in their reflection on their own activity as writers, show themselves aware o f this fact. As Tetz justly observes: ‘ Overbeck’s call for an altchristliche Literatur­ geschichte... presupposes the theological and historical-theological relevance o f this discipline, because [such a literary history] in dealing with the question o f forms, o f the modus tradendi, also has to do with the correspond­ ing actus tradendi and with the traditum.'6 The theological relevance o f Overbeck’s conception o f early Christian literary history is thus guaranteed by the selfsame fact that guarantees its literary relevance, which is its attention to form. It is this fact, too, that ultimately guarantees its historical relevance. Here we come to the second key element in the Overbeckian manifesto. The history o f early Christian literature was not to be written simply by arranging its extant monuments in chronological order. Real historiography, Overbeck asserts, is about the connection between things (der Zusammenhang) and in order to perceive this connection it is above all necessary to make a careful distinction o f the facts (eine sorgfältige Trennung der Tatsachen) (422). In literary historiography such distinction is to be made and such connection found on the level o f form: Ihre Geschichte hat eine Literatur in ihren Formen (‘The history o f a literature

II is in its forms’). This principle provides Overbeck with the main argument for his thesis concerning the ‘beginnings’ o f patristic literature. Were it indeed the case that the forms o f Christian written expression in the later second, third and subsequent centuries had demonstrably evolved from those o f the preceding period, there would be grounds for treating the literature o f the early church as an ensemble, as was customarily done by nineteenth-century patrologists. Since this was not the case, however, it was necessary to observe a distinction between, on the one hand, a christliche Urliteratur based on specifically Christian or religious forms, and, on the other, a patristic literature dominated by the secular forms o f GraecoRoman literary culture. Only after this distinction was made, and patristic literature recognized as (in Overbeck’s phrase) ‘Graeco-Roman literature o f Christian confession and Christian interest’ (444), was it possible to perceive the coherence o f that literature and commence writing its history. O f all Overbeck’s inventions, the category o f christliche Urliteratur has thus far proved the most influential; enshrined in the textbooks o f Martin Dibelius and, more recently, Philipp Vielhauer,7 it provides an upper ter­ minus for patristic studies that is clearly marked in the programmes o f conferences such as this one. We should note, however, that Overbeck does not pretend to have said the last word about the ‘beginnings’ o f Christian literature. He is aware that his remarks on the Greek tradition down to the time o f Clement cannot be applied directly to the history o f Latin patristic writing. It must be granted, he states in the final paragraph o f his article, ‘that in Latin the appropriation o f the forms o f the existing secular literature did not occur in exactly the same way as in Greek’ (472). The task o f discerning formal distinctions and connections— or, as we might say, dis­ continuities and continuities— in the Latin tradition was therefore to be undertaken separately, though not by Overbeck himself. Enough has already been said about the ‘formalist’ aspect o f Overbeck’s notion o f the literary-historical task o f patristics for it to be unnecessary to refer to it here, except to make one important qualification. Because o f his insistence on the generic differences between urchristliche and patristic literat­ ure, it is sometimes supposed that Overbeck considered literary Formgeschichte to be identical with the historical study o f genres or Gattungsgeschichte. Attractive as this interpretation may have been to late nineteenth-century adepts o f Hegelian aesthetics, it is not borne out by the general tenor o f Overbeck’s article. The word Gattung in fact appears only once, as part o f a compound (Schriftgattung, 435). While it is true that the distinction between urchristliche and patristic literature is made on the basis o f generic differences, it is clear that the author regarded those differences as symptoms o f a breach in Christian literary practice, the form-historical significance o f which was not confined by considerations o f genre. The second-century apologists and

II 346


anti-heretical writers did more than simply adopt or adapt pagan genres; they submitted to the conventions o f a literary practice that had developed independently o f Christianity (thus Overbeck). It is those conventions in general that Overbeck has in mind when he uses such phrases as schriftliche or schriftstellerische Form. Although he never attempts to list them, they evidently include notions o f style, authorship and ideal public— as well as genre. Overbeck did not write, or apparently ever intend to write, a history o f patristic literature. N or did he lay down a method for doing so. All he professed to do was to expose the illogicality o f contemporary ideas o f ‘patristics as literary history’ and indicate what he took to be the proper starting-point for a patristics o f this kind. He thereby sparked a debate over the aims and methods o f altchristliche Literaturgeschichte that continued spor­ adically until the 1930s. Since that time, literary-historical work on the Fathers has increasingly been undertaken by classically trained philologists, few o f whom have shown much interest in establishing a theoretical relation between their activity and any ‘patristic’ discipline, ancient or modem. Most ‘patristicians’, meanwhile, have been content to rely on the newer patrologies or catalogue-like presentations o f early Christian writing, with­ out straining after a rationale for any specifically literary-historical science within patristics. A rare attempt to disrupt this comfortable status quo was made by Martin Tetz in a review article published in 1967 and evidently intended to summon patristic scholars back to the task outlined by Overbeck. The summons has not been heeded. Ought it to be renewed? Before answering that question, we would do well to study the introduction to volume five o f the new Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike, pub­ lished last year in the German Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft series. Designed to replace the outdated Geschichte der römischen Literatur o f Schanz, Hosius and Krüger, the new Handbuch differs from its predecessor in several respects, most significantly in its extension to cover the whole o f what is now known as ‘late antiquity’ , here defined as the period from the beginning o f the Tetrarchy in A.D . 284 to the death o f Bede in A.D. 735. The Latin literature o f this period is to be treated in four volumes, each with its own editor, in a series o f articles contributed by German, French and other Continental scholars working in close collaboration. The first volume (and the only one to appear so far) carries the account down to 374, the year chosen to mark the beginning o f the ‘Theodosian A ge’ in Latin literary history (Reinhart Herzog (ed.), Restauration und Erneuerung. Die lateinische Literatur von 284 bis 374 n. Chr. [Munich, C . H. Beck: 1989]). It also contains a general introduction to the Latin literature o f late antiquity by Reinhart Herzog, editor o f this volume and the scholar responsible for the late antique sequence as a whole. Although a proper assessment o f the

II new handbook must await its complete publication, the obvious importance o f this work for Latin patristics— and for the history o f Christian literature more generally— is sufficient to justify an initial reaction to the ‘prospectus’ issued by Herzog on behalf o f himself and his collaborators. To the student o f patristics, the most obvious difference between SchanzHosius-Kriiger and its replacement is that whereas the former dealt with Christian writing under the separate rubric o f ‘Christian literature’, the latter treats it as an indivisible part o f the Latin literature o f late antiquity. This may not greatly affect the way we use the handbook— the greater part o f extant Latin writing after 374 is ‘Christian’ in any case— but it would seem to dispose o f any lingering hopes for a science o f ‘patristics as early Christian literary history’. In a full and informative Forschungsbericht (38—44), Herzog gives due place both to the patrological tradition in modem patristics and to the more philologically-orientated ‘histories o f Christian literature’ that have appeared since the 1920s in Germany, France and Italy— including the popular Littérature latine chrétienne (1970) o f Jacques Fontaine, editor o f the second volume in the new Handbuch. At the same time, he leaves the reader in no doubt that these catalogues or narratives o f literary history fall short o f the methodological rigour aspired to in the present work. A passing reference (38) to Hermann Jordan’s attempt (in 19 11) to apply the methods o f theologische Formgeschichte to patristic literature might lead us to expect that Herzog would look favourably on the work o f Overbeck, but the latter is credited only with raising obstacles to the constitution o f ‘patristics’ as a modem discipline and, in particular, with delaying the emergence o f a rein historisch-philologische Definition der patristischen Literaturgeschichte (43). This ‘purely historical-philological definition o f patristic literary history’, Herzog suggests, was the achievement o f Ernst Troeltsch and A d olf von Hamack, neither o f whom conceived o f anything that we (or, I suspect, Herzog himself) would now consider calling ‘literary history’ except with the addition o f the deflating epithet ‘patristic’ . In the same spirit, Tetz’s article o f 1967 is qualified as zur Wissenschafisgeschichte unentbehrlich (43), without any hint o f its polemical purpose.8 We should not be surprised to find the editor o f a new and boldy devised literary history drawing attention to the inadequacies o f previous treatments o f the same subject-matter. Nor, given the fact that this work appears in the context o f a Handbuch der Altertumswissenschafi, should we be unduly dismayed at the way in which literary and historical categories take preced­ ence over theological criteria in the disposition o f its contents. After all, it will be said, what matters most in a work o f this kind is the quality o f information provided for individual authors and texts, and in that respect (to judge from the present volume) the requirements o f the patristic scholar are about to be satisfied in a measure hitherto unimaginable. Our appreci­

II 348


ation o f this bounty ought not, however, to prevent us from scrutinizing with the utmost care the foundations o f a structure that is certain to dominate the landscape o f Latin patristics— however we may define it— far into the next century. In his foreword, Herzog states that the editors o f this series seek not only to replicate the reference-work quality o f the old handbook, but also to take account o f ‘current discussion about the object and limits o f literary historiography’ (XIII). Students o f patristics have a role to play in that discussion. It may not matter that a new history o f Latin literature implicitly denies the possibility o f a genuinely literaryhistorical patristics; patristics, it could be argued, has itself long since lost interest in that commodity. Even so, as students o f early Christian ideas and institutions, we are bound to ask whether a history o f Latin literature o f the type proposed by Herzog— one in which Christian writing is treated as part o f an ensemble o f late antique literary culture, without any consistent theological reference— is likely to make good or complete sense as literary history. In this respect, the most important part o f Herzog’s introduction is the four-page section entitled ‘Theory and Practice o f Literary Production’ (18 -2 1). Its first sentence is uncompromising: ‘Late Latin antiquity,’ he writes, ‘produced no theory o f literature different from that o f the ancient rules.’ We should perhaps not expect pagan writers o f the fourth century to invent a new literary theory. But what about Christian writers allegedly caught up in that Auseinandersetzung von Antike und Christentum, so long the concern o f modem scholarship on late antiquity? According to Herzog, the debate over Christian use o f pagan rhetorical and literary forms was effec­ tively over by the third century. In the East the positions reached by Clement o f Alexandria and Origen remained fixed for generations after­ wards. (Overbeck, it seems, was right to see Clement as a pivotal figure.) B y contrast, late antique Latin writers like Lactantius, Hilary, Jerome and Augustine are to be credited with major new developments as they ‘reflected upon the limits and forms o f a specifically Christian literature’ (18). Again, their attitudes are to be distinguished from those o f the earlier apologists inasmuch as their works manifest ‘a first attempt to describe [a Christian] literary practice and to establish its aims’ (20). Finally: ‘The reflections o f Christian-Latin late antiquity upon the activity o f writing (Schriftstellerei) made remarkable progress beyond the limits and topics set by apologetic. The range o f genres (das Gattungsspektrum) exhibited in the literature o f the period shows that it is these reflections alone that make comprehensible the course o f its literary history’ (20). Those who know Herzog’s fine book on biblical epic will not be surprised to find him insisting on the quality o f literary-theoretical reflection by late antique Christian Latin writers.9 His own work, with that o f Pieter van

II der Nat and Jacques Fontaine (both cited by Herzog), more than justifies the claim made for the importance o f this reflection as a basis for understand­ ing the literary history o f the period. What is perhaps surprising is that such an insistence on the achievements o f a specifically Christian literary theory should be thought compatible with an initial assurance that late antique literary theory was essentially the same as that o f the classical period. If the effect o f Christian literary-theoretical reflection in the fourth century had been merely to refine an existing set o f ideas about the appropriation o f pagan literary forms, it might be reasonable to subsume all such develop­ ments under the broad heading o f ‘late antique classicism’— although we should still need to consider the new purposes to which these old forms were put. B y concentrating his attention on Christian attitudes to traditional pagan genres (G attungen ), Herzog seems almost to be suggesting that this was the case. Yet he also cites Jerome’s Letters 53 and 58 to Paulinus o f Nola and Augustine’s De doctrina Christiana, texts whose interest for the history o f Christian ideas o f writing is far from exhausted by their recom­ mendation o f the famous system o f concordances between pagan and biblical genres (Entsprechungssystem ). To assert, as Herzog does, that all Christian writing, considered as a form o f biblical exegesis, was ipso facto part o f such a system is to go beyond any explicit statement by a Latin patristic writer. N or is it clear how the so-called ‘theology o f style’ (Stiltheologie ) here attributed to Hilary o f Poitiers comes to be presented simply as an aspect o f classicism, when (as Fontaine has shown in an article unaccountably omitted from the bibliography at this point) Hilary’s ideal o f Christian eloquentia is inextricably bound up with his literary biblicism.10 In short, the evidence adduced by Herzog in support o f his view o f the originality o f late antique Latin Christian literary theory proves more (and less) than his initial premise o f literary-theoretical continuity allows. A similar tension between the dictates o f a monistic conception o f ‘late antique literature’ and the data o f specifically Christian literary activity is detectable in the following section on genres (Gattungen) (21-33). Herzog, like Overbeck, conceives the history o f early Christian literature as Formgeschichte. In his earlier work on biblical epic, sub-titled Formgeschichte einer erbaulichen Gattung, he showed how the respective insights o f biblical form criticism and Jaussian reception theory could be combined to provide a model for understanding late antique Christian literature as the realisation o f an originally Christian potential for literary expression within the conven­ tions o f classical literary art, or, in the language o f Rezeptionsästhetik, as the ‘aesthetic charging o f an empty form o f Christian expressivity’ (als ästhetische Aufladung einer Leerform christlicher Ausdrucksbereitschaft) (LXXVIII). This model works well for the late antique biblical epic, in which the language and conventions o f a particular classical genre are visibly adapted to the

II 3jo


needs o f Christian edification. It is less obviously appropriate to the general­ ity o f late Latin Christian texts, many o f which follow forms developed outside the sphere o f classical influence or for which there is no clear precedent in ancient Graeco-Roman literature. In his introduction to the new handbook, Herzog freely concedes the existence o f a prior non-classical Christian Formgeschichte, only to formulate the task o f a ‘late antique’ literary history in terms that privilege the classicizing elements in its subsequent evolution. The key questions to be asked, he says, are these: (i) In which genres (Gattungen), and in which phases o f its late antique development, were the traditions o f Roman literature able to enter into this [Christian] Formgeschichte? and (2) H ow were Christian and Roman forms changed in the process? (24). Significantly, no attempt is made to contain the ensuing survey o f late antique Christian literature within the narrow limits o f this Fragestellung. Instead an account o f Christian Formgeschichte is given that includes all forms and tendencies o f Christian writing, irrespective o f whether or not they can be brought into relation with classical models. The concept o f Gattung, moreover, is shown to be o f only limited utility as a category o f Christian literary theory: the dominant form o f Christian literary activity in the Theodosian Age, we are reminded, was biblical exegesis, ‘not as an autonomous genre, but as the underlying referencepoint o f all Christian literature’ (25). Despite this concession, Herzog’s introduction seems designed to impose a double methodological equation: Literaturgeschichte = Formgeschichte = Gattungsgeschichte. The structural and theoretical importance o f the concept o f Gattung for the new handbook is apparent from a glance at its table o f contents. Where Schanz-Hosius-Kriiger had itemized the Christian literature o f late antiquity mainly by authors, Herzog and his collaborators opt for a uniform system o f Gattungskapiteln for both pagan and Christian texts. Since Herzog himself offers no justification for this system, we must assume that it applies to all the volumes in the series and that its rationale will appear in the general introduction to Volume One. Those pages will need to be pondered carefully. Modem genre-theory is an extremely complex and controversial field.11 Hence any attempt to organize a history o f classical and late antique Latin literature according to Gattungen is bound to engage in the most direct way with current discussions o f the ‘object and limits o f literary historiography.’ 12 The first thing to be said o f the genre-headings chosen for the present volume is that they do not imply any single or comprehensive taxonomy o f literary forms. Indeed, since they are chosen according to a variety o f different criteria— e.g., content (Rechtsliteratur, Medizinische Literatur), form in the narrow sense (Poesie, Epistolographie), function (Apologetik, Pastoralschrijten), the scheme o f the liberal arts (Grammatik und Rhetorik)— they tend to give the impression o f a rather arbitrary,

II if nonetheless rational, division o f the subject-matter. That impression is heightened by the necessity o f treating the whole o f an author’s oeuvre under a genre-heading that may only be appropriate to part o f it (as is the case, for example, with both Marius Victorinus and Hilary o f Poitiers). Such inconsequence is o f course an inevitable feature o f works o f reference and cannot be blamed on the editor. More questionable, from the point o f view o f historical method, is the unexplained (and unrubricated) division o f the sixteen major Gattungskapiteln into three larger groups, broadly distinguishable as Gebrauchsliteratur, schdne Literatur, and christliche Literatur. Needless to say, these are my terms and not the editor’s. It is odd how well they fit. We may wonder how it is that a work that professes to eschew the traditional categories o f ‘literary’ and ‘unliterary’, ‘secular’ and ‘Chris­ tian’ in favour o f a global concept o f ‘late antique literature’ can be so easily divided in this way. O f the proposed ‘Christian’ Gattungskapiteln, that o f ‘Hagiographical Literature’ carries most conviction. The further categories o f ‘Apologetic’, ‘Pastoral Writings’ and ‘Forms o f Exegesis’ serve adequately, but add little to the comprehension o f their generally exiguous contents. The first is traditional and effectively covers only Amobius and Lactantius. The second embraces a heterogeneous group o f pseudo-Cyprianic and papal texts. The third seems made to emphasize the achievement o f Hilary o f Poitiers, but loses its hero to the succeeding section o f ‘Anti-Heretical and Dogmatic Writings’ where he trails in at the end o f a long list o f church councils. It is a strange sort o f Gattungsgeschichte that requires us to recognize a ‘formal’ resemblance between the acts o f the Council o f Elvira and the Hilarian De Trinitate\ These and a number o f other infelicities in the presentation o f the first volume o f this new history o f late Latin literature are, I believe, the result o f two errors o f principle, namely (i) the decision to present the whole o f that literature as a phase in the reception o f Graeco-Roman literary culture, without allowing for the radical novelty o f much Christian literary theory and practice, and (2) excessive reliance on the problematical concept o f Gattung as a literary-historiographical category. The two errors are logically related, since it is only by maintaining the illusion o f widespread Gattungskontinuitat that one can hope to keep the lid on a ferment o f Christian literary activity that otherwise threatens constantly to overflow its under­ sized late classical pot. Herzog and his colleagues may consider that they have long since buried Overbeck and his notion o f Patristik als altchristliche Literaturgeschichte, but the prolegomena to their combined labours suggest to me that we have not yet learnt all that we might from his journalistic essay o f 1882. On the one hand, there are striking similarities between Overbeck’s assumptions about the later history o f early Christian literature and those expressed in the new

II 352


handbook. Thus Overbeck’s description o f patristic writing as ‘GraecoRoman literature o f Christian confession and interest’ would seem to coin­ cide with Herzog’s conception o f a common tradition o f late antique literature. Similarly, Herzog’s recognition o f the difference between origin­ ally Christian literary forms (Zweckgattungen) and the classical genres adopted by Christian authors recalls Overbeck’s separation o f the forms o f urchristliche and patristic literature. Also, it will be remembered that Over­ beck had left open the question o f when and how Christian Latin literature assumed its ‘patristic’ shape. B y rightly laying special emphasis on the Constantinian period as a time o f decisive change in Latin Christian literary mores, the editor and authors o f the new handbook have made a ‘distinction o f the facts’ o f Latin patristic writing as important as that made by Overbeck in the sphere o f Greek. In each o f these respects, the new history can be seen as adapting or developing features o f the Overbeckian programme. On the other hand, it shows no sign so far o f capitalizing upon— or even o f recognizing— the feature which Tetz (in my view correcdy) saw as its most constructive contribution to the debate on Christian literary histori­ ography: the combination o f literary-historical and theological relevance. Overbeck, in Tetz’s words, was calling for a history o f early Christian literature which ‘in dealing with the question o f forms, o f the modus tradendi, also [had] to do with the corresponding actus tradendi and with the traditum— or, to put it more plainly still, for the history of a literary tradition that was also a doctrinal tradition and whose literary and doctrinal aspects are ultimately inseparable. The need for that history is as great now as it was a hundred years ago. Its brief is plainly given in a work such as Jaroslav Pelikan’s recently completed history o f Christian doctrine, suggestively entitled: The Christian Tradition. As the literary monuments o f the patristic era constitute our main source o f evidence for what the church o f that time ‘believed, taught, and confessed on the basis o f the word o f God,’ so teaching and confessing (in the broad sense expounded by Pelikan) appear as the primary occupations o f late antique Christian writers, as the most obvious reasons for their recourse to the literary medium, and as the chief objects o f their reflection on their own activity as literate persons. N ow that what Pelikan calls the ‘material issue o f tradition’ has been made the subject o f a new kind o f Dogmengeschichte, it is high time that we recognized the correspond­ ing ‘formal issue o f tradition’ as the subject for a new kind o f early Christian literary history.13 What will this new kind o f history be like? Clearly, it will have much to do with the relation between oral and literate modes o f transmission and with the relations between one text and another. It will deal both with emergent Christian ideas o f textuality and with the emergence (and sub­ sequent reception) o f canonical kinds o f Christian text, including the com-

II plex textual entities o f the Bible, the Fathers, and the Creed(s). It will attempt to show how doctrinal concerns influenced the forms o f Christian tradition and how formal considerations impinged upon the content o f Christian doctrine. Following the initiative o f Overbeck and the example o f more recent scholarship, it will take a special interest in the interaction between the aims o f Christian edification and the aesthetic norms o f late classical culture. It will consider the achievements o f individual patristic writers in formulating and illustrating the principles o f a specifically Chris­ tian literary activity, and the influence exerted by their works and personalit­ ies on later generations o f literati. It will study the concepts used to structure and organize the growing body o f Christian literature, including whatever notions o f genre were demonstrably current in the patristic period itself. It will seek to establish significant links between the forms o f Christian literary practice and the social, political and material circumstances o f their expo­ nents. Its aim will be to provide an account o f patristic literature that does justice to its importance not only as a vehicle and matrix o f early Christian doctrine but also as a formative influence on many other literary traditions, medieval and modern, Christian and non-Christian. Although some o f the items on this agenda may sound new-fangled, most are part o f the stock-in-trade o f all who nowadays have anything to do with early Christian texts. Whether we realise it or not, as students o f ‘patristics’ we are already contributing to a new early Christian literary history that ought eventually to be more literary and more historical than any hitherto devised. The awareness o f this fact should make us eager to possess the riches promised by future volumes o f the Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antxke. And— who knows?— it may even leave us feeling a little less uneasy about our oddly styled discipline. REFEREN CES 1 ‘ Geschichtliches und Methodologisches zur Patristik’, Jahrbuch fo r deutsche Theolo­ gie io (1865) 37-63. The passage cited is on page 38. 2 Historische Zeitschrift N. F. 12, 4 17-72 (separately reprinted Darmstadt, 1954). 3 See Martin Tetz, ‘Altchristliche Literatur­ geschichte— Patrologie’, Theologische Rundschau 32 (1967) 1-42. 4 See article cited in previous note and M . Tetz, ‘Über Formengeschichte in der Kirchengeschichte’, Theologische Zeitschrift 17 (1961) 4 i3 “ 3i» esp. 424-6. ÄJ. de Ghellinck, Patristique et Moyen Age. Etudes d'histoire littéraire et doctrinale, vol. 2

(Brussels-Paris, Desclee de Brouwer: 1947) 149-80. 6 ‘Altchristliche Literaturgeschichte* 13. 7 M. Dibelius, Geschichte der urchristlichen Literatur, 2 vols. (Berlin-Leipzig, de Gruyter: 1926); P. Vielhauer, Geschichte der urchristlichen Literatur (Berlin-New York, de Gruyter: 1975). 8 The studied neutrality o f this part o f Her­ zog’s Forschungsbericht would seem to reflect a determination to suppress the theological issues that have in the past divided scholars o f early Christianity, often on denominational lines (see for example the classic controversy between

II 354


the Protestant A. von Hamack and Cath­ olic Otto Bardcnhcwcr over the rival claims o f altchristliche and altkirchliche [sic] Literaturgeschichte, recounted by both Tetz and de Ghellinck). Such discretion is com­ mendable in a work o f reference, and necessary in one that draws on the labours o f scholars o f diverse religious back­ grounds. The question nevertheless remains o f whether a history o f early Christian writing should (or can) be con­ ceived without reference to the problem o f doctrinal continuity. I am indebted to Stefan Rebenich for discussion o f this point. 9 Die Bibelepik der lateinischen Spätantike. Formgeschichte einer erbaulichen Gattung, vol. i (Munich, Fink: 1975). 10J. Fontaine, ‘L*apport d’Hilaire a une theorie chretienne de l’esthetique du style (remarques sur In psalmos 13)* in Hilaire et son temps. Actes du colloque de Poitiers 1968 (Paris, Etudes Augustiniennes: 1969) 287-305. 11 Among numerous recent contributions Gottfried Willems, Das Konzept der literar­ ischen Gattung (Tübingen, Niemeyer: 1981) is especially valuable for its treat­ ment o f the historical background to the contemporary debate. The author’s

remarks concerning those ‘Epoche... die eine gattungspoetologisch fundierte Liter­ aturgeschichtsschreibung als Phasen des Übergangs, des Auf- oder Abstiegs, der Mischung, der Auflösung und des Verfalls beschrieben hat* (346) have a clear relev­ ance to the period o f late antiquity. 12 See J. Fontaine, ‘Comment doit-on appliquer la notion de genre littéraire à la littérature latine chrétienne du 4eme siè­ cle?*, Philologus 132 (1988) 53-73. 13J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition. A His­ tory o f the Development of Doctrine, vol. i: Ute Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100—600). (Chicago and London, U . o f Chicago Press: 1971) 7: ‘The form which Christian doctrine, so defined [i.e., as “ what the church believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis o f the word o f God’*], has taken in history is tradition. Like the term “ doctrine,” the word “ tra­ dition* ’ refers simultaneously to the pro­ cess o f communication and its content... We shall have occasion in this volume to examine the concept o f tradition as it was formulated over against ancient heresy, and repeatedly in later volumes we shall be referring to the formal issue o f tradi­ tion... But we shall be dealing not so much with the formal as the material issue o f tradition...* (emphasis added).



Brian Stock, Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990. Pp. x, 197. William V. Harris, Ancient Literacy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989. Pp. xv, 383. Rosamond McKitterick, The Carolingians and the Written Word. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Pp xvi, 290. Rosamond McKitterick, editor, The Uses of Literacy in Earty Mediaeval Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp. xvi, 345. Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, tram. Willard R. Trask, with a New Afterword by Peter Godman. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. Pp. xv, 718.

i. When modern study o f the cultural role and significance o f literacy began in the early 1960s, its main focus was on writing as new technolo­ gy. The periods and cultures which it privileged were those in which new writing systems were invented (notably ancient Greece) or where literate practices could be seen penetrating for the first time (so-called “traditional” societies at the instant o f their m odernization). The researchers themselves were typically either classicists or anthropolo­ gists, sometimes both at once. Predictably, emphasis on literate ori­ gins—on transition from “primary” orality to some sort of literacy, how­ ever restricted—tended to deflect attention from cultures which had long known the use o f writing, such as that o f Europe in the Middle Ages. In time this bias became less pronounced. As anthropologists learnt to distinguish different types o f literacy and the various forms of interaction between oral and literate modes o f thought and communi­


cation, historians were encouraged to return to the problems posed, or passed over, in older studies o f literacy in the Middle Ages. (For a review o f some recent scholarship see D. H. Green, “Orality and Reading: The State o f Research in Medieval Studies," Speculum 65 (1990): 267-80.) The distinctive qualities o f this new interest in medieval litera­ cy are already evident in Michael T. Clanchy’s From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307 (London, 1979). Although the title o f Clanchy’s book, chosen to recall H. J. Chaytor’s From Script to Print (1945), still evoked the twin concepts o f origin and primary transition, his presentation relied surprisingly little on them, emphasizing instead the pre-Conquest antecedents o f post-Conquest English literacy and the “symbiosis” o f oral and literate modes in the later period. According to Clanchy, the shift “from memory to written record” in the eleventh and twelfth centuries could equally well be seen as a shift “from sacred script to practical literacy”, as a realignment o f existing literate habits rather than as a fundamental innovation. A comparably revisionist per­ spective commands Brian Stock’s The Implications o f Literacy: Written Language and Models o f Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton, 1983). Stock’s study com plem ented Clanchy’s in three major respects, being based on continental rather than insular sources, oriented towards “literary” as opposed to documentary uses of writing, and more theoretically ambitious. Again the title is allusive, referring not to the “consequences” o f literacy (the phrase coined by Jack Goody and Ian Watt in their pioneering paper o f 1963) but to its “implica­ tions.” The change reflected Stock’s desire to free the historian from a narrowly diachronic model o f oral-literate transition. His aim was to “de-emphasize the problem o f (literate) origins” and so open the way for a historiography that would take account o f all kinds o f relation between the (real and imaginary) written and other modes o f dis­ course, including the multiple discourses o f action. By adopting a more synchronic approach to literacy, he was able to offer a unified view o f a wide range o f seemingly disparate social and intellectual phenomena, at the same time elaborating a theoretical construct (of the “textual community” as a social group organized around the shared understand­ ing o f a text) o f impressive explanatory power. In both these works, it now appears, the “problem o f (literate) origins” was simultaneously transposed and deferred. Stock, like Clanchy, claimed a large measure o f novelty for the phenom ena described in The Implications o f Literacy. He spoke not just o f a “rebirth


o f literacy” in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but o f a “new type of interdependence” between the written and the oral, o f “unprecedented parallels between literature and life”. He also stated that it would be useful to know where the individual components o f this “new” oral-liter­ ate culture had come from. Such knowledge—which might confirm or invalidate Clanchy’s hypothesis o f an underlying continuity between “sacred” and “practical” literacy in the middle ages—was to be sought in the records o f earlier western European culture. Between the appearance o f alphabetic script in ancient Greece and the emergence in the medieval West o f a distinctive oral-literate culture (Stock) or proto-modern practical literacy (Clanchy) stretched two millennia o f reading, writing, and the use o f texts. What kinds o f literacy prevailed in the (later) Roman Empire, in the “barbarian” kingdoms, or at the time o f the Carolingian “renaissance”? How did older ideas and prac­ tices contribute to the literate culture o f the eleventh and twelfth cen­ turies? How are they related to “modern” literacy? In the course o f the 1980s a number o f historians in Europe and North America were drawn to consider these questions. The first four books under review offer an important sample o f their work. Together with other studies o f classical, late antique, and medieval literacy recently published or announced, they register strong seismic activity in a type o f research that is rapidly transforming our historical landscape. It is too early to draw new maps, but it is possible to take some bearings.

n. Brian Stock’s Listening for the Text: On the Uses o f the Past gathers material from a series o f papers on literacy, historiography, and the Middle Ages, published separately or written for conferences between 1974 and 1987. The whole is considerably more than the sum o f its parts. Rather than retain the order o f original composition, Stock has rearranged and in some cases rewritten the individual papers, stitching them together with his latest thoughts to make eight chapters with an intro­ duction. There is an irony in this method. One o f the author’s princi­ pal concerns, in this book as in its predecessor, is with the way in which we write the past, creating history as text. But writing can also unmake history, and in rewriting these papers Stock has partly effaced the record o f his own scholarly progress. In order to understand how the positions presented here were reached, the reader must undo his care­ fully constructed text. Two early pieces, “Romantic Attitudes and


Academic Medievalism” (Chapter Three) and “Literary Discourse and the Social Historian” (Chapter Four), were first printed in New Literary History in 1974 and 1977 respectively; the latter now appears substan­ tially modified. Both papers focus on what Stock regards as the unreal­ ized potential for merger between the historical and literary disciplines, considered as one aspect o f a general failure by modern scholars to explore the interdisciplinary or “comparative” option in medieval stud­ ies. The first paper champions Eric Auerbach as a philologist commit­ ted to the “sociology o f literature”, and ends with a grim (and inten­ tionally comic?) vision o f the contemporary medieval historian forced to choose between “getting on with his work" and succumbing to the quasi-religious attractions o f semiotics or poststructuralism (p. 74). The second juxtaposes modern approaches to history and literature, to con­ clude despondently: "It is not possible to historicize literary discussions, nor does it seem likely that historical ones will treat texts as anything but repositories o f fact” (p. 91, my italics). This sentence, not in the 1977 article, reads oddly in a time o f resurgent historicism in literary studies, the more so as there are clear affinities between Stock’s aspirations for a new literary history and the work o f many “new historical” critics. Stock’s pessimism regarding the prospects for a historicized study o f lit­ erature is matched by his dissatisfaction with the current practice of medieval history, in particular with the kind o f text-blind empiricism that he considers characteristic o f much o f it. Social historians, he believes, have not yet taken seriously the philosophical distinction between objective and subjective meaning, and thus have failed to real­ ize (with Max Weber) that “social reality is an intermingling o f reality and perception” (p. 86) and that every kind o f cultural expression, including the literary text, must be seen as an “arbitrary imposition onto reality of a new conjunction o f object, subject, and meaning” (p. 88). This emphasis on the text as individual social “event” recalls the main them e o f The Implications o f Literacy, the gestation o f which is marked by a gap o f several years in the dates o f papers reissued in the present volume. Weber’s name was not prominent in the earlier work, largely no doubt because, as Stock remarks in the introduction to a piece entided “Max Weber, Western Rationality, and the Middle Ages” (Chapter Six), he “said litde about orality and literacy” (p. 113). In this essay Stock sets out to correct Weber’s view o f the origins o f western rationality by drawing attention to a number o f medieval advances in critical thought, all o f which, he suggests, are somehow connected with the rise of literacy. The argument depends heavily on Jack Goody’s The


Domestication o f the Savage M ind (1977). However, in adapting Goody’s thesis o f a link between literacy and rationality to the medieval situa­ tion, Stock is led to formulate three important hypotheses: (1) that the rationality o f the twelfth century was founded on the literate achieve­ ments o f the Carolingian “renaissance” and, in a lesser degree, o f earli­ er periods; (2) that the developed literacy o f the Middle Ages was char­ acterized by a high level o f interplay between oral/aural and written norms; (3) that the distinctively oral-literate quality o f that literacy was, at least in part, a product o f early Christian attitudes to scripture. The first point was anticipated, the second already well made, in The Implications o f Literacy. Further reflections on the em ergence o f medieval oral-literate culture are to be found in a paper on “Medieval Literacy, Linguistic Theory, and Social Organization” (Chapter Two), first published in 1984, which also contains a reference to “the rebirth o f textual com m unities” (p. 37) in the eleventh century. This is a revealing phrase, since it implies that it was not just literacy as a set of skills but a particular mode o f literate activity that was revived at that time. The assumption is a natural one in the context o f the present col­ lection, which is much concerned with precedents; indeed Stock’s urg­ ing o f the third claim listed above, regarding the role o f early Christian tradition in the formation o f medieval literate culture, marks perhaps the most important single development in Listening for the Text of the positions outlined in The Implications of Literacy. The ideal o f a rapprochement between historical and literary approaches to texts—which, no less than the preoccupation with “the uses o f the past,” provides a unifying theme for Listening for the Text— helps to organize two pieces from the mid-1980s: “History, Literature, Textuality” (Chapter O ne) and “Language and Culture: Saussure, Ricoeur, and Foucault” (Chapter Five). In the former, Stock identifies “textuality” as the com m on ground o f several recent attempts to explore the relations between literature and history, and argues con­ vincingly that the exploration o f textuality itself should begin with “the period in which Europe became a society that used texts on a large scale” (p. 18)—i.e., the period treated in The Implications o f Literacy. A less adventurous or more complacent scholar might have left the mat­ ter there. Stock, however, goes on to assert the need for a “basic chronology o f medieval literacy” that will allow for such major influ­ ences as “Greek and Roman education,” “Jewish scripturalism as trans­ formed by early Christians,” and “Germanic languages and institutions” (p. 19). The importance o f the first two factors is underlined by his

Ill 144

statement that after A.D. 1000 “the spoken and written were drawn into closer interdependence than they had been at any time since the end o f the ancient world" (p. 20, my italics). The adverbial phrase is potentially ambiguous: it is not clear whether uthe end o f the ancient world” is to be taken literally as a moment dividing antiquity from the middle ages, or as shorthand for a terminal phase o f ancient culture with a distinc­ tive literacy o f its own. The latter interpretation is perhaps the more likely, for it is quickly apparent that the author o f Listening for the Text has a special interest in late antiquity—or the “later ancient world” as he prefers to call it. Although there is no universally accepted defini­ tion o f late antiquity, it is usually taken to encompass the years A.D. 200-600. Sooner or later, the historian o f western literacy is bound to traverse this period. It was during these centuries that the ideology and institutions o f Graeco-Roman literary paideia were cast into the forms that they would hold for most o f the Middle Ages; then, too, that Judaeo-Christian scripturalism, under the pressure o f secular literary culture, acquired its enduring character. Stock saves consideration of such matters for later essays, devoting the rest o f this one (pp. 21-29) to an exposition o f his concept o f the “textual community.” The concept o f the textual community is also invoked in the essay on Saussure, Ricoeur, and Foucault, most constructively at the point where Stock offers an adaptation o f Ricoeur’s theory o f dis­ course, designed to integrate historical as well as literary aspects of experience. The first three stages in Stock’s proposed four-stage scheme are: (1) “text production”, (2) “the use o f potential, actual, recalled, and imagined texts to organize experience”, and (3) “the enactm ent o f texts as living narratives and the organization o f life according to their implicit rules” (p. 104). The products o f this process are, on the one hand, the literary work (as defined by Ricoeur) and, on the other, the textual community (as defined by Stock). Stock does not insist on his expanded Ricoeurian model of discourse— it is merely one episode in the continuous theoretical dialogue o f his book—but as a statement o f his ideas on the “interpenetration o f written structures with reality” (p. 108) it has the advantage o f being at once clearer and o f more general application than any m odel proposed in The Implications of Literacy. Taken in conjunction with the call for a “basic chronology o f literacy,” it suggests the possibility o f extending the liter­ ary and historical study of textual communities to the immediate pre­ history o f medieval (and modern) western textuality, into the period of early Christianity and o f the later Roman empire.


That possibility is raised formally in Chapter Seven, “Textual Communities: Judaism, Christianity, and the Definitional Probem”, based on a paper given in 1986. Here Stock reminds us that his idea of the textual community was originally intended “to fill a theoretical gap in the conception o f Church and sect as outlined by Ernst Troeltsch and...Max Weber.” Neither Troeltsch nor Weber, he argues, took suffi­ cient account o f “the fact that what one believes is shaped by the means o f communication by which the content is transmitted” (p. 157). In the terms suggested by Stock’s final chapter, entitled “Tradition and Modernity,” both attempted to divorce the traditum o f belief from the process o f its traditio, forgetting or failing to appreciate that such trans­ mission is “not neutral [but] rooted in politics and institutions” and thus partly determines the message it conveys (p. 162). The concept of the textual community was meant to provide a way o f studying the pro­ cesses o f traditio in societies which knew the use o f writing, even where literate skills were confined to a single person or to a small circle within a community (as was generally the case in the Middle Ages). Since, by definition, textual communities exist wherever the interpretation o f a text serves to organize the experience o f a group, the application of this concept to the study o f early Christian communities and their use o f scripture was always likely to suggest itself. (In view o f the persistent failure o f early Christian philology, before and since the time o f Adolf von Hamack, to produce an integrated model o f the processes o f liter­ ary and religious tradition, one might say that a place had been reserved for it) Stock’s particular interest in Chapter Seven is with the relation o f the earliest Christian scripturalism to rival Jewish modes of attention to the sacred text. Yet it is clear that the techniques o f literary and historical analysis used in The Implications o f Literacy could also be extended to the study o f text-centered movements within early Christianity, or indeed to areas of interference between “pagan” and Christian approaches to the written word during the late Roman peri­ od. To be effective in these fields, the medievalist’s methods will need som e modification. “In antiquity," Stock observes, “conditions were dif­ ferent [from those in the Middle Ages]. Above all, in a society in which literacy was routine, more attention must be paid to reception and reader reconstruction, to intertextuality, and to oral discourse within well-worn rhetorical channels. One must also deal with canon and authority” (p. 151, my italics). From this we may infer, using a distinction made else­ where by Stock (pp. 147-48), that the social-historical or “contextual” approach to literacy which he advocates ought to be matched by a cor­

Ill 146

responding literary-historical or “compositional" initiative on the part o f specialists in early Christian and late antique literature: only when the two approaches are com bined should we expect to understand both how texts made communities and why those communities made the texts they did. The introduction to Listening fo r the Text (entitled “Orality, Literacy, and the Sense o f the Past”) should be read last as well as first, since it outlines a thesis about the formation o f medieval and early modern attitudes to language, literature, and textuality that goes well beyond the conclusions o f the other essays. It is a thesis which, while generally applicable to “the period o f Western history... be tween the late ancient world and the thirteenth century” (p. 2), assigns special importance to the period between the second and eighth centuries a . d . Taking for granted that “the ancient [Graeco-Roman] world was by and large a literate society” (p. 3), Stock argues (1) that the com ing o f Christianity led to a new emphasis on the spoken word in opposition to Jewish literalism and Roman literary culture, and (2) that the religious conversion o f the Germanic peoples completed the transformation of Christianity into a scriptural religion in which “literacy meant legitima­ cy.” As he puts it: “in the passage from Hellenistic Roman and Jewish antiquity to the Christian Middle Ages, the oral did not simply replace the written. Nor did the literate orality o f the gospels and the primary orality o f the Germanic tribesmen merge. By an inversion o f symbols, one type o f scripturalism [i.e., the Christian] succeeded another [i.e., the Hellenistic Jewish and/or Hellenistic Roman] (p.4).” If the logic and sequence o f these developments in western literacy here remain somewhat vague, the conclusion that Stock wishes to draw does not. In his view, the late ancient world “discovered” an idea o f the text which included both “visible and aural forms o f language,” thus establishing a “legal, institutional, and societal framework for the interdependence of oral and written traditions” (p.4). It also discovered our idea o f “litera­ ture.” These innovations mark the beginning o f “a new chapter in rela­ tions between texts, verbal or written, and nascent European societies” (p. 11). The impression left by Listening for the Text is o f a bold case incompletely stated and o f exciting work in progress. It would be unfair at this point to pronounce either for or against Stock’s thesis of the late antique roots (or proximate origins) o f modern western textuality. Whatever its final merits, his statement o f the case is certain to bring a new kind o f scrutiny to bear on a phase of European culture that par­


ticularly invites interdisciplinary treatment Those who are attracted by the general shape o f Stock’s arguments will have to address some large questions. How safe are his assumptions about the extent and character o f literacy in the late ancient world? What changes in Roman attitudes towards spoken and written language should be allowed for in the cen­ turies that separate the Julio-Claudian emperors from Constantine or Theodosius the Great? How far was the Jewish scripturalism to which the early Christian church reacted itself determ ined by habits o f thought fostered by the secular literary and legal culture o f the Hellenistic and early imperial periods? By what stages did Christianity become a scriptural religion? How, exactly, did the Christian religion adapt or convert the literate manners o f its late antique “pagan” envi­ ronment? What forms did the encounter between Romano-Christian literacy and “barbarian” orality actually take? What sense (or differ­ ence) does it make to suppose that the men and women o f late antiqui­ ty, or an elite group o f them, discovered an idea o f the text that includ­ ed both visible and aural forms of language? Did they in fact discover such a thing? Some o f these issues have already been taken up by schol­ ars o f religion and students o f early Christian and late antique litera­ ture. Stock’s readers may look forward to following his own research as it proceeds; meanwhile, they can turn to several other recent books on ancient and medieval literacy which help to sharpen the focus provided by his work. in . William V. Harris’s Ancient Literacy is an essentially empirical study of the literacy o f the Greeks and Romans “from the time when the former were first provably able to write a non-syllabic script, in the eighth cen­ tury B.C., until the fifth century a . d .” (viii). Harris writes as an historian whose reaction when “faced with claims such as those o f [E. A] Havelock and (Jack) Goody [concerning the cultural effects o f literacy] is ... a desire for detail” (p. 41). Before we can even begin to assess the effects o f literacy on Greek and Roman culture, he asserts, we must establish some “elementary facts” (p. 42). How many people could read and write in the ancient Graceo-Roman world? Why did they use writ­ ing? How did levels o f literacy vary between social classes, between the sexes, between town and country, from one period to the next5 What determined the differences? In an attempt to answer these questions Harris combines the customary methods o f the ancient historian with a


judicious use o f anthropological and sociological data derived from the study of other societies, “traditional” and modern. There is certainly no shortage o f detail in his account For each o f the phases o f ancient soci­ ety successively considered, from the archaic Greek to the late Roman, we are given a full conspectus o f the evidence relating to literacy (liter­ ary, documentary, epigraphic, and iconographic); an inventory o f the functions or social contexts of writing (e.g., economic, legal, civic, mag­ ical, religious, commemorative, literary, epistolary); a survey o f the materials and techniques, institutions, and ideologies that structured literate activity; and a breakdown by class, area, and gender o f the liter­ ate and semi-literate population. Despite the attention given to the early Greek experience o f the written word in the past thirty years, this is the first analytical study o f the literate habits o f the ancient world as a whole. For anyone concerned with the later or long-term history of western attitudes to writing and texts it will henceforth be an indispens­ able reference work. The main tendency o f the quantitative part o f Harris’s research is to correct downwards the optimistic estimates usually made o f ancient literacy. On his calculation, literates in Greek or Roman soci­ ety rarely exceeded 10% o f the total population, the vast majority of these being male inhabitants o f the cities. Even in fourth-century Athens or late republican Rome that figure was probably only doubled. During the Hellenistic period certain Greek cities may, as a result of philanthropic initiatives in education, have experienced literacy on an “early-modern” scale, “perhaps even at a level o f 30-40% among the free-born m en” (p. 329), but such achievements were exceptional. Harris supposes, perhaps with reason, that his conclusions will be unwelcome to some classical scholars. To the dispassionate reader of his book they seem well justified. “Each society,” we are reminded, “achieves the level o f literacy which its structure and ethos require and its technology permits” (p. 331). Lacking either the technology or the educational institutions which would eventually permit “mass literacy” in modern Europe, ancient Graeco-Roman society lacked above all the ideological commitment to a universal or quasi-universal diffusion o f literate skills that Reformed Christianity or (m ore important, in Harris’s view) industrialized production would later require. Even when an “ideology o f citizen literacy” (p. 102) was entertained, as it was in the Greek cities from the mid-fourth century onwards, the legislation and social provision that would have been needed to make all citizens liter­


ate were never implemented. The Romans inherited the Greek enthusi­ asm for a paideia based on literacy but did little to make it accessible to those without private means: the result, in both cases, was “the cultural hegemony o f a social class” (p. 333). Thus while literacy may indeed be called “routine” (Stock’s phrase) in ancient society, inasmuch as the operations o f that society depended on the literate skills o f particular individuals, it was demographically very restricted. Oral modes o f inter­ action continued to play a significant role. The Greeks and Romans, Harris notes in passing, “held on to oral procedures to a greater extent than is commonly realized ... both in the sense that the literate retained some non-literate ways o f doing things and in the sense that the majority stayed illiterate. Both political persuasion and the diffu­ sion o f literature [sic] remained oral to an important degree through­ out antiquity” (p. 326). Harris begins his last chapter, on “literacy in Late Antiquity”, with a reference to Constantine’s commissioning (c. 324) o f fifty bibles for use in the churches o f Constantinople, as recorded in the Vita Constantini o f Eusebius o f Caesarea. This action, he observes, “had no kind o f classical precedent, and it stemmed from an important cultural change, the rise o f a state-sponsored religion which relied heavily on the written word. But at the same time the em peror’s letter [to Eusebius] hints at the continuity o f ancient conditions, for he ordered books which the faithful would for the most part hear read aloud, and he expected that fifty volumes would cater for the needs o f the capital city” (p. 285). This is a momentous event for historians o f western textuality interested in the line o f inquiry indicated by Stock. Harris plausi­ bly relates the oral component o f the oral-literate procedure implied by Constantine’s letter to ancient practices in the public “delivery” o f texts; presumably we are to think o f literary recitation (discussed pp. 225-26) and o f certain kinds of legal proclamation (pp. 164-65). It is also worth noting that the emphasis on the written word is, in this case, partly attributable to an em peror whose approach to religion was markedly legalistic; the order for bibles coincided with the summoning of a council that would fix in writing the Christian dogma o f the Trinity (the N icene Creed, o f which Harris surprisingly makes no mention). The situation is evidently a complex one, and in that respect typical of the conditions under which writing came to be used in the Christian Empire. Whatever view we finally adopt o f the late antique “idea of the text,” it must take account not just o f the novelty (such as it was) of


Christian attitudes to the spoken or written word but also o f the con­ stant and not always predictable interaction o f secular and religious norms. Harris assumes that literacy declined in the late Roman Empire. “It is evident,” he asserts, “that the level o f literacy did in fact fall in the area of the classical Roman Empire between the second and the seventh centuries” (p. 285). So it may be, even if—as he freely admits— the proof of such a negative development is not easily present­ ed. But it is also evident that the pattern o f general decline was inter­ rupted by periods o f revival (notably in the fourth century) and that conditions varied widely from region to region, especially after the break-up o f the western Empire. Regrettably for students o f the Middle Ages, Harris’s sense o f the limits o f “ancient” history keeps him from going much beyond the threshold o f the fifth century. Thus he does not repeat the panoramic survey by provinces offered for the period of the early Empire, which the fifth-century situation evidently demands. In relation to the longer history o f literacy and textuality, a cut-off point c. 400 appears somewhat arbitrary; here it produces some strange dis­ tortions and omissions. Harris discounts the possibility that two late third-century legal collections, the Codex Gregorianus and Codex Hermogenianus, could “represent the investing of...greater authority in the written word,” on the grounds that they were merely private compi­ lations (pp. 292-93), but makes no mention of the early fifth-century Codex Theodosianus, a governmental enterprise o f massive scope and with important implications for attitudes to the lex scripta. His attempt (pp. 306-312) to demonstrate reduced opportunities for elementary education from the mainly fourth-century evidence o f writers like Ausonius understandably runs into difficulties; a few pages later he cites some well-known remarks of Bishop Caesarius o f Arles (d. 542) to confirm the general decline in literacy “after the barbarian invasions o f the early fifth century” (p. 316), but without any discussion of the situa­ tion as it had developed in Gaul in the intervening period. In general, the author’s control o f his materials in this chapter seems less sure than in previous ones. Nevertheless, he has provocative things to say about the workings o f late Roman bureaucracy (pp. 290-94: less “paperwork” than is commonly supposed) and gives a good critical summary of mod­ ern debate on the shift from roll to codex in late antique book produc­ tion (pp. 294-97). Nor does he omit to consider “in what may seem dis­ proportionate detail” (p. 298) the functions of the written word among the Christians.


In order to round off his book on “ancient” literacy, Harris is obliged to insist on a terminal decline. Once the crisis o f the third cen­ tury is passed, however, there is no obvious place for him to stop. The low-point in subsequent western literacy has usually been placed in the seventh century, beyond the ancient historian’s scope. Long before that, Christianity had worked fundamental changes in attitudes to writ­ ing and texts, “Ancient” literacy, it seems, neither ended nor declined. Instead, it gradually turned into something recognizably different The final chapter o f Ancient Literacy catches a part o f this transformation, without being able to contain or describe it. Why did literacy decline in the later Roman empire, Harris asks. Unable to give due weight to the political and econom ic factors operative from the fifth century onwards, he is left to ponder the role o f the Christian religion. He cau­ tiously concludes that “its effect on literacy as it is understood in this book was very probably negative” (p. 321, my italics: the main discussion of Christianity and literacy appears at pp. 298-306). This conclusion rests on three interrelated premises: (1) Christian suspicion o f pagan liter­ ary culture discouraged literacy; (2) the Christians o f late antiquity never developed an educational program o f their own that could sup­ ply the place o f a secular training in elementary letters; (3) despite their faith in scriptural teaching, church leaders in this period never took “the kind o f practical measures in favour of (private or individual) reading which some Protestant churches took in later times” (p. 312). N one o f these arguments is persuasive. Professions o f disdain for secu­ lar litteratura by Christian writers o f the third and fourth centuries may indicate a change o f attitude on the part o f the well educated; they can hardly attest rejected or missed educational opportunities. (Harris’s desire to use Augustine’s De doctrina Christiana as evidence of a practical disregard for literacy is perverse; in the prologue to this work the new bishop of Hippo makes it plain that he considers the religious instruc­ tion of the majority o f Christians to be providentially dependent on the learned literate skills of their fellow believers.) True, churchmen of this period did not set up their own elementary schools. Why should they? They assumed that the sons of well-to-do Christian families would fol­ low the normal course o f late Roman education. The comparison with modern Protestantism is useful mainly as a corrective to a tendentious (albeit informative) monograph by A. von Harnack on private biblereading in the early church, published in 1912. Given that the “ideolo­ gy o f citizen literacy” in the ancient world was, as Harris shows, in gen­ eral too weak to inspire practical measures, the failure o f Christian ide­

Ill 152

ology to do so (except in certain monastic milieux) cannot reasonably be cited as a cause o f decline in this area o f civic life. Although Harris’s interest in implicating Christianity in the “decline o f ancient literacy” does not keep him from noticing other aspects o f the relation between Utteratura and scriptura (see, for exam­ ple, his remarks on sortes Vergilianae and sortes apostoUcae [p. 803], both apparently late antique novelties), it can at times be seriously distract­ ing. Thus he cites with approval Peter Brown’s observation that “behind Augustine’s vast output at Hippo, we can sense the pressure o f the need to extend...religious literacy as widely as possible,” only then to cast doubt on the validity o f the concept o f “religious literacy” on the grounds that it “run(s) up against the awkward fact that neither Augustine nor any other influential ecclesiastic ever even considered the problem of mass illiteracy” [pp. 320-21, my italics], as though such con­ siderations were obviously relevant The point to be made, surely, is that the very nature of this “religious literacy,” including its desired exten­ sion, was determined by a variety of factors intrinsic and extrinsic to the Christian religion. The historian’s task is to discern those factors and (by this means and others) define the literacy in question. The phe­ nomenon described may indeed turn out to be something other than literacy “as it understood in [Harris’s] book”—one would expect it to be the matter o f at least another book (cf. Stock’s work in progress). In any case, it deserves fuller scrutiny than Harris is able to provide. He him self recognizes that “the functions o f reading underwent some change” in the conversion to Christian literacy, and that there was “an almost entirely new social location for the written word among the more professionally and the enthusiastically pious o f the Christians” (321-22). These are important insights, all the more valuable for appearing at the term o f an inquiry as wide ranging and thoroughly documented as Ancient Literacy

IV. Notions o f decadence and decline, long prejudicial to the study o f late Roman and early medieval Latin literature, have undoubtedly also obscured the history o f literacy in the period. Even if we could quantify the literates in successive European populations over the period a . d . 200-800, and found them (as we might expect) notably less numerous than in classical Greece or late republican Rome, we should still not be able to say much of interest about the role o f writing in their societies.


As the possession o f an individual, literacy may perhaps be considered a simple commodity. As the attribute o f a society, it is better conceived as an economy in which objects and skills have certain prices and particu­ lar relations hold: the stock in Text A or Scribal Habit B may rise or fall, but the local currency o f letters is not convertible to that o f any other tim e or place. While comparisons with preceding and succeeding epochs may help us to understand the workings o f a given literate “economy,” they cannot fix its value. In her introduction to The Carolingians and the Written Word, Rosamond McKitterick reacts against “the preoccupation with the later middle ages o f most recent studies o f medieval literacy” and a concomi­ tant exaggeration o f the “orality” o f early medieval society by scholars interested in promoting the literate achievements of the eleventh and twelfth centuries (pp. 1-3). Insofar as this mild polemic is directed against Stock, it risks missing a moving target. Listening for the Text (known to McKitterick as a work forthcoming under another title) can only provisionally be said to “concentrate on the eleventh century onwards” (p. 1, n .l.), and the assertion that The Implications of Literacy “begins too late and is too categorical about the irrelevance of the earli­ er period” (The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe, p. 3) is clearly unjust Such claims are a normal part o f the process by which a new his­ torical subject is marked out; they do not have to imply incompatible conclusions. In fact McKitterick’s determination to see a “continuous pattern [in the social evolution o f literacy] from late antiquity to the early Germanic kingdoms” (p .l) and her belief that “the roots o f later medieval developments are to be sought in the centuries immediately succeeding the period o f Roman rule” (p. 3) harmonize easily with the project announced in Listening for the Text. Like Harris, McKitterick is anxious to ascertain the “elemen­ tary facts” o f literacy, to distinguish the various functions of writing, and to “quantify” literate skills wherever possible— in this case without assigning percentages. She would revise upwards our estimates o f Carolingian literacy, particularly among the laity (see especially Chapter Six: T h e Literacy o f the Laity”) . Given the contrary tendency o f Ancient Literacy, this may appear a naively optimistic aim. Yet it is like­ ly that the overestimation o f “classical” literacy to which Harris responds had as its corollary an underestimation o f the literacy of sub­ sequent “barbarian” societies. Besides, McKitterick has impressive evi­ dence to present and the cumulative force of her arguments is hard to resist She is also interested in “qualitative” changes, arguing that “in


the prodigious output of the written word at every level o f Carolingian society we are observing essential phases in the development of a liter­ ate culture, with new ideals and definitions o f education and knowl­ edge dependent on a written tradition” (p. 3). The argument for those “new ideals and definitions” becomes more audible in the later stages o f her book, while the earlier chapters substantiate the Carolingians’ “prodigious output” o f the written word in “pragmatic” (as opposed to “learned”) contexts. The first part of The Carolingians and the Written Word deals with the legal uses of writing. In this area, as in others, historians o f medieval literacy have access to a body of documentary evidence o f a type gener­ ally denied their ancient-historical counterparts. With that advantage, however, com es a responsibility to organize and interpret often intractable material. Not the least of the virtues o f McKitterick’s book, the work o f a paleographer-historian, is the help it offers in this respect Chapter Two ( “Law and the Written Word”) concentrates on the manuscript tradition o f the Lex Salica as a striking instance of “the prolif­ eration o f texts of the laws in the Carolingian period”, reflecting (in the author’s opinion) a “growing understanding of the authority o f the writ­ ten word and an attempt to establish that authority in relation to legal procedure and judicial decisions” (p. 38). A table of more than eighty manuscripts o f the Lex Salica (pp. 48-55) gives valuable indications of date and origin derived largely from palaeographical data, together with notes on the codicological context in which the text o f the Law appears. On the basis o f the latter, McKitterick is able to classify the manuscripts as law books (presumed to be for practical use), school texts about the law, or ecclesiastical legal collections. As she concedes, definite conclu­ sions about the functions of these texts must await detailed study o f the various collections. One would like to know more, for example, about the genesis and use of the ecclesiastical collections containing both secu­ lar and canon law (and not just those which include Lex Salica). McKitterick’s own research, presented in this chapter and in several arti­ cles cited in the notes, will provide a powerful stimulus for future work in this area. Chapter Three (“A Literate Community; The Evidence of the Charters”) exploits a store o f eighth- and ninth-century legal docu­ ments from St. Gall in order to show how a monastery could coordinate the literate activity of the community to which it belonged, without hold­ ing a monopoly o f literate skills. Here again, the author illuminates a large expanse of documentary material before drawing her own conclu­ sions, and leaves the field open for others.


In Chapter Four ( “The Production and Possession o f Books: An Economic Dimension”), McKitterick turns from the reconstruction o f literate practices in Carolingian society to a consideration o f atti­ tudes towards writing, books, and written knowledge in general. The Carolingians, she argues, possessed a special sense o f the value o f books, based on an appreciation o f their combined material and spiri­ tual worth. The information she provides on such matters as the cost of book production and decoration, the respect shown for particular texts, books as gifts, and books as symbols of wealth and status, amply supports this view—which no one who has seen any o f the great codices from Carolingian scriptoria would dispute. There is, however, a larger claim implicit in the demonstration. “Historians o f the later middle ages...take it for granted that books were valuable, that they were con­ sidered as treasure and that people also wanted books for their intellec­ tual import.” When, asks McKitterick, “did this first become the case in barbarian Europe after the transformations of the fifth century ?” (p. 150, my italics). As long as the question is phrased in this way, the answer can only be: in the Carolingian period. But why draw a line between late Roman and “barbarian” Europe, unless the “transformations” of the fifth century can be supposed to have swept away all consciousness of the value of writing? McKitterick is well aware of the role o f classical and late antique models in early medieval literary theory and practice, yet in her desire to enlarge the “Carolingian contribution” to western culture (p. 164) she seems momentarily to forget how much o f it was made with materials from the past. At one point she quotes a poem of Hrabanus Maurus to show how Carolingian scholars “appear to have elevated all books into a special category” (pp. 150-51). The same poem is cited by E. R. Curtius in his study o f “The Book as Symbol” (European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, Chapter Sixteen). The terms o f Curtius’ conclusion— that in its attitude to books and writing “the Carolingian period shows us many things, but few new things” (p. 315)—reflect his determination to plot a path o f classical continuity through the Middle Ages. Even so, the long perspective of his chapter may serve as a control on McKitterick’s chronologically more limited discussion. Although the Carolingians did much to enhance the pres­ tige o f the book in medieval society, their ideology o f writing depended in many particulars on the literary culture o f (late) Graeco-Roman antiquity. The use they made o f such inherited material remains, of course, within the province o f the medieval historian. At least one medievalist, following the lead of Jacques Derrida, has recently used

Ill 156

Curtius’s insights as the base on which to rear an ambitious theory o f the medieval “idea o f the book” (Jesse M. Gellrich, The Idea of the Book in the Middle Ages: Language Theory, Mythology, and Fiction. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1985). By replacing Hrabanus’ tropes in their social and economic context, McKitterick suggests how much might be gained from a consistently historicized study o f the book as symbol. The heritage o f late antiquity is explicidy recalled in McKitterick’s penultim ate chapter, “The Organization o f Written Knowledge”, which draws on catalogues o f monastic libraries to docu­ ment an emerging sense o f the canon and categories o f “Christian” lit­ erature (here properly understood to include classical texts copied and preserved by monks). Once reminded that books produced in monas­ tic scriptoria “constitute the most eloquent witness to the Carolingians’ conviction o f the paramount importance o f the written word,” we are asked to consider how it was that monasteries came to play this role in literary culture, “when in the early years o f the Christian church monks were not famed for either learning or scribal activity”. (So much for Jerome or the Egyptian copyists commemorated by John Cassian!) The reader fresh from Harris’s account o f the debilitating effects of Christianity on ancient literacy might be forgiven for regarding this as an aporia. McKitterick, however, duly recognizes the significance o f the learned tradition in late antique monasticism, especially in Gaul, and is able to cite the work o f Clare Stancliffe and others showing that some “newly recruited members o f the early monastic communities in Gaul carried over from their secular life their respect for their literary her­ itage [and] their assumption o f its necessity” (p. 167). At the same time, she wants to see a marked change in the content of the literary heritage between late antiquity and the Carolingian period: “In place of the former preponderance of classical and pagan authors... there was now a Christian emphasis, and a growing body o f new authors and new works to form a distinctive culture and intellectual tradition in its own right” (p. 168). It is not clear exactly where McKitterick locates this change, but I suspect that she is inclined to make it too late. Like her earlier chapters on the legal uses of writing, the discussion o f Frankish library catalogues displays a wealth o f information hitherto available only to specialists, if at all. Her main conclusions concerning the Carolingian “organization of written knowledge” are concentrated in a few pages towards the end of the chapter, under the heading: T h e role o f the De viris illustribus, the De libris recipiendis and other early medieval


bibliographical guides” (pp. 200-205). Her argument is that the biobibliographical catalogues o f Jerome, Gennadius, and Isidore, together with certain other works such as the pseudo-Gelasian De libris recipiendis, created “a habit o f mind and a customary framework within which to organize knowledge” (p. 205). This is an interesting and highly plausi­ ble suggestion, even if the parallels between the literary models adduced and the catalogues analyzed are not always striking. Once again, however, we should beware o f ascribing more to the Carolingians than is really their due. If the works o f writers like Jerome, Gennadius, and Cassiodorus (to say nothing for the moment o f pseudo-Gelasius, here speculatively assigned to “a north Frankish or north Burgundian centre at the turn o f the seventh century” [p. 203]) could inspire the habits o f mind which McKitterick detects, it is fair to assume that they themselves already possessed them in some measure. In other words, the work o f defining and organizing a distinctively Christian “[literary] culture and intellectual tradition” should be seen as a process begun in late antiquity and zealously prosecuted by the Carolingians. Whether or not they became famous for their literate activity, those early Christian monks did in fact lay many o f the foundations for the literacy o f the Middle Ages. The Carolingians and the Written Word concludes with a sum­ mons to collaborative scholarship in keeping with the spirit o f the book as a whole: “Not only have I concentrated on the Frankish kingdoms, and thus, perhaps, not given due weight to developments in Visigothic or Muslim Spain, Lombard, Byzantine or Papal Italy, Anglo-Saxon England, or elsewhere, I have also had to leave for treatment or fuller discussion another time, and by others, many more kinds o f evidence and other contexts and manifestations of literacy, ideological as well as practical, in the Carolingian realm itself” (p. 271). Part o f this burden is taken up in The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe, in which McKitterick has collected new papers by herself and ten other scholars on diverse aspects o f literacy within and beyond the Frankish king­ doms. Like McKitterick’s own book, the contributions to this volume are based on extensive new research. Since it is not possible to consider them severally here, a sentence from the editor’s conclusion must suf­ fice to convey the flavor o f the collection: “Early medieval society as a whole, in whatever historical context one chooses to see it, was one in which literacy mattered, and where literacy had repercussions right down the social scale, from the king issuing directives, and the noble­ man endowing a monastery with books, to the freed slave clinging to


his new social status by means o f a written charter” (p. 333). The mes­ sage is clear: the literacy of the early Middle Ages can no longer be dis­ missed as a debased remnant o f classical culture, nor should it be used merely as a foil for the glories of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It is an integral part o f European society in one o f its formative phases, demanding serious attention by all who would understand either the epoch itself or its complex cultural legacy.

V Having begun this review with a highly schematic account o f historical research on literacy in the past three decades, I shall close it with two general observations on the present state o f the subject as reflected in the books considered above. My first point may be stated briefly, since it is already implicit in many of the preceding remarks. We need more studies, and more detailed studies, of the functions and ideology o f writing in late antiqui­ ty, especially in the critical period between Diocletian’s reorganization o f the Roman Empire in the late third century and the collapse o f Roman rule in the West in the late fifth. To stop c. 400 as Harris does in Ancient Literacy, or to start shortly afterwards as medieval historians are disposed to, is to risk obscuring important developments both in the secular administrative use o f writing and in Christian attitudes to the written word. (McKitterick’s introduction to The Uses of Literacy in Eariy Medieval Europe neatly poses this problem o f chronological termini.) Most o f the “elementary facts” o f late antique literacy have still to be elucidated; until they have been, attempts at large-scale reconstruction must remain largely conjectural. My second observation has to do with the disciplinary context of current research on early western literacy, especially with the involve­ ment (or lack of involvement) in it o f scholars of Latin literature. To judge from the books under review, most o f the work in this area is being done by ancient and medieval historians. Stock is a partial excep­ tion to the rule, teaching both at the Pontifical Institute o f Mediaeval Studies and at the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Given the natural proximity o f “literacy” to “literature” in both the Latin and English vocabularies o f letters, and the multiple coincidences in all periods of practical and artistic recourse to writing, one might expect such crossing of the literary and historical disciplines

Ill 15 9

to occur as a matter o f course. Not so, apparently. It is true that stu­ dents o f early European vernacular literatures are now generally atten­ tive to the issues o f orality and literacy. By contrast, the science o f late antique and early medieval Latin literature does not seem to have been touched in any significant way by modern historical research on litera­ cy. Bearing in mind Stock’s critique o f the institutions o f medievalism, we might regard this as just another instance of scholarly inertia. Even if we do (and even if it is), we should also suspect the influence o f a fac­ tor peculiar to medieval literary studies. The fusion o f literary- and social-historical approaches to the literacy o f late antiquity and the early Middle Ages has been seriously hindered by the vestigial classicism o f most contemporary research on post-classical Latin literature. An example must suffice to make this point. The outstanding representative o f classicizing medieval Latin philology is E. R. Curtius, whose European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (1953) rightly remains the vade mecum o f every traveller in Gothic realms. For Curtius, “literature” preserved its original connection with litteratura, the cherished possession o f those who “knew [Latin] gram­ mar and poetry” (p. 42); it was the fruit of their study and imitation of the classical poets, begun at school. This classical and scholastic bias in the conception o f literature informs the whole o f his monumental work—a work which, as Peter Godman points out in a balanced and illu­ minating epilogue to its latest reprinting, is fundamentally unhistorical in outlook. Curtius presented the Latin Middle Ages “almost exclusively, in terms o f language and literature, both of which are treated as if they self-evidently possessed such a degree of independence from actuality, that their historical context could be cursorily sketched and then safely ignored. Three factors predisposed [him] to take this position: his quest for timeless continuities; his assumption (complementary but unar­ gued) o f literature’s autonomy; and his enmity to historical relativism” (Godman, pp. 644-45). Curtius’s assumption o f literature’s autonomy is nowhere more evident than in the following sentences introducing a section on canon-formation, a topic recognized by Stock as central to * any future study o f late antique textual communities: The formation o f a canon serves to safeguard a tradition. There is the literary tradition o f the school, the juristic tradition of the state, and the religious tradition o f the Church: these are the three medieval world powers, studium, imperium, sacerdotium. (p. 256)


In characteristically epigrammatic fashion, the author confines literary activity to the classroom o f the late Roman grammaticus and his medieval successors. The scheme of the “three world powers" is a thir­ teenth-century invention with no obvious relevance to the processes o f canon formation (H. Grundmann, Archiv fu r Kulturguchichte 34 [1952], 5-21); Curtius uses it to divide the universe o f writing—lit(t)erae in the broadest sense—into three distinct spheres, only one o f which is sup­ posed to concern the student o f “literature.” To the extent that such distinctions were observed by medieval litterati, that may seem a legiti­ mate proceeding. But how far were they observed in the period before A.D. 800? And how helpful are they to modern scholars attempting to understand the forms taken by early medieval literate activity? Recent work on late antique and early medieval literacy suggests that there was no stable category o f the “literary” at that time, that the cultural capital traditionally associated with “letters” in Roman society was (to revert to an economic analogy in preference to Curtius’s political model) in the process o f being variously reinvested. Curtius promised that readers of his book would find out “where the word literature comes from and what meaning it originally had” (p. ix). We now need, and are in a position, to know more than that. If the present generation o f philologists and historians can discover what became o f litteratura in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, how the pattern o f ancient literary studies and pursuits was adjusted to the changing requirements o f individual, church, and state during those centuries, and what the long-term con­ sequences o f such institutional and ideological accommodations were, they will bring us a step closer to the “sociology o f literature” that Curtius also promised (p. ix) but conspicuously failed to provide. To that enterprise—at once literary and historical—the latest studies o f lit­ eracy constitute valuable prolegomena.


Jerome’s Ongen: The Making of a Christian Literary Persona

J ero m e: T he

m an a n d th e m asks

In the judgment o f the wise, the letters of famous men are rated more highly than their other works: for this reason above all, that they bring the very person o f the writer (ipsa scribentis persona) so close before the reader’s eyes that we seem to take possession o f the man himself, as if he were alive again, and behold him face to face. If any man’s letters deserve this special consideration, Jerome’s surely do...

Thus Domenico Vallarsi, the eighteenth-century editor of Jerome, in the preface to his edition of the correspondence1. He was not the first, and would not be the last, to emphasize the personal quality of certain parts of the corpus Hieronymianum. Two centuries earlier, Erasmus had shown how careful study of the saint’s own writings, especially the Letters, could restore an image of Jerome that ten centuries of hagiography had obscured. Who, after all, knew Jerome better than Jerome himself? Quis enim rectius noverit Hieronymum quam ipse Hieronymus2? In preparing his Life o f Jerome, Erasmus would have ranked the letters chronologically. In his edition of 1516 he followed the practice of other early editors and arranged them according to subject-matter. So did the Maurists. It was left to Vallarsi to print the documents in what he took to be their original order of composition, and to establish a numerical sequence for them, thereby laying the foundation for modern study of Jerome’s life and character. How solid is that foundation? Or — to put the question another way — what do we mean by Jerome’s ‘life and character’? Jerome was an accomplished hagiographer, the author of three extended vitae and many ‘brief lives’ now scattered through his correspondence. These works were influential in his own and subsequent ages, helping to shape both the literary form of other vitae sanctorum and the lives lived by generations of Christian men and women. Neither in ambition nor in influence, however, can the lives that Jerome 1 Reprinted in PL 22 X LIII-X L IV : ‘ Ex illustrium virorum scriptis Epistolae longe caeteris praestantiores prudentum hominum iudicio existimantur ea potissimum de causa, quod ipsa in illis scribentis persona ita propius ob legentis oculos versetur, ut quasi redivivum hominem complecti, faciemque ipsam intueri vidcamur. Haec, si alterius cuiusquam, est ccrte Epistolarum Hieronymi pracrogativa...*. 2 On Erasmus and Jerome, see now Eugene F. Rice, Jr., Saint Jerome in the Renaissance (Baltimore, 1985), 116-136 (a chapter entitled Hieronymus redivivus).

IV 136

wrote for others be compared with the one that he invented for himself. His masterpiece, as the biographical and editorial procedures of Erasmus, Vallarsi, and their successors tacitly acknowledge, is the vita Hieronymi: a vast work in several literary genres, composed over a period of more than forty years. In a century of outstanding Christian autobiographers, Jerome is without equal. (It can hardly be a coincidence that, of the three greatest ‘doctors’ of the Latin church, he alone escaped the attentions of contem­ porary biographers. Who would dare paint such a talented self-portraitist?) Yet to speak of Jerome’s literary self-portrayal as autobiography may ulti­ mately be as misleading as to call it hagiography. We have come to expect self-disclosure in a work of autobiography, and Jerome was, if anything, less interested in revealing his inner self than in making himself out to be a saint. Vallarsi was wrong to suppose that Jerome’s Letters disclosed ‘the very person of the writer’, ipsa scribentis persona. The context and phraseology of his statement indicate that he was using persona in a sense approximating the modem ‘personality’. The older classical senses of the word are perhaps more pertinent3. The persona, as Jerome himself reminds us in a letter to the Roman widow Marcella, was originally an actor’s mask, rtpoownov in Greek. Although we were created in God’s image and likeness, from our own perversity we put on a variety o f masks (personas), and just as on the stage one and the same actor now appears as a brawny Hercules, now relaxes into the softness o f a Venus or the quivering tone o f a Cybele, so we have as many counterfeiting masks as we have sins4.

Outside the theatre, a persona was the part that someone played in life, a public role or function5. These social aspects of the Roman idea of persona are reflected in our modem English use of the word, as in the statement (taken from a recent book) that a British Prime Minister entered office ‘with no public persona [and] therefore found the greatest difficulty in projecting himself to a wider audience’. The currency of the word ‘persona’ in this recognizably classical sense enables us to recast Vallarsi’s remarks on authorial

3 Oxford Latin Dictionary, s.v. persona. See also Hans Rheinfelder, Das Wort Persona' (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fur Romanische Philologie 77; Halle, 1928), 6-17; Robert C. Elliott, The Literary Persona (Chicago, 1982), 19-32. 4 Epist. 43.2 (CSEL 54), 320: ‘Cum enim ad imaginem et similitudinem dei conditi sumus, ex vitio nostro personas nobis plurimas superinducimus. Et quomodo in theatralibus scaenis unus atque idem histrio nunc Herculem robustus ostentat, nunc mollis in Venerem frangitur, nunc tremulus in Cybelen, ita et nos, si mundi non essemus, odiremur a mundo, tot habemus personarum similitudines, quot peccata\ Translation adapted from that o f F.A. Wright, Select Letters o f St. Jerom e (Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge, Mass., 1933), 175; other translations my own. 5 By the time of Tacitus and the Younger Pliny the word persona regularly connoted professional competence; see E. Cizek, ‘La littérature et les cercles culturels et politiques à répoque de Trajan', in Wolfgang Haase and Hildegard Temporini (eds.), Aufstieg und Niedergang der römichen Welt ii.33.1 (Berlin, 1989), 3-35, at 10.

IV 137

Jerome’s Origen

presence in a way fitting Jerome’s performance. It is in the Letters and Prefaces, we may say, that Jerome is most clearly seen putting on his public faces, the masks in which he will appear — and through which he will speak — to his various audiences. Hagiographical and autobiographical as it may be at times, his correspondence is first of all a work of prosopography or literary personation. As has already been implied, Jerome does not confine himself to any one mask or part. In the all-too-human comedy of his Letters he plays several leading roles6. My concern in this paper is with the role for which he is most famous and to which he devoted his best energies: that of Christian writer. Where Vallarsi looked for the persona scribentis, I shall consider the persona scriptoris christiani, a part which Jerome played to the top of his bent with the help of those who had taken it before him. T he

m a sk o f t h e

Ch r is t ia n

w r it e r :

J e r o m e ’s

o r ig e n

Of all the Christian writers who preceded him, the one to whom Jerome owed most was Origen. Scholars are still busy documenting his relation to the great Alexandrian exegete and theologian7. The main lines of dependence were, however, already clear to his contemporaries. Jerome had built his literary career on Origen’s biblical scholarship. From his first extant piece of exegesis, thought to have been completed in Constantinople c. 380, to the most recent work mentioned under his own name in the De viris illustribus (392/3), he had translated, excerpted, adapted, and imitated the Alexandrian, to the point where his personal fortunes seemed inextricably linked to the reputation of his predecessor. Hence the difficulties in which he found himself from 393 onwards, as Epiphanius of Salamis and others carried through their campaign to discredit the whole of Origen’s œuvre. The details of the charges against Origen need not detain us here. To appreciate Jerome’s predicament we have only to read the chapters of Rufinus’ Apologia contra Hieronymum rebutting his disingenuous claim to 6 In his article ‘Saint Jérôme peint par lui-même’, Latomus, 16 (1957), 655-671; 17 (1958), 8196. 303-316, Charles Favez distinguishes seven roles played by Jerome in his Prefaces (ie savant*, ‘le lettré*, ‘le polémiste’, ‘le satirique’, Tam i\ ‘le chrétien*). Such divisions are bound to appear somewhat artificial and none is attempted here. Favez’ concluding remark testifies to the iconographie (or, in my terms, prosopographic) power of Jerome’s self-presentation: *Je me le représente volontiers tenant avec révérence d’une main un livre des saintes Écritures, qu’il vient de traduire, et levant l'autre main pour frapper, s’il a l’audace de se présenter, le “ scorpion" ou le “ chien” coupable d’opinions hétérodoxes*. 1 P. Courcelle, Late Latin Writers and Their Greek Sources (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), 100112 , remains fundamental. Jerome’s explicit references to Origen are collected by F. Cavallera, Saint Jérôm e: sa vie et son œuvre i.2 (Paris, 1922), 115-127. The importance o f Origen's works in Jerome’s discovery o f his own literary vocation is justly emphasized by P. Nautin, art. ‘Hieronymus’, T R E 15 (1986), 304-315, esp. 310 -311.


have ‘praised’ Origen only twice in all his published writings. The list of places in which Jerome had presented Origen in a favourable light goes on and on*! He could not realistically have expected his readers to forget all but two of them. Why then the attempted subterfuge? The dread of appearing unorthodox, though naturally an important factor in Jerome’s reaction, only accounts for part of his anxiety. More important to him than the details of Origen’s theology, and (at least in Jerome’s opinion) theoretically distinct from it, was the example he had set of a specifically Christian literary activity, at once biblical and ascetic. ‘Do you wish to praise Origen?’, Jerome had asked rhetorically in the letter to which Rufinus was replying in the Apologia, *- then praise him as I do’. There follows a summary biography of Origen based on Book Six of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, emphasizing the Alexandrian’s literary and scriptural exertions: He knew the Scriptures by heart and sweated night and day to make their meaning plain. He published more than a thousand homilies... together with innumerable commentaries... which I omit to mention here lest I should seem to be compiling a catalogue. Who among us can read all that he has written? Who does not admire the ardour with which he applied his mind to the Scriptures? If some intolerant Judas objects that he made errors, may he be pleased to remember that even ‘great Homer nods from time to time, and drowsiness is excusable when the work is long’9.

The insistence on ceaseless labour, a constant feature of Jerome’s evocation of the ars scripturarum, derives from Origen’s own writings, in which the psalmist’s image of the man ‘meditating night and day on the law of the Lord’ is regularly associated with the task of the Christian interpreter10. For Jerome, it is clear, this biblical precept recalled a similar injunction to aspiring Roman poets: vos exemplaria Graeca/ nocturna versate manu, versate diurna (Horace, Ars poetica, 268-269). His defence and praise of Origen in this letter proceeds by a deft rewriting of another Horatian dictum, in which • Apol. contra Hieronymum ii. 16-26 (CCL 20), 95-102.

9 Epist. 84.8 (CSEL 55), 13 0 -13 1: ‘Vult aliquis laudarc Origenem? Laudet, ut laudo: magnus vir ab infantia ct vcrc martyris filius Alexandriae ecclesiasticam scholam tcnuit succedens eruditissimo viro, Clementi presbytero; voluptates in tantum fugiit, ut zelo dei, sed non secundum scientiam fcrro truncarct genitalia; calcavit avaritiam; scripturas memoriter tenuit et in studio explanationis earum diebus sudavit ac noctibus. Mille et eo amplius tractatus, quos in ecclesia locutus est, edidit; innumerabiles praeterea commentarios, quos ipse appcllat tomos et quos nunc praetereo, ne videar operum eius indicem texere. Quis nostrum tanta potest legere, quanta Me concripsit? Quis ardentem in scripturis animum non miretur? Quodsi quis Iudas zelotes opposuerit nobis errores eius, audiat libere: “ interdum magnus dormitat Homerus, / verum open longo fas est ignoscere somnum"*. 10 See H. Crouzel, Origene et la 'connaissance mystique' (Paris, 1961), 402-403. The Biblia Patristica lists some forty citations o f Ps. 1.2 in Origen’s extant writings. For the background of classical assumptions concerning literary iucubratio, with which Jerome would of course have been thoroughly acquainted, see the useful summary by Jan M. Ziolkowski, ‘Classical Influences on Medieval Latin Views o f Poetic Inspiration*, in Peter Godman and Oswyn Murray (eds.), Latin Poetry and the Classical Tradition (Oxford, 1990), 15-38, at 19-20, with further references.

IV Jerome’s Origen


the ars scripturarum is simultaenously assimilated to and substituted for the ars poetica11. The same substitution occurs in an earlier letter of Jerome to Paulinus, where it provides the basis for an assault on the exponents of a ‘Christian interpretation’ of Homer and Virgil12. The message of these convergent passages is plain. Christians of Jerome’s generation did not need to appropriate the masterpieces of classical poetry: Origen was their Homer, and Jerome (given half a chance) would be their Virgil. Although written in 399, the miniature laudatio to which I have been referring is fully consistent with Jerome’s presentation of Origen in his earlier writings. In its combination of biographical and bibliographical detail it harks back to the notice on Origen in the De viris illustribus. There too Jerome had followed Eusebius and, like Eusebius, referred the reader to another document for a list of the Alexandrian’s works13. The document in question is the famous letter comparing Origen’s literary output to that of the Roman Varro and the Greek Didymus, nicknamed Chalcenterus. Once again the emphasis is on productivity, single-minded engagement with the Bible, and sheer hard work. In the form in which it has come down to us, Jerome’s catalogue of Origen’s works is addressed to the Roman matron Paula. In Hilberg’s edition it appears with the rest of Jerome’s ‘Roman’ correspondence of the years c. 382-385, as Letter 33. Here as elsewhere in Jerome’s correspon­ dence appearances may be deceptive. There is reason to believe that the catalogue was first issued as a libellus, without Paula’s name attached. It is possible, moreover, that it belongs (at least in its present state) to the Palestinian rather than the Roman phase of Jerome’s life and should be dated as late as c. 39314. The matter requires more attention. If we leave this controversial document aside for the moment, our remaining sources for Jerome’s presentation of Origen before 386 are at most five in number: 1 1 Horace had written: et idem / indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus; / verum operi longo fas est obreperc somnum’ (Ars poetica, 358-360). According to H. Hagendahl, Latin Fathers and the Classics (Goteborg, 1958), 281-283, Horace was Jerome’s favourite poet after Virgil. He notes that ‘what [Jerome] borrowed from Horace was above all general sentences and reflections o f a nature to complete a line o f thought and to bring it out into relief (283). While this may be true o f the relationship in general, in one important area there is a deeper affinity between the two writers: Horace’s precepts for the ars poetica (as expressed in the poem known by that name and elsewhere) provided Jerome with a rationale, and much o f the imagery, for his promotion o f a new kind o f Christian literary activity centred on the Bible. 12 Epist. 53.6-7 (C SEL 54), 452-453. Here Jerome adapts Horace, Epist. ii .1 .1 15 -117 (\.. scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim’) to amateurs of the ars scripturarum. Note also, in this connection, his famous dictum in the Prologue to the Pentateuch: 'Aliud est enim vatem, aliud esse interpretem...’ (PL 28), 182A. 13 Vir. III. 54. The dependence o f this notice on the Historia ecclesiastica is traced by P. Nautin, O rigbte: Sa vie et son aruvre (Paris, 1977), 215-219. 14 See now Ilona Opelt, ‘Origene visto da san Girolamo’, Augustinianum, 26 (1985), 217-222. Rufinus, Apol. contra Hieronymum ii.23 refers to this text as a libellus and makes no mention of Paula as its addressee.

IV 140

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

His translation of Origen’s homilies on Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezechiel; His translation and continuation of Eusebius’ Chronicle; His translation of Origen’s homilies on the Song of Songs; His correspondence with Pope Damasus15; His correspondence with Marcella.

While all these texts offer valuable glimpses of the process of Jerome’s elaboration of a Christian literary persona, the letters to Marcella are especially illuminating. It is to them that I now turn. P u b l ic

f a c e s in p r i v a t e p l a c e s :

T he

le t t e r s to m a r c e l l a

The letters to Marcella evidently constituted one of the earliest units of Jerome’s published correspondence. As the Ad Marcellam epistularum liber unus, they formed one of only two books of letters mentioned among his works in the original De viris illustribus. Study of the manuscript tradition of the Letters may one day enable us to reconstitute this primitive collection with certainty. Meanwhile, we may suppose that it contained all or most of the letters numbered 23-32, 34, 37-38, and 40-45 in the sequence established by Vallarsi and adopted by Hilberg: that is, effectively, the whole of the ‘Roman’ correspondance with the exception of the letters purportedly written to and by Damasus (18-21, 35-36), the famous letter to Eustochium (22), the letter to Paula on the death of her daughter Blesilla (39), and (?) the list of the works of Origen (33)16. Thus circumscribed, the ‘Letters to Marcella’ offer considerable variety of content (social courtesies, portraits, moral in­ struction, disquisitions on scripture and theology, invective, personal apolo­ gia) and a sizable cast of characters, mainly female (Marcella, Jerome, Lea, Asella, Paula, Eustochium, Blesilla). Without this correspondence we should 15 The historicity o f Jerome’s two exchanges of letters with Damasus from the ‘Roman’ period o f his life (Epist. 19-21, 35-36) has been decisively challenged by P. Nautin, ‘ Le premier échange épistolaire entre Jérôme et Damase: lettres réelles ou fictives?’, Freiburger Zeitschrift fü r Philosophie und Theologie, 30 (1983), 331-344, and in his TR E article (cited n. 7 above). In support of his view, we may observe that the sentiments expressed by ‘ Damasus’ in the opening sentences of Epist. 35, on the necessity of combining reading with writing if reading is not to appear mere sleeping, are precisely in accord with the ideology of strenuous literary activity expressed elsewhere by Jerome, notably in his letters to Marcella. Concern with Hebrew learning and the shortcomings of earlier Latin commentators on the Bible likewise unite the letters Ad Damasum and those Ad Marcellam, suggesting that they may have been published around the same time (i.e. after 385). If Nautin is right in supposing that Jerome's close relations with Damasus were a fiction created after the pope’s death, the preface to his translation o f Origen’s homilies on the Song of Songs must also be post-dated. 16 For the argument that Epist. 33 was included in the original collection Ad Marcellam, on the grounds that Jerome's mention o f Pamphilus' catalogue of Origen’s works in Epist. 34.1 was designed to introduce the catalogue itself, see P. Nautin, ‘ La liste des œuvres de Jérôme dans le De viris illustribus', Orpheus S (1984), 319-334, at 329-330.

IV Jerome’s Origen

14 1

be hard put to reconstruct Jerome’s ‘life’ in Rome17. We should also want that clear vision of the Christian writer at work that is one of its chief burdens and to which Origen — Jerome’s Origen — contributes so much. Origen is the hero of the Letters to Marcella as surely as Vettius Agorius Praetextatus, the great Roman senator and scholar, is their villain18. Rufinus was to remind Jerome of two places in the correspondence where he had spoken well of the Alexandrian. The references could easily be multiplied19. To recite them all would be tedious, but it is instructive to note the main emphases of Jerome’s evocation of his predecessor. Three points emerge with special clarity. (1) Jerome’s Origen is indefatigable, reading and writing unremittingly in the service of religion. Those close to him are both subject to his regimen and partly responsible for its maintenance: 43.1 (CSEL 54), 318: Ambrosius, quo chartas, sumptus, notarios ministrante tarn innumerabiles libros vere Adamantius et noster XaXKévxepoç explicavit, in quadam epistula, quam ad eundem de Athenis scripserat, refert numquam se cibos Origene praesente sine lectione sumpsisse, numque venisse somnum, nisi e fratribus aliquis sacris litteris personaret, hoc diebus egisse vel noctibus, ut et lectio orationem susciperet et oratio lectionem [Cf. Letter 33.5: Videtisne et Graecos pariter et Latinos uni us labore superatos? Quis enim umquam tanta legere potuit, quanta ipse conscripsit?]

In certain respects at least, life at Rome follows the Alexandrian pattern: 28.1 (CSEL 54), 227: De diapsalmate nostram sententiam flagitaras: epistulae brevitatem causati sumus et rem libri non posse explicari litteris praetexuimus. Verum quid prode est ad ¿pyoSubKiTTjv meum?

’EpyoÔKBKunç, ‘slave-driver’, was Origen’s ironic soubriquet for his patron Ambrose20. By casting Marcella in this role, Jerome simultaneously pays her a compliment, reminds her of his material needs (chartae, sumptus, notarii), and draws attention to his heroic labours as a biblicist. In fact, the letter recounting Origen’s lifestyle which Jerome half-recollects in Letter 43 was written by Origen himself, not his patron Ambrose21. Its authorship 11 For a sympathetic and compelling reconstruction, see J.N .D . Kelly, Jerom e: His Life, Writings, and Controversies (London, 1975), 91-103. 18 Praextextatus’ death in 384 is evoked as a contemporary event in Epist. 23.3. For his career and scholarly accomplishments, see A.H.M. Jones, J R. Martindale and J. Morris, Prosopography o f the Later Roman Empire i (Cambridge, 1969), 722-724. If Jerome wanted to ensure that the collection Ad Marcellam was seen as belonging to the period before his departure from Rome in 385, the reference to the death of this famous senator would have provided a convenient ‘internal’ date. 19 Cavallera, Saint Jérôm e i.2 .117 offers a comprehensive list. 20 Origen, Comm, in Joan, v, praef. (PG 14), 185. Note also In Ps. 1.2 (PG 12), 1077D-1080A, and Jerome, Vir. III. 56. 21 Part o f this letter (to Pope Fabian) was included in the Apology fo r Origen o f PamphilusEusebius, which Jerome had read while in the East in the 370s; see P. Nautin, Lettres et écrivains

IV 142 obviously mattered less to Jerome than the warrant it provided for an ascetic lifestyle in which Christian writing was associated with the canonical alterna­ tion of lectio and oratio in a ceaseless round. (2) Jerome’s Origen has his attention fixed on the Bible, which (for the Old Testament) he is careful to study in all relevant versions and, as far as he is able, in the original as well: 28.5-7 (CSEL 54), 229-232: Haec nos de intimo Hebraeorum fonte libavimus non opinionum rivulos persequentes neque errorum, quibus totus mundus expletus est, varietate perterriti, sed cupientes et scire et docere, quae vera sunt. Quod si tibi non videtur, quid Orígenes de diapsalmate senserit, verbum interpretabor ad verbum, ut, quia novicia musta contemnis, saltim veteris vini auctoritate ducaris... [The passage translated shows Origen comparing the Hebrew text with the translations o f the Septuagint, Theodotion, Symmachus, Aquila, and another Greek version from the Hexapla, before finally confessing ignorance of the possible musical significance o f the word rendered in Greek as diapsalma. Jerome continues:] Hucusque Orígenes, cuius nos maluimus in hac disputatione dumtaxat inperitiam sequi, quam stultam habere scientiam nescientum. 4.1-4 (CSEL 54), 259-262: [Marcella has asked for Jerome’s interpretation o f a passage from one of the Psalms, for which no commentary by Origen was extant.] Hoc ideo, u t.... ostenderem me de Origenis commentariis, quid senserit, non habere. Unde ad Hebraeum recurrens... [A careful collation o f the Hebrew with the Greek translations having yielded a satisfactory solution, Jerome moves on to the next difficult phrase, again without benefit o f Origen’s assistance.] Restât igitur, ut rursum ad fontem sermonis recurramus Hebraei et videamus, quomodo scriptum sit. [The procedure is repeated.]

Other letters in the series (25-26, 29-30) make similar play with the text and versions of the Old Testament, and are similarly indebted to Origen’s Hexaplaric scholarship. The two letters quoted above are notable for the way in which they show Jerome first reproducing the substance of Origen’s scholarship, then reproducing its manner. It is certain that the correspon­ dence with Marcella marks (and was meant to mark) an important stage in Jerome’s approach to what he was later to call the Hebraica veritas21. Already in Letter 27 he is defending his revision of the Latin New Testament in language very close to that which he uses when speaking of the Hebrew text of the Old23. In Letter 26 he cites Origen on the subject of biblical chrétiens du 1 1 9 et III9 sifcles (Paris, 1961), 260-261. Jerome refers more accurately to the same letter in Epist. 84.10. 21 On this subject, see now the important study by Adam Kamesar, Jerom e. Greek Scholar­ ship, and the Hebrew Bible (Oxford, 1993). 23 Epist. 27.1 (CSEL 54), 224: *... ita responsum habeant, non adeo hebetis fuisse me cordis et tam crassae rusticitatis... ut aliquid de dominicis verbis aut corrigendum putaverim aut non divinitus inspiratum, sed Latinorum codicum vitiositatem, quae ex diversitate librorum omnium conprobatur, ad Graecam originem, unde et ipsi translata non denegant, voluisse revocare. Quibus si displicet fontis undo purissimi, cáenosos rivulos bibant...\

IV Jerome’s Origen


translation24. Jerome’s interest in the history of the biblical text and the philological problems it posed would have struck his Roman readers as a surprising, perhaps dangerous, novelty. Origen’s reputation and literary remains had done much to inspire that interest in him. Now they would help advertise the work of biblical scholarship that Jerome himself was undertaking. (3) Origen’s achievements as a biblical scholar are unsurpassed, his literary legacy a precious resource. Latin writers, in particular, are liable to go astray as soon as they leave his company: 34.1-3 (CSEL 54), 259-262: Beatus Pamphilus martyr, cuius vitam Eusebius Caesariensis episcopus tribus ferme voluminibus explicavit, cum Demetrium Phaiereum et Pisistratum in sacrae bibliothecae studio vellet aequare... tunc vel maxime Origenis libros inpensius persecutus Caesariensi ecclesiae dedicavit... Hie cum multa reperiret et inventorum nobis indicem [cf. Letter 33] derelinqueret... [Jerome’s predecessor, Hilary o f Poitiers, had erred in his interpretation o f Psalm 126:] Quid igitur faciam? Tantum virum et suis temporibus disertissimum reprehendere non audeo, qui et confessionis suae merito et vitae industria et eloquentiae claritate, ubicumque Romanum nomen est, praedicatur; nisi quod non eius culpae adscribendum est, qui Hebraei sermonis ignarus fuit, Graecarum quoque litterarum quandam aurulam ceperat, sed Heliodori presbyteri, quo ille familiariter usus ea, quae intellegere non poterat, quomodo ab Origene essent dicta, quaerebat. [Heliodorus, not finding any commentary o f Origen’s on Psalm 126, had misled Hilary with his own opinion.]

Another Gallic exegete of an earlier generation, Reticius of Autun, is less readily excused: 37.3 (CSEL 54), 288: Innumerabilia sunt, quae in illius [sc. Reticii] mihi commentariis sordere visa sunt. Est sermo quidem conpositus et Gallicano cotum o fluens: sed quid ad interpretem, cuius professio est non, quomodo ipse disertus appareat, sed quo­ modo eum, qui lecturus est, sic faciat intellegere, quomodo intellexit ille, qui scripsit? Rogo, non habuerat decem Origenis volumina, non interpretes ceteros aut certe aliquos necessarios Hebraeorum aut ad interrogare aut ad iegere, quid sibi vellent, quae ignorabat? Sed tam male existimasse de posteris, ut nemo posset de eius erroribus iudicare!

In an earlier letter Jerome had shown unfeigned admiration for both these authors, but there is no mention there of Origen (5.2). The respectfully disparaging treatment accorded Hilary in Letter 34 sets the tone for many of his subsequent references to his Latin predecessors. The comparison is not merely with Origen but also, and more importantly, with the kind of biblicist the West could expect nostris temporibus: now that Origen’s work had been justly appreciated by a Latin writer of talent, competent in Greek and versed in Hebrew. 24 Epist. 26.2 (CSEL 54), 221: *... licet et illud in libris suis, quos ¿4TlTntlKO’^ vocat, Origenes adserat, propter vemaculum linguae uniuscuiusque idioma non posse ita apud alios sonare, ut apud suos dicta sunt, et multo esse melius ininterpretata ponere, quam vim interpretatione tenuare*.

IV 14 4

The presentation of Origen in these letters is clearly anything but neutral. It is predictive and prescriptive, with particular implications for Jerome’s Roman readers. For what, in essence, were they being told? That Origen’s industry was exemplary and heroic, Jerome’s scarcely less so. That Origen’s attitude towards the biblical text was the correct one, and that it justified Jerome’s own preoccupation with the fons Hebraeorum as well as, by analogy, his revision of the Latin New Testament. Finally, that Jerome was better qualified to expound the Bible than any other Latin writer, alive or dead, because he had more fully assimilated the teaching and principles of Origen. In conjunction with the specimens of biblical scholarship which the Letters to Marcella also provide, Jerome’s celebration of Origen thus served to advance his own claim to a devout and devoted Christian readership in Rome. It was a clever device, indeed a stroke of genius. In the competitive market for Christian instruction of the 380s and early 390s, the man who could present himself to the public in the mask of Origen had a head-start on his rivals. Why did Jerome choose the Letters to Marcella as the vehicle for this bold exercise in self-promotion? We should probably not try to pin much responsi­ bility on Marcella herself. True, Jerome depicts her as a keen Hebraeist and student of the Bible, just the sort of person who would be attracted to Origen’s exegesis — before becoming, like Jerome himself, a rabid antiOrigenist in the 390s. But then she is essentially Jerome’s creature, attached to the documentary history of her time only by the slender thread of an alleged offer of marriage from a Roman senator, and even that anecdote occurs in a letter written by Jerome after her death, at a time when its veracity was unlikely to be challenged25. If Marcella had not existed at Rome in the 380s, Jerome would have invented her. He needed a well-connected patron, someone who would act as his sponsor and ‘slave-driver’, an Ambrose to his Origen, or (less flattering parallel) Melania to his Rufinus. Paula, we may guess, was not yet ready to fill that role. Whether Marcella really volunteered or was merely fictionally conscripted, we shall never know. In at least one respect she was well suited to receive the dedication of Jerome’s most overtly Origenizing packet of letters: she was the namesake of Ambrose’s wife26. Regarding the date of this correspondence, there is one important piece of evidence to suggest that it was composed, as it purports to have been, while Jerome was at Rome, or at the latest within a year or two of his settling in the East. Besides the works of Origen himself, or as many of them as he may be supposed to have known c. 385, his chief sources for the latter’s portrait in these letters appear to have been the Apology for Origen of PamphilusEusebius and Eusebius’ Life o f Pamphilus21. There is no sign yet of any close 25 Epist. 127.2. On Marcella’s suitor, Cerealis, see Prosopography o f the Later Roman Empire i, 197-199. 26 Mentioned by name in Origen’s letter to Julius Africanus; Nautin, Origine, 181. 27 Nautin, Lettres et écrivains chrétiens, 255-260.

IV Jerome’s Origen

14 5

acquaintance with Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, the sixth book of which (as we have already noted) was to provide the main substance of Jerome’s accounts of Origen’s life from the early 390s. C o n c l u s io n : P o s t e r it y ’s J ero m e

The Letters to Marcella fix the terms of a literary aemulatio — in the twin classical senses of imitation and rivalry — which was to occupy Jerome for the rest of his life. Without announcing any specific programme for his future literary activity, they establish the literary identity under which he would subsequently be known. The Letters and Prefaces of the period 387-392, with the De viris illustribus, reinforce and refine the image of their author as a latter-day or Latin Origen, from whom the West could expect a definitive work of biblical interpretation. Given this background, the outbreak of a new controversy over Origen’s theology was bound to cause Jerome acute embarrassment. His hasty condemnation of his old master and increasingly desperate efforts to play down or qualify his earlier admiration for him may be seen as tactics of damage-limitation. After 393 Jerome sought to dissociate the Origenian persona which he had adopted at the outset of the literary career from the person and opinions of Origen, now in disrepute. In this he was to be remarkably successful, despite Rufinus’ tactless (if percipient) remarks in the preface to his translation of the ITepi dpxcov. Where Roman readers had formerly been encouraged to see another Origen, they were henceforth to see Jerome himself, as complete a Christian writer as could then be imagined. Here, for example, is what one younger contemporary saw: Hieronymus... praecipuus in omnibus, elementorum quoque peritissimus Hebraeorum in lege domini quod scriptum est diurna nocturnaque meditatione continuus studia operis sui reliquit innumera.

The language and imagery are that of Jerome’s many eulogies of Origen. The author is the fifth-century Spanish chronicler Hydatius28. Other testimony, literary and (later) iconographic, points to the same conclusion: Origen’s brilliant understudy had made the part of the Christian writer his own29.

28 Continuatio chronicorum Hieronymianorum 59, s.a. 415 (MGH auct. ant. xi.19). Hydatius informs us that he had seen Jerome with his own eyes, while still a child (infantulus) on a pilgrimage to the East. The encounter must have taken place in the first decade of the fifth century; E.D. Hunt, Holy Land Pilgrimage in the Later Roman Empire A.D. 3J2-460 (Oxford, 1984), 211 . 29 After completing this paper I was pleased to find corroboration of its main assumptions in Peter Brown's luminous chapter on Jerome in The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (New York, 1988), 366-386, esp. 367, 379-80.


Conference and Confession: Literary Pragmatics in Augustine’s “Apologia contra Hieronymum”

In the decade or so between his ordination to the priesthood and the completion of the Confessions Augustine can be seen working towards a “literary pragmat­ ics” that would provide an integrated vision of the relations between (1) the Christian writer, (2) texts of his own composition, (3) the biblical text, and (4) his fellow Christian readers-and-writers. As expounded and enacted in the De doctrina Christiana and Confessions this Augustinian literary pragmatics de­ pends on the ideal of the biblical “conference”: a text act performed jointly by two or more human beings in the presence of God and in a spirit of charity. Au­ gustine formulates the conference paradigm in reaction to Jerome’s advocacy of an ascetic and professional practice of scriptural interpretation, using hints sup­ plied by his epistolary conversation with Paulinus of Nola. The ensemble of the De doctrina Christiana and Confessions may thus be construed as an apologia contra Hieronymum silently dedicated to Paulinus.

According to his first biographer, when Augustine returned from Italy to his native North Africa in 388, he and his friends gave themselves up to a life of fasting, prayer, good works, and Bible study. Like the blessed man in the Psalms, the former public orator of Milan now delighted in “meditating day and night in the law of the Lord.” The fruits of this meditation, too, were made public: Et de his quae sibi deus cogitanti atque oranti intellecta revelabat, et praesentes et absentes sermonibus ac libris docebat (“And what God revealed to his understanding as he thought and prayed, he would teach in conversation to those who were present and in books to those who were not”).1 Possidius did not join Augustine’s circle until a few 1. Vita S. Augustini 3 .2 . Quotations follow the edition of A. A. R. Bastiaensen in Vite dei Santi, ed. Christine Mohrmann, Voi. 3: Vita di Cipriano, Vita di Ambrogio, Vita di Agostino (s.l.: M ondadori, 1975).

V 176

years later, so it is possible that he allowed subsequent developments to influence his description of the primitive community at Thagaste.2 Be that as it may, the account given in the Vita Augustini of the saint’s activity in teaching and writing is fully consistent for all phases of his post-conversion career. As pious layman, priest, and then bishop, Augustine continually meditated on “the things of God”, imparted what he discovered (that is, what God revealed to him) by word of mouth to those he could reach in this way, and committed the same to writing for the benefit of readers in other places and times. Possidius’ attention to the processes of doctrinal transmission is aston­ ishingly scrupulous; his narrative is punctuated throughout with refer­ ences to Augustine’s habits of Bible study, preaching, writing, and publica­ tion, and to the experiences of his listeners and readers. No other saint’s life from late Latin antiquity stands comparison with the Vita Augustini in respect of such information.3 How are we to account for this peculiarity? If the choice is between regarding it as a hagiographer’s quirk and as the reflection of Augustine’s personal preoccupation with the modalities of Christian doctrina, we shall have no difficulty preferring the latter alterna­ tive. Possidius’ presentation of Augustine’s life and literary works (listed in an appendix to the Vita) reposes on a set of reasoned assumptions, worked out or approved by Augustine himself, about the cooperation of literate and articulate Christians in the intellection and promulgation of revealed Truth. Those assumptions relate to the nature of divine revelation (includ­ ing the function of Scripture); the personal qualities, lifestyle, and public comportment of the religious teacher; the social and institutional contexts of Christian instruction; and the needs and abilities of a late antique Chris­ tian readership. More concisely, they specify the conditions of a doctrinal and literary practice dedicated to bringing human beings to a knowledge and love of God; or, in terms of a distinction proposed by Augustine himself, a policy of charitable use in the service of everlasting enjoyment. Although modern humanistic discourse has no ready way of naming this ensemble of concerns, many of them can be shown to fall within the province of “literary pragmatics,”4 defined as a science of the relations 2. But see now George P. Lawless, Augustine o f H ippo and H is M onastic Rule (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 19 87), 4 5 - 6 2 , and William J. Collinge, “ Developments in Augustine’s Theology of Community Life After A .C . 3 9 5 ,” AugStud 16 (1984): 60. 3. C f. Christine Mohrmann’s introduction to Vita d i C ipriano, etc., xliii; Philip Rousseau, “ The Spiritual Authority of the Monk-Bishop: Eastern Elements in Some Western Hagiography of the Fourth and Fifth Centuries,” JT h S n.s. 22 (19 7 1): 3 8 0 - 4 19 at 406 n .l. 4. The essays in Literary Pragm atics, ed. Roger D. Sell (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 19 9 1) offer a variety of definitions of this concept. M y own use of the term is



between texts, the users of those texts, and the conditions (material and ideological) of such use. In another article, conceived in conjunction with this one, I hope to show that Fossidius’ simplified and systematized account of the principles of Augustinian doctrma can serve as a basis for theorizing Christian literary activity in late antiquity. Here 1want to take a closer look at some of those principles as they emerge from Augustine’s writings of the 390s, and to begin to distinguish the stages by which Augustine himself arrived at a settled and ultimately normative vision of the relations between the Christian writer, his own texts, the text of the Bible, and other Christian men and women. Whatever Possidius may have known about his subject’s life at Thagaste in the period ca.389-391, the description he gives of it is merely schematic. Apart from the monastic colour provided by a standardized list of activities (ieiuniis, orationibus, bonis operibus) and a biblical commonplace (in lege domini meditans die ac nocte), all he offers is a cluster of binaries intended to evoke certain routine procedures (cogitanti atque oranti; revelab a t. . . docebat; praesentes et absentes; sermonibus ac libris). To the mod­ ern reader, following Augustine through works as strenuous and inchoate as the De Genesi adversus Manicheos, De magistro and De vera religione, such formulas are bound to seem somewhat glib and deceptive. The chro­ nological sequence of the Retractationes enables us to retrace the author’s own steps, even where they faltered; what mattered to Possidius after 430 were the established norms of Augustinian pastoral practice, not the pro­ cess by which they had been reached. The difference in perspectives be­ tween the Retractationes and the Vita is particularly marked for the period in question. Augustine’s writings from the years immediately following his influenced by recent work in and between the fields of literary theory and textual bibliography, tending to emphasize the instability and historicity of the notion of (a) text. See, for example, D. C. Greetham, “ Textual and Literary Theory: Redrawing the M atrix,” Studies in B ibliography 42 (1989): 1 - 2 4 ; Philip Cohen, ed., D evils and A n­ gels: Textual Editing and Literary Theory (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 19 9 1). Granting, with Greetham and most contemporary theorists, that “ there is no ‘natural’ or ‘self-evident’ ontology of the text” (3), we have to allow for a potential indeterminacy in the object(s) of a literary pragmatics as defined above. The specifica­ tion of a meaning for “ text” appropriate to the Christian discourses of Late antiquity is one of the major challenges facing (literary) historians of this period. I share the meth­ odological assumptions of Jerome J. McGann, The Textual Condition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19 9 1), 16 : “ What is textually possible cannot be theoret­ ically established. What can be done is to sketch, through close and highly particular case studies, the general framework within which textuality is constrained to exhibit its transformations.” To which I would add that the “ framework” thus sketched defines what we mean by text/textuality when referring to the phenomena considered to fall within it.

V 178

return to Africa reveal an urgent, sometimes frantic desire to ascertain the conditions for successful Christian learning and communication. These are the very conditions that Possidius takes for granted. By 390 Augustine knew that literate, eloquent converts like himself had an important role to play as teachers in the Catholic Church; the Confes­ sions contains a record of his acquaintance with several men who had filled such a role, either as laypersons or as members of the clergy. He was also persuaded of the value of a sound biblical knowledge for anyone called or aspiring to a public office of instruction. Beyond these basic convictions, however, almost everything to do with the theory and practice of Christian teaching, in the literary medium or viva voce, had still to be worked out. He was, it is true, unusually well equipped for the task. A trained orator, widely read in classical literature, practised both in writing philosophical dialogues and in debating problems of biblical interpretation with the Manichees, he was likely if put on to prove most magisterial. And in 391 he was “put on”, elevated to the public stage of the African church by a Greek­ speaking bishop who had long prayed for one like him to edify the church of Hippo “with the word of God and saving doctrine”.5 How did he then proceed? How, as a matter of fact, did Augustine assume the figure of the biblical teacher-and-writer that Possidius ascribes to him? To start more modestly, and confine ourselves to the sphere of literary pragmatics: how did Augustine address the requirements implicit in the Possidian scheme of Christian mediation, intellecta . . . et praesentes et absentes sermonibus ac libris docere? Even this question opens up a vast field of inquiry, but if we neglect for the moment the evidence of his “local” performance in the diocese of Hippo (praesentes sermonibus . . . ) and focus on his contacts with persons physically separated from him (absentes libris . . . ), part of the answer seems to be that in the course of the 390s Augustine’s understanding of the relations between his own (written) words, the word of God in Scripture, and the situation of other literate Christian men and women in the world came to centre on the act of biblical interpretation conceived as conference or conlatio. The development of that idea in Augustine’s works of the decade, espe­ cially the De doctrina Christiana and Confessions, is the subject of the following pages. By concentrating on certain recurring features of his ap­ proach to the biblical text in their occasional variations, I shall try to provide a view of the processes of Augustinian doctrina that makes fuller allowance for circumstance and historical contingency than Possidius was inclined to. To that end, unlike the author of the Vita Augustini, 1 shall not 5. Possidius, Vita S. Augustini 5 .2 : “ verbo dei et doctrina salu bri.”

V 179


consider the hero alone. As presented here, Augustine’s pragmatics of the literary conference is to be seen not just as the resolution of certain long­ standing concerns of his own, but also as a creative (if at times polemical) response to the attitudes and opinions of his contemporaries, notably those of two individuals whom he frequently encountered in writing but never met: Jerome of Bethlehem and Paulinus of Nola.6 SCIENTIA SCRI PTURAR UM: JEROME We may begin by recalling some of the issues raised by Augustine in the first work he wrote as a priest, the De utilitate credendi. Addressed to a friend and alter ego named Honoratus who was still affected by the Manichaean charge that Christian recourse to authority was an abdication of reason, the treatise conflates an essay in hermeneutics with a sustained defence of the auctoritas of the Catholic Church as interpreter erf the Bible.7 Au­ gustine sets himself a limited goal, and makes a show of saying more than would be needed to achieve it. Yet for all his bluster it is evident that he is grappling with problems more intractable than any ascribed to his corre­ spondent. Granting the essential unity of the Old and New Testaments and trusting the Catholic Church to interpret them could be represented as the first step for Honoratus, but for Augustine, who had taken this step and been ordained a teacher in that Church (vtil. cred. 2.4), other matters were already pressing. Predictably, many of them concerned the Bible. What kind of book was this that he now had to expound? How was it related to other books he knew? Why and how had it been promulgated? How did it fit into the (Christian Platonic) scheme of God’s mediation of wisdom through Christ? Why was it often so difficult to understand? What were the constraints on its interpretation? How were reluctant readers to be recon­ ciled to it? Some of these questions are raised formally in the De utilitate credendi, then deferred. Others merely suggest themselves. Few are con­ 6 . An earlier version of this article was given as a paper at the annual meeting of the North American Patristics Society in Chicago in M ay 19 9 2, as part of a panel on “ Interpretation in Theory and Practice” organized by Elizabeth A. Clark. In revising it for publication I have been helped by the comments and advice of Professors Clark, Patricia C ox Miller, and Robert Markus, and by Karla Follmann, Stefan Rebenich, and Dennis Trout. To all my thanks. 7. Text ed. J. Zycha in C SEL 2 5 .1 (18 9 1), 3 - 4 8 . See now Olof Gigon, “ Augustins ‘De utilitate credendi’,” in Catalepton: Festschrift fü r Bernhard Wyss, ed. C. Schäublin (Basel: Seminar für Klassische Philologie der Universität Basel, 19 85), 1 3 8 - 5 7 ; Christoph Schäublin, “ Augustin, ‘De utilitate credendi’ , über das Verhältnis des Inter­ preten zum Text,” VC 4 3 (1989): 5 3 - 6 8 . Both writers emphasize the tensions within the work and its final incoherence.

V 180

vincingly answered. Behind them all, we sense, lies a single great unspoken question: who were these ideal teachers, the magistri, praeceptores or doctores who embodied the authority of the Catholic Church? More pre­ cisely: what kind of men were they, and how did they discharge their teaching functions? A sign of Augustine’s concerns is the almost exclusively generic and anonymous style of his frequent references to expert Christian interpreters. In the recent past he had met, observed and heard about a number of distinguished Christian teachers (e.g. Ambrose, Simplicianus, Marius Victorinus). Now he was being forced to generalize and draw lessons from their individual performances. In only one place is the anonymity of the ideal Christian teacher seri­ ously compromised.8 Although no human master steps forward to lay claim to the title in the De utilitate, a shadowy figure beckons from be­ tween its lines. In order to read the Bible with understanding, Augustine tells Honoratus, you must find a qualified interpreter: “Is he difficult to find? Then search harder. Not to be found in your own country? Then travel. Not on the same continent? Take a boat. Not just across the water? Then go further, if necessary to the very land in which the events recorded in those books are said to have taken place” (usque ad illas terras, in quibus ea, quae illis libris continentur, gesta esse dicuntur).9 At this point, Au­ gustine’s rhetoric takes another turn. Nowhere else in the work does he suggest that in order to understand the Bible one must visit the holy places; such a radically historicist thesis would in fact be quite foreign to his thought. Unless the passage quoted is simply a flourish, we should suspect another reason for its eastward trajectory. If the Holy Land recommends itself as a place to study Scripture, is it not because Jerome was there? He, surely, is the genius behind Augustine’s latest thinking de magistro. Augustine had missed meeting Jerome in Rome in the early 380s,10 but 8 . The teaching of Ambrose is briefly evoked at vtil. cred. 8.20: “ et iam fere me commoverant nonnullae disputationes Mediolanensis episcopi, ut non sine spe aliqua de ipso vetere testamento multa quaerere cuperem.” However, Ambrose’s role is restricted to that of one who helped Augustine to reach a conviction of the value of auctoritas in the Christian religion; he is not yet cited as an exemplary teacher, as he was to be in the Confessions (though even there Augustine makes only limited claims for him). This autobiographical passage in vtil. cred. begins with a reminiscence of Faustus the Manichee, the master from whom Augustine had vainly expected so much (“cuius nobis

adventus, ut nosti, ad explicanda omnia, quae nos movebant, quasi de caelo promittebatur”). 9. Vtil. cred. 7 .1 7 . Translations my own unless otherwise noted. 10 . Cf. John Matthews, Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court, A.D. 364-425 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 19 75), 2 1 2 : “ It was of course the merest coincidence that the visit to Rome of Augustine was contemporaneous with the second stay there of Jerome. The two men never met, nor had occasion to: Jerome’s present preoccupations . . . were

V 181


would have had many opportunities since then to hear about him and his work. The internal evidence of his earliest reading of Jerome has yet to be collected. We know, however, that as early as 392 bishop Aurelius erf Car­ thage took steps to secure copies of Jerome’s biblical writings for the African church. A recently discovered letter of Jerome to Aurelius enables us to suppose that the author of the De utilitate credendi already had access at least to some of the translations of Origen’s homilies.11 When Alypius returned from a visit to the Bethlehem monastery shortly afterwards, he probably brought more manuscripts with him. By then, too, the Africans were in contact with one of Jerome’s literary agents in Rome, from whom copies of his future works could be obtained.12Thus although it would be a few years before Augustine could claim close acquaintance with Jerome through the medium of his writings,13 already in the early 390s he would have had a strong impression of his literary personality. worlds away from those of Augustine. Yet a point of similarity is worth noting. Jerome was a court official turned ecclesiastical politician [and w riter, we might add], Augustine a professor of rhetoric who became bishop of an African town: both of them, as a result of conversions experienced in court circles, were lost to the service o f the imperial government.” For further remarks on the “ coincidence” of Jerome’s and Augustine’s activities in the early 380s, see below. 1 1 . Letter 2 7 * in Sancti A ureli A u g u stin i. . . Epistolae ex duobus codicibus nuper in lucent prolatae, ed. Johannes Divjak, C SEL 88 (19 8 1), from Jerome to Aurelius, 2: “ Scribis te quaedam nostrae parvitatis habere opuscula, id est paucas in Ieremiam homelias et duas cantici canticorum. . . . ” The writer invites Aurelius to send a copyist to Bethlehem to procure texts of all his more recent works ude scrtpturis sanctis” . There is an excellent commentary on this letter by Yves-Marie Duval in B ibliothèque Augustinienne 46B (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1987), 5 6 0 -6 8 , who judiciously concludes: “ Il ne me semble pas invraisemblable que cette E p. 2 7 * ait contribué a nouer des liens entre Carthage-Hippone et Bethléem et à favoriser la diffusion des oeuvres de Jérôme en Afrique.” 12 . For Alypius’ travels, see the Prosopographie de 1 A frique chrétienne, ed. André Mandouze (Paris: C N R S, 1982), 5 5 - 5 6 , and for the role of Domnio, to whom AJypius refers Päulinus in 395 (Paulinus, ep. 3 .3 = Augustine, ep. 24.3), as Roman distributor of Jerome’s works, E. Arns, La technique du livre d ’après saint Jérôm e (Paris: De Boccard, 19 53), 14 7 - 4 8 . Augustine’s aristocratic patron Romanianus appears to have played a similar role in diffusing his writings in Italy (see below, n.27). 13 . Ep. 4 0 .1: “ Quar eadgredere, quaeso, istam nobiscum litterariam conlocutionem y ne multum ad nos disiungendos liceat absentiae corporali, quamquam simus in domino spiritus unitate coniuncti, etiam si ab stilo quiescamus et taceamus. E t lib ri quidem , quos de horreo dom inico elaborasti, paene te totum nobis exhibent. . . . ” The terms of this summons seem to reflea the influence of Paulinus’ ideal of the conloqutum litterarum (see below). The letter is traditionally dated to 3 9 7 ; it miscarried and was a cause of much resentment on Jerome’s part: D. de Bruyne, “ La correspondance échan­ gée entre Augustin et Jérôm e,” Z N T W 3 1 (19 3 2 ): 2 3 3 - 4 8 , modifying H. Lietzmann, “ Z ur Entstehungsgeschichte der Briefsammlung Augustins,” Sitzungsberichte der Preu­ ßischen A kadem ie der W issenschaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, (19 30): 3 7 4 —82, repr. in his


That literary personality or persona was founded on emulation of Ori­ gen.14 “It is in your power,” Augustine would write to Jerome in 394/5, “to let us have that man whom you so delight in celebrating in your writings” (quem tu libentius in tuis litteris sonas).15 Jerome would not oblige Augustine and the rest of the “studious society of the African churches” by delivering a complete Latin translation of Origen’s works, but he did aspire to the reputation for biblical scholarship that Origen had acquired among the Greeks. The ideal of scientia scripturarum that the Alexandrian represented for him is proclaimed repeatedly in the letters, prefaces and other promotional pieces that he published or republished in the late 380s and 390s after his removal from Rome to the East. Mean­ while, he sought to realize that ideal in his own major works, the biblical translations and commentaries. No other Latin Christian writer had ever made so determined or exclusive a claim for interpretative expertise, or supported it with such overwhelming evidence. From all round the Medi­ terranean, Christian studiosi were now sending messengers, or going themselves to sit at the feet of the scholar of Bethlehem.16 The newly ordained priest of Hippo, who had lately begged his bishop for a little leisure for Bible study,17 was bound to reckon with his example. Jerome was not a particularly original theorist of biblical interpretation, or of the relations between Christian readers, writers, and texts. His own literary pragmatics are pragmatic in a vulgar sense, the reflexes of one who Kleine Schriften, Vol. 1 , TU 67 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1958), 2 8 6 -9 6 . Augustine's letters of the period ca. 3 9 1 - 4 0 1 are quoted in the edition of A. Goldbacher, C SEL 3 4 . 1 - 2 (18 9 5 -9 8 ). 14 . See my “ Jerom e’s Origen: The M aking of a Christian Literary Persona,” mStudia

Patristica: Papers Presented to the EJeventh International Conference on Patristic Stud­ ies Held in Oxford , 19-24 August 1991 , ed. Elizabeth A. Livingstone (Leuven: Peeters Press, forthcoming). 15 . Ep. 2 8 ,2 . One group erf manuscripts offers the synonymous variant “personas”: as Boethius would say, “ persona a personando” (duab. nat. 3 ; PL 6 4 .134 3 ). On Au­ gustine’s acquaintance with Origen see B. Altaner, “ Augustinus und Origenes,” H) 70 ( 19 5 1) : 1 5 - 4 1 , repr. in his Kleine Schriften, TU 83 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1967), 2 2 4 - 5 2 ; A.-M . La Bonnardiere, “Jerome, ‘informateur’ d ’Augustin au sujet d’Origene,” REAug 20 (19 74 ): 4 2 -5 4 . 16 . See now Stefan Rebenich, Hieronymus und sein Kreis: Prosopographische und sozial-geschichtliche Untersuchungen, Historia Einzelschriften 72 (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1992). 17 . Ep. 2 1 .3 : “ . . . debeo scripturarum eius [sc. dei] medicamenta omnia perscrutari et orando ac legendo agere . . . Quod ante non feci, quia et tempus non habui; tunc enim ordinatus sum, cum de ipso vacationis tempore ad cognoscendas divinas scripturas cogitaremus et sic nos disponere vellemus, ut nobis otium ad hoc negotium posset esse.”

V 183


by birth and education conformed closely (more closely than Augustine) to the type of the late Roman litteratus so memorably evoked by H.-I. Marrou,18 and who set out to make a profession of Christian writing. His unprecedented success in this venture can be put down to the combination of a gift for languages (real, however exaggerated) and the inspired decision to capitalize on Origen’s biblical philology at a time when large numbers of educated Christians in the West were looking for intellectually respectable ways of expressing their piety.19 Add to these assets a remarkable flair for self-promotion, and we have the figure of Jerome that a well informed African reader could have discerned ca.391. Augustine may soon have concluded, if he did not already know, that this man could not answer all the questions posed in the De utilitate credendi. However, Jerome’s practice of the sacred text, and the assumptions on which it was based, were current and widely respected before Augustine’s reputation as a Christian teacher had spread beyond the circle of his friends. Whether he liked it or not, Augustine was engaged in a dialogue with Jerome from the moment he began to write on Scripture. The history of their personal communications in the 390s is for the most part a depress­ ing tale of mistrust, miscarriage and malentendu.20 Few attempts at open­ ing a long-distance literary conversation have been as unsuccessful as this one of Augustine’s.21 Nevertheless, by reading Jerome’s works down to and including the De viris illustribus of 392/3 against the De utilitate, we may be able recover some of the heads of a discussion that never took place.22 1.

Augustine asks after the magistri, doctores or (as he calls them once) professores of the Christian religion. Jerome for his part offers the

18 . Henri-Irénée M arrou, Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique (Paris: Dc Boccard, 19 3 8 ; reissued with a Retractatio, 1949). 19 . For a thorough reassessment of Jerome’s work as a biblical philologist, emphasiz­ ing his strengths as both a Hellenist and a Hebraist, see Adam Kamesar, Jerome, the Hebrew Bible, and Greek Scholarship (Oxford: O xford University Press, forthcoming). 20. See the articles cited above, n. 13 , and J. de Vathaire, “ Les relations de saint Augustin et de saint Jérôm e,” in Miscellanea Augustiniana (Rotterdam: Brusse, 1930), 4 8 4 -9 9 . A new study by R. Hennings is announced. 2 1 . Note especially ep. 28.6: “ Multa alia cum sincerissimo corde tuo loqui cuperem

et de studio christiano conferre . . . ” 22. The references given below are necessarily very selective. For the positions as­ cribed to Augustine, see i/til. cred. passim. Jerome’s side of the conversation can be derived from his letters, prefaces to this biblical translations and commentaries, and the De viris illustribus. Quotations from the letters follow the edition of I. Hilberg, C SEL 5 4 -5 6 (19 10 -18 ).

V 184





living example of a Christian magisterium that is also a profession in the sense of a specialized occupation for which training is re­ quired.23 Augustine endeavours to classify the different kinds of error that are possible when we try to understand a text {util. cred. 4.10). Jerome introduces a wholly new consideration: the text is a faulty transla­ tion from another language, which the interpreter probably cannot read. We may not need to travel to Jerusalem, but we ought to learn Greek and Hebrew.24 While ready to place the Bible in a special category of books, Au­ gustine assumes a basic analogy between the study of secular liter­ ary or philosophical texts and the study of Scripture (vtil. cred. 4.10, 6.13, 7.17). Jerome makes a similar assumption, but takes ev­ ery opportunity in his earlier writings to mark the distance between the two realms of discourse.25 Augustine represents Bible study as hard work (cf. ep. 21). Jerome goes much further. In his eyes, the studium scripturarum is an allconsuming askesis, a mortification of the body and a rejection of the world. Naturally the province of monks, it can be prosecuted by clergy or laypeople only if they are prepared to follow a monastic way of life.26 The De utilitate credendi presents itself as a preliminary to the Catholic exposition of Scripture; it implies nothing about the liter­ ary forms such exposition might take, or about other possible uses of writing in the service of the Christian religion. For Jerome, Chris-

2 3 . E.g., ep. 3 7 .3 : “ Est sermo [sc. Reticii] quidem conpositus et Gallicano cotumo fluens: sed quid ad interpretem, cuius professio est, non, quomodo ipse disertus appareat, sed quomodo eum, qui lecturus est, sic faciat intellegere, quomodo intellexit ille, qui scripsit” (cf. Augustine, vtil. cred. 4 .1 0 - 5 . 1 1 ) . On this sense of “ profession” and its application in a late antique context, see Robert A. Kaster, Guardians of Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 3 3 - 3 5 . 24. Kamesar (cited n. 19 above); Stefan Rebenich, “ Jerome: The ‘Vir Trilinguis’ and the ‘Hebraica Veritas’,” forthcoming in VC; Vessey, “ Jerome’s Origen.” 2 5. The locus dassicus is of course ep. 22 .30 (“ ‘Ciceronianus es, non Christianus’ ” ). For evidence suggesting that Augustine may have read this letter as early as 387/8, see John Kevin Coyle, Augustine’s “De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae”: A Study of the Work, Its Composition and Its Sources, Paradosis 25 (Fribourg: University Press, 1978), 2 14 f. 26. Denys Gorce, La “Lectio divina" des origines du cénobitisme à saint Benoît et

Cassiodore, 1: Saint Jérôme et la lecture sacrée dans le milieu ascétique romain (Wépion-sur-Meuse: Monastère du Mont-Vierge, 19 25), esp. 16 5 fï; Rebenich, Hiero­ nymus und sein Kreis, 1 5 4 - 7 0 .

V 185


tian writing is essentially writing de scripturis,27 and the Christian literary form par excellence is the biblical commentary as practised by Origen. Those principles notwithstanding, he himself had es­ sayed or improvised several other genres, including the biblical quaestio and (closely associated with it in his use) a kind of epistol­ ary causerie on exegetical topics.28 These are just a few of the matters that Augustine might have wanted to take up with his fellow priest in the early 390s. In his first extant letter to Jerome of 394/5 (Letter 28), he defends the principle (already stated in the De utilitate) of the absolute veracity of the biblical text, against Jerome’s recent exegesis of an awkward passage in Galatians. Other topics of that letter and its sequels likewise bear on questions of biblical pragmatics. But I do not wish to review Augustine’s correspondence with Jerome, important though it is for the history of Christian literary pragmatics. Instead I want to suggest that many of the most significant elements of his theoretical response to Jerome are to be found outside the letters he wrote to him: to propose, in fact, that we read two of his major works of the 390s as constituting a kind of apologia contra Hieronymum de scripturis. Before turning to those works we must take account of the vital role played by a third party. C O N L O Q U I U M L I T T E R A R U M : PAULINUS At the same time as they worked to establish links with Jerome, the new men in the African church were opening channels of communication to the Christian elite of Italy. In the summer of 395, Aurelius’ special envoy to Bethlehem, Alypius, took the initiative in writing to Meropius Pontius 27. Jerom e’s literary biblicism awaits its proper exposition. Meanwhile, see the valu­ able remarks of Reinhart Herzog, Die Bibelepik der lateinischen Spatantike: Formgeschichte einer erbaulichen Gattung, Vol. 1 (Munich: Fink, 19 75), 1 7 3 - 7 5 , and Jac­ ques Fontaine, “ L’esthétique littéraire de la prose de Jérôme jusqu’à son second dépan en Orient,” in Jérôme entre l’Occident et l’Orient: Actes du Colloque de Chantilly (septembre 1986), ed. Yves-M arie Duval (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1988), 3 2 3 42. 28. G. Bardy, “ La littérature des ‘quaestiones et responsiones’ sur l’Ecriture Sainte,” RB 4 1 (19 32) : 3 5 7 - 6 9 . In his letters of the 380s to M arcella and other Roman ladies, Jerome maintains the illusion of a daily interchange of biblical problems and solutions within his group, carried on both in face-to-face meetings and in writing. While the remains of Origen’s correspondence may have provided hints for this scenario, its full development must be attributed to Jerom e’s genius for creating the conditions for his own literary art.


Paulinus, a Gallo-Roman aristocrat with poetic ambitions whose ascetic conversion had caused a great stir a few years earlier, and who had now moved to Nola in Campania.29 In return for a service he asked of Paulinus, Alypius sent him a collection of Augustine’s anti-Manichaean writings. The result, no doubt intended, was the beginning of a correspondence between Augustine and Paulinus that would continue with only brief inter­ ruptions for the next thirty years. The sequence and much of the literary and historical interest erf these exchanges have been painstakingly ex­ pounded by Pierre Courcelle.30 The latter’s suggestion that Augustine’s new correspondent could have been partly responsible for the genesis of the Confessions, though not universally accepted, has helped undermine the once common view of Paulinus as a passive partner in the two men’s epistolary conversation. Even so, modem Augustinians may still be guilty of underestimating the impact that the “discovery” of Paulinus had on Augustine’s sense of Christian vocation, and in particular on his literary pragmatics. The African party evidently hoped that Paulinus would assist in winning a wider audience for Augustine’s writings. To that end, he was not only sent copies of the latest productions but also referred to Romanianus for any others he might want.31 If Paulinus’ actions matched the enthusiasm of his first letters to Augustine, he may indeed have done much for the promotion of his work in Italy. Equally if not more important to Augustine, however, were the terms in which that initial enthusiasm was expressed. As Pierre Fabre has shown in his classic study, Paulinus was the apostle of epistolary 29. Janine Desmulliez, “ Paulin de Nole: Etudes chronologiques (3 9 3 -3 9 7 ),” RechAug 20 (19 8 5): 3 5 - 6 4 ; Dennis E. Trout, “ The Dates of the Ordination of Paulinus of Bordeaux and of His Departure for N ola,” REAug 3 7 (19 9 1): 2 3 7 -6 0 . Trout convinc­ ingly reasserts the traditional date of Christmas Day 394, not 39 5, for Paulinus’ presbyteral ordination in Barcelona; he would have come to Nola in the spring/summer of 395, a year before Augustine’s episcopal ordination in 396, not 395 as recorded by Prosper of Aquitaine (see Trout, “ The Years 394 and 395 in the Epitoma chronicon: Prosper, Augustine, and Claudian,” CPh 86 [19 9 1]: 4 3 -4 7 ). 30. “ Les lacunes de la correspondance entre saint Augustin et Paulin de N o le,” REA 5 3 ( 19 5 1) : 2 5 3 - 3 0 0 , revised and expanded in his Les 'Confessions’ de saint Augustin dans la tradition littéraire: antécédents et postérité (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 196 3), 5 5 9 -6 0 7 : “ La correspondance avec Paulin de Nole et la genése des ‘Confes­ sions’ ” . 3 1 . Augustine, ep. 27A: “ Librorum autem nostrorum copiam faciet [Romanianus] venerabili studio suo; nam nescio me aliquid sive ad eorum, qui extra ecdesiam dei sunt, sive ad aures fratrum scripsisse, quod ipse non habeat.” The passage that follows this statement is quoted below. Romanianus’ bibliographical services are described by Jur­ gen Scheele, “ Buch und Bibliothek bei Augustinus,” Bibliothek und Wissenschaft 12 (1978 ): 1 4 - 1 1 4 at 3 3 - 5 .

V 187


caritas,32 Believing more passionately than most other men that letters were the portraits of their writers’ souls, that letter-writing was true conver­ sation, and that educated Christians had a duty to build up each other’s spiritual strength by correspondence, this converted disciple of Ausonius (another zealot for epistolary reciprocity) had turned the hackneyed topics of amicitia into a sacrament of communion. Augustine positively reels under the shock of his first letter, but he also recognizes at once the poten­ tial value of the Paulinian literary conversation or conloquium litterarum as a medium for religious instruction of the kind that he was now called upon to dispense. In his first letter Paulinus dilates upon his joy at receiving Augustine’s writings, “not just for our own instruction, but for the use of the church in many of our cities” (25.1: non pro nostra instruction tantum, sed etiam pro ecclesiae multarum urbium utilitate).33 After acclaiming the author’s services to Catholicism in the most extravagant terms, he continues with a characteristic figure of literary and spiritual refreshment: 2 5 .2 : Vides . . . quam fam iliariter te agnoverim , quanto adm irer stupore, quam m agno am ore com plectar, qui cotidie conloquio litterarum tuarum fruor et oris tui spiritu vescor. O s enim tuum fistulam aquae vivae et venam fontis aetem i m erito dixerim , quia fons in te aquae salientis in vitam aeter-

nam Christus effectus est, cuius desiderio sitivit in te anima mea et ubertate tui fluminis inebriari terra mea concupivit. [You see how intim ately I have com e to know you, how fondly I admire you, with how great a love I em brace you, w ho daily enjoy the converse of your w ritings and feed upon the spirit o f your w ords! For I may justly say that your mouth is a conduit o f living w ater and a course o f the eternal well-spring, be­ cause C hrist has become in you “ a well o f w ater springing up into everlasting life” (John 4 .14 ), in desire of which my soul’s ground has thirsted for you and craved inebriation with the fullness of your flood.]

On the basis of the relationship thus proleptically established, Paulinus 32. Saint Paulin de Noie et l’amitié chrétienne, Bibl. des Ecoles franç. d’Athènes et de Rome 16 7 (Paris: De Boccard, 1949). For doser analysis of epistolary topics in Paulinus and other late antique writers, see Klaus Thraede, Grundzüge griechisch-römischer Brieftopik, Zetemata 48 (Munich: Beck, 1970). The letters of the pagan senator Quintus Aurelius Symmachus and his circle provide rich matter for comparison: J. F. Matthews, “ The Letters of Symmachus” , in Latin Literature o f the Fourth Century, ed. J. W. Binns (London: Routledge 8c Kegan Paul, 1974), 58—99; Philippe Bruggisser, Symmaque ou le

rituel épistolaire de l’amitié littéraire: Recherches sur le premier livre de la correspon­ dance, Paradosis 3 5 (Fribourg: Editions Universitaires, 1993). 3 3. References are to letters in the order in which they appear in Augustine’s corre­ spondence. Letter 25 = Paulinus, ep. 4 (ed. G. Hartel in C SEL 30 (1894]), 30 = 6 .

V 188

asks to receive more of Augustine’s works and to be fostered and strength­ ened by him in his literary and spiritual endeavours: fove igitur et corrobora me in sacris litteris et spiritalibus studiis (25.3). Though more restrained in its use of biblical language and imagery, Augustine’s reply is scarcely less ecstatic. O bone vir et bone frater, latebas animam meam (27.1: “O goodly man and goodly brother, you were hid­ den until now from my soul”), it begins. Here indeed was a man he might have met sooner, one fit to have been an interlocutor in the dialogues of Cassiciacum, fitter perhaps than some who had been. A priest in a minor North African town could not expea to receive many such overtures, and Augustine makes the most of this chance to adapt the amities and aspira­ tions of his Italian past to the realities of the present. Paulinus is enlisted to help with the difficult case of Licentius, the son of Augustine’s patron Romanianus, who was excessively attached to secular learning. He is also fashioned into the ideal Christian reader. His own vision of himself as an ardent consumer of Augustine’s works was dangerously enthusiastic, but it could be modified. Reverting to the neo-Platonic pedagogy outlined in the De magistro and combining it with a traditional model of literary emendatio or friendly copy-editing, Augustine now represents Paulinus as the reader who will discriminate critically but charitably between the words spoken by the divine Truth through Augustine’s books and the words written in error by Augustine: 2 7 .4 : Sed tu cum legis, mi sancte Pauline, non te ita rapiant quae per nostram infirmitatem veritas loquitur, ut ea quae ipse loquor minus diligenter advertas, ne dum avidus hauris bona et recta quae data m inistro non ores pro peccatis et erratis quae ipse com m itto. In his enim quae tibi recte si adverteris displicebunt ego ipse conspicior, in his autem quae per donum spiritus quod accepisti recte tibi placent in libris meis ille am andus, ille praedicandus est apud quem est fons vitae. . . . Q uid enim habem us, quod non accepimus? [When you read . . . I w ould not have you so transported by w hat the Truth speaks through o ur infirm ity as to observe less carefully w hat I speak in my ow n right, lest in avidly drinking in the good and right things that I adm inis­ ter, having m yself first received them, you neglect to pray for the sins and er­ rors that I m yself com m it. For in those things which w ill righdy displease you i f you take good notice, I am m yself revealed; but in those which (through the gift o f the spirit you have received) rightly please you in my books, H e is to be loved and proclaim ed, in w hom is the well-spring o f life. . . . For w hat have w e that w e have not received?]

In another context, such remarks could be dismissed as conventional mod­ esty.34 Occurring in this case as the response to an impassioned appeal 34. For the topics of em endatio, see Tore Janson, Latin Prose Prefaces: Studies in

V 189


from an exceptionally qualified Christian reader, immediately after direc­ tions for obtaining copies of Augustine’s works,35 immediately before the announcement of a project destined to form part of the Confessions,36 and in the context of an exchange saturated on both sides with expressions erf confidence in the virtue of letters (in two senses) as vehicles of Christian charity and instruction,37 they carry considerable weight. Here m nuce was a literary pragmatics befitting both the Christian writer and the Christian reader, already consistent with the most rigorous theology of grace (note the echo of 1 Cor 4.7). All that was lacking was a clearly defined place for the biblical text. In the event, Augustine’s conversation with Paulinus had barely begun when Jerome broke in on it with an imperious reminder of the demands of the Studium scripturarum as he conceived them.38 His Letter 53 to PauLiterary Contentions (Stockholm: Almqvist-Wiksell, 1964), 141-3. The works of Ausonius afford many good examples. 35. See the passage quoted above, n. 31. 36. Ep. 27.5 concerning the project of a “life” of Alypius; interpreted in this sense by Courcelle, Les Confessions, 570f. 37. In addition to the passages already signalled, note ep. 24 .1 -2 (Paulinus to Aly­ pius): “Haec est vera caritas, haec perfecta dilectio, quam tibi circa humilitatem nostram inesse docuisti. . . . Accepimus enim per hominem nostrum Iulianum de Cartilagine revertentem litteras tantam nobis sanctitatis tuae lucem adferentes, ut nobis caritatem taam non agnoscere sed recognoscere videremur. . . . Accepimus . . . insigne praecipuum dilectionis et sollicitudinis tuae opus sancti et perfecti in domino Christo viri, fratris nostri Augustini. . . . Itaque fiducia suspiciendae nobis unanimitatis tuae et ad ipsum scribere ausi sumus, dum nos illi per te et de inperitia excusandos et ad caritatem commendandos praesumimus . . .* (cf. 25.5 and 30 to Augustine); 2 7 .2 -3 (Augustine to Paulinus): “Legi enim litteras tuas fluentes lac et mel, praeferentcs simplicitatem cordis tui. . . . Legerunt fratres et gaudent infatigabiliter et ineffabiliter tam excellentibus donis dei, bonis tuis. Quotquot eas legerunt, rapiunt, quia rapiuntur, cum legunt. . . . Haec atque huius modi suavissima et sacratissima spectacula litterae tuae praebent legentibus, litterae iliac, litterae fidei non fictae, litterae spei bonae, litterae purae caritatis.” There is an interesting variation on the theme of the conloquium per litteras in Augustine’s ep. 31 to Paulinus (written in response to ep. 30, which had crossed with his earlier answer), in which Paulinus’ letter-carriers Romanus and Agilis are represented as a human page inscribed with the character of their sender: “Sanctos fratres Romanum et Agilem, aliam epistulam vestram audientem voces atque reddentem et suavissimam partem vestrae prasentiae . . . suscepimus. . . . Aderat etiam, quod nulli chartae adesse potest, tantum in narrantibus gaudium, ut per ipsum etiam vultum oculosque loquentium vos in cordibus eorum scriptos cum ineffabili laetitia legeremus. Hoc quoque amplius erat, quod pagina quaelibet, quantacumque bona scripta contineat, nihil ipsa proficit, quamvis ad profectum explicetur aliorum; hanc autem epis­ tulam vestram, fratemam scilicet animam, sic in eorum conloquio legebamus, ut tanto beatior apparerei nobis, quanto uberius conscripta esset ex vobis. Itaque illam ad eiusdem beatitatis imitationem studiosissime de vobis omnia percontando in nostra corda transcripsimus.” 38. On Jerome’s correspondence with Paulinus, see Pierre Nautin, “Etudes de chro-

V 190

linus, also written in 395, is a programmatic statement of his view of biblical science as a distinct discipline, one not to be attempted by any mere literary amateur. Also containing a summary of the biblical canon, the letter was later prefixed to the Vulgate. In a long and rhetorically elaborate exordium Jerome piles up classical and biblical exempla designed to con­ vince Paulinus and all other readers that they could never hope to enter the maze of Scripture without the help of a trained guide. The message is broadly that of the De utilitate credendi stripped of Augustine's ecclesiology and metaphysics, only this time it is delivered by a self-professed and practising magister scripturarum39 In his Letter 58 to Paulinus, des­ patched in the following year, Jerome completes the picture of the perfect biblical reader-and-writer, both positively by associating his activity with a specifically monastic propositum, and negatively by pointing out the de­ fects of earlier Latin commentators on the Bible. Some scholars have detected a likeness of Augustine in the rogues’ gal­ lery of unqualified biblicists pilloried by Jerome in Letter 53.40 If we as­ sume that Alypius had taken copies of some of his friend’s works to Beth­ lehem in 392, this may even have been part of the author’s intention.41 Jerome’s self-serving polemic certainly ran too close to the documented

nologie hiéronymienne (393-397),” REAug 19 (1973): 213-39, and Yves-Marie Du­ val, “Les premiers rapports de Paulin de Noie avec Jérôme: moine et philosophe? poète ou exégète?” Studi Tardoantichi 7 (1989): 177-216, both now to be revised in the light of Trout, “Date” (cited n. 29 above). 39. The opening sentences of Jerome’s ep. 53 carry an echo of the topics of caritas which may be presumed to have formed part of Paulinus9initial letter (no longer extant): *Frater Ambrosius . . . detulit. . . suavissimas litteras, quae in principio amicitiarum probatae iam et veteris amicitiae praeferebant. Vera enim illa necessitudo est, Christi giurino copulata, quam non utilitas rei familiaris, non praesentia corporum tantum, non subdola et palpans adulatio, sed timor domini et divinarum scripturarum studia conci­ liant.’9In general Jerome shows little interest in the theory of epistolary amicitia, or that of the conloquium litterarum: in this case he simply adapts the Paulinian ideology of communion to suit his own purpose, emphasizing the studia divinarum scripturarum as one of the bases of true fellowship. 40. E.g., A. Kurfess, “Vergils vierte Ekloge bei Hieronymus und Augustinus: ‘Iam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto* in christlicher Deutung,” SEJG 6 (1954): 5 -13, who argues that Jerome’s criticism of the Christian exegesis of Vergil was inspired by a passage in Augustine’s unfinished commentary on Romans of ca. 394. 41. Though cf. Jerome, ep. 105.5 (to Augustine in 403/4): “Hoc dico, non quod in operibus tuis quaedam reprehendenda iam censeam. Neque enim lectioni eorum umquam operam dedi nec horum exemplariorum apud nos copia est praeter Soliloquiorum tuorum libros et quosdam commentariolos in Psalmos.” Of course this may be disin­ genuous, and even if Alypius did not take copies of Augustine’s works to Bethlehem he may have said enough about him (and his relations with Ambrose?) to excite Jerome’s suspicion of a possible competitor.

V 191


anxieties of the priest, soon to be bishop, of Hippo for the latter not to have felt himself implicated, had it come to his attention at this time. And it is very likely that it did come to his attention, for as Jean Doignon observed thirty years ago, there are several traces of Jerome’s Letter 58 in the De doctrina Christiana.*1 Acting on this and other hints, Doignon imagines a contest between Augustine and Jerome over the literary vocation of Paulinus, an aspect of the relations between the two great doctores which had gone unnoticed by commentators concerned primarily with their differ­ ences over biblical exegesis. I now wish to argue that the components of this triangular relationship are more closely connected than even Doignon would seem to allow, that Augustine has in effect left us an apologia contra Hieronymum tacitly dedicated to Paulinus, in which the Paulinian conloquium litterarum is made to serve as the theoretical matrix for a dis­ tinctively Augustinian biblical pedagogy, incorporating as much of the Hieronymian scientia scripturarum as Augustine was able to use. The “apology” as it has reached us is in two parts, the second of which signifi­ cantly modifies or “retracts” the first: it begins with the De doctrina Chris­ tiana of 396/7 and continues in the Confessions.

FIRST PART OF THE “APOLOGY”: DE D O C T R I N A CHRI STI ANA By 396 Augustine was ready to offer solutions to many of the problems raised five years earlier in the De utilitate credendi. Then he could only evoke the ideal of a Christian teacher, now he would lay down guidelines for his activity: Sunt praecepta quaedam . . . (Prol. 1: “There are certain precepts, etc.”).43 The new treatise would have to have a name. He had already written De magistro: to use that title again, or a variant of it, would be to invite confusion between the ultimate and proximate sources of knowledge, an error that he was as keen to discourage now as ever. What was needed was a phrase that would encompass the whole economy of saving instruction, without prejudging relations between the divine and human agencies involved. Augustine’s phrase is doctrina christiana, a char­ acteristically qualified form of the only Latin substantive whose meaning was both broad enough for his purpose and so far uncompromised by 42. Jean Doignon “ ‘Nos bons hommes de foi’: Cyprien, Lactance, Victorin, Optat, Hilaire (Augustin, De doctrina christiana, IV, 40,61),” Latomus 22 (1963): 795-805. For traces of Letter 53 in the same work, see below. 43. Citations of the De doctrina christiana follow the edition of J. Martin, CCSL 32 (1962).

V 192

others’ use.44 The latter consideration was not trivial. Already in his choice of tide Augustine was staking a claim in an area which, if not yet heavily built up, had lately seen a lot of speculative development. Though we are apt to forget it, the De doctrina Christiana was only one of several attempts to establish norms for Christian instruction in late Latin antiquity.45 From the outset, Augustine was defining his position with reference to, and partly against, those adopted by others. The oppositional quality of the De doctrina appears most clearly in the prologue in which the author defends his project against three sorts of objection, the third of which he takes seriously.46 To those who rejoice in a God-given ability to interpret Scripture without the use of such precepts as he is about to impart, Augustine opposes a carefully balanced theory of the instrumentality of human beings in the ministration of God’s Word (Prol. 4—9). The argument is built up of a number of elements: a characteristically Augustinian view of the mediation of transcendent truth, a demonstration of the social basis of language acquisition that anticipates the sign theory of Book 2, a series of biblical exempla showing men of faith deferring to other men, and two a priori assertions—that the human condition would be debased, and charity defeated of its aim, si homines per homines nihil discerent (Prol. 6: “if men learnt nothing through their fellow men”). To whom is the argument addressed? Since none of the proposed identi­ fications of a hostile charismatic party commands general assent, we are free to entertain Rudolf Lorenz’s suggestion that Augustine is rejecting an extreme version of his own illuminism, and that the main purpose of the prologue is therefore apologetic.47 We should then suppose that the author 44. For possible alternatives see Marrou, Saint Augustin, 549-60. Lactantius had used Institutions, Hilary and others made play with eruditio, Jerome was investing heavily in scientia and studium. Augustine himself tends to associate litterae closely with texts and employs litteratura as a synonym for grammatica-, disciplina he reserves for another application. Much of the modern debate (since Marrou) over the sense(s) of doctrina in Augustine’s treatise is vitiated by a lack of sensitivity to the creative, appropriative, and potentially exclusive quality of Christian vocabulary-building in late antiq­ uity. See now Gerald A. Press, “ ‘Doctrina’ in Augustine’s ‘De doctrina Christiana’,” Philosophy and Rhetoric 17 (1984): 98-120. 45. Alongside the names mentioned in the preceding note, we should allow for the efforts of Roman pontiffs from Damasus onwards to fix the standards and conditions of clerical education (partly coinciding with the aims of Ambrose’s De officiis ministrorum), and the later initiatives of monastic educators like John Cassian. “Christian education”, variously named and conceived, was a highly contentious issue in the “Age of Theodosius”. 46. Peter Brunner, “Charismatische und methodische Schriftauslegung nach Au­ gustins Prologzu ‘De doctrina Christiana’,” Kerygma und Dogma 1 (1955): 5 9 -6 9 ,8 5 103. 47. R. Lorenz, “Die Wissenschaftslehre Augustins,” ZKG 67 (1955-56), 29-60,

V 193


of the De doctrina Christiana chose deliberately to stress the outward or social aspect of Christian instruction in order to correct what might other­ wise be perceived by readers erf his works as a pastorally and ecclesiaily disastrous emphasis on its inward or psychological aspects. Plausible as this argument is, it requires us to consider why Augustine should partic­ ularly fear such an objection in 396. While it is easy to see how a text like the De magistro could be construed as hostile to the claims of professed (a fortiori ordained) teachers of the gospel, those claims had been amply endorsed in the De utilitate credendi and other more recent works. More­ over, there is no reason to believe that Augustine’s epistemology had itself changed significantly since the time of the De magistro** Thus when he goes out of his way to assert the validity of a human science of Scripture at the outset of the De doctrina, he cannot be doing so merely for the purpose of a retractatio or internal revision of his published opinions. Rather, he appears to be measuring his own approach to the biblical text against one that set more store than he ever would by the competence of the human interpreter. As we have seen, his properly cautious attempt to establish his authority as a Christian teacher (writer and now bishop) had recently been crossed by Jerome’s propaganda for a “professional” discipline of biblical interpretation. It cannot be coincidental that two of Augustine’s four bibli­ cal examples of human instruction in the prologue to the De doctrina (Paul 213-51 at 237. Lorenz’s insight is confirmed by C. P. Mayer, “ ‘Res per signa.’ Der Grundgedanke des Prologs in Augustins Schrift ‘De doctrina Christiana* und das Prob­ lem seiner Datierung," REAuglO (1974): 100-12. For attempts to identify Augustine’s opponents, see G. Fölliet, “Des moines euchites ä Carthage en 400—401,” Studia Patris­ tic# 2, TU 64 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1957) 386—99; Ulrich Duchrow, “Zum Prolog von Augustins ‘De doctrina Christiana’,” VC 17 (1963): 165-72; and, most recendy, Charles Kannengiesser, “Local Setting and Motivation of ‘De doctrina Christiana,” in Collectanea Augustiniana 2, forthcoming. 48. Contra U. Duchrow, Sprachverständnis und biblisches Hören bei Augustin (Tübingen: Mohr, 1965), 206-13 who interprets what he takes to be a radical discrep­ ancy between the theory of language and learning expressed in De magistro and that of the prologue to the De doctrina Christiana as a sign that the latter text was composed as an afterthought in 426/7. In a similar vein: Graziano Ripanti, “II problema della com* prensione nell’ermeneutica agostiniana,” REAug 20 (1974): 88-99. For a more nuanced view of the development of Augustine’s thought, which nevertheless stresses the formative importance of the years 391-397, see A. D. R. Polman, The Word of God according to St. Augustine (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961), 13-38. Polman ob­ serves that “The . . . interpretation of the Logos as the inner teacher who shows us how to contemplate truth was never rejected by St. Augustine, and made its influence felt throughout his writings on the Word of God as Holy Writ and as proclamation” (30). Likewise Mayer, “ ‘Res per signa,’”: “Nirgends jedoch ist im Prolog ein ernsthaftes Rütteln an den in De magistro niedergelegten Fundamenten seiner Zeichenlehre und der damit engstens verknüpften Sprach theorie festzustellen” (109).


and the Ethiopian eunuch) had appeared in exactly the same cause in Jerome’s first letter to Paulinus.49 Like so much of Augustine’s writing, the treatise De doctrina Christiana is visibly over-determined. As correction the prologue and all that follows in 396/7 is ostensibly directed at wouldbe charismatic or inspired interpreters of the Bible, perhaps even Augustine himself at an earlier stage of his theological development. As defence, it must contend with their arch-opponent: the magister scripturarum Je­ rome. Augustine’s response to the Hieronymian theory erf biblical scientia is not only defensive, however. Even as he domesticates Jerome’s polemic pro magistro, he undercuts the social ambitions of the expert interpreter by assimilating his function to that of the humblest of the literary “profession­ als”, the primary school teacher or magister litterarum (Prol. 9). The same process of reaction, adaptation, and critique can be observed throughout the length of the two and a half books of the De doctrina completed in the 390s. Most of the issues of literary pragmatics raised by a confrontation of the De utilitate credendi with Jerome’s early programme as a biblical writer are there specifically addressed, and dealt with in ways that would be hugely influential.50 Augustine theorizes the scientia scripturarum more comprehensively than Jerome does, but is careful to place it no higher than the third step on a seven-rung ladder to sapientia (2.7.9—11). He accepts the importance of an acquaintance with Greek and Hebrew for the correct understanding of the Latin Bible, but applies to it to a general restraint on all knowledge of human conventions: quantum satis est, “as much as is necessary” (2.26.40; cf. 2.11.16—14.21). Perhaps most striking of all, at least to modem readers, is his subjection of secular literary and philosophi­ cal culture to the principle of usus iustus, “right use” (2.40.60), a criterion at once more generous and more rigorous than any hitherto proposed by Jerome. All these initiatives, it is worth noting, are fitted within the frame­ work of a theory erf the biblical text as consisting of signa divinitus data [sedjper homines nobis indicata, “signs given by God but pointed out to us by men” (2.2.3). From first to last, Augustine’s is a Christian doctrina simultaneously human and divine, historical and transcendent.51 There are two further respects in which the De doctrina Christiana of 3 9 6 -7 promises to correct or enlarge the biblical pragmatics that a Latin


49. Prol. 6 -7 ; Jerome, ep. 53.2, 5. 50. My awareness of “Hieronymian” elements in the De doctrina Christiana owes much to a fine paper by Christoph Schaublin which inaugurated the conference on “Augustine’s ‘De doctrina Christiana’: A Classic of Western Culture” held at the Univer­ sity of Notre Dame in April 1991. 51. Cf. Meyer, “ ‘Res per signa,’ ” 111.

V 195


reader like Paulinus could have learnt from Jerome. First, it offers to shift the ethical conditions of acceptable or “successful” exegesis from the realm of askesis to that of caritas. Secondly, it announces precepts for the tractatio scripturarum that would govern the enunciation of biblical meanings by human interpreters (modus proferendi) as well as their discovery (modus inveniendi). Neither of these promises is kept. Although Book 1 contains prolonged and often difficult discussion of the rule (or rules) of charity, it does not make good the providential connection between caritas and doctrina asserted in the prologue. And the first draft of the treatise breaks off before the author reaches the part devoted explicitly to the modus proferendi. Some time in 397, it seems, Augustine turned aside from the De doctrina christiana to concentrate on other compositions.52 The work we know under that name would only be completed thirty years later, as part of the tidying-up operation represented by his Retractationes. This does not mean, however, that his contemporaries were obliged to wait three decades for the remainder of his apologia contra Hieronymum de scripturis. For within a short space they had this (and much else besides) in the form of the next extant work listed in the Retractationes: the so-called Libri confessionum. SECOND PART OF THE “APOLOGY”: CONFESSIONES Much of the controversy surrounding the De doctrina christiana has been created by scholars who treat the work as an organic whole, even though they know perfectly well that its two parts were composed respectively near the beginning and at the very end of the ecclesiastical career of a man who never stopped thinking about what he was doing, or seeking words in which to explain himself to others. Not content to wonder at the per­ sistence of a writer who went back to finish a manuscript half a lifetime after putting it away, they want to believe that he completed it just as he would have done had he not been “interrupted”. The inconsequence is particularly grave with regard to Book 4, since there are no grounds for 52. See Josef Martin’s introduction to his edition in CCSL 32, vii-xix, and his “Ab­ fassung, Veröffentlichung und Überlieferung von Augustins Schrift ‘De doctrina Chris­ tiana,” Traditio 18 (1962): 6 9 -87, with Augustine, retr. 2.4 and Alberto Pincherle, “Sulla composizione del ‘De doctrina christiana’ di S. Agostino,” in Storiografia e storia: Studi in onore di E.D. Theseider (Rome: Bulzoni, 1974), 2,541—59. The break between the unfinished treatise of 396/7 and its later continuation occurs at 3.25.35/36. The evidence of the early fifth-century Codex Petersburg Q.v. 1.3, containing doctr. chr. Prol.— 3.25.35 and other early works of Augustine, is reassessed in a paper by Kenneth Steinhäuser in the proceedings of the Notre Dame De doctrina christiama conference (University of Notre Dame Press, forthcoming).


assuming that Augustine’s statements on Christian rhetoric c a A ll bear any close relation to the ideas he had when he began the treatise in 396. In fact, as even Marrou has to admit, the last book of the De doctrina is manifestly more “ecclesiastical” than the others, in the sense that it is directed to the teaching (especially preaching) needs of the clergy.53 By contrast, Books 1 -2 avoid any reference to the institutional conditions of Christian teaching, and never once evoke the situation erf the priest or bishop preaching ad populum. Augustine’s imagined reader erf ca.396 is simply that: a Christian reader confronting the biblical text. This reader, after learning certain rules, is supposed capable of instructing others in turn; whether by writing or speaking is not specified. Interestingly enough, although Augustine begins the prologue with a plurality of studiosi scripturarum in view, by the end of it he has narrowed his attention to a single lector. Thus in the taxonomy of Christian utterance subsequently provided in Book 4, the De doctrina itself approaches most nearly the form of a collocutio cum aliquo uno sive cum pluribus, a conversation with some one or a few.54 And yet in 397 this unfinished treatise would have counted as one of the least conversational of all Augustine’s works, a heroic but failed attempt by a master of dialogue to commit himself to a monologic mode of instruc­ tion: Sunt praecepta quae dam. . .. For the first time ever Augustine seems to have begun a major work without an interlocutor, without a dedicatee, without even so much as an alter ego. In the continuing absence of Jerome, the man who (in Peter Brown’s words) “would never be alone” suddenly found he had no-one to talk to. The strain on him is apparent from the start. Having announced the two parts of his subject at the beginning of 53. Saint Augustin, 507 and 638 n .l. Similarly Mark D. Jordan, “Words and Ward: Incarnation and Signification in Augustine’s ‘De doctrina Christiana’,” AugStud 11 (1980): 177-196, notes that “even without the historical evidence, one would notice a shift of stance near the end of Book III which makes the close of the work more insistently pastoral and anti-speculative,” yet still holds that “it is appropriate . . . to take from the early and late parts of the work equally” (180). While 1 agree that any general study of Augustine’s thought should take equal account of both parts of this work, it seems to me important not to attribute to Augustine in 397 ideas that he cannot be shown to have entertained until later. 54. 4.10.25: “Et hoc quidem non solum in conlocutionibus, sive fiant cum aliquo uno, sive cum pluribus, verum etiam et multo magis in populis, quando sermo promitur, ut intellegamur instandum est, quia in conlocutionibus est cuique interrogandi potestas; ubi autem omnes tacent, ut audiatur unus, et in eum intenta ora convertunt, ibi ut requirat quisque, quod non intellexerit, nec moris est nec decoris.” Cf. 4.9.23,18.37; serm. 23.8.8 (PL 38.158): “lam multos vestrum intellexisse non dubito. Non video, sed ex collocutione, quia loquimini ad alterutrum, sentio eos qui intellexerunt, velle exponere iis qui nondum intellexerunt” (cited by Marrou, Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique, 506 n.5).

V 197


Book 1, he proceeds to a division: De inveniendo prius, de proferendo postea disseremus. Magnum opus et arduum . . . (“We shall first discuss the discovery [of scriptural meanings], then the manner of their enuncia­ tion. A great and difficult task . . .”). The reminiscence of the Orator underlines the difference between the leisurely Ciceronian dialogues of Cassiciacum and the heavy business of the present monologue. Magnum opus omnino et arduum, Brutey conamur, Cicero had written, sed nihil difficile am anti. . . (“A great and difficult task it is that we attempt, Brutus, but nothing is difficult for one who loves his friend as 1 do you . . .”). Ostensibly the expression of a friendship, the Orator is pre­ sented as a natural continuation of private conversations between Cicero and Brutus, conversations duly commemorated in the next sentence of the treatise.55 This fiction was one that Augustine had earlier used to great advantage, but was now trying to do without. Not surprisingly, when the task of laying down precepts for the interpretation of Scripture finally proved too much for him, he transferred the matter in hand to a literary conversation already in progress between himself, his God, and his spiritu­ al friends in Christ. In this respect as in others, the Confessions is the first and aptest sequel to the unfinished De doctrina Christiana of 397.56 55. Orator 9.33-34: “Magnum opus omnino ct arduum, Brute, conamur; sed nihil difficile amanti puto. Amo autem et semper amavi ingenium, studia, mores tuos. Incendor porro cotidie magis non desiderio solum quo quidem conficior, congressus nostros, consuetudinem victus, doctissimos sermones requirens tuos, sed etiam admirabili fama virtutum incredibilium. . . . Iam quantum illud est quod in maximis occupationibus nunquam intermittis studia doctrinae, semper aut ipse scribis aliquid aut me vocas ad scribendum.” 56. See Alberto Pincherle, “S. Agostino: tra il ‘De doctrina Christiana' et le ‘Confes­ sioni’,”, Archeologia classica 16-17 (1973-74): 555-74. The author concludes that the Confessions “si rivela come il proseguimento, o meglio l'attuazione del programma, di quello rimasto interrotto [i.e. in doctr. chr.]n (574). In a related article, “Intorno alla genesi delle ‘Confessioni’,” AugStud 5 (1974): 167-176, Pincherle implicates Paulinus of Nola in the commissioning of the De diversis quaestionibus ad Simplicianum and sketches an Italian background for the composition of the Confessions. Note especially his description of Augustine’s position in 397 as men like Paulinus and Simplicianus, alarmed by the direction of his new thinking on grace and free will, broke off their correspondence with him: “Agostino dovette sentir si abbandanato, se non proprio tradito, da coloro sulla cui amicizia o benevolenza contava. E, per di più, senza spie* gazioni, senza avviare quella franca discussione che, tra amici—e sopratutta nell’am­ icizia cristiana— permette di esprimersi con chiarezza, e magari durezza, senza che la diversità dei pareri rompa il vincolo di affetto e fiducia, o, tanto meno, violi la carità.” This theory of the charitable conference, though clearly Augustinian, anticipates the Confessions itself. Courcelle, Les ‘Confessions9, 565-68, ascribes Paulinus’ silence to­ wards Augustine at this time to doubts about the validity of his episcopal ordination. Whatever its cause or causes, the temporary rupture of relations between the two men coincides closely with Augustine special initiative in literary conversation.

V 198

Already in the De utilitate credendi Augustine had experimented with autobiographical narration as a means of “opening the way” to a study of Scripture within the Catholic communion.57 Now, perhaps encouraged by Paulinus’ request for a Life of Alypius, certainly eager to exploit the new opportunities for charitable converse that his correspondence had indi­ cated, he recast his scriptural propaedeutic in the form of a narrative of praise delivered in the presence of God and his fellow Christians, with a particular eye to those whom he calls the “spiritual ones” (spiritales). The Confessions dramatizes the substance of the first or unfinished De doctrina Christiana, recuperates elements of the author’s epistemology that had there been deliberately suppressed, and supplies a temporary but enduring substitute for the missing chapters on the modus proferendi. Since a full comparison of the two works is beyond the scope of this article, I shall concentrate on the last point, which happens to be the most significant from the point of view of literary pragmatics. CONFERENCE AND CONFESSION Paulinus’ correspondence had reminded Augustine of the delights of epis­ tolary conversation and suggested to him a way of turning them to religious account. It had also, as a result of Jerome’s interference, made him acutely aware of the awkwardness of maintaining simultaneously a belief in the dependence of human insight on divine illumination and a public practice of scriptural exegesis. This difficulty, which his developing notions of di­ vine grace could only exacerbate, was to exercise Augustine for the rest of his life. The immediate challenge, deferred at some cost in the De doctrina Christiana, was to locate the activity of biblical interpretation within the literary-colloquial mode. Biblical theology, in the strict sense of “talking about God on the basis of his word in Scripture”, had to be made part of a human dialogue conducted in writing. Thus formulated, the task confront­ ing Augustine posed both a danger and a problem. The danger was that the dialogue would become merely human, mere chatter among men; this hazard he averts in the Confessions by the bold expedient of bringing God himself into the conversation.58 The problem was that the message of a 57. Vtil. cred. 8.20: “His igitur constitutis . . . edam tibi, ut possum, cuiusmodi viam usus fuerim, cum eo animo quaererem veram religionem, quo nunc exposui esse quaerendum.” The narrative begins with Augustine’s departure for Italy. 58. The dynamics of this conversation has been expounded with admirable subtlety by Reinhart Herzog, “ ‘Non in sua voce’: Augustins Gespräch mit Gott in den ‘Confessiones’— Voraussetzungen und Folgen,” in Das Gespräch, ed. Karlheinz Stierle and Rainer Warning, Poetik und Hermeneutik 11 (Munich: Fink, 1984), 213—250. On his analysis, Books 1—8 of the Confessions enact the gradual fulfilment of the conditions

V 199


voiceless and at times barely intelligible text, the Bible in a Latin codex, had somehow to be inserted into the current discourse of late antique men and women: it is the problem of the modus inveniendi et proferendi, in reality a single complex procedure rather than two separate (or separable) ones. The standard forms of biblical commentary, as Augustine who had lately begun to practise them knew only too well, represented at best a partial solution. A new literary pragmatics was required, for which recent experi­ ments in Latin biblical poetry (Juvencus, Proba, Paulinus) and epistolography (Jerome, Paulinus) offered precedents but no clear directions.59 The Confessions shows what this new Christian literary pragmatics might be like. For the first seven of the ten books which he wrote about himself, Au­ gustine represents reading and conversation either as distinct and poten­ tially opposed activities, or as related forms of time-wasting. Learning to read and write might be useful; reading and reciting pagan poetry was dangerous self-indulgence (1.12.19ff). When Monica asks the local bish­ op to speak with her son (3.12.21: ut dignaretur mecum conloqui), he assures her that he will find his own way by reading (ipse legendo reperiet). The society of the friends with whom Augustine is wont to talk, laugh and read (4.8.13: conloqui et conridere, simul legere libros) is a snare. He reads Cicero, Aristotle and other difficult pagan texts on his own (4.16.28—31: solus, per me ipsum, nullo hominum tradenti, nullo adminiculo humani magisterii) and has no trouble undertanding them, but does less well with the Bible. The long awaited conversation with Faustus the Manichee is a disappointment: the two men end up studying classical authors together for a dialogue between Augustine and God (one of which is the exclusion of other, human partners-in-conversation), a dialogue which properly begins in the garden in Milan: “Die Szene im Garten von Mailand wird in der Tat bis zum Schluß der Confes­ siones arretiert: Augustin vor der Schrift spricht mit Gott” (233). No sooner has the dialogue begun, than it expands to include other human interlocutors: “Das Gespräch mit G o t t . . . erweitert sich in den Confessiones bereits bei seiner ersten Realisierung zum zwischenmenschlichen Gespräch” (236, italics in the original); see also the dia­ gram, 240. Herzog notes the relevance of the De doctrina Christiana for the develop­ ments he oudines, especially with regard to Augustine’s “ ‘caritas’-Ästhetik’ ”, but leaves the tracing of connections for later study. In its use of a terminology of “speech acts”— partly suggested, in this case, by Eugene Vince’s work on the Confessions—Herzog’s article is an impressive demonstration of what I would call a literary-pragmatic ap­ proach to early Christian texts. See now Eugene Vance, Mervelous Signals: Poetics and Sign Theory in the Middle Ages (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 1-50, esp. 28f. on the Confessions “as a sequence not only of events, but of discursive acts which carry us beyond the narrative to the philosophical, and beyond the philosophical to the exegetical.” 59. Cf. Herzog, “ ‘Non in sua voce’,” 241.

V 200

(5.6.10-13). Even Ambrose, reading silently apart, is unavailable for the talk that Augustine now so urgently desires to have (6.3.3). By this stage of the narrative, the reader of the Confessions already has a strong sense of the kind of talk that would be. It is represented in Au­ gustine’s text by a word that appears with remarkable frequency in Books 4—7, the verb conferre. In his use of it, which largely exploits the range of meanings in the classical lexicon, this compound typically signifies one or more of the following: (1) to converse or confer, (2) to share or place something in common, (3) to compare ideas, opinions or impressions. In most instances in the Confessions it is applied in such a way as to empha­ size the social and communicative implications of the cow-prefix. Au­ gustine was too good a grammarian to play idly with morphemes; as Kenneth Burke has shown, prefixes and their corresponding prepositions often mass with coercive force in the Confessions.60 In this case the reiter­ ated conferre inclines the reader surely if insensibly to accommodate the activity erf conloqui (“to converse”), for which it is a common synonym, to that of legere (“to read”), with which it is regularly associated in the text. Three examples will serve to illustrate this process:61 1. As a student in Carthage, Augustine had read Aristotle’s Categories. Here are his reflections on the experience: 4.16.28: Et quid mihi proderat, quod annos natus ferme viginti, cum in manus meas venissent Aristotelica quadam, quas appellant decem categorias . . . legi eas solus et mtellexi? Quas cum contulissem cum eis, qui se dicebant vix eas magistris eruditissimis non loquentibus tantum, scd multa in pulvere depinguentibus intellexisse, nihil inde aliud mihi dicere potuerunt, quam ego solus apud me ipsum legens cognoveram. [And what did it profit me that, being scarce twenty years old, the book of Aristode, called the Ten Categories, fell into my hands, and I read and under­ stood it without a teacher? For when afterwards I conferred about them with others they professed that they had much to do to understand them, though they had been instructed therein by most learned masters, and that not by lec­ tures only but by means of many delineations drawn in the sand; yet could they not, for all that, tell me anything about the matter, which I myself had not learned, by reading them alone.]

60. Kenneth Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology (Berkeley: Univer­ sity of California Press, 1970), 43-171. 61. Translations are from the version by Sir Tobie Mathew (London, 1620), adapted as necessary. Where comparison with a more modem English translation can help illustrate a feature of the Latin original, I refer to the rendering by R. S. Pine-Coffin (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961).

V 201


Two solitudes are depicted. The first is that of the lone reader of Aristotle, contrasted with the company of master and disciple(s) in a teaching scene of “classical” type. The second is that of the would-be participant in a dialogue, exposed by the inability of his interlocutors to bring anything to the interpretation of a text that he has not already discovered for himself. The two solitudes are generalized in Augustine’s subsequent assertion that he had likewise read and understood by himself the whole cycle of liberal arts texts (4.16.30: omnes libros artium, quas liberates vocant. . . per me ipsum legi et intellexi, sine magna difficultate nullo hominum tradente intellexi) and found few men able to follow him when he expounded them (cum eis [sc. studiosis et ingeniosis] eadem conabar exponere . . . erat ille excellentissimus in eis, qui me exponentem non tardius sequeretur). These statements acquire their full significance in conjunction with his remarks on education in the prologue to the De doctrina Christiana. There Au­ gustine had presented human intercourse as the normal prerequisite for any science, specifying the relation between teacher and pupil, and had argued for the role of the human teacher in Christian instruction.62 Here he presents himself as a brilliant autodidact, unable to engage in any produc­ tive discussion with his fellow men, in order to argue for a Christian “conversion” of secular science according to the principle of usus iustus outlined in De doctrina 2.40.60. The object of his scorn in this chapter of the Confessions is neither Aristotle nor students less talented than himself, but his own motives as a reader and interpreter (discussant and/or exposi­ tor). His former attempts at communication concerning secular literary and philosophical texts had failed because he was not aiming at their right use (non ad usum sed ad pemiciem, mihi bona res non utenti bene). Where­ as Book 2 of the De doctrina christiana concentrates on the theory of the Christian use of pagan texts in relation to their contents, the Confessions strives for a vision of its practice in relation to the human parties involved (eas conferre cum eis, eadem exponere eis ). 2. For nine long years Augustine had looked forward to meeting Faustus the Manichee, in conversation with whom (5.6.10: conlatoque conloquio) 62. The argument is already well developed in the vtil. cred., e.g. at 7.17: “Cum legerem, per me ipse cognovi, itane est? Nulla inbutus poetica disciplina Terentianum Maurum sine magistro adtingere non auderes,—Asper, Comutus, Donarus et alii innumerabiles requiruntur, ut quilibet poeta possit intellegi, cuius carmina et theatri plausus videntur captare — tu in eos libros, qui quoqo modo se habeant, sancti tamen divinarumque rerum pleni prope totius generis humani confessione diffamantur, sine duce inruis et de his sine praeceptore audes ferre sententiam. . . . ” The passage evoking the ideal teacher erf Scripture, quoted n. 9 above, follows.



he hoped to find solutions to the difficulties he was experiencing with the sect’s doctrines. On finally hearing him speak, he was charmed by his eloquence. As described in the Confessions, Faustus’ performance is com­ parable to that of the show-orators of the Second Sophistic, men like his countryman Apuleius who had held earlier audiences of educated Africans spellbound with their verbal artifice. The mature Augustine takes him as a pretext for separating the claims of truth from those of eloquence, verbal form from doctrinal content, the human minister from the divine source. He also uses him to dramatize the problem of the “conference” evoked in connection with his earlier readings of the poets and philosophers. The young Augustine, we are told, was not prepared just to listen to Faustus and applaud him with the rest: 5.6.11: [MJoleste habebam, quod in coetu audientium non sinerer ingerere illi et partiri cum eo curas quaestionum mearum conferendo familiariter et accipiendo ac reddendo sermonem. [I was nothing well content that, in the throng of them that listened to him, I might not be suffered to urge him and to impart to him the burden of some questions that I had a mind to ask, by familar converse and the giving and taking of discussion.]

These quaestiones related to things he had read. There were certain Manichaean texts he wished to discuss, passages he had marked as conflicting with other authorities: 5.7.12: Libri quippe eorum pleni sunt longissimis fabulis de caelo et sideribus et sole et luna: quae mihi eum, quod utique cupiebam, conlatis numerorum rationibus, quas alibi ego legeram, utrum potius ita essent, ut Manichaei libris continebantur, an certe vel par etiam inde ratio redderetur, subtiliter ex­ plica re posse iam non arbitrabar. [For their books are full of lengthy fables, of the heaven, of the stars, of the sun and moon; and while I greatly desired to discuss with him the reasons of these things, which I had read elsewhere (Pine-Coffin: I badly wanted Faustus to compare these with the mathematical calculations which I had studied in other books), and to find out if the things delivered about them in the Manichaean books were true or at least possible, I did not now think that he would be able to explain them with any true knowledge.]

Although the modem translation of conlatis . . . rationibus is strictly pref­ erable to Mathew’s, the context allows room for both, and more besides. Augustine’s desired conversation or conference (conlatio, sense 1) would include a comparison of ideas (conlatio, sense 3) based on a sharing or mise-en-commun (conlatio, sense 2) of relevant texts, extracted or summa­

V 203


rized. Unfortunately, Faustus turns out not to be the conference-partner he is looking for, and he is once again confined to an unequal dialogue con­ cerning texts he has already mastered: 5.7.13: Refracto itaque studio, quod intenderam in Manichaei litteras . . . coepi cum eo pro studio eius agere vitam, quo ipse flagrabat in eas litteras, quas tunc iam rhetor Carthaginis adulescentes docebam, et legere cum eo sive quae ille audita desideraret sive quae ipse tali ingenio apta existimarem. [And so, the pursuit whereby I was bent towards that learning of the Manichees being checked, I began at his request to pass some time with him in that study after which he thirsted. This was the study of letters, which I, being then Master of Rhetoric at Carthage, did teach my scholars; and I read with him either those books which he himself desired to hear, or those which I thought most fit for such a kind of wit as his.]

3. Incompetence or unwillingness to ventilate their own texts is not the only failing for which Manichaean teachers are castigated in the Confes­ sions. Their pragmatics of the biblical text is also sharply criticized. Com­ pelled by their philosophy to discount large portions of the scriptures held canonical by the Catholic Church, they justified themselves by claiming that the excluded matter had been interpolated by judaizing heretics. In contending with this view, and finally rejecting it as untenable, Augustine was led into considerations of biblical philology: 5.11.21: Deinde quae illi in scripturis tuis reprehenderant defendi posse non existimabam, sed aliquando sane cupiebam cum aliquo iliorum librorum doctissimo conferre singula et experiri, quid inde sentiret. . . . Et inbecilla mihi responsio videbatur istorum . . . cum dicerent scripturas novi testamenti falsatas fuisse a nescio quibus . . . atque ipsi incorrupta exemplaria nulla proferrent. [Besides I thought that those things which the Manichees reprehended in the Scriptures could not be defended; but yet I sometimes desired to examine them one by one with some man most learned in those books, and thereupon to see what he held. And 1 thought the answer of the Manichees was weak, for they would say that the Scriptures of the New Testament were falsified by I know not whom, but themselves did yet produce no copies thereof which were uncorrupted.]

This is as close as Augustine comes in the Confessions to using the verb conferre in the technical sense (4) of “collating” manuscripts.63 Even with­ out such codicological precision, the passage is important testimony to the 63. TLL, s.v. “confero”, I. B. b (citing, inter alia, Jerome, and Augustine, cresc. 1.34.40); cf. “collatio”, 1. B. 1. a.


204 role played by the Manichees in shaping his view of the biblical text qua text, that is, as a set of verbal signs transmitted by writing, subject to the usual hazards of literary tradition in a manuscript culture. Interestingly enough, Augustine’s dissatisfaction with the Manichaean view of the text and desire to confer with “some man most learned in those books n (aliquo illorum librorum doctissimo) are recorded in the Confessions at a point just before the announcement of his departure from Rome in 384. Their dramatic date thus coincides exactly with the launching in the same city of Jerome’s career as a biblical philologist, an event closely associated with his collation (in the technical sense) of Greek and Latin manuscripts of the New Testament. Augustine’s experience as a Manichee undoubtedly helped make him receptive to Jerome’s insistence on the philological aspect of the studtum scripturarum, at the same time ensuring that he would not follow him all the way in his editorial revisionism.64 In 397, as in 391, Jerome would have been a natural choice as “man most learned in those books”. But in 384 Augustine was bound for Milan, where (always accord­ ing to his own account) he was destined to profit from the preaching of another contender for that title, though without ever obtaining the private conference he craved: “and so I came to Milan, to bishop Ambrose” (5.13.23: et veni Mediolanium ad Ambrosium episcopum). These examples from Books 4 -5 by no means exhaust the implications of the verb conferre as used in the Confessions,65 They may suffice, how­ ever, to establish the importance of conlatio as a multivalent literarypragmatic concept and to justify our considering other scenes and episodes—including some that are described without recourse to the verb conferre itself—in the light of the “conference” paradigm. They may even warrant our taking a general, albeit partial, view of the Confessions as the record of a series of conlationes conducing to a literary-interpretative transaction, or “text act”, of potentially definitive type. As we should 64. For a dear statement of Augustine’s position, see Gerhard Strauss, Schriftgebrauch, Schriftauslegung und Schriftbetveis bei Augustin (Tubingen: Mohr, 1959), esp. 44—73. 65. Note also 6.11.19: “Rcreant omnia et dimittamus haec vana et inania: conferamus nos ad solam inquisitionem veritatis. . . . Quid cunctamur igitur relicta spe saeculi conferre nos totos ad quaerendum deum et vitam beatam?”; 6.14.24: “Et multi amici agitaveramus animo et conloquentes ac detestantes turbulentas humanae vitae molcstias paene iam firmaveramus remoti a turbis otiose vivere, id otium sic moliti, ut, si quid habere possemus, conferremus in medium unamque rem familiarem conflaremus ex omnibus . . 6.16.26: “Nec considerabam miser, ex qua vena mihi manaret, quod ista ipsa foeda tamen cum amicis dulciter conferebam nec esse sine amicis poteram beatus etiam secundum sensu, quem tunc habebam quantalibet affluentia carnalium voluptatum.”

V 205


expect in a work that resumes so much erf the programme of the abandoned De doctrina Christiana, the culminating conference of the Confessions has the Bible as its focus. Herein lies the main achievement of the work as the second instalment of a hypothetical apologia contra Hieronymum de scripturis ad Paulinum. By persistently associating human conversation with various kinds of comparison or collation involving texts, and gradu­ ally narrowing the range of texts considered to the Bible, Augustine con­ trives, first, to identify Christian discourse with attention to the biblical text and, secondly, to present the literary-colloquial mode as an appropri­ ate vehicle of biblical exegesis. The autobiographical climax of Augustine’s Collations is reached in the threefold conversion-narrative of Book 8. Reading and conversation play decisive roles in the stories of Marius Victorinus and of the two imperial officials at Trier, but the privilege of conversion by biblical “conference” is reserved for Augustine and his life-long partner in God-talk, Alypius. The word conferre does not appear in the surface text of the famous garden scene. Instead, as in the preceding description of Ponticianus’s visit, the narrator uses the verb sedere (“to sit”) in the first person plural to create the context for a shared activity of reading. In his distress, we are told, Au­ gustine laid down the copy of Paul’s Epistles that was to have been their study that day, got up from the place where he and Alypius were sitting together (ubi sedebamus), and prostrated himself under a fig tree some distance away (8.12.28). It is while he is lying there crying that he hears the childlike voice summoning him back to his reading: tolle lege, tolle lege (“take it up and read, take it up and read”). The singular imperative (lege not legite) can only apply to one reader, but since it is delivered more than once (crebro) by an invisible speaker, it could in principle be addressed to more than one person. We are not told whether Alypius heard the voice; the sequel suggests that he did, but was less quick than Augustine to interpret it, otherwise he would have been the first to pick up the book. Augustine, returning to stand or sit again beside his friend, opens the codex at random and reads in silence from Romans (legi in silentio). This is not a conversation, at least not between men, nor yet a conference.66 Even now, in the close company of Alypius his fellow reader, Augustine (like Ambrose in the earlier scene) reads alone. The silence continues after he has finished reading and as Alypius reads in turn. The two men communicate over the text by facial expression and gesture: 66. Cf. Joseph Anthony Mazzeo, “St. Augustine’s Rhetoric of Silence, ” Journal of the History of Ideas 23 (1962): 175-97, esp. 189-92.

V 206 8.12.30: Turn interiecto aut digito aut nescio quo alio signo codicem clausi et tranquillo iam vultu indicavi Alypio. At ille quid in se ageretur— quod ego nesciebam— sic indicavit. Petit videre quid legissem: ostendi, et adtendit etiam ultra quam ego legeram. Et ignorabam quid sequeretur. Sequebatur vero: infirmum autem in fide recipite. Quod ille ad se rettulit mihique aperuit. [Then shutting the book, and putting my finger or some other mark between the leaves, I showed it to Alypius, my countenance now calm. And he also, in like manner, showed me what was in his heart, of which 1 knew nothing. He desired to see what I had read: 1 showed him, and he read on further than I had done. For I was ignorant of what followed, which was this: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye” (Rom. 14:1). And this he applied to himself, as he then revealed to me.]

Of course if one translates the verbs indicare, petere, ostendere and aperire as “to declare”, “to ask”, “to tell” and “to explain”, as many good transla­ tors have, the silence is immediately broken. Augustine, however, seems to have gone out of his way to use deictic terms which do not require any speech to take place. The scene is certainly more dramatically powerful, as well as more theologically significant, if no articulate sound is heard in the garden after the (divine) utterance from the neighbouring house.67 The subsequent “conversation” with Monica can also be seen as occurring in conditions of wordless rapture: Inde ad matrem ingredimur. Indicamus, gaudet (“Thence we went in to my mother. We indicated to her [what had happened], she rejoiced.”). Only then, and with heavy emphasis, does Augustine introduce a verb that necessarily implies speech: Narramus, quemadmodum gestum sit (“We related how it had happened”). If this interpretation is accepted, the conversion of Augustine and Alypius ap­ pears as an example of what could be called the literary conference degré zéro, a text act involving two people who confer without speaking. Para­ doxically but predictably, this minimal form of the literary conference is for Augustine also its highest form, unattainable without supernatural help. As shared human experience it is surpassed, in this life, only by such moments of textless communion as the vision of Ostia described in Book 9. The deixis of the conversion-scene may be regarded as an epitome of the autobiographical part of the Confessions, Books 1—10 on the author’s 67. Cf. Pierre Courcelle, Recherches sur les 'Confessions’ de saint Augustin, 2nd ed. (Paris: DeBoccard, 1968), 306—10, for whom the voice saying “tolle, lege” is an internal voice heard only by Augustine. Whether this point is granted or not, Courcelle is surely right that “11 s’agit matériellement d’une scene muette, d’une histoire sans paroles [humaines]” (307).

V 207


reckoning.68 Augustine’s narration is self-indication. Indicabo me (UI will show myself", lit. “I will point myself out”, with die possible further sense of “I will accuse myself”), he says repeatedly at the beginning of Book 10, in a passage which is of the utmost importance for an understanding of his purpose in the work as a whole (10.1.1-4.6). VWc recall that in the De doctrma Christiana Augustine had defined the contents of the Bible as “signs given by God but pointed out to us by men" (signa dwmitus data [sed] per homines nobis indicata). Now he is intent on reading his own life as a divinely inspired narrative.69 By revealing himself, not merely as he once was but also as he now is, he hopes to induce in his readers a response comparable to Monica’s at the end of Book 8: joy and praise of God, mingled with holy terror. As in the garden, so in the Confessions as a literary work, the act of self-indication is achieved through the medium of the Bible. The “character” Augustine reveals himself to Alypius and Mon­ ica by reading himself into (and out of) a passage in Romans in a manner suggested to him by the Vita Antonii; the “author” Augustine reveals himself to his fellow human beings by writing himself into (and out of) a biblical narrative of loss and redemption artfully reconstituted from the Gospels and the Psalms. In neither case are the moment and means erf discovering-himself easily distinguishable from the moment and means of discovering-himself-to-others, or from the moment and means of discovering-God-for-himself-and-so-to-others. The complex dynamics of this multiple process of discovery and indication is the main subject of Book 10, in which Augustine considers his own memory as the ground of his knowledge both of himself and (in an infinitely mysterious way) erfhis God, and as the source erf all his utterances. Although the biblical text itself is conspicuously absent from the discussion, the return of two key terms from the De doctrina Christiana, namely invenire (“to find, discover”) and proferre (“to utter”),70 reminds us that these reflections on discovery and 68. Retr. 2.6.1 (ed. A. Mutzenbecher, CCSL 57 [1984]): “ . . . A primo usque ad decimum de me scripti sunt, in tribus ceteris de scripturis sanctis, ab eo quod scriptum est: In principio fecit deus caelum et terram. . . .* 69. The same point is made somewhat differently by Ralph Flores, “Reading and Speech in St. Augustine’s ‘Confessions,’ ” AugStud 6 (1975): 1 - 1 3 .1 agree with Flores that Books 1 -9 provide “a frame within which the events of the narrative itself can be viewed as a discovery of a kind of textuality or reading,” but am at a loss to understand what he considers that textuality to be. 70. 10.14.22: “Sed ecce de memoria profero, cum dico quattuor esse perturbadones animi . . . et quidquid de his disputare potuero . . . , ibi invenio quid dicam atque inde profero, nec tamen ulla earum perturbanone perturbor, cum eas reminiscendo conmemoro; et antequam recolerentur a me et retractarentur, ibi erant. . . . Forte ergo sicut de ventre cibus ruminando, sic ista de memoria recordando proferuntur. . . . Quis enim

V 208

declaration are the sequel to conferences textual (Book 8) as well as non­ textual (Book 9), and prepares us for the transition from the ten books Augustine wrote about himself to the three he wrote about the Bible. Any dating of individual books of the Confessions is necessarily speculative, but it is tempting to postulate a link between the abandonment of the De doctrina christiana, with its anxious affirmation of the role of the human teacher, and the extraordinarily arduous Book 10 de memoriay with its unqualified reassertion of the rights of the veritas docens, the divine truth that alone truly teaches.71 Book 11 erf the Confessions resumes the unfinished business of the “apologia contra Hieronymum de scripturis”, inserting the act erf biblical interpretation into the conference paradigm established in Books 1—9 (10). The narrative of Augustine’s life, we are now given to believe, has delayed a more important enterprise: 11.2.2: Quando autem sufficio lingua calami enuntiare omnia hortamenta tua et omnes tcrrores tuos et consolationes et gubemationes, quibus me perduxisti praedicare verbum et sacramentum tuum dispensare populo tuo} Et si sufficio haec enuntiare ex ordine, caro mihi valent sdllae tempo rum. Et olim inardesco meditan in lege tua et in ea tibi confiteri sdentiam et inperitiam meam. . . . [But when shall 1 be able with this tongue of my pen to declare all thine ex­ hortations and comforts and particular providences, whereby thou hast drawn me to preach thy word and to dispense thy sacrament to thy people? And although 1 should be able to dedare these things in order, yet the very moments or drops of time are predous unto me; and for a long time have 1 been fired with a desire to “meditate in thy law”, and therein to confess to thee both my knowledge and my ignorance. . . .]

Whatever sense we attach to “confessing” in Augustine’s previous use of the verb, there is no denying the novelty of his idea of a confessio scientiae [sc. scripturarum], of a voluntary exposure of his limited expertise as an interpreter of the Bible. If explanation be needed for the plural confessiones talia volens loqueretur, si quotiens tristitiam metumve nominamus, totiens maerere vel timere cogeremur? Et tamen non ea loqueremur, nisi in memoria nostra non tantum sonos . . . sed etiam rerum ipsarum notiones inveniremus. . . . ” These reflections lead naturally to others concerning the problems of finding (invenire) and uttering (confiteri, praedicare) God/the Truth. 71. Conf. 10.65.40. Note also 10. 6.10, on man’s “conversation” with the natural world and the internal “conference” on which its sense depends: “Nonne omnibus, quibus integer sensus est, apparet haec spedes? Cur non omnibus eadem lo­ quitur? . . . immo vero omnibus loquitur, sed illi intelligunt, qui eius vocem acceptam foris intus cum veritate conferunt. ”

V 209


of the title, the simplest may be that this “professional” confession—which is not a confession at all in any sense current at the time—was grafted on to a work originally planned without it. To say this is not to call in question the much-debated “unity” of the Confessions, merely to remark another instance of Augustine’s habit of allowing his various, often simultaneous literary projects to cross and combine with one another. It is easy enough to find warrants for the developments of Books 11-13 earlier in the Con­ fessions. As the author turns from the narrative of himself to the mysteries of Scripture, his references to God’s people and to the preaching of God’s word recall the theme of praedicatio announced in the opening sentences of the work, and can be taken as a sign that the confessional mode is now finally expanding to encompass the professional functions of the priestly interpreter.72 This is a legitimate inference, provided we respect the rela­ tions between confessio and professio implied in the work as a whole, and do not try to read Augustine’s exegesis of the Creation story in Books 11— 13 as a specimen sermo ad populum of the kind he might have preached to his congregation in Hippo. We do indeed see the professional biblicist at work in these books, but in a context dictated by the preceding parts of the Confessions rather than by the as-yet-unwritten fourth book erf the De doctrina Christiana. When Augustine says he will “confess” before God whatever he “discov­ ers” in the sacred text (11.2.3: confitear tibi quidquid invenero in libris tuis), he invites us to consider confession as a possible modus proferendi for the biblical interpreter. At the same time, he makes that possibility contin­ gent on our own activity as readers. As a statement at the beginning of Book 11 reminds us once again, the aim of his personal narrative in the earlier books has been to turn each and every reader into a fraternal accom­ plice in the act of confession: “to stir up the affections both of myself and of others who shall read these things; that so together we may say: ‘The Lord is great and greatly to be praised’” (11.1.1: u t . . . affectum meum excito in te et eorum, qui haec legunt, ut dicamus omnes: magnus dominus et laudabilis valde).73 That affective design does not lapse as confession turns to, or more fully becomes, biblical interpretation. When, a few lines later, 72. Thus Pincherlc, “S. Agostino,” 556; Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion, 123,135.1 have used this argument myself in discussing the later reception of the De doctrina Christiana and Confessions: “John Donne (1572-1631) in the Company of Augustine: Patristic Culture and Literary Profession in the English Renaissance,” forthcoming in REAug 39 (1993). 73. Cf. retr. 2.6.1: “Confessionum mearum libri tredecim et de malis et de bonis meis deum laudant iustum et bonum, atque in eum excitant humanum intellectum et affec­ tum. Interim quod ad me attinet, hoc in me egerunt cum scriberentur et agunt cum leguntur.”

V 210

the intending exegete proclaims his desire not only to benefit himself but also to be “of use to fraternal charity” (11.2.3: desiderium meum . . . non mihi soli aestuat, sed usui vult esse fratemae caritati), we are meant to recognize the same perfect symmetry between the self-interested and the altruistic, feel the accumulated weight of innumerable con-prefixes, and understand that we (the fraternal reader) are to carry on participating in a speech act that is now manifestly a text act of the type prefigured in earlier books. The last three books of the Confessions, Augustine’s invitation to a charitable conference de scripturis sanctis, rank among the hardest in Latin literature. “Anfractuous” one scholar has rightly called them. They embrace, inter alia, an exegesis of the biblical Creation story, a demonstra­ tion of the multiplicity of possible exegeses of the same, and a discussion of the principles on which different exegeses (of this or any biblical text) should be rejected or accepted. Reduced to a set of precepts, a large part of what is said repeats statements already made in the unfinished De doctrina Christiana, 74 But Augustine is no longer giving precepts; he is working through examples with his imaginary partners in conference, including some who he knows will want to contradict him. Problems of interpreta­ tion and adjudication that had been raised theoretically in works such as the De utilitate credendi and practically by his earlier attempts to expound Genesis, problems that had become embarrassingly personal in the trian­ gular correspondence with Paulinus and Jerome, and with which he had wrestled at length in the De doctrina christiana, are now the subject of a debate that relentlessly solicits the reader’s involvement. Though few late antique readers can have felt themselves wholly adequate to the task, none could mistake what was being required of them: to “seek, ask, knock” in company with Augustine, in the faithful and charitable hope of “receiving, finding, and entering” with him.75 At the risk of over-simplification, we 74. While some of what is said anticipates the still-to-be-written second part of Book 3: Pincherie, “S. Agostino,” 565f. 75. Conf. 13.38.53 (the closing sentences of the work): “Et hoc intellegere quis hominum dabit homini? Quis angelus angelo? Quis angelus homini? A te petatur, in te quaeratur, ad te pulsetur: sic, sic accipietur, sic invenietur, sic aperietur.” The final phrase is potentially ambiguous: though the biblical subtext suggests that the “opening” will be made to the human postulant (i.e. by God), the passive form allows the additional possibility that one human recipient (“sic accipietur”) will “open” what is found (“sic invenietur”) to another. For the implied equivalence “aperire” = “proferre” cf. the open­ ing sentences of doctr. chr. prol. 1: “Sunt praecepta quaedam tractandarum scripturarum, quae studiosis earum video non incommode posse tradi, ut non solum legendo alios, qui divinarum litterarum operta aperuerunt, sed etiam ipsi aperiendo proficiant.”

V 211


could say that the author of the Confessions had reverted to the manner of his earlier “literary debates with those present and with himself alone in the presence of God” (9.4.7: libri disputati cum praesentibus et cum ipso ^ me solo coram te), the dialogues of Cassiciacum or the De magistro,76 only this time with the biblical text as the centre of conference and the City of God as its declared goal. CONCLUSION: CHRISTIAN LITERATURE AS BIBLICAL CONFERENCE The confessio scientiae of Confessions 11-13 registers an important literary-pragmatic advance on the De doctrina Christiana of 396/7, and marks a turning-point in Augustine’s relations with the Latin reading pub­ lic.77 While the earlier treatise had laid an initial emphasis on the social aspect of biblical interpretation, only to lose itself in semantics, the Confes­ sions finally envisages the actus inveniendi et proferendi as the combined work of two or more human beings in the presence of God, as an actus conferendi or “conference” performed in the spirit of charity. It thereby defleas possible criticism of the author as one who would undervalue human instruction in the science of Scripture, yet without committing him to a fully “professional” (or for that matter markedly ascetic) conception of the interpreter’s task and social function. It defines an ideal context in which a recently elevated bishop could communicate on biblical topics with men like Paulinus, and not fall victim to the philological rigour of a

At its dose the Confessions comes back to the point-of-departure of the De doctrina Christiana, in order to “retract” (but not withdraw!) the statements made there about the role of the human teacher. 76. Thus Pincherle, “Quelques remarques sur les ‘Confessions’ de saint Augustin,” La Nouvelle Ciò 7 -9 (1955-57): 189-206, 206 and “S. Agostino,” 574 n. 73, with reference to the Confessions as a whole. But cf. Herzog, “ ‘Non in sua voce,’ ” passim, and Franca Eia Consolino, “Interlocutore divino e lettori terreni: la funzione-destinatario nelle ‘Confessioni’ di Agostino,” Materiali e discussioni per l’an­ alisi dei testi classici 6 ( 1981 ): 119-46, who both stress the generic innovativeness of the later work. 77. It is impossible to enter here on the Wirkungsgeschichte of the Confessions, or on the rich and varied history of the conlatio in Latin Christian literature after Augustine. For evidence of contemporary reaction to the work— little of it directly relevant to the aspects considered here—see Courcelle, Recherches, 235-47; Les 'Confessions’, 2 0 1 6. While it is unlikely that Augustine’s contemporaries “totally ignored” the last three books (as suggested by Consolino, “Interlocutore divino,” 135), their engagement with this part of the Confessions has left fewer traces than one might have hoped for.


212 Jerome. And it does all this without compromising Augustine’s view of God as the only source of knowledge, the inner teacher in conference with whom we discover what is true and what is false. The delicate balance between the respective claims of the external divine text and the internal divine voice is struck at the moment of approach to Genesis 1 . 1 in Book 1 1 : 1 1 . 3 . 5 : A udiam et intellegam, quom odo in principio fecisti caelum et terram. Scripsit hoc M oyses et abiit, transiit hinc a te ad te neque nunc ante me est. N am si esset, tenerem eum et rogarem eum et per te obsecrarem , ut mihi ista panderet, et praeberem aures corporis mei sonis erum pentibus ex ore eius, et si hebraea voce loqueretur, frustra pulsaret sensum meum nec inde mentem meam quicquam tangeret; si autem latine, scirem quid diceret. Sed unde scirem, an vcrum diceret? Q uod si et hoc scirem , num ab illo scirem? Intus utique mihi, intus in dom icilio cogitationis nec hebraea nec graeca nec latina nec barbara veritas sine oris et linguae organis, sine strepitu syllabarum diceret: “ verum dicit” et ego statim certus confidenter illi homini tuo dicerem : “ verum dicis.” [Let me hear and understand how thou, “ in the beginning created the heaven and the earth .” O f this M oses wrote and passed away, he went hence from thee, to thee, and he is not now before me. For if he were, then w ould I hold him fast and beg o f him for thy sake that he w ould discover these things to m e; and I w ould lay these ears o f mine to the sound that should break out of his mouth. Yet if he should speak Hebrew, in vain w ould it fall upon m y ears, n or would aught of it reach unto my m ind; but if he spake Latin, I should know w hat he said. Yet how should I know, whether he said true or no? And if I knew this also, should 1 know it o f him? Indeed 1 should not. For within me, in that very house of my thought, neither Hebrew, nor G reek, n or Latin, n or any barbarous tongue, but Truth itself, without instrument o f mouth or tongue, and w ithout the noise of any syllables, w ould say unto me, “ It is the truth” ; and I, being assured thereof, w ould confidently avow to that m an of thine, “ T h ou speakest truly.” ]

The ground on which Augustine rejects an imaginary conversation with Moses is the ground on which he joins in an imaginary conference with his readers. Responding to Jerome in the D e doctrina christiana, he had stipu­ lated a limited knowledge of the original biblical languages, quantum satis est. Now even that requirement is tacitly lifted. Jerome, who in his recourse to the H ebraica veritas (as he called it) had seemed to identify biblical “ truth” with the language of its first expression, might converse with Moses in Hebrew if he wished. The author of the Confessions is not inter­ ested in that kind of conversation.78 Less than a decade earlier, in the De 78. The relevance of con f. 1 1 . 3 . 5 to Jerome’s theories is remarked by Pincherle, “ Quelques remarques” , 205. Cf. Gennaro Luongo, “ Autobiografia ed esegesi biblica nelle ‘Confessioni’ di Agostino,” Parola d el Passato 3 1 (1976): 2 8 6 -3 0 6 at 3 0 4 -5 .

V 213


utilitate credendi, he had briefly hinted that the aspiring Christian biblidst should seek a master in the Holy Land, by implication someone like Je ­ rome. However, the experience of the intervening years, in particular his epistolary converse with Paulinus, had convinced him of the pointlessness of such expedients. Augustine was in Hippo, and there would remain, the animator of a biblical “ conference” of ever-growing dimensions that would go on for centuries after his death. His biographer’s attempt to formulate the nature of this activity (absentes libris docere) may miss something erf the complexity of the process of Augustinian doctrina, but his services as literary executor were carried out in precisely the right spirit. In taking leave of Moses, Augustine also takes his distance, charitably but deliberately, from his chief rival and partner in the exacting new enter­ prise of writing de scripturis for a Latin readership. Jerome had pioneered that art, but in a way that was forbidding to all but the most intrepid fellowtravellers. With a little help from his friends (less perhaps than he had once hoped for), Augustine was now able to open a broader, more companion­ able road. The third chapter erf Book 1 1 of the Confessions is the end erf the apologia contra Hieronymum and the beginning of one of the greatest conversations in western literature.79

79. The main tendency that I have discerned in Augustine’s literary pragmatics— namely his desire to establish caritas rather than askesis as the ethical basis for biblical interpretation— is consistent with his reinterpretation of the monastic life as described by Robert M arkus, The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 6 3 - 8 3 . For a divergent reading of the final books of the Confessions, which I nevertheless find very persuasive, see Geoffrey Galt Harpham, The Ascetic Imperative in Culture and Criticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 1 1 9 - 3 4 . For Harpham, the Confessions demonstrates an “ ascetic practice of reading” that is “ at once, and profoundly, personal, transcendent, and social” (134).


The Augustinian Reader*

A s i f momentarily lost for words, an expert in literary genres once called Augustine’s Confessions a “ great book” and left it at that.1 The reviewer o f Brian Stock’s new study o f the same work and its conjugates, Augustine the Reader, may be tempted to do likewise. But greatness is not the critic’s to bestow and, even if it were, the question would remain: What kind o f book is this? Writing for its dustjacket, Alastair Minnis speaks o f an explication de texte, perhaps meaning to evoke, beyond the older and nowadays often disparaged N ew Critical methods o f this century, the ancient practice o f the enarratio poetarum in which the young Augustine was schooled. T o the extent that such shorthand can also stand for the textual pedagogy evolved by the mature Augustine, described by Stock as “ a type o f aural readership whose attention is focused on another person’s understanding o f what is essential in the text” (184), it may be helpful to prospective readers o f Augustine the Reader. However else we may describe it, this book is an act o f implicitly aural/oral readership in the spirit o f Augustine’s ideal o f reading as textual collocution or, as Stock calls it on a hint from Charles Taylor, interlocution (16; cf. Conf. 4.8.13: conloqui e t ... simul Itgere libros dulaloquos ... docere aliquid invicem aut discere ab invicem). Although the scholarly author can no more be present to us in talk than the author o f the Confessions, the close modelling o f his text after Augustine’s invites a more intent readerly engagement than scholarship typically demands. Stock suggests that Augustine’s “ normal unit o f thought is the book,” i.e. the individual work (3). One might argue contra, and with this study in support, that Augustine’s thought frequently exceeds that limit, but to do so would only be to remake Stock’s point: that Augustine is to be read at length and, so far as possible, consecutively— a lesson recendy retaught us by Janies J . O ’Donnell’s commentary on the Confessions, itself a commanding instance o f the contemporary enarratio Augustini2 Stock’s This piece was first published online as a review o f Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader Meditation, Self-Knowledge, and the Ethics of Interpretation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996) in the Bryn Mawr Classical Revie» 96.9.1. * Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. Willard R. Trask (London: Roudedge & Kegan Paul, 1953), 74. 2 Augustine: Confessions, 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).




exposition o f Augustine’s thought is dulciloquent to a rare degree. Even so, the reader who would follow his (Stock’s) thought to the limits o f this densely expansive book must learn an almost ascetic discipline. Initially discarding the riches o f the notes (for once conveniently set apart), taking in hand or calling to mind the books o f Augustine successively in question, he or she must be ready to “ hear” a new interpretation without losing “ sight” o f the prior narrative. “ The relationship o f the life that Augustine has led to the life that he desires to lead,” Stock proposes, “ is like a gloss on a text he has previously read (or a text that he has had read to him or has viewed through narrative images): This commentary has no autonomy; it too is a part o f the temporal flow o f images and words” (212). It is not the least o f the hard-won felicities o f Augustine the Reader that, in reading it attentively, we conform to a style o f readership which the author would have us think o f as distinctively Augustinian. B y the same token, the reviewer (even for an electronic journal) is at an unusual disadvantage. Short o f contriving a dialogue in which his comments would fluidly coexist with the full texts o f Augustine and his latest interpreter, he can only respond to the author’s continuous gloss with disjointed reader’s notes or, more faithfully perhaps, notes on the experience o f reading. lik e the Confessions and certain other texts o f Augustine (244f.), Stock’s book is a hinged construction in two parts, the parts in this case answering to “ narrative” (or “ authorial practice”) and “ analysis” (or “ theory” ). Part I is written over “ the narrative about reading” in Confessions 1 - 9 , while Part II pursues “ various analytical statements on the subject [of reading]” (19) through the early philosophical dialogues, De utilitate credendi, De doctrina C h ristia n a , De catechi^andis rudibus, Confessiones 1 0 - 1 3 , and De trinitate. Since each part is written in the light o f the other, there are at least two possible orders o f reading. In practice, Stock’s readers may find it m ost natural to begin with and return to the “ narrative” (in the larger sense) o f the Confessions, from which the topics considered by him to be “ connected to reading in [Augustine’s] philosophy o f mind” (126) visibly derive. Although Augustine the Reader is about more than the Confessions, the Confessions is the text on which it turns; as “ the reader” provides “ a principle o f unity” (301) in Augustine’s X III libri de se et de scripturis sanctis (cf. Retractationes 2.6.1), so those thirteen books supply the theory-in-practice o f readership on which the unity o f this one depends. Crediting his author at the outset with “ the West’s first developed theory o f reading,” Stock claims that the objects o f that theory (“ among other things, mental representations, memory, emotion, cognition, and the ethics o f interpretation” ) are “ unified by Augustine’s concern with the self



as reader, that is, with the personal understanding that can be created through a mental ‘re-reading’ o f the narratives o f previous events lodged in mem ory” (1)— or, in other words, by his concern with the kind o f personal understanding dramatized in the Confessions. A few pages later he suggests that Augustine “ invented a number o f new roles for the later ancient reader,” adding (without further argument) that “ (h]is reference point for the many writings in which he explored his novel ideas was the Confessions” (18). It is possible to imagine studies o f “ Augustine the Reader” that would be less exclusively oriented on issues o f “ the self,” individual psychology, and the philosophy o f mind. Henri-Irenee Marrou’s Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique may be reckoned one such, with its focus (dictated by the D e doctrina Christiana rather than the Confessions) on the significance o f Augustine’s theory and practice o f reading for the Christian transformation o f ancient Graeco-Rom an intellectual culture as a whole.3 Another complementary study, o f still broader scope, would take its cue from the De civitate dei, the crowning instance o f Augustinian textual exegesis as “ cultural revision.” 4 A brief for it is already given in passing by Stock ( 13 , 209). T o recognize these alternatives is not to detract from the claims o f the present work, only to insist on the import o f its subtide and the real priority o f its text o f first and last resort. A brisk i f circuitous Introduction familiarizes us with the array o f topics and arguments to be advanced in the chapters to come, without offering any single focus or conceptual framework for them. It would seem, in fact, that the interest attaching to an exploration o f Augustine’s various intuitions about the “ potential connections between lives and writings” (212) and the desire to ascribe to him a singular and coherent “ theory o f reading” pull in opposite directions. Augustine is to be expounded strictly ex Augustino, consideration o f his “ sources” and later reception set aside, yet even within this (by no means narrow) compass, the points o f purchase for a study o f his “ design for reading” (2) are not readily reduced to a diagram. (Diagrams appear at intervals in later chapters.) Committed to retracing in Augustine’s texts “ le mouvement propre de son discours et de sa pensee” (Goulven Madec, dted 3), Stock is uncharacteristically ill at ease in this introductory hors-texte o f his own. O f its three unrubricated sections, the last and shortest ( 15 - 18 ) comes closest to grounding the ensuing enarrationes in a

1 Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome 14 5 (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1938); reissued with a “ Retractatio,” 1949. 4 I borrow the term from David Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient A lexandria (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University o f California Press, 1992).




discourse outside the opus Augustinianum. Stock writes: “ Augustine’s ideas on these issues [of reading] arose out o f a traditional Christian position” (15). T w o aspects o f the relation to tradition are mentioned, both o f which betray Augustinian emphases: first, a belief that the human reliance on signs, including the signs used in reading and writing, is a consequence o f the Fall; secondly, a conviction that by living according to “ the inner m an” (St Paul) human beings can begin an ascent from the fallen realm o f signs to that o f the (neoplatonic) undivided intellect or (Christian) G od. Because the act o f reading was already understood in antiquity to involve a passage from outward (bodily) sign to inward (spiritual) meaning, Augustine came to regard it as paradigmatic, i f not instrumental, for this movement o f selfrecovery. Hence, as he aspired to a mystical experience beyond textuality, he also envisaged a certain type o f reading as “ indispensable for the acquisition o f salvific knowledge and beneficial self-discipline” (17). The linked concepts o f reading as saving self-discipline and o f Paulineneoplatonic spiritual ascent are integral to most, i f not all, o f the themes traced in Stock’s book. Those themes include: the role o f the Bible and other authoritative texts as guiding scripts for moral reform ; the ideal supersession o f sequential reading (,lectio), and o f an associated awareness o f life-in-time, by a contemplative apprehension o f permanent realities in an extended present (,meditatio); the interplay o f oral performance, silent reading and various kinds o f writing; the respective claims o f reason and authority, especially the authority ascribed to tradition, in epistemology and ethics; the theory o f signs and its application to christology and biblical hermeneutics; interconnections between psychology and the philosophy o f language; the role o f memory as a basis for self-knowledge and o f first-person literary narrative as a vehicle o f the same; the substitution o f a newer ascetic for an older aesthetic rationale for the activity o f reading; and the emergence o f Christian communities defined by their members’ shared obedience to a textual rule o f life or shared expression o f faith. Anyone familiar with Stock’s previous work, from The Implications o f Literacy through the studies collected in Listeningfo r the Text to the recent essay on Petrarch,5 will discern again in this new book several o f the trajectories already sketched by him for a longer history o f western modes o f reading, interpretation and social organization. The possibilities o f such a history form a kind o f penumbra

5 Brian Stock, The Implications o f L iterag: Written Language and Models o f Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centimes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983); Listening fo r the Text: On the Uses o f the Past (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990); ‘Reading, Writing, and the Self: Petrarch and His Forerunners,’ New Literary History 26 (1995): 7 17 -3 0 .



round the present work, but its whole light is concentrated on the text o f Augustine. Part I, then, is devoted to Augustine’s “ narrative o f his progress as a reader” (21), retold by Stock as a series o f “ chapters” or “ stages” in the formation o f the “ Christian reader” (53), each signalled by one o r more key episodes o f textual encounter. Although the moments o f encounter are for the m ost part too well marked in traditional renderings o f the Confessions for the choice o f any o f them to occasion much surprise, it will be an except­ ional reader who does not derive fresh stimulus from Stock’s commentary on such often-commented passages as those relating Augustine’s initial contact with Virgil’s A eneid and Cicero’s Hortensius, his witnessing o f A m brose’s silent reading, his own reading o f the libri Platonicorum, or the climactic sequence o f text-acts that constitutes Book 8. The privileging o f acts o f reading in a general (r)enarration o f the Confessions has its drawbacks. Sometimes the sense o f progress is almost comically abrupt, as when we learn that, thanks to the preaching o f Am brose, “ [wjithin a few weeks, one stage o f his future student’s reading experience was finished and another begun” (60). A nd because progress in and through reading is not the whole story o f Augustine’s pereginatio animae, there are places where the author could be faulted for soliciting the text unduly (e.g., 43f. on the interpretative practices o f the Manichaeans) or where the discussion seems to offer less than the text itself promises (e.g., 1 16 f. on the vision at Ostia), but they are few and far between. Conversely, there are many instances where the discussion fruitfully, i f not always conclusively, overflows the “ subject o f reading,” even as generously defined by Stock (e.g., 34f. on pagan fictions in performance). Certain sections could be profitably assigned to students as separate essays; for example, the one on the texture and tendency o f C onf 7.3—7, 9—2 1 (65—74, ten o f the finest pages in the book) or another on the providential correction o f Alypius in Conf. 6.7—9, recalling and outdoing a classic miniature by Erich Auerbach (77-89). In these chapters, as throughout the book, one’s prevailing sense (this reader’s anyway) is o f hermeneutic abundance, an effect o f Augustinian reading practice which Stock does not specially stress— perhaps inviting us to ascend with Augustine from the Many o f textual explication to the One o f supratextual contemplation— but which, it may be argued, is the natural obverse o f any theory o f reading that can be described as ascetic.6 The

6 Cf. G eoffrey Galt Harp ham, The Ascetic Imperative in Culture and Criticism (London and Chicago: University o f Chicago Press, 1987), esp. 9 1 - 1 3 4 on Augustine’s Confessions. Harpham’s argument, which I am turning inside out, is that any “ theory o f reading” worthy




abundance arises in the first place from Stock’s attention to Augustine’s text, itself already so prolific in linked images, multivalent terms and suggestions for narrative recombination. It is enhanced by an expository style which, when unconstrained by paraphrase, is naturally pregnant to the point o f elusiveness. The portrait o f Am brose as silent reader, Stock writes, “ is inseparable from the notion that someone ... is observing silent reading taking place. It is the observation o f another person’s contemplativeness, rather than the technique o f reading itself, that makes the moment unique in the ancient literature o f interiority” (62). O r consider this: Augustine “ combines the ambivalence toward the body that is typical o f patristic exegesis ... with the idea that anyone’s body can in principle become the ‘text’ on which the story o f the incarnation is written. I f that were not the case, there would be no point in locating the reader in the literary structure o f the Confession/ ’ (70). O r this, with an allusion to Wittgenstein: “ Augustine is the first to present a consistent analysis o f the manner in which we organize the intentional structure o f thought through [the] activity [of reading]: he suggests that through reading a ‘language game” can become a ‘form o f life’” ( 1 1 1 ; cf. 27 on game-playing and scriptural interpretation). One such aphorism can inspire as much thought as several pages o f close commentary, and Stock is happily prodigal with them. There is, however, a more problematic side to this facility with formulas capable o f assuming a kind o f autonomy even in the context o f commentary. Filling a gap in the “ record” o f Augustine’s reading for the early months o f 386, Stock offers the following summary o f the central tenet o f his book: E n c o u ra g e d b y the allegories o f A m b ro se , he cam e to un d erstan d that the read er cou ld distinguish b etw een w h at P a u l called the “ spirit” and the “ letter” as a parallel to the “ in n er” and “ outer” self. T e x ts an d selves inter­ penetrated: it b ecam e p o ssib le to lo o k u p o n the b uilding o f a n e w s e lf as an exegetical and interpretive p ro cess. A piece o f w riting w h en it w a s read and u n d erstood , m ediated the reality that it d escrib ed , as d id o u r thoughts ab o u t the sam e reality w h en they w ere tran sfo rm ed into w o rd s. A u g u stin e thus co n firm ed a P lato n ic style o f thinking, placin g realities a b o v e rep re­ sentations, w hile he linked self-im p ro vem en t to the creation o f m entally represented w orld s. H e en visaged his programme as the livin g o u t o f a story w h o se m eanin g he inw ardly un d ersto o d b efo re it w as translated into action,

o f the name must be “ ascetic,” since intelligibility in interpretation depends on the interpreter’s willingness to submit to extrasubjective or “ communal” norms.



and h e did so b y e v o lv in g a theory that did n o t d epen d o n sp e c ific pagan texts. ( 5 4 - 5 5 : em p h asis added)

We might ask: In what sense is Augustine the author o f the “ programme” or “ theory” here attributed to him? That a pair o f Pauline distinctions and a Platonic “ style o f thinking” provide the basis for much o f his thought from the mid-380s onwards will not be lightly disputed. The difficulty begins with the sentence, “ Texts and selves interpenetrated ....” B y this point in the book, most o f the terms and ideas that appear in the rest o f the quoted paragraph are already familiar from previous sections. Y e t nowhere, so far as I can see, does Stock find a comparable articulation o f them in a text by Augustine. The summary he gives here is expliddy offered in place o f texts that are lacking. T h e next paragraph reviews Augustine’s “ progress” to the position stated, as supposedly recapitulated in the “ interior monologue” o f Conf 6 .1 1 . There Stock claims to discern “ a three-stage plan [x/ij for selfimprovement,” but the movement o f the passage is against him. Augustine’s own commentary on the same set o f utterances discourages any attempt to read it in search o f method: Cum hate dictbam et altemabant hi venti et impellebant hue atque illuc cor meum .... Stock is undeterred: “ In sum, what he advocates is a union o f reading and conduct as a replacement for the ethical relativism o f the pagan classroom.” Neither project nor advocacy is so clear to this reader. Stock goes on: “ I f memory is added and som e footnotes on time, we have the complete foundation o f the ascetic programme in the later books o f the Confessions.” Q .E.D . But what sort o f demonstration is this? A nd how confident should “ we” be o f possessing the “ foundation” o f an Augustinian philosophy o f reading, when the placement o f its building-blocks depends so obviously on the will o f the interpreter? I raise these questions, not to belabour Stock’s subde and productive exegesis with the rod o f an old-fashioned textual positivism, but to clarify the challenge it sets us as readers. In Stock’s view, Augustine’s Pauline-neoplatonic hermeneutic located “ the student o f the Bible in the ontological space between the inner and outer person” (17). A s was hinted earlier, the student o f Augustine the Reader occupies an analogous interpretative space between the text o f Augustine and its latest enarratio. Custom ary as that position may be for readers in the literary and historical disciplines, we are rarely made so conscious o f its responsibilities, even as students o f Augustine.




A possible way o f treating passages in Stock’s book like the one quoted above, consistent with his own sense o f Augustinian theory and practice, is to regard them as acts o f meditative (re)collection or synthesis performed in “ silences” between the texts taken as objects o f analysis and enarratio. B y pragmatically distinguishing between narrative and analysis in Augustine’s discourse o f reading, Stock maximizes the opportunities for such highorder critical activity. Because any segment o f narrative can be submitted to analysis (as above and throughout Part I) and any piece o f analysis scrutin­ ized for its narrative possibilities (as routinely in Part II), and because there will always (presumably) be some disparity or incompatibility between the fragments o f discourse thus juxtaposed, scholarly readers have ample occasion to harmonize and complete a scheme o f thought that may be less than fully immanent in the Augustinian texts available. In this context, the highest praise we could give to Augustine the Reader would also be the sharpest criticism o f it: that it succeeded better than Augustine did himself in the “ attempt to lay [a] theoretical foundation for a reading culture” (1). Stock, however, is too good a reader for such success. Another and vital aspect o f the abundance o f his book is its openness to the more excursive and improvisational qualities o f Augustine’s texts and consequent failure to close neatly on the hinge between its own two parts. A striking instance o f this flexibility occurs in the chapter on Confessions 8, entitled “ Reading and Conversion” (75—1 1 1 ) . The chapter begins with a passage o f intra- and paratextual synthesis o f the kind already noted B y now we should be able to recognize the “ pattern” o f Augustine’s proceed­ ing. Stock continues: Book

8 introd uces a n ew

feature in to this pattern, w h ich reflects a

h eigh tened tension betw een G o d ’s pred estination and m an ’s lim ited under­ standing o f his fate. A u gu stin e con trasts the u n kn o w n o u tcom e o f reading exp erien ces in p erson al n arratives w ith the interpretive certainty o f his p eru sal o f a single text, P a u l’ s E p is d e to the R o m an s, w h ich acts as a un ifyin g principle fo r the v ario u s episo d es. B o o k 8 thus tran sfo rm s the p ro gram m e o f study an noun ced at 7 . 2 1 . 1 - 6 . A t the sam e tim e, A ugustine in trod uces a variant o f typo lo gy into the Confessions in w hich fo resh ad o w in g and fulfillm en t take place n o t b etw een h istorical even ts, figures, o r stories in the B ib le, b u t betw een secular figures, gu id ed b y p ro vid en ce, w h o se n arratives are interlocked b y m eans o f a lo gic that is clarified to n on e o f them b e fo re the even ts take place. (77)



Recognizable here are the usual tropes o f collection and recapitulation in the service o f a higher harmony: “ introduces into this pattern,” “ acts as a unifying principle,” “ transforms the programme o f study.” But we are asked to notice something else “ at the same time,” a new “ variant,” not in this case o f some prior Augustinian construction but o f an interpretative procedure current in contemporary Christian culture (biblical typology), a practice adapted by Augustine to reflect what he had come to feel as a basic “ tension” in human experience. This something is what Stock, with typical compression o f thought, elsewhere calls “ literary predestination” (e.g., 3 13 n.146). It is the compositional technique by which Augustine enables the reader to participate, as interpreter and emulator o f his text, in the process by which he and other actors in his story have come to see the events o f their lives as part o f a divinely-authored narrative or “ text” comparable to Scripture. Stock is not the first reader o f the Confessions to recognize this typological principle, but he is the first to place it in the larger framework o f a “ theory” that is profoundly ambivalent (his word) about the utility o f reading as a means o f understanding oneself in relation to G od. “ The final lesson o f Augustine’s education as a reader,” he writes, “ is that nothing is learned from reading itse lf’ (125). A nd again, on the book’s last page: “ Augustine believes that reading is essential for ‘spiritual’ development in the individual, but he is pessimistic about the degree o f ‘enlightenment’ that reading itself confers” (278). B y constantly “ re-editing” one’s self-narrative in the light o f authoritative texts and whatever personal illumination one may have been granted, one acquires a sense o f self that approximates the divine “ intention” ; yet in doing so one also leaves the textual plane behind. Som e o f the literary and other effects o f this ambivalence vis-a-vis textuality are explored in the richly detailed chapter on “ Reading and Conversion,” but the implicit assimilation o f biblical and non-biblical (including Augustinian) texts, qua text, is not pursued in Part II (though cf. 18 7 on biblically-inspired narratio as “ literature” ). Instead it is left, like many another insight found obiter in the same pages, for the reader to consider apart. I f we wished to weave this particular ambivalence into a larger synthesis than Stock attempts, we could begin by relating it to Augustine’s thoughts on sacred and profane history, as traced by Robert Markus in the context o f his theology o f the saeculum, locus o f all ambivalence.7

R. A . Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology o f S t Augustine [1970], 2nd edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 17: “ Only ‘sacred history’ will furnish clues to what G o d has really done— apart from such insight as he may grant privatim into his 7




Alternatively, we might renounce the pursuit o f pattern in this writer’s texts beyond the point at which he him self gave up insisting on it. Inveniet... fortasse quomodo scribendo proftcerim, Augustine wrote at the end o f his life, quisquís opuscula mea ordine quo scripta sunt legerit (Retr. prol.). B y placing the narrative o f Confessions 1 - 9 at the front o f Augustine the Reader, Stock signals a decision to let the author’s (earlier) retrospective view o f his personal readerly profectus predominate over any more documentary re­ construction derived from the sequence o f his writings. A t the same time, he invites us to set his own reader-centred enarratio o f those books alongside the analyses in the first three chapters o f Part II, which present a virtually chronological review o f Augustine’s ideas about language, texts and interpretation from his earliest letters and dialogues down to the De doctrina Christiana (interrupted ca. 397 when the Confessions was begun). N o tension arises from the juxtaposition. N o r should it, since Stock has given notice that his interpretation o f Augustine’s formative years will be one “ that emphasizes the consistency o f his thinking, on the basis o f his approach to reading, in contrast to the once fashionable tendency o f scholars to distinguish sharply between the writings o f the early and middle phases o f his career” (3). Unlike these amateurs o f A ugustiman trial and error— and others, such as Pierre Courcelle, who sought to check the historicity o f the autobiographical part o f the Confessions against the evidence o f earlier writings— Stock is intent on exposing the preparations for Augustine’s mature stylization o f the self as Christian reader. The first section o f the short chapter on “ Beginnings” gives a rather spare account o f his “ theory” o f reading as it may be inferred from early (and not-so-early) letters to Nebridius, Paulinus and others. T he second, on the De ordine and Soliloquia, reveals the basis for his lifelong confidence in the disciplines o f grammar and dialectic, “ disciplines ... which, para­ doxically, retain their truth even though their application may be false” (136). Both sections, though slight, bear interestingly on the themes o f the Confessions treated in Part I. Read more expansively, they also open new avenues for work on late antique Christian epistolography and the arts o f the dialogue. The pace o f the book then slows markedly as, in the next two chapters (“ Speaking and Reading” and “ Toward Theory” ), Stock works his dealings with them personally.” Stock’s study focusses on the way in which an Augustinian subject reads and writes the data o f such “ private” revelations into a narrative o f himself consistent with his reading o f the sacred history revealed in Scripture. A ny written (history resulting from this process— such as the Confessions— becomes a context o r quasi-scriptural matrix for other self-readings and -writings, though without ever being “ sacred” in the sense in which the narrative o f Scripture is.



w ay through the complex, overlapping and not always obviously com­ patible arguments o f the De dialéctica, De maestro, De utilitate credendi, De catechi^andis rudibus and De doctrina Christiana. I f the reviewer’s experience is at all typical, the average reader’s sense o f the value o f these sections is likely to be mixed. On the one hand, it is good to have Stock’s meticulous summaries and discussion (with up-to-date bibliography) o f such relatively understudied texts as the De dialéctica and De utilitate credendi, the second o f which is only now beginning to receive the attention it merits. Like some o f the close readings o f Part I, a number o f these passages have a usefulness independent o f the arguments o f the book as a whole. Insofar as they are meant to contribute to those arguments, however, they run into two kinds o f difficulty; either they confirm or conveniently supplement the narrative o f Part I, an effect which grows less satisfying the more often it is repeated; or they do not, in which case the reader, like the author, must deal with the inconsequence. Stock’s admirable scrupulosity again precludes any easy solution o f the dilemma. F o r example, when he asks o f the De dialéctica, “ What are we to make o f this fragmentary set o f observations on dialectic, grammar, rhetoric, and ‘the force o f words’?,” we know that he for one will not make too much o f it, despite the investment o f the previous pages. In general, the measure o f conformity on matters o f “ reading” between the earlier writings— down to and including the De utilitate credendi o f 3 9 1, on which these two chapters pivot— and the three closely interrelated texts o f the late 390s (jDe doctrina Christiana, Confessiones and De catechi^andis rudibus) seems less than the initial hypothesis o f continuity and the detail o f the subsequent analyses might lead one to expect. Points o f contact, insight and interesting complication continue to abound (e.g., on “ unstatedness” and the hermen­ eutic circle [ 15 1, 157 ]; on texts as “ combin[ing] visual and aural modes o f communication” [16 1]; on the ideal “ third party” required to qualify interpretations as “ true” [170]; on Augustine’s outline o f a “ hermeneutic o f tradition” [174f.]). In the meantime, the reader who follows Stock every step o f the way learns to relish the fact that Augustine started more arguments than he meant to finish and tried out more propositions than he ever expected to combine into a single “ theory” or system. T h e sense o f progress ‘T o w ard Theory” in the chapter with that title is assured in part through an arrangement whereby issues o f “ reception” raised in the De utilitate credendi invite the fuller treatment o f the De catechi^andis rudibus (ca. 399—400) which then, in a “ logical rather than ... stricdy chronological sequence” (18 1), leads to the incomplete essay De doctrina Christiana o f ca. 396-7. A s Stock notes, this last work is in a different




genre from those previously discussed, neither first-person narrative nor dialogue. (He is wrong, however, to call it a tractatio [19 1], which for Augustine names the mode o f scriptural exposition itself.) That it is in a sense more “ theoretical” than Confessions 1 —9 seems clear. It is also addressed differendy: “ In this work the entire [?] Christian community is envisaged, potentially at least, as a body o f readers, either as clergy or as cultured laypersons” (190). H ow well do its methods and concerns mesh with the thematics presented by Stock in earlier chapters? F o r his purpose, the tractatio scripturarum should be referrable to a self-narrating, selfreforming subject-as-interpreter, who would also be the primary object o f narration. A nd so it proves to be, to the point that the cultural programme divined in the same text by Marrou and others on the basis o f a different Augustinian orientation is cast in shadow. “ I f there is a community,” writes Stock, summarizing the prologue, “ it consists initially o f the reader and G o d ” (193). Perhaps. A nd yet there are few places where Augustine insists more decisively on the reader’s social responsibilities and on the abjection o f humanity si homines per homines nihil discerent (prol. 4). Book 1 is plotted as a diagram, with the following gloss: “ L o ve operates vertically, descending from the text to the reader, and horizontally, as readers relate to audiences. Christianity emerges as a textual community built around shared principles o f interpretation” (196, emphasis added). True as this may be, it is a disappointingly flat epitome o f so multidimensional a text, especially disappointing given the quality o f Stock’s other analyses, to say nothing o f his original and influential use elsewhere o f the italicized term. In the event, this Augustinian “ textual community” is no sooner evoked than it is displaced by a much fuller discussion o f the gradual ascent to wisdom at 2.7.9—1 1 . This Stock collates with parallel schemes from earlier works to show how the author unites “ the neoplatonic notion o f ascent with step-by-step progress through education,” i.e. an education centred on the Bible (200). The confirmatory value o f this exegesis for his general argument is plain. But one could also argue that the chief interest o f the seven-step ascent in De doctrina Christiana is as a relic o f modes o f thought that Augustine was coming to find less and less useful for his purposes as a public interpreter o f Scripture; in any case, the scheme plays only the most circumscribed role in the thought o f B ook 2. Unfortunately, Stock’s summary o f the rest o f that book and o f B ook 3 runs so aslant the text as to be barely intelligible at times, while the page and a half on Book 4 carries litde conviction. In Book 4, he suggests, “ Augustine moves from the per­ sonal to the social dimension o f communication” (204). However, as Jam es O ’Donnell has pointed out in a review o f a new translation o f the De



d o c trin a C h ristia n a ,

the very first sentence o f Augustine’s treatise already contains a clause { u t... e tia m ip s i a p erien d o p r o jic ia n f) which, i f seriously meant, would make it impossible for him to separate the personal and social aspects o f biblical interpretation.8 B y the end o f this chapter, w e may have to allow that, as Marrou’s reading o f the De d o c trin a C h ristia n a was unduly influenced by the thesis that he was arguing, Stock’s has been too. Where the humanist scholar o f an earlier generation rearranged Augustine’s proposed Christian p a id e ia to fit the categories o f the “ classical” curriculum that he (Augustine) was labouring to transcend, then found it wanting, this one searches the work for traces o f a prophetically postmodern technology o f the self and does not find enough o f them for his purpose. The section on the De doctrina Christiana ends on a deconstructive note: “ T h e prologue, perhaps as an afterthought, moves in the direction o f hermeneutics; yet book 1 undermines its interpretive potential, and books 2—4 do not attempt to restore it completely” (205, emphasis added). Earlier Stock speaks o f the prologue as possibly “ contemporary” with Confessions 1 —2 (192); were it an afterthought, it would thus be an early one. Attempts to read the prologue as somehow at cross purposes with the rest o f the w ork have been made before, notably by Ulrich D uchrow w ho argued, against the evidence o f the manuscript tradition, that Augustine drafted his “ preliminary” remarks while finishing the interrupted treatise in ca. 427.9 Stock is concerned less with the chronology o f the De doctrina christiana than with its internal logic, or (as he sees it) scarcely concealed illogic. On his view, as it emerges from the chapter as a whole, the work is more than just evidence o f Augustine’s recognition o f the limits o f “ reading” as salvific discipline; it is also, and not incidentally, a failed attempt at “ theory.” The reviewer who has taken a similar line with respect to the incomplete work

8 Bryn M awr Classical Review 96.3.15, reviewing R. P. H. Green, ed. and trans., Augustine:

De Doctrina Christiana (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995). O ’Donnell writes: “ A perire in this context (as in the previous phrase) is clearly used o f exposition o f a text and the striking (etiam) conjunction lies in the claim that illumination comes not only from reading but even from the act o f interpreting for others itself. One might think o f the character in Forster who said she didn’t know what she knew until she heard what she had to say, or might think o f Augustine himself, egoque ipse mulia quae nesciebam scribendo me didicisse confitear [= De trimtate 3, prol. 1 , also commented on by Stock, 246].” 9 U. Duchrow, Sprachverständnis und biblisches Hören bei Augustin (Tübingen: Mohr, 1965), 2 0 6 -13 . See now Karla Pollmann, Doctrina Christiana: Untersuchungen %u den Anföngen der christlichen Hermeneutik unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Augustinus, De doctrina christiana, Paradosis 4 1 (Freiburg, Switzerland: Universitätsverlag Freiburg, 1996), 67.




o f ca. 397 will happily agree.10 Where Stock and I differ is in our sense o f the terms on which the (first) De d o c trin a C h ristia n a “ failed” and o f the relation between this “ failure” and Augustine’s subsequent essays in the theory o f reading or constructive hermeneutics, beginning with the Confessions. That difference has to do, in turn, with the locations we assign to such works in what can be thought o f as Augustine’s life “ outside writing,” as distinguishable— i f in practice only with the greatest difficulty— from the life he was engaged in writing and re-editing in his texts; put more reductively, it has to do with our sense o f the relationship between “ historical” and “ literary” Augustines. “ Historically” speaking, if in no other respect, Augustine the Reader is a thin book. T o apply a distinction made by Stock him self in an earlier essay, it favours a “ compositional” approach to the phenomena o f reading and writing, at the expense o f a fully “ contextual” one.11 Before m oving on to the considerations o f “ memory, reform, time, and the concept o f the s e lf’ (207) that provide the substance o f his last two chapters, Stock recapitulates the events o f Augustine’s life from Monica’s death to the moment o f his beginning to write the Confessions. Although he discusses several texts com posed after 400, this is as far as he takes his own narrative o f the vita Augustini. Recalling the early projects o f Augustine and his friends for a monastic retreat in North Africa, he suggests that “ Confessions 1 0 - 1 3 informs us about the individual rather than the institutional side o f his reflections as his programme o f ascetic reform gradually came into focus” (emphasis added). A note refers us to modem studies o f Augustine’s initiatives as a monastic legislator, then we are reminded o f another aspect o f the “ institutional” setting; “ F o r Augustine the priest and later bishop, the

10 Vessey, “ Conference and Confession: Literary Pragmatics in Augustine’s ‘Apologia contra Hieronymum’,” Journal o f Early Christian Studies 1 (1993): 1 7 5 - 2 1 3 at 194—5. This article explores Augustine’s construction o f a writerly persona rather than his theory o f a readeriy self. n See Stock, “ Textual Communities: Judaism, Christianity, and the Definitional Problem,” in his Listening fo r the Text: On the Uses o f the Past (Baltimore and London: John s Hopkins University Press, 1990), 14 0 -5 8 at 14 7 -8 : “ One can speak o f orality and literacy in literary or philosophical terms, and one can study a set o f social and historical relations. But these are not the same. In the one case, the emphasis is inevitably compositional; in the other it is contextual .... [In the contextual approach] we are no longer dealing with the creation o f ideas or expressions, or with psychological questions that historians cannot answer. The individual who creates a work and the work as created object have socially definable careers over time. They can be studied through the reactions others have to them.” Stock’s remarks on Augustine’s own “ hermeneutic o f tradition” in works such as the De utititate credendi convincingly present him as a theorist o f the “ contextual” approach.



reading o f scripture was part o f the daily routine o f liturgy and pastoral care. Against the background o f this activity, the statements about reading in the later books concern not the acquisition but the application o f his skills” (209, emphasis added). O nce adduced, however, these contexts quickly recede from view while we pursue a series o f typically absorbing analyses on the themes o f memory, self-reform and time, all in relation to “ the implied role o f reading” (22 1, a key phrase) in Confessions 1 0 - 1 1 . Earlier Stock has undertaken to “ describe [Augustine’s] responses to specific occasions, audiences, and controversies” (3). In the event, the principle o f contextualization counts for litde once we are past the circumstances related in Confessions 9. I f the historical prelude to the analysis o f Books 1 0 - 1 1 serves any clear function, it seems designed to relieve the texts o f the burden o f reflecting their supposed “ institutional” conditions, whether monastic or pastoral, thereby freeing them to yield insights into their author’s “ individual” position. It is true that those texts, like a great deal o f Augustine’s writing, frustrate our best attempts to locate his ideas on the “ institution o f reading” (209) within an array o f social “ institutions” as ordinarily understood; the expedient adopted by Stock is thus a natural one. Its effect in this case, however, is to widen the gap between works such as the D e doctrina Christiana which will presumably resist his analysis precisely to the extent that they are concerned with the social or institutional conditions o f Christian reading, and texts which he would present as instances o f an “ exemplary use o f theory” in the cause o f an Augustinian technology o f the self (232, on Conf. 1 0 - 1 1 ) . A s it happens, we know litde for certain about the context and occasion o f either the (unfinished) De doctrina Christiana or the Confessions in its various phases o f composition. Their closeness in time and the multiple resonances between them nevertheless invite us to read them, in part at least, as alternative and complementary responses to a set o f fairly urgent “ thisworldly” demands that Augustine had recognized by 396 and would continue to grapple with— as bishop, monk and Christian writer— for the rest o f his life.12 Whereas Stock’s interpretation o f texts o f the late 390s and after would leave the De doctrina Christiana behind as a theoretical cul-de-sac, another might see in it the premature sketch for a theory and practice o f Christian reading, communication and living-m-the-world (“ hermeneutics” in the largest sense) that was to be progressively, if never definitively, 12 Cf. Augustine the Reader, 1 1 2 where, as elsewhere, Stock emphasizes “ innerworldly” and “ otherworldly” options.




worked out in a series o f texts that would eventually include, besides the Confessions and the miscalled “ systematic” treatises De trinitate and De civitate dei, a host o f lesser and more obviously “ occasional” speeches and writings. The contest between two such competing interpretations could, perhaps, be provisionally decided by a comparison o f their success in accounting for features internal to the texts themselves, i.e. as enarrationes. Sooner or later, however,— and sooner rather than later, one would think, in the climate o f contemporary Anglo-American scholarship on Augustine and late antiquity— their exponents are likely to be asked for an account o f the “ worldliness” o f the same texts, or for an act o f what Edward W. Said, in a coinage marvellously apt to the present case, calls “ secular criticism.” 13 Peter Brown once imagined three possible trajectories for a biographical study o f Augustine; high, low and middle.14 B y leading his readers to “ the heights o f his speculations on the Trinity” (Brown’s phrase) and leaving them there, far above the political, social and institutional planes in which Augustine the “ outer man” had his being, Stock risks letting the secularcritical argument go by default. Given the terms o f his study and the impressive consistency o f results he is able to achieve, it is a risk that he and some o f his readers may very well be content to live with for now. A s it takes us from the theoretical misfire o f the De doctrina Christiana to the “ exemplary” theorizing o f the later books o f the Confessions, chapter 8 also calls in question the utility o f theory itself, setting up a finale which, as an extended exploration o f allegories o f reading in the De trinitate, might be subtitled “ Beyond Theory.” “ In these discussions,” Stock writes, “ August­ ine frequendy uses theory as a self-deflating device. H e gives the discussions a theoretical preface whose function is partly to illustrate what theoretical reason cannot achieve” (208). A note adds that this model is “ announced” in the much earlier De dialectica and De magstro. Had Stock him self announced it earlier, his first-time reader might be less troubled by the seeming inconsequences o f Augustine’s thought, as it unfolds between and within books. The phrase “ self-deflating devices” implicates the rhetorician Augustine as much as the theorist; and righdy so, since the line between (rhetorical) self-deflation as compositional artifice and (theoretical) self-defeat as the suspense o f composition itself (e.g., the “ writer’s block” diagnosed by O ’Donnell in Augustine o f the mid-390s15) is never easy to

13 See the introductory essay in his The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA:

Harvard University Press, 1983). 14 Augustine o f Hippo: A Biography (London: Faber and Faber, 1967), 9. ,s See the introduction to vol. 1 o f his edition o f the Confessions, xliii.



draw with this author. When Marrou famously complained that “ Augustin com pose mal,” one o f the things that troubled him was his subject’s habit o f following a thought to the point where it was fully worked out or (more often perhaps) became too difficult to pursue any further.16 What Marrou failed to concede, even in his later retractation, was that the bad habit in question was fully consistent with the principle (noted above) o f the projectus scribendo or apenendo, o f intellectual progress through the act o f writing or trying to explain something (such as a text) to a reader or audience. In the course o f his culminating chapter, a tour de force which should be read for itself (but only after the chapters preceding it), Stock touches on a process by which “ the intended reader emerges as a participant in an interpretive process that is organized in part by Augustine’s fictional configuration o f the manner in which the student rewrites what his master says” (245). Some such configuration, it seems to me, is implicit in Augustine’s writing from as early as we have any o f itto read. It isan aspect, and a very important one, o f his practice o f “ oral genres ... o f an exegetical and meditative type” (5). Far from promoting an ideal textual community “ consistfing] o f the reader and G o d ,” Augustine habitually envisages a “ community around a text” (215) consisting o f him self and one or m ore others united in the love o f G od. Reading and writing are thus always for him, in principle i f not in fact, social processes. According to his construction, and by G o d ’s grace, the manifold aporias and defeats o f his “ personal” exegetical and writerly activity acquire the potential to be providential stumbling-blocks, means rather than obstacles to a higher understanding. Granting this premise, we should be even more willing to recognize in the later books o f the De trinitate, as Stock does, “ some o f the vicissitudes, misdirections, and unanswered questions o f [Augustine’s] earlier writings” (278). T he principle o f vicissitude, in the Ciceronian sense o f studious exchange or mediated interaction o f minds, is at the heart o f Augustine’s hermeneutic. Simply stated, it is what saves his theory o f selfknowledge from being merely a theory o f self-love. Stock ends by attributing to Augustine a “ strongly anti-utopian view o f reading,” a belief that “ problems o f reading and interpretation cannot be solved through the imposition o f a conceptual scheme; [that] they can be addressed only by means o f a system o f deferrals in which the authority for the text is ultimately removed from the reader’s control” (278). It is a neat and fitting conclusion to a relendessly and irresistibly thought-provoking study. Poststructuralist readers o f Augustine the Reader—and that should 16 Saint Augustin et ¡a fin de la culture antique, 61 f.; “ Retractatio,” 665f.




indude everyone who reads it to the end and then starts over again— will be able to determine, with more conviction now than before, that Augustine is their interlocutor. The benefits o f such a realization for research on the writings o f Augustine and his contemporaries have been slow in coming and we should be grateful to Brian Stock for gendy but dedsively forcing the pace. It would be a pity, however, i f the sharpness o f his final focus were to blind us even momentarily to another article o f Augustine’s literary (anti-)utopianism, one to which this book witnesses on every page: that as long as we inhabit a world o f signs, we ow e each other d o se readings.'7

17 While Stock’s description o f Augustine’s view o f reading as “ a«A-utopian” makes good sense in relation to a Derridean notion o f semiotic àfférance, the same stance could also be called “ utopian” insofar as it serves a religious vision that places the ultimate goal o f faith beyond the present reality. Cf. the application o f this term to the study o f late antique religious thought by Jonathan Z. Smith (e.g., in his M ap is N ot Territory [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1978]).



On the fifth day before the Kalends o f September [in the thirteenth consulship o f the emperor Theodosius

II and

the third o f Valentinian


departed this

life the bishop Aurelius Augustinus, most excellent in all things, who at the very end o f his days, amid the assaults o f besieging Vandals, was replying to the books o f Julian and persevering gloriously in the defence o f Christian grace .1

The heroic vision of Augustine’s last days was destined to a long life. Projected soon after his death in the Chronicle of Prosper of Aquitaine, reproduced in the legendary biographies of the Middle Ages, it has shaped the ultimate or penultimate chapter of more than one modem narrative of the saint’s career.2 And no wonder. There is something very compelling about the picture of the aged bishop recumbent against the double onslaught of the heretical monster Julian and an advancing Vandal army, the ex­ tremity of his plight and writerly perseverance enciphering once more the unfathomable mystery of grace and the disproportion of human and divine enterprises. In the chronicles of the earthly city, the record of an opus mag­ num sed imperfectum; in the numberless annals of eternity, the perfection of God’s work in and through his servant Augustine. . . . As it turned out, few observers at the time were able to abide by this providential explicit and Prosper, despite his zeal for combining chronicle

1 Prosper, Epitoma chronicon, a. 430 (ed. Mommsen, MGH, AA 9, 473). 2 E.g., Joseph McCabe, Saint Augustine and His Age (London 1902) 427: “ Whilst the

Vandals thundered at the walls Augustine was absorbed in his great refutation of the Pelagian bishop of Eclanum, Julian.” Other popular biographers prefer the penitential vision o f Possidius, Vita Augustini 3 1,1-2 . On the modem scholarly representation of Augustine’s last days, see James J . O ’Donnell, “The Next Life of Augustine,” in The Limits of Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture, eds. William E. Klingshim and Mark Vessey (forthcoming), referring to the classic work o f P.R.L. Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (London 1967).

O Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1998

VII 265

o p u s im p e r fe c tu m

and theology,3 was not among them. For those active in the textual dissemi­ nation of Christian dogma, Augustine’s death was an epochmaking event. For the West, it marked the end of one of the most decisive literary and doctrinal careers since St. Paul’s and the beginning of a period of corre­ sponding theological uncertainty. We should not suppose, however, that Augustine’s contemporaries were caught entirely unprepared when he died. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that the critical importance of this writer’s death had been recognized well in advance of the event, and by no-one more clear-sightedly than the writer himself. The portrait of Augustine as an old man looking back has been memorably drawn by Peter Brown.4 My concern here is rather with Augustine as an old man looking forward, not to the vision of God he had long desired, but to the future circumstances of his fellow Christians, especially Christian readers, in this world, he himself having left it. How did Augustine and those under his influence prepare for the “post-Augustinian” era in Latin Christian literature? To what extent did his later writings, and the com­ missions he received, take account of the imminent demise of the author? How did his readers, sympathetic or critical, adjust to the new reality of his now never-to-be-extended literary oeuvre? How, in turn, did they begin to adjust that oeuvre to their own ends? The present essay follows a trail of readerly reactions to and constructions of the opus Augustinumum through the late 420s and into the early 430s, beginning with Augustine’s own.5 The acts of an extraordinary meeting of the clergy and people in the Basilica Pads at Hippo in September 426 record the bishop’s appointment of the presbyter Eraclius to serve as his eventual successor and, in the 3 Cf. R.A. Markus, “ Chronicle and Theology: Prosper o f Aquitaine,” in The Inheritance

of Historiography, eds. C. Holdsworth and T.P. Wiseman (Exeter 1986) 31-43, repr. in his Sacred and Secular: Studies on Augustine and Latin Christianity (Aldershot 1994). Prosper’s Chronicle is remarkable for its incorporation of notices derived from Augustine’s cata­ logue o f heresies, the De haeresibus, the last chapter of which describes the errors of the Pelagians. The next entry in the Chronicle after the record of Augustine’s death refers to the Council of Ephesus at which “ Nestorius with the heresy named after him, and many Pelagians, who were supporting a dogma related to their own, [were] condemned.” 4 Augustine of Hippo: A Biography (London 1967) 408 ff. 5 The omission of Possidius I shall make good elsewhere; see, meanwhile, my “ Con­ ference and Confession: literary Pragmatics in Augustine’s ‘Apologia contra Hieronymum’,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 1 (1993) 17 5 -2 13 at 175-179 , where I suggest that “ Possidius’ simplified and systematized account o f the principles of Augustinian doctrina can serve as a basis for theorizing Christian literary activity in late antiquity” (177).

VII 266

meantime, as his locum tmens for the conduct of routine diocesan affairs. It was an arrangement Augustine had tried unsuccessfully to implement some years earlier, and on which he now insisted. Henceforward, for at least five days of every seven, Eraclius would handle pastoral and judicial matters, leaving the bishop free for intellectual labor. “Let no-one envy me my leisure,” Augustine told the assembled company, “for it is full of business.”6 Medieval hagiographers not unreasonably supposed that Augustine’s hardwon sabbatical was to be spent on the Retractations. Had he been left to his own devices, it is possible that more of it would have been devoted to that task, and that we should now have the revisions of his letters and ser­ mons as well as of the major books. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to regard all Augustine’s other literary undertakings of those last four years as distractions from the main task of reviewing his past production. As a work that anticipates the objections of critics and seeks to impose criteria for the subsequent reception of his oeuvre, the Retractations is the most obvi­ ously “pre-posthumous” of Augustine’s later writings. But it is by no means the only text of this period that both inscribes and, as it were, preemp­ tively overwrites the death of the author. Its twin guiding principles—that Augustine’s works should be read with an eye to their original order and context, and that the reader’s understanding should advance with (and beyond) the author’s7—are implicit in much else that he wrote around that time, as indeed they already are in much that he had written earlier. Even if we set aside the De ciuitate Dei (begun in 412, but not completed until 426/7), itself a massive work of recapitulation and revision, there remain the “second edition” of the De doctrina Christiana (complete in four books), the projected two books De haeresibus, and the Speculum, all works which— with the somewhat earlier Enchiridion—may be seen as interlocking mem­ bers of a textual bridge designed to carry Latin readers over the rift between the saeculum Augustinianum and the succeeding age.8 Some of Augustine’s later “anti-Pelagian” writings, I suggest, may also usefully be viewed in this perspective. Whereas the tracts against Julian, written at a rhythm dictated by the latter, retain to the last the air of business the author would finish 6 Augustine, Ep. 213,6 (CSEL 57,378). 7 Note especially Retr. 1 , prol. 3 (C C SL 57,6): “ quicumque ista lecturi sunt, non me

imitentur erran tern, sed in melius proficientem. Inveniet enim fortasse quomodo scribendo profecerim, quisquís opuscula mea ordine quo scripta sunt legerit. Quod ut possit, hoc opere quantum potero curabo, ut eundem ordinem noverit.” 8 Othmar Perler, Les voyages de saint Augustin (Paris 1969) 361 ff., with the table, 472-477, provides a detailed chronology.

VII 267


if he could and then have die with him, another, less polemical set of trea­ tises seems aimed at a readeriy community for which he would make long­ term provision. It is with those works and their readers that the following pages are mainly concerned. Florus of Hadrunutum: The Reader and the Author Shortly before Easter 426 a little embassy of monks from Hadrumetum arrived in Hippo on urgent business to the bishop.9 Their monastery was in uproar. On a recent visit to Uzalis, one of the brethren, Floras, had made a copy of an anti-Pelagian treatise ascribed to Augustine and sent it back to the community. As some of the monks construed it, the argument of this work left no room for free will in the actions for which human beings were divinely judged. They were outraged. Surely, they said, Augustine had never held such a doctrine; the work could not be his. On his return Floras had staunchly upheld what he took to be the author’s position. Tempers flared. An alarmed abbot called on local experts for help. Evodius, bishop of Uzalis, replied in a short letter urging prayerful reflection and a broadly Augustinian theology of grace. A presbyter named Januarianus wrote more punctiliously to the same effect. Another, Sabinus, appeared in person to interpret the controversial treatise.10 All to no avail. The cham­ pions of free will insisted on taking the matter up with Augustine himself. Scarcely knowing what to do or think, still less what to write to the bishop of Hippo, the abbot had finally let two of them go. Events such as these reveal the long-term hazards of the propaganda campaign mounted a decade earlier by Augustine and his allies against Pelagius, Caelestius, and their party. That “Great War” now belonged to

9 For the theological issues involved in this and subsequent phases o f the so-called “ semi-Pelagian” controversy, see now Rebecca Harden Weaver, Divine Grace and Human Agency: A Study of the Semi-Pelagian Controversy, NAPS Patristic Monograph Series 15 (Macon [Georgia] 1996). A summary account may also be found in Dunstan O ’Keefe, “The Via Media of Monastic Thelogy,” Downside Review 11 2 (1994) 264-283, 1 1 3 (1995) 54-73, 157-174. My narrative for this section is based on Augustine, Epp. 2 14 -2 16 (including 215A , printed as a prefatory addendum to Goldbacher’s edition in C S E L 58). Ep. 217, to Vitalis, is further evidence o f the author’s concern for the proper reception o f his works: “ [RJogavi deum e t . . . adhuc rogo,” it begins, “ ut litteras meas nec aspemanter sumas et salubriter legas” (CSEL 57,403). 10 Ep. 216 ,3 (CSEL 57,398). The letters of Evodius and Januarianus are printed in PLS 2,331-341.

VII 268

history,11 but the textual munitions used to win it and secure a fragile peace still lay scattered around, fused and liable to go oif if not handled with care. Veterans of the earlier hostilities, like Evodius, were naturally circumspect. Others less well informed, like the monks of Hadrumetum, risked being hoist by their own reading. In the present case, they needed to know that Augustine’s letter of 418 A.D. to the Roman presbyter Sixtus (the text copied by Florus) had been written against those “new heretics,” the Pelagians. That is what Augustine told Abbot Valentinus, as he set about making this comer of the war zone safe for non-combatants. From the outset of his dealings with the African monks, Augustine seems to have grasped the paradigmatic quality of their situation. Others could come to grief as they nearly had, on this or any similarly complex theo­ logical question. A single hyperactive reader in a Christian community had brought confusion on the rest, quite possibly through no fault of his own. The visitors from Hadrumetum blamed Florus. The bishop of Hippo sus­ pends judgment: Florus may have failed to understand the text in question (out. . . non inteUegd librum meum) or been misunderstood {out forte ipse non intellegitur).12 We are reminded, not for the last time in documents from the final phase of Augustine’s career, of those earlier essays on human under­ standing and its textual instruments, the De magistro, Dt doctrma Christiana, and De catechizandis rudibus.'3 The new controversy underlined an old point: that all knowledge of the truth, howsoever mediated, was God-given. Already by the mid-390s Augustine’s epistemology had received the imprint of his theory of grace. Thirty years later his message was the same. Da quod iubes (“Grant what you command”), the prayer that had scandalized Pelagius when he read the Confessions, 14 was as applicable to the intellectual as to the moral life. In the quest for understanding, whether of Augustine’s writ­ ings or of the Holy Scripture to which all Christian writing was ancillary, the interpreter relied on a human intellect illuminated by God.15 “Reread

11 Brown, Augustme, 399. 12 Augustine, Ep. 214,6 (CSEL 57,385). 13 Brian Stock, Augustine the Reader: Meditation, Self-Knowledge and the Ethics o f Interpretation (Cambridge [Mass.] 1996), is now the fullest discussion, reviewed at length by Jam es J . O ’Donnell and the present writer in Bryn Mawr Reviews (on-line) [19J96.9.1-2. 14 Augustine, De dona perseoerantiae 20,53 (PL 45,1026), referring to Conf 10,29,40 f. 15 The point is fundamental to Augustine’s sense o f his oeuvre as a Christian writer. See already Ep. 27,4 (to Paulinus of Nola, 396 A.D.), appositely cited by Jam es J . O ’Donnell, Augustine: Confessions, 3 vols. (Oxford 1992) l.xxxi, and contextualized in my “ Conference and Confession” (cited above, n. 5) 188-189.

VII 269


that book carefully—repetite assidue librum istum,” Augustine says of his Letter to Sixtus, “and if you understand, give thanks to God. And where you do not understand, pray that you may; for God will give you understanding.”16 “Read, and pray for understanding” was a piece of advice Eraclius might have offered any puzzled reader of Augustine, without disturbing the bishop’s peace. It was the advice Evodius had already given in his letter to Abbot Valentinus.17 Before long, it would be the only general advice anyone could give. For as long as he lived, however, Augustine continued to strive by every practical means to ensure that the understanding he had been granted by God was available through him—that is, in the majority of cases, through his writings—to others. His first letter to Valentinus is a holding measure; the two itinerant monks wanted to be back in their monastery for Easter and there was no time for him to explain the intricacies of the debate they had blundered into. Or so he thought. Then, as they were about to leave, another of their company arrived, apparently with permission for them to prolong their stay. The letter just written would now be kept, to be sent with a second as part of the covering matter for a new work writ­ ten specially to deal with the issues raised, entitled On Grace and Free Will. And there would be more besides. In the days after Easter, Augustine went over a series of canonical documents with his guests: the letters of the antiPelagian councils of Carthage and Milevis (416) and of the five African bishops to Pope Innocent; the latter’s replies; the letter of another African council (417) to Pope Zosimus; that pope’s Epistula tractoria addressed to all the bishops of the Roman Empire; a further statement of the African bish­ ops. All these texts, together with his Letter to Sixtus, a treatise of Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer, and the new work De gratia et libero arbitrio, were the objects of a paschal seminar conducted for the benefit of his visitors. In future, they would be available for study by the community at Hadrumetum: haec omnia et in praesentia Ugimus cum ipsis et per eos misimus vobis, Augustine tells the abbot.18 By a process of collation, contextualization, and supplement

lb Augustine, De gratia et libero arbitrio 24,46 (PL 44,911). 17 Evodius, Ep. ad abbatem Valentinum (PLS 2,333): “ Legant ergo sancti Dei maiorum

dicta. . . et quando non intellegunt, non cito reprehendant, sed orent ut intellegant, petant ut accipiant, quaerant ut inveniant, pulsent ut aperiatur eis” (cf. Augustine, Conf. 13,38,53, with O ’Donnell’s commentary ad loc.). He adds that the will to understand (“velle bene intellegere” ) is itself God-given, and alludes to the key Augustinian prooftext, 1 Corinthians 4:7. Januarianus toes the same line (PLS 2,341). 18 Augustine, Ep. 215,2 (CSEL 57,389). For identification of the canonical documents, no longer all extant, see Otto Wermelinger, Rom und Pelagius: Die theologische Position der

VII 270

that was at once archival and authorial, Augustinian and para-Augustinian, the treatise procured by Florus had been securely enmeshed in a larger ensemble, a kind of hypertextual apparatus de gratia et Hbero arbitrio created by Augustine to make intelligible not only the doctrines at issue but also the textual forms in which they had been progressively published. With some adjustments, the method is essentially that of the contemporary Retractations. Even then Augustine did not desist. He asked that Florus be sent to him, and in due course Florus came. Valentinus may have been a little overwhelmed by the library of texts brought home from Hippo, embar­ rassed too by his earlier reluctance to endorse the Letter to Sixtus. Eager to make amends, he now gave fulsome assurances of the community’s fidel­ ity to Augustine’s teaching. Florus, who carried the abbot’s letter to Hippo, also brought tidings of new dissension in the monastery, perhaps provoked by a cursory reading of the De gratia et libero arbitrio. If the fallen human will was powerless for the good until enabled by divine grace, then—it was now being asked—what right had any human being to reprimand another for his moral failings? To that question, so potentially subversive of monastic discipline, Augustine replied in a treatise De correptione et gratia (“On Admonition and Grace”), which Florus could have taken back to Hadrumetum in the latter half of 426. The last work listed in the author’s Retractations, it begins with a summons to readerly retractatio. If the monks of Hadrumetum—or, by extension, any future community of readers— wished to derive full profit from the writer’s previous work De gratia et libero arbitrio, let them read it through again, noting in particular what divine (as opposed to human) authority was adduced in support of its arguments.19 The logic of this prefatory admonition could hardly be more constraining. To read Augustine right was to discover the sense of God’s biblical word . . . and rightly to construe that sense, one should reread Augustine!

römischen Bischöfe im pelagianischen Streit in den Jahren 4 11-3 2 , Päpste und Papsttum 7 (Stuttgart 1975), 147-148. 19 Augustine, De compitone et gratia 1,1 (PL 44,917): “ Non itaque opus est omnia identidem retractare, quae suffidenter vobis pleno libro disputata transmisimus [i.e., the De gratia et libero arbitrio] quem quomodo susceperitis, rescripta indicant vestra [Ep. 216]. Verumtamen semel 1ectum nullo modo arbitremini satis vobis innotescere potuisse. Si ergo fructuosissimum habere vultis, non vos pigeat relegendo habere notissimum, ut dili­ gentissime sciatis quibus et qualibus quaestionibus solvendis atque sanandis, non ibi humana sed divina occurrat auctoritas, a qua recedere non debemus, si volumus per­ venire quo tendimus.”

VII 271


Contradictory as they may at first appear, Augustine’s reminder of the primacy of divine authority and his insistence on the authority of popes and councils as warrants of his own teaching are twin features of a pedagogy adapted to a world in which human discernment can never be perfect but, divinely aided, may nevertheless catch glimmers of a transcendent truth. Convinced that the institutions of the church were part of God’s provision for the elect on their earthly pilgrimage, Augustine set a high value on the pronouncements of bishops and other notable Christian teachers. In the course of controversy with the Pelagians, indeed partly in response to their tactics, he had acquired a theory of conciliar authority and a habit of recourse to the quasi-conciliar agreement of accredited Christian writers.20 These were important developments for Latin theology and Christian lit­ erary practice alike. By the mid-420s, to judge from the replies to Abbot Valentinus, awareness of issues of specifically textual authority was not un­ common among the better informed members of the African clergy. Evodius warns sternly against calling into question the written works of “ holy teach­ ers of the church” and is horrified by the possibility that the monks might reject the decrees of a “plenary” council. Let them recall the scriptural admonition, “Ask your father and he will show you, your elders and they will tell you” (cf. Deuteronomy 32:7).21 Januarianus uses the same language, referring to unnamed Catholic authors as “ holy fathers, most famous and distinguished teachers of the churches of God,” and urging Valentinus to reserve their texts for monks fit to read them.22 Commonplace as such concerns were to become in the decades after the Council of Ephesus

Ä After Pierre Batiffol, Le cathoäasme dt sainl Augustin, 5th edn. (Paris 1929) and German Martil, La tradición en san Agustin a través de la controversia pelagitma (Madrid 1943), see KarlHeinrich Lütcke, "Auetonlos" bei Augustin (Stuttgart 1968) 142-46; Wermelinger, Rom und Pelagius (cited above, n. 18) 264 ff; Hermann Jo sef Sieben, Die Konzilsidee der Alten Kirche (Paderborn 1979) 68-102; Giovanni Maschio, “ L ’argomentazione patristica di s. Agostino nella prima fase della controversia pelagiana,” Augustinianum 26 (1986) 459-479; Ernst Dassmann, “ ‘Tarn Ambrosius quam Cyprianus’ (c. lui. imp. 4,112). Augustins Heifer im pelagianischen Streit,” in Oecumenica et Patristica: Festsckrift f ir Wilhelm Schneemelcher zum 75. Geburtstag, eds. Damaskinos Papandreou, Wolfgang A. Bienert, and Knut Schäferdiek (Stuttgart 1989) 259-268. Augustine’s textual conciliarism reaches its peak in the Contra Iulianum of 422 A.D. 21 (PLS 2,333-334) where the singular “ father” (for the biblical plural) refers most naturally to Augustine himself. For an important recurrence of this biblical verse in a related context, see n. 66 below. Not all contemporary readers were so ready to pronounce Augustine a Catholic tractator; for a more sceptical stance, see the text cited at n. 89. 22 (PLS 2,340-341).

VII 272

(431 A.D.), they are rare enough in Latín documents of this date to deserve notice.23 While neither Evodius nor Januarianus mentions Augustine by name, both were plainly conscious of his unique authority on the matter in hand and of the new demands that he was laying on Christian readers, even as he sought to make their way smooth.

Prosper of Aquitaine: The Reader and the Work The De correptione et gratia arrived in Southern Gaul with “unlooked-for timeliness,” probably no later than 427.24 In Prosper’s view, it should have silenced the local critics of Augustine’s teaching. In the event, it seems only to have made them more vocal. These alleged “enemies of grace”— monks and ascetically minded bishops from Marseilles, Arles, and the surround­ ing region— included some of the bishop of Hippo’s most exacting and resourceful readers. Although direct evidence of their textual practices is hard to find, the writings of Prosper supply material for a tentative com­ parison of their methods and his.25 Before calling on Augustine to intervene personally in the Gallic debate, Prosper had been busy on his behalf, selecting from his work and summa­ rizing his arguments for the local audience.26 If people would only attend

23 Vessey, “The Forging o f Orthodoxy in Latin Christian Literature: A Case Study,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 4 (1996) 495-496. 24 Prosper, Ep. ad Augustinum (= Augustine), Ep. 225,2 (CSEL 57,456): “ insperata opportunitate.” For the date, see Owen Chadwick, “ Euladius of Aries,” Journal o f Theological Studies 46 (1945) 200-205. As noted by R.A. Markus, The End o f Ancient Christianity (Cambridge 1990) 178, Prosper’s letter indicates “ that some anxiety, perhaps contro­ versy had preceded the arrival of [Augustine’s treatise] in Gaul.” 25 This section and the next are designee! to complement R.A. Markus, “The Legacy o f Pelagius: Orthodoxy, Heresy and Conciliation,” in The Making o f Orthodoxy: Essays in Honour o f Henry Chadwick, ed. Rowan Williams (Cambridge 1989), 214-234, esp. 217-220. See now also Éric Rebillard, “ Quasi funambuli: Cassien et la controverse pélagienne sur la perfection,” Revue des Études Augustiniennes 40 (1994) 197-210. 26 Although it is impossible to say how much o f Prosper’s vast oeuvre as an epitomator o f Augustine dates from before 427, we should not assume that he awaited either the author’s death or the outbreak of controversy to begin excerpting and adapting his writings. On his Augustinian Sententiae, see Rudolf Lorenz, “ Der Augustinismus Prospers von Aquitanien,” Zeitschrift fu r Kirchengeschichte 73 (1962) 217-252, and Vittorino Grossi, “ La recezione ‘sentenziale’ di Agostino in Prospero di Aquitania: Alle origini delle frasi sentenziali attribuite ad Agostino,” in Traditio Augustiniana: Studien über Augustinus und seine Rezeption, Festgabe W. Eckermann (Würzburg 1994) 123-40. Further references and dis­ cussion in Weaver, Divine Grace (above, n. 9) 117-54. For a preliminary treatment of the

VII 273


to what had been written by this “special patron”27 of the Catholic faith, he claimed, they would feel the overwhelming force of his biblical teaching.28 To encourage them to do so, Prosper reproduced what he took to be the inner “form” of the master’s discourse in new outward forms,29 including verse.30 Aside from Augustine’s own preposthumous recasting of his work, these writings of his Gallic disciple are our first clear instance of the “post”Augustinian elaboration of an opus Augustinianum. In devising them, Prosper was as faithful to the author’s habits of doctrinal composition as he meant to be to his doctrine of grace. Appealing for a sequel to the Dt correptione et gratia, he affirmed the utility of writing “even what has been written.”31 Augustine was bound to agree. “To write the same things to you does not irk me,” he replied, quoting the Apostle (Philipians 3: l).32 Irksome as it was to see the biblical testimony to God’s grace still being resisted, that would not deter him from adding to the store of books and letters he had written on the subject. For who could be sure that God had not ordained this text and these intermediaries as means of grace to some of the elect?33 Inattention to Augustine’s texts was hardly a besetting sin of his ascetic critics in Gaul. Although careful not to publish their dissent while he was living, they read him minutely. “There is a rumour,” reports Prosper in an epigram, “that a certain person is slandering (carpere) the books of the eloquent old man Augustine and composing a work against him.”34 Carpere literary method of Prospers “ Augustinianism” in these and other works such as the Epigrammata and Expositio Psalmontm, see Vessey, “ Ideas o f Christian Writing in Late Roman Gaul” (unpublished Oxford D.Phil. thesis 1988) 152-219, partly resumed here. 27 Ep. ad Augustinum 1 (CSEL 57,455). 28 Ep. ad Rufinum 4,5 (PL 51,80A), with a slap at those who covertly opposed his teaching “ inter multas collationes,” probably an allusion toCassian and his party. Confirmation o f the early date of the Epistula ad Rufinum is offeredby Françoise Vinel, “ Une étape vers l’affirmation du salut universel: Prosper d’Aquitaine: Lettre à Æîÿm,” Reuue d3Histoire Ecclésiastique 90 (1995) 367-395, who finds in it no trace of the De cor­ reptione et gratia. 29 Prosper, Ep. ad Augustinum 3 (CSEL 57,459): “ Et cum contra eos scripta beatitudinis tuae validissimis et innumeris tesdmoniis divinarum scripturarum instructa proferimus ac secundum formam disputationum tuarum aliquid etiam ipsi, quo concludantur, adstruimus... 30 His Peri achariston or Carmen de ingratis in 1002 hexameters is usually taken to be an early work. 31 Prosper, Ep. ad Augustinum 9 (CSEL 57,468). 32 Augustine, De praedestinatione sanctorum 1,1 (PL 44,959). 33 Augusüne, De praedestinatione sanctorum 1,2 (PL 44,961). 34 Prosper, Epigramma in obtrectatorem Augustini 1-2 (PL 5 1,14 9 A). Cf. the plea in an

VII 2 74

can mean “to excerpt” and that sense may also be intended here. If at one stage Prosper could complain that the opposing party did not produce the passages it found objectionable,35 by the time he and a certain Hilary wrote to Augustine the situation was becoming clearer. The Massilians36 might disagree with the African’s theology at certain points, but they were not about to reject his work en bloc. Rather, they hoped to use one Augusdnian text to drive out another. Finding in such recent treatises as the Contra Iulianum (422) and Dt correptione et gratia a doctrine of predesti­ nation which seemed to devalue their own spiritual enterprise, they appealed from them to Augustine’s earlier understanding of grace and free will, expressed in works from the period before the Pelagian crisis. Not only were other catholic teachers on their side, they asserted, so was the “more ancient” Augustine.37 Augustine’s response to this novel kind of “prescription”38 can be read in his two books Dt praedestmatione sanctorum and Dt dono ptrstvtrarUiae (“On the Predestination of the Saints” and “On the Gift of Perseverance”).39 There are two key points. First, one must consider the context of particular utter­ ances; these Gallic readers needed to know the circumstances in which each of Augustine’s works had been written. Secondly, due allowance had to be made for progressive refinements—even for major adjustments—in

another such poem, “ Quae concepta fovet promat, quae parturit eclat” (PL 5 1 ,1 5 1 A), repeated complaints o f secret dissent in the Ep. ad Rufinum, and the triumphant words o f the Contra collatorem, 2,1 (PL 5 1 ,2 18A): “ Scripta . . . sunt, et auctoris sui editione publicata,” referring to Cassian’s Conferences. 35 Prosper, Ep. ad Rufinum 18,19 (CSEL 51,88B): “ proferendo atque explicando libros.” 36 I use this as a blanket term for the Gallic critics of Augustinian predestination, the opinions of whom are said to have been in the air “ Massiliae vel etiam aliquibus locis in Gallia” (Hilary, Ep. ad Augustinum 2 [C SEL 57,469]). Prosopographical precision is difficult in this matter, for a recent attempt, see Ralph W. Mathisen, Ecclesiastial Factionalism and Religious Controversy in Fifth-Century Gaul (Washington [D.C.] 1989), 122-40, amplified in his “ For Specialists Only: The Reception of Augustine and His Teachings in FifthCentury Gaul,” in Collectanea Augustiniana: Augustine, Presbyter Factus Sum, eds. Joseph T. Lienhard, Earl C. Muller, and Roland J . Teske (New York 1993), 29-41. 37 Hilary, Ep. ad Augustmum 3 (CSEL 57,471): “ hoc non solum aliorum catholicorum testimoniis sed etiam sancdtads tuae disputatione andquiore se probare testantur.” The works cited for this purpose included Augusdne’s Ep. 102 (ca. 409), the Expositio quanmdam propositionwn ex epistula ad Romanos (394) and the De libero arbitrio (388-394/5). 38 Augustine, De dono perseveranliae 11,2 6 (PL 45,1008): “agebam in libris de libero arbitrio, unde isti nobis praescribendum putant.” 39 Regarded by the original addressee, and presumably by the author, as a single work De praedestmatione sanctorum: Prosper, Responsiones ad excerpta Genuensium praef. (PL 5 1,18 7 A).

VII 275


his thought over the years. The challenge of Pelagius had forced Augustine to express himself more clearly on certain issues. Long before that provi­ dential event, however, he had come to see the error in his early belief that an individual could initiate his or her own religious conversion by an unaided act of will.40 Here again, as in the encounter with Florus and his fellows of Hadrumetum, we recognize the literary apologetics of the Retractations, a work which Hilary asked to see as soon as it was ready and which, though still incomplete, was evidently sent to Gaul with the two books De praedestinatione sanctorum in 428/9.41 But there is now a new empha­ sis on the internal logic or economy of the Augustinian “work” as a whole. Augustine’s understanding of the truth had advanced as he wrote. As vigilant readers of his books, the Massilians should be equally careful to learn from his errors and corrections.42 The point was later twisted by Prosper in a polemical sense,43 but his opponents’ faith in Augustinian “antiquity” was not so easily shaken. Shortly after Augustine’s death, Prosper and Hilary obtained an endorsement of his teaching from Pope Celestine.44 In a letter to the bishop of Marseille and his regional colleagues, the pope urged an end to controversy, recalling that his predecessors in the Roman see had always counted Augustine “among the best masters.”45 Since he omitted, however, to mention any specific works or dogmas, the Massilians were still free to draw a line between the anti-Pelagian positions approved by Innocent and Zosimus, with which they had no quarrel, and the later outworkings of Augustine’s doctrine of predestination, which had never received either papal or conciliar sanction.46 Prosper insisted that the dis­ tinction was false. There was nothing in this author’s later works that could not be found more or less clearly expressed in his earlier writings against Pelagius. Everything he had written on the subject of grace and free will since ca. 412, if not since 396, had been imbued with the same spirit, shaped by the same inner “form” of discourse. If they admitted the ortho­ 40 See especially De praedestinatione sanctorum 3,7-4,8; 9,17; De dono perseverantiae 9,23; 11,26-12,30; 20,52-21,55. 41 Hilary, Ep. ad Augustmtan 10 (CSEL 57,479). Cf. De dono perseverantiae 11,27. 42 Augustine, De praestmatwne sanctorum 4,8; De dono perseverantiae 21,55. 43 In his Responsùmes ad excerpta Genuensium (PL 5 1,19 1 B), complaining of those “ qui curaverunt omnes sensus ipsius [sc. Augustini] indagare, [sed] noluerunt cum eius eruditione proficere.” 44 Wermelinger, Rom und Pelagius (above, n. 18) 246-249. 45 Celestine, Ep. ad episcopos Galliarum (“Apostolici verba” ) 2,3 (PL 50.530A). 46 Prosper, Contra collatorem 2 1,3 (PL 51,272B): his adversaries consider the pope’s approval to apply only to Augustine’s earlier writings.

VII 276

doxy of the earlier work, as they professed to, then the Massilians had no choice but to accept the later as well.47 The Augustine whose opinions car­ ried dogmatic authority did not expire prematurely in 418. Prosper makes this argument at the close of a polemical work Contra collatorem, directed against the thirteenth Conference (collatio) of John Cassian. Because the list of papal supporters which he adduces there runs all the way to Sixtus III, successor to Celestine in July 432, the treatise is usually dated to that year or later. We should note, however, that the passage in question forms a kind of coda to the work, and that another list of author­ ities included early in the main text mentions no Roman pontiff later than Zosimus.48 That earlier list draws on a dossier of papal and conciliar decrees against the Pelagians which Prosper seems to have had at his disposal since ca. 426.49 Already in the Letter to Rufinus he referred to decisions of the eastern bishops, of the Roman see, and of the African councils; the “new critics” of Augustine should know that his teaching had been universally approved.50 The appeal to geographical universality is further strengthened in the poem De ingratis (“On the Graceless, or Ungrateful”) through refer­ ences to Bethlehem (Jerome), Constantinople (the patriarch Atticus), Ephesus and Sicily.51 Prosper is in no doubt about the value of normative docu­ ments. “We have the texts,” is his cry: scripta manent.52 The main novelty of the Contra collatorem lies in the decision to quote documents verbatim, a procedure more fully developed in the pseudo-Celestinian Chapters on Divine Grace and Free W ill}1

47 Prosper, Contra collatorem 21,3 (PL 51,273A), rejecting the distinction between antiquitas and noviias in Augustine’s own teaching; “ idem doctrinae spiritus . . . eadem praedicationis forma.” Cf. Georges de Plinval, “ Prosper d’Aquitaine interprète de saint Augustin,” Re­ cherches Augustiniennes 1 (1958) 347: “ Il proclame avec force l’unité qui inspire toute l’oeuvre augustinienne.” Prosper builds on Augustine’s self-defence at De dono perseverantiae 21,55. 48 Prosper, Contra collatorem 5,3. 49 Wermelinger, Rom iaid Pelagius 149 reviews the documentation. “ Prosper, Ep. ad Rufinum 3,4 (PL 51,79B): “ novi censores.” Cf. Augustine, Retr. 1, prol. 1 (C C SL 57,5): “ u t. . . quod me offendit velut censorio stilo denotem.” Jerome had already adapted the language of textual criticism to the orthography of Christian doctrine: Vessey, “ Forging of Orthodoxy” (above, n. 23). 11 Prosper, De ingratis 33-7 1, the latter two names designating places from which Pelagian heretics had been expelled. M Prosper, De ingratis 84 (PL 5 1,10 1 A), referring to the acts of an African council. 53 This compilation of papal texts, associated in the manuscript tradition with the letter o f Celestine to the Gallic bishops (above, n. 45), was convincingly attributed to Prosper by D.M. Cappuyns, Revue Bénédictine 41 (1929) 156-170.

VII 277


Our evidence suggests, then, that Prosper launched his campaign pro Augustino on the basis of a body of corroborative, para-Augustinian material similar to that deployed by Augustine himself down to ca. 426 (and pre­ sumably deriving from Hippo), but was forced by his opponents to develop additional techniques of argument. The direct appeal to Rome ca. 431 and the systematic citation of papal documents in subsequent works may have been inspired in part by the tactical ultramontanism of Augustine’s critics.54 Harder to deflect, indeed never properly addressed by Prosper, was the Massilian claim that Augustine’s teaching contradicted a prior “patristic” consensus.55 Rather than assent to an unfamiliar and unconge­ nial exegesis of biblical passages on grace and free will, these readers put their faith in an interpretation supported by the writings of reputable Christian authors besides Augustine. Implicit in their style of argument was the assumption that, in every case where certainty mattered, there would emerge a single, commonly held opinion. To establish that opinion textually was the work of another kind of retractatio or review.56 In the treatise addressed to Prosper and Hilary Augustine went to considerable lengths to supply evidence of patristic support for his views and to explain why it was not more abundant, thereby implicitly underlining the principle of tex­ tual conciliarism invoked in his earlier writings against Pelagius and Julian.57 In the process, it seems, he confirmed certain Gallic theologians in a mode of research to which they were already professionally disposed. Vincent of Lerins: The Reader and the Text

Among the few named adversaries of Prosper was a certain Vincent, deviser of a terrifying digest of purportedly Augustinian dogmas, such as “That God created the greater part of humanity in order that he might work

14 According to the preface to the ps.-Celestinian capitala, these critics professed to accept only doctrines “ quae sacratissima beati apostoli Petri sedes. . . sanxit et docuit” (PL 5 1 ,205A). Cf. Vincent of Lérins, Commonitorium 32. 55 Prosper, Ep. ad Augustinian 2 (CSEL 57,455): Augustine’s teaching alleged to be “contrarium. . . patrum opinioni et ecclesiastico sensui.” 56 Hilary, Ep. ad Augustinum 8 (CSEL 57,477): the Massilians resort to “ libri . . . feorum] quorum est in ecclesia auctoritas” ; Prosper, Ep. ad Augustinum 8 (CSEL 57,467): “ retractatis priorum de hac re opinionibus, paene omnium par invenitur et una sentenda.” 57 Augustine, De praedestmahoru sanctorum 14,27-28; De dono perseoeranhae 19,48-50. Prosper’s appeal to the “ sensus omnium tractatorum” at Contra collatorem 9,5 (PL 51,238C) is justified by a single quotation from Ambrose.

VII 278

their perpetual ruin.”58 On the principle of not multiplying Vincents beyond necessity, this one should be identified with a monk of Lerins who at the same period produced an anti-heretical treatise known as the Commonilonum, and a set of excerpts from Augustine’s trinitarian and christological writings.59 Links between the monastic communities of Lerins and Marseilles were close, and there are important methodological and ideological convergences between Cassian’s Conferences and the Commonitorium.60 Cassian may have re­ frained from overt disagreement with the bishop of Hippo, but the manner of his claim to offer a (non-Augustinian) doctrine of grace and free will in conformity with the opinions of “all the catholic fathers” matches the reported tactics of the Massilian party too closely for it to be possible to regard him simply as a bystander to the debate. Not without reason was Prosper mistrustful of the “conference” as a mode of theological discourse, at least as practiced in his own milieu. Faithfully as he might transcribe and adapt Augustine’s writings, he was at a disadvantage when compet­ ing with the vivid presences conjured by the man he called the Collator. In the simulated desert dialogue of his thirteenth Conference, composed ca. 426, Cassian made it appear that ideas about divine aid and human effort were best transmitted in the practical, oral instruction of a monas­ tic disciple by his master; a person’s assurance of holding the catholic faith lay in the existential continuity of ancient and widely attested habits of life, not in the empty words of theological controversy.61 A similar emphasis

58 Prosper, Pro Augustino responsione* ad capitola obiectionum Vincentianarum cap. 3 (PL

51.179 C ). 59 Pace William O ’Connor, “ St. Vincent of Lerins and St. Augustine,” Doctor Communis 16 (1963) 123-157, who disputes the identification made by Hugo Koch, “ Vincenz von Lerin und Gennadius,” in Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 3 1.2 (Leipzig 1907) 43-47. The Augustinian Excerpta were first edited by José Madoz in 1940. Vincent’s texts are cited here in the edition o f R. Demeulenaere (C C SL 64). 60 Sieben, Die Konzilsidee (above, n. 20) 149-170 (“ Der Konzilsbegriff des Vinzenz von Lerin”), esp. 164 ff; Agostino Pastorino, “ D concetto di ‘tradizione’ in Giovanni Cassiano e in Vincenzo di Lerino,” Sileno 1 (1975) 37-46. The authors independently conclude that Vincent’s concepts of tradition and unity in doctrine are analogous to those expounded by Cassian in his monastic treatises and the Conira Nestorium. See further Vessey, “ Ideas o f Christian Writing” (above, n. 26) 223-237. 61 Cassian, Conlationes 13 ,18 (CSEL 57,467): “ Per quod evidenti ratione colligitur ab his qui non loquadbus verbis, sed experientia duce vel magni tudinem gratiae vel modulum humani metiuntur arbitrii.. . . Et idcirco hoc AB OMNIBUS CATH O LICIS PA TRIBU S definitur, qui perfectionem cordis non inani disputatione verborum, sed re atque opere didicenmt-----Si quid sane versutius humana argumentatione ac ratione collectum huic

VII 279


on personal discipleship, oral transmission, and sanctity of life marks the construction of orthodoxy in his polemical treatise Against Nestorius (430), a work whose genre nevertheless allowed the citation of written testimonia, including two in this case from the writings of Augustine, “bishop of Hippo Regius.”62 Oral conference and textual collation were thus assimilated, but in such a way that special value still attached to the living word of a teacher.63 As we have seen, Augustine was a past master of the confer­ ence, especially the kind involving collation of texts. Now a community of readers in Gaul was inserting his texts into a collective doctrinal oeuvre or universal Text (capital “T”) that was at once residually oral and as firmly shaped by writing as his own published opus. After Cassian, Vincent is that community’s most able spokesman. According to Prosper, those who drew up lists of objectionable “Augustinian” positions on grace and predestination did so in order to distract their readers from proper scrutiny of the libri Augustini64 Less pejoratively, we may say that the Massilians’ purpose was to circumscribe the part of this author’s literary output that would henceforth be considered doctrinally normative. The tergiversations of modem scholarship notwithstanding, Vincent’s stake in that enterprise is beyond reasonable doubt.65 By setting the problem of the reception of Augustine’s oeuvre in the context of a larger theory of the writerly elaboration of Christian dogma, he carried his Gallic and other readers decisively into the post-Augustinian era.

sensui vidctur obsistere, vitandum magis est quam ad destrucdonem fidei provocandum.” These two conferences belong to a set dedicated to the abbot o f Lérins and a monk associated with that community. See also Conrad Leyser, ‘“ Lectio Divina, Orado Pura’: Rhetoric and the Techniques of Asceticism in the Conferences o f John Cassian,” in Modelli di santità, modelli di comportamento, eds. G. Barone et al. (Rome 1994) 79-105. 62 Cassian, De incarnatomi Domini contra Nestorium 7,24-31 at 27. Marie-Anne Vannier “Jean Cassien a-t-il fait oeuvre de théologien dans le De incamatione Domini?” Rame des Sciences Religieuses 66 (1992) 119 -13 2 observes the congruence with Vincent’s methods in the Commonitorium. b3 Note the terms of the final appeal to the authority o f John Chrysostom, “qui com­ munis mihi ac vobis [sc. Nestorio] magister fuit, cuius discipuli atque institutio sumus” (CSEL 17,390). In the next sentence Nestorius is referred to John’s writings. M Prosper, Pro Augustine responsiones ad capitula obiectionum Gallorum calumniantium praef. (PL 51,156A). 65 Although now in need of modification in places, José Madoz, E l concepto de la tradi­ ción en san Vicente de Ltrins: Estudio historico-critico del Conmonitorio, Analecta Gregoriana 5 (Rome 1933) and Excerpta Vincentii ürinensis, Estudios Onienses 1.1 (Madrid 1940) are still the best guides.

VII 280

Despite the initial affectation of an orality reminiscent of Cassian’s Conferences, the Commonitorium is a studiously chirographic work.66 Combining recent data from the acts of the anti-Nestorian Council of Ephesus with documentation on the theological controversies of the previous two cen­ turies, the author constructs a narrative of the progressive textual formula­ tion of Catholic dogmas in which special importance is attributed, first, to conciliar creeds and, secondly, to statements derived from comparison of the written opinions of reputable Christian teachers. Of the three criteria posited for the determination of orthodoxy (ubiquity, antiquity, unanimity), only the first appears even potentially applicable without recourse to docu­ ments.67 In practice, the search for true doctrine turns out to be a search for textual harmony, whether ready-made in a formula like the Nicene Creed or newly brought to light by the Catholic excerptor-compiler.68 To illustrate the process of patristic collation,69 Vincent refers to a dossier of texts presented at the Council of Ephesus.70 (We have seen, however, that Massilian readers did not wait for Cyril of Alexandria to give them lessons in this new art.) Turning from events at Ephesus to take a general view of the issue of heretical innovation, he then quotes a document whose specific reference, though omitted, would have been fresh in the minds of his first readers. By an ingenious soliciting of Pope Celestine’s letter of ca. 431, he encourages the suspicion that it was Augustine’s Gallic supporters, not his critics, who preached a novel doctrine of predestination.71

66 Sieben, Die Konzilsidee 155: “ Die Eigenart der Anwendung [of the principle of referring to ‘tradition’ as a guarantee of orthodoxy] besteht, kurz gesagt, darin, daß Vinzenz eine schriftliche Quelle neben, um nicht zu sagen, über der Schrift postuliert.” Cf. Vessey, “ Peregrinus against the Heretics: Classicism, Provinciality and the Place of the Alien Writer in Late Roman Gaul,” in Studia Ephemeridis “Augustinianum” 46 (Rome 1994) 530-565, esp. 553-5. Note the citation of Deut. 32:7 (“ Interroga patres tuos. . . ” ) at Commonitorium 1,1, quickly assimilated to a literate context. For an earlier application o f the same verse, see n. 2 1 above. 67 Yet in order to invoke the faith of the church as a whole (“quod ubique creditum est” ), Catholic opponents of the Donatists referred to written texts: Commonitorium 6,3-10. 68 On the paradigmatic importance o f the Nicene Creed for Vincent, see Sieben, Die Komylsidee 157 f. This text is central to his discussion of the criterion of antiquity. 69 Vincent, Commonitorium 3,4 (C C SL 64,150): “ operam dabit, ut conlatas inter se maiorum consulat interrogetque sententias.” 70 Vincent, Commonitorium 29-30, citing a set of patristic testimonia read out by Cyril during the first session. Sieben, Die Konzilsidee 159, notes that Vincent gives this docu­ ment a prominence it did not have at the council, at the expense o f the Nicene Creed. See also n. 76 below. 71 Vincent, Commonitorium 32,4-7 (C C SL 64:193), concluding: “ Ergo haec fuit beati

VII 281


Given what is known about the Gallic habit of reading Augustine’s later anti-Pelagian works against the concerted testimony of earlier Catholic authors, it is notable that Vincent’s one other extant production (apart from the anti-Augustinian Objections quoted by Prosper) consists of a set of excerpts from the African’s writings on the Trinity and Incarnation, offered as an authoritative statement of Catholic doctrine, and including passages from the (two-book) De praeeUstmatione! As an ensemble—more exactly, as a concise instantiation of the imagined universal Text of Christian orthodoxy—these excerpts are said to represent the sense of Holy Scripture and the teaching of the ancients; in collecting them into a book, Vincent spoke as if for all the holy fathers, albeit in the words of one man.72 What is striking about this contention is that it flatly contradicts a principle enun­ ciated in the Commonitorium, namely that proof of consensus (outside the decrees of church councils) required the production of multiple witnesses.73 How is the inconsistency to be explained? Vincent himself implies that since Augustine had consulted many previous writers, his own works might be regarded—on certain topics—as models of doctrinal collatio,74 Although not explicitly envisaged in the Commonitorium, this possibility would have been attractive to a dogmatist who, like others of his and the next gener­ ation, seems to have yearned for a trinitarian-christological formula that would take account of doctrinal developments that had supervened since the (late fourth-century) consecration of the Creed of Nicaea.75 The Council Caelestini beata sententia, ut non vetustas cessaret obruere novitatem, sed potius novitas desineret incessere vetustatem” ; Madoz, E l concepto 79-83. Madoz goes too far, how­ ever, in reducing the Commonitorium as a whole to “ un panfleto contra San Agustín” (89). The opposite error—that is, to deny that the work is marked in any way by oppo­ sition to Augustine’s teaching on predestination—is represented by O ’Connor (above, n. 59) 194 ff. and Elie Griffe, “ Pro Vincentio Lerinensi,” Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 62 (1961) 26-32. 72 Vincent, Excerpta 1 (CCSL 64,202): “ ipsum beatae memoriae sanctum Augustinum, immo per eum Christi potius et ecclesiae antiquam et universalem fidçm audiamus loquentem” ; 10 (231): “ licet unius sacerdotis verbis omnium sanctorum patrum sensu locud esse videamur.” 73 Vincent, Commonitorium 3,4 (CCSL 64,150): “ non unus aut duo tantum” ; 27,4 (186): “ multorum . . . magistrorum” ; 28,7 (187): “ velut quodam . . . magistrorum concilio.” 74 Vincent, Excerpta 1 (CCSL 64,202): “Ait namque: Omnes quos Legere potui qui ante me scripserunt de Trinitate quae Deus est, divinorum librorum . . . catholid tractatores hoc intenderunt secundum scripturas docere. . . [= De Trinitate 1.4.7].” 75 For an instance of post-Nicene credal drafting from Vincent’s own milieu, known to both Augustine and Cassian, see the Libeláis emendatxonis of Leporius (C C SL 64,111-23). Credal summaries are particularly favoured by Gennadius of Marseille in his De viris iüustribus.

VII 282

of Ephesus had produced no such text.76 The Qmmwnitorium gestures towards it in language that consistendy evokes the progressive consolidation, un­ folding, and artistic enhancement of dogma.77 By stringing together the “jewels” of Augustine’s teaching as a charm against the errors of Arius, Photinus, Apollinarius and Nestorius,78 Vincent may have hoped to advance a collective work of literary-dogmatic art, the end of which would be an ex­ pression of the essence of the Catholic faith attributable to no one individual, except by accidental association, because truly universal—an abridgement in modum symboli of the orthodox Text.79 Evidence that Vincent, like the emperor Theodosius II, called on Augustine posthumously to contribute to the work of the Council of Ephesus does nothing to weaken the inference that the Qmmwnitorium was in some sense a product of Massilian efforts to limit the receivable part of his oeuvre. On the contrary, representing Augustine’s works (down to the last) as a rich hoard of trinitarian and christological sentential was a shrewd way of excluding

76 Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, Vol. 1: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (4 5 1), trans. John Bowden, 2nd edn. (London 1975) 486: “ for the Fathers of 4 31 Nicaea provided the really authoritative christological formula, the simple wording o f which was once again no more than a re-presentation of the apostolic faith and the tradition of the primitive church.” Cf. Sieben, Die Konzilsidet 244. In fact, the .council explicidy for­ bade the drafting of new credal formulae. 77 After explaining the errors of Nestorius, Photinus and Apollinaris, Vincent embarks at Commonitorium 13,5 on an essay in trinitarian-christological definition: “ Sed operae predum est, ut id ipsum [i.e., the orthodox dogma] etiam atque etiam distinctius et expressius enucleemus” (C C SL 64,164). Note also Commonitorium 2 3 ,1-13 , where the development (profectus) of religious doctrine is successively compared to the growth of a living body, the fruition of plants, and the finishing of a work of art. It is the last anal­ ogy (“ ut prisca ilia . . . dogmata processu temporis excurentur, limentur, poliantur” [CCSL 64,179]) that most clearly implies a role for human tractatores and coUatores working in a literary medium; cf Madoz, E l concepto 129-130; Marc Lods, “ Le progres dans le temps de PEglise selon Vincent de Lerins,” Revue d’Histoire et de Pfiilosophie Religuuses 55 (1975) 384-385. The miniaturism of Vincent’s verbal aesthetic accords with his insistence on concise forms o f dogmatic expression, e.g., at Commonitorium 23,19 (C C SL 64,180): “ magnam rerum summam paucis litteris comprehendendo.” 78 Vincent, Excerpta 10 (CCSL 64,231): “ Haec sunt quae de libris sancti Augustini in unum velut opusculum sparsim collecta digessimus. Quas ego non tam capitula quam gemmas podus et margaritas quasdam appeliaverim.” Cf. Commonitorium 22,6 (CCSL 64,177): “pretiosas divini dogmads gemmas exsculpe, fideliter coapta, adoma sapienter, adice splendorem gradam venustatem.” 79 For discussion of his role in the preparation of the so-called Athanasian Creed, see Madoz, Excerpta 65-90; J.N .D . Kelly, The Athanasian Creed (London 1964) 116 -119 . “The conclusion is inescapable,” writes Kelly, “ that Lerins was the cradle of the creed” (119).

vu 283


their other contents from consideration.80 For all their interest in concise forms of dogmatic expression, Gallic authors of this period show little incli­ nation to expand the credal format to accommodate doctrines of grace and free will. Like Pelagius, Caelestius, and other creative theologians of the Theodosian Age, they preferred to leave such matters outside the orbit of the faith required in a profession of orthodoxy.81 Augustine took the opposite view. Summarizing Catholic dogma and his own teachings in the Enchiridion (ca. 422), he combined orthodox doctrine of the nature of God with an exposition of the regime of divine grace, in a manner unknown to the prior tradition of creed-making.82 The author of the Commonitorium interprets the “rule of faith” in a more restricted sense, implicitly ruling out the disputed articles on grace and predestination.83 As honorary drafts­ man to the Council of Ephesus in the Excerpta, Vincent’s Augustine for­ feits his claim to the precarious textual consensus constructed in the Contra Iulianum. It is possible to discern in the Commonitoriwn the shadow of an even more radically reductive approach to Augustine’s work as a publishing theolo­ gian. Like Tertullian, Vincent interprets Galatians 1:8 as a ban on every kind of doctrinal innovation. “Why then,” he has an imaginary interlocu­ tor ask, “does God so often allow outstanding churchmen to preach novel­ ties?” The perils of allegiance to a trusted master who succumbs to error are developed at length, in a passage for which Tertullian offers no hint.84 Nestorius, Photinus, Apollinarius, Origen, and Tertullian himself are cited85 as instances of teachers who for a time flourished conspicuously in the faith but fell “at the end” into heresy.86 Vincent’s handling of the cases of Origen and Tertullian reflects the controversy thirty years earlier between Jerome and Rufinus over the alleged heretical interpolation of Origen’s writings. Now as then the issue was one of textual credibility.87 Rufinus’ attempt to 80 Gennadius of Marseilles, writing under Vincent’s influence thirty years later, lists

only three works in his notice on Augustine (De viris iUustribus 39); one o f them is the De Trinitate, another a De mcamatwne Domini (a florilegium?). See also n. 92 below. 81 Wermelinger, Rom und Pelagius 137 -14 1. 82 Adolf von Hamack, History o f Dogma, trans. from the 3rd German edn. by J . Millar (London 1898) 5.222-240. 83 Markus, “The Legacy of Pelagius” (above, n. 25) 220. Commonitorium 28,16 (C C SL 64,189): the purpose of the Council of Ephesus was “ to fix the rule o f faith,” suppos­ edly by recourse to patristic texts. Cf. ibid. 29,9-10; 30,6. 84 Vincent, Commonitorium 10; cf. Tertullian, De praesenptwnehaeretuorum 4. 85 Vincent, Commonitorium 1 1 ; 17-19. 86 Vincent, Commonitorium 17,1 (CCSL 64,170): “ ad extremum.” 87 Vessey, “ The Forging of Orthodoxy” (above, n. 23).

VII 284

save the texts of Origen had ended ingloriously. Tertullian’s final error “detracted from the authority of his otherwise trustworthy writings.”88 If there was a practical lesson to be drawn from these precedents, Vincent refrains from stating it. A train of thought that would leave Augustine’s works subject to the kind of censure already placed on Origen’s was too disturbing to be followed to its logical conclusion, even by so rigorous a critic as the Lerinian commonitor,89 It has been well said that “[b]y the preparation of the Retractations and by Possidius’ authorship of the Life of Augustine and his compilation of the little pamphlet we call his mdiculum of Augustine’s writings, Augustine left this world with a more secure claim on future readers’ attention than any other writer of his age.”90 With that posthumous authorial claim went a twofold challenge, spelled out in the Retractations and, as we have seen, implicit elsewhere. First, there was the invitation to readerly comprehen­ siveness and imitation. Students of Augustine were to treat the ensemble of his writings as an emergent, contextually determined whole, each part of which, duly considered, marked a passage in the author’s personal quest for divine understanding. To read Augustine attentively was to mime and recapitulate his own prayerfully laborious “progress” towards God.91 That was a stiff task, as early readers were quick to point out.92 But it was less than the sum of what was asked of them. For they were also incited to readerly openness and collaboration, as (most plainly) at the close of his last finished work.93 Nobody should mistake the “Complete Works” for the

88 Vincent, Commcmiiorium 18,5 (C C SL 64,173), quoting Hilary of Poitiers. 89 A contemporary reader, the Spaniard Consensus, was less cautious. See his letter

o f ca. 419 to Augustine (= Augustine), Ep. 12*, 11 - 1 2 (ed. Diyjak), with Norbert Brox, “ Consentais über Origenes,” Vigiliae Ckrisùanae 36 (1982) 14 1-14 4 and Carol Quillen, “ Consentius as a Reader of Augustine’s Confessions,” Revue des Études Augustiniennes 37 (1991) 100-101. 90 Jam es J . O ’Donnell, “ The Authority of Augustine,” Augustinian Studies 22 (1991) 7-35 at 16, a lecture to which this article owes more than can be conveyed by citation. 91 From a different perspective, Stock, Augustine the Reader (above, n. 13) offers a mas­ terly account of this process. 92 On the difficulty, if not impossibility, of reading all that Augustine had written, see already Possidius, Vita Augustini 18,19; Gennadius, De viris illustribus 39; Eugippius, Ep. ad Ptobam 2,19; Isidore o f Seville (PL 83,1109). The thought perhaps owes some­ thing to Jerome, Ep. 33.5 (on Origen), echoed by Vincent, Commonitorium 17,7. 93 Augustine, De dono perseverantiae 24,68 (PL 45,1034): “ Qui legunt haec, si intelligunt, agant Deo gratias: qui autem non intelligunt, orent ut eorum ille sit doctor interior, a

VII 285


whole truth. To read Augustine attentively was to be alert to the inner promptings of the true Teacher and thus in a position to correct both him and his writings in the light of a hypothetical higher Text. Measured against so elevated an ideal of collective or communal textuality, the shifts of readers like Floras, Prosper, Vincent and other Massilian critics of the late 420s and early 430s are bound to seem a little less than inspiring. Yet many of their concerns and strategies, as traced in these pages, were similar to those of Augustine himself, if not visibly derived from his work. In their zeal for the collation and reproduction of poten­ tially normative texts, as in their attachment to a real or fictionalized oral pedagogy, these readers—as Christian writers, if not always as theologians— were natural heirs to the Confessions and Retractations. If there is a single major difference to be observed between their manner of proceeding and Augustine’s as his own literary executor, it is, as we might expect, a cir­ cumstantial one. Free of the burdens of high pastoral office, international reputation, and the necessity of answering a Julian of Eclanum, monastic and lay writers of the next generation could afford to economize where the bishop of Hippo had latterly been most prolific. No heroes, they were content to make a world—and work—for themselves within the expand­ ing textual universe of Latin Christianity. They did so, in the first place, by assigning limits to the opus Augustinianum.w

cuius facie est scientia et intellectus. Qui vero errare me existimant, etiam atque etiam diligenter quae sunt dicta considerent, ne fortassis ipsi errent. Ego autem, cum per eos qui meos labores legunt non solum doctior verum etiam emendatior fio, propitium mihi Deum agnosco; et hoc per ecclesiae doctores maxime exspecto, si et in ipsorum manus venit, dignanturque nosse quod scribo.” Vincent, Commonitorium 1,7 is careful not to be taken for one of the doctores ecclesiae of whom Augustine expected most. 94 This paper has benefitted from the comments o f members of Professor Peter Brown’s Late Antique Seminar at Princeton University, where I had the opportunity to read a draft o f it in February 1997.


The Forging o f Orthodoxy in Latin Christian Literature: A Case Study

Christian literary production of the post-Theodosian era is predominantly in two modes. The first is a creative and explicit rewriting of the Bible: in Latin of the period, tractatio scripturarum. The second is a creative and ex­ plicit rewriting of earlier non-biblical (“patristic”) Christian texts: by mod­ ern analogy, retractatio patrum. Each of these procedures was governed by a set of more or less agreed-upon rules, in effect a rhetoric or poetics of doc­ trinal composition. Tractatio scripturarum, though not comprehensively theorized in the West until Augustine took up the matter in his treatise De doctrina Christiana, has a history continuous with that of the biblical canon. By contrast, the main work of dogmatic retractatio patrum may be said to begin at the Theodosian moment itself, even if some of its princi­ ples do not emerge clearly until the Pelagian and Nestorian controversies of the earlier fifth century. Its first western theorist, as controversialists of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation were quick to recognize, was the Gallo-Roman writer Vincent of Lerins, whose so-called Commonitorium, written ca. 434 under the double impact of the Council of Ephesus and the recently “completed” works of Augustine, contained advice on de­ termining from non-biblical—that is, conciliar and patristic—texts what had been believed “everywhere, at all times, by all Christians” (ubique, semper, ab omnibus).1 1. The epochal significance o f this treatise has been well brought out by H. J . Sieben, D ie K on zilsidee d er A lten K irche (Paderborn: F. Schdningh, 19 79), 14 9 -7 0 . Vincent’s argument is grounded on the textual factum of the Nicene Creed as promulgated by Am-

V ili 496

The tracing of these developments in their detail will be the task of some future literary history of Christian doctrine.2 The aim of the present essay is to convey a sense of what was at stake in the earliest phase of dogmatic retractatio patrum, and to hint at the complexity of material, technical, and ideological factors involved. I shall evoke the circumstances of one highly marked instance of patristic rewriting de fide, glance at the theoretical and practical contexts within which such events acquire their meaning for later readers (including ourselves), and attempt a provisional placing of this par­ ticular event in a longer, hypothetical narrative of Christian literary history. What is offered, then, is a “case study” in the forging of orthodoxy in and as Latin Christian literature. brose of Milan (comm. 5.1 ). Elsewhere I have tried to locate the Commonitorium in the “Theodosian” order of Christian books: “Peregrinus Against the Heretics: Classicism, Provinciality, and the Place of the Alien Writer in Late Roman Gaul,” in Cristianesimo e specificità regionali nel Mediterraneo latino (sec. IV-Vl), XXII Incontro di studiosi dell’antichità cristiana, Roma, 6-8 maggio 1993, Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 46(1994), 529-65. 2. Cf. Journal o f Literature and Theology 5 ( 1991 ): 352-3. The chapters on Christ­ ian writing in Albrecht Dihle’s recent survey, Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire: From Augustus to Justinian, trans. M. Malzahn (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), advance cautiously beyond previous attempts to combine the histories of literature and Christian doctrine. The following remarks, which introduce a section on fourth- and fifth-century “Christian-theological literature,” are characteristic: “The epoch quoted here as the one in which the dogma was ultimately fixed was at the same time the Classic period in early Christian literature. Within the framework of a literary history, I cannot attempt to describe the development of Christian dogma in detail.. . . (On the other hand,] the specific phenomena in Christian literature cannot be explained without mention of basic facts concerning dogmatical and ecclesiastical history ” (503, emphasis added). Dihle presents the dogmatic-ecclesiastical settlement of 381 primar­ ily as a philosophical achievement: “In the controversies leading to the decision of 381 a d philosophical thought had once again taken hold of the content of the faith___ [T]he contention was that the inexplicable could be described in ontological terms, with a de­ gree of clarity which allowed one to make a distinction between believers and non­ believers on the basis of their agreement or disagreement with the formula arrived at. This view at the same time opened the door for further dogmatical fixations” (553, em­ phasis added). To argue as I do for a recognition of the process of “dogmatical fixation” as a “specific phenomenon of Christian literature” per se, rather than as a set of “basic facts” belonging to a separate though simultaneous order of reality, is no doubt to risk breaking the “framework of literary history” within which surveys such as Dihle’s have traditionally been written. Among theologically based approaches to the forms of Chris­ tian doctrine in this period, I have learnt most from Basil Studer, La riflessione teologica nella chiesa imperiale (sec. IVe V), Sussidi Patristici, no. 4 (Rome: Istituto Patristico Au­ gustinianum, 1989), now largely incorporated in Storia della teologia, Vol. 1: Epoca pa­ tristica, ed. A. Di Berardino and B. Studer (Casale Monferrato: Piemme, 1993), and soon to be available in English.



A NEW ORDER OF BOOKS “The bishops of the Eastern Church had reached a consensus about the Christian doctrine of God. The bishops of the Western Church could find no compelling reason to disagree.” On this resoundingly untriumphal note the late R. P. C. Hanson ended his account of the fourth-century Trinitarian controversy.3 His narrative draws to a close in 382, the last rumblings of disagreement still audible in the west. At Constantinople in the summer of 381 the eastern bishops had reaffirmed the faith of Nicaea, an edict of the emperor Theodosius issued after their council requiring “that all churches [be] handed over to the bishops who profess Father, Son and Holy Spirit of a single majesty, of the same glory, of one splendour.”4 At Aquileia later in the same year Ambrose of Milan had stage-managed a defeat of the homoean—as he represented them, “Arian”—bishops Palladius and Secundianus.5 A new ecclesiastical and doctrinal order was emerging. We might call it the “Theodosian” order, after the emperor whose decree signalled an end to the business begun by Constantine at Nicaea in 325. In 382 a council composed mainly of Italian bishops met at Rome un­ der Bishop Damasus.6 Among its acts was an anathema on the teaching of Apollinarius, a zealous anti-Arian who in stressing the divinity of Christ was thought by some to have neglected an essential aspect of his humanity. Apollinarianism had been condemned before at Rome and less emphatically at Constantinople in 381, but Damasus and his associates were still looking for a formula to exclude it.7 If we can trust a reminis­ 3. The Search for the Christian Doctrine o f God: The Arian Controversy 318-381 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1988), 823. 4. CTh 16.1.3 (“Episcopis tradi”), trans. Hanson, Search, 821. 5. See now Neil B. McLynn, Ambrose o f Milan: Church and Court in a Christian Cap­ ital (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 124-36; Daniel H. Williams, Am­ brose o f Milan and the End of the Arian-Nicene Conflicts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 154-84.1 regret that the second of these studies came to hand too late for me to use it here. 6. Charles Pietri, Roma Christiana: Recherches sur l’Église de Rome, son organisa­ tion, sa politique, son idéologie, de Miltiade à Sixte III (311-440), 2 vols., BEFAR 224 (1976), 866-72. Pietri’s painstaking account of Roman dogmatic and conciliar activity during the pontificate of Damasus provides an indispensable background to this essay. 7. Rome: Pietri, Roma Christiana, 812-18 (condemnation of Vitalis, Apollinarian bishop of Antioch), 833-40 (Roman council of 377, with which Pietri associates the col­ lection of dogmatic texts known as the Tomus Damasi, ascribed in the past to the coun­ cil of 382); Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, Vol. 1: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon, trans. J. Bowden, 2nd edn. (London 8c Oxford: Mowbrays, 1975), 350-51. Constantinople: Adolf Martin Ritter, Das Konzil von Konstantinopel und sein Symbol, Forschungen zur Kirchen- und Dogmengeschichte, Bd. 15 (Gottingen: Van-


cence of a decade and a half later, this search was not without its special hazards. When discussions were being held on the matter of reconciling the followers of Apollinarius [our informant writes], Bishop Damasus commissioned a certain friend of his, a presbyter and an extremely eloquent man who regularly per­ formed such duties for him, to draw up a statement of the church’s faith (editionem ecclesiasticae fid ei. . . conscribendam mandauit) which those who wished to be reconciled would have to subscribe. In devising a form of words for the incarnation of our Lord, this man found it necessary to use the phrase homo dominicus. The Apollinarians took offense at the expression and began to attack it as a novelty. The deviser set about defending himself, answering their objections from the authority of the ancient writings of catholic men (ex auctoritate ueterum scriptorum catholicorum uirorum). N ow it happened that to one of those who were complaining of the novelty of the expression he showed the phrase in question occurring in a work by Bishop Athanasius {in libello Athanasii episcopi). Seemingly persuaded, the person who received this proof asked to be given the book (codicent), so that he might satisfy others who were ignorantly objecting. Once in possession of the book, he contrived an unheard-of type of fraud. He first erased the passage where the expression appeared, then rewrote the very words he had erased. The book was returned and accepted without inspection. Controversy about the phrase began again; the book was brought out for the purpose of proof; the phrase in question was found—written over an erasure. Because the erasure was taken to be a sign of corruption and falsehood, the man who produced the manuscript in this state was discredited (fides proferenti talem codicent derogatur).s

True or not—and we shall have to consider its veracity in due course—the anecdote points to two salient features of “Theodosian” theological cul­ ture. In the first place, after more than fifty years of wrangling over a form of words for the relations between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it was now widely accepted that the essence of the Christian faith could be captured in denhoeck & Ruprecht, 1965), 120-3. McLynn, Ambrose, 143-4, argues attractively that Ambrose seized upon the issue of Apollinarianism in order to promote the idea of a general council at Rome. On this account, as on Pietri’s, the dogmatic pretensions of the Roman council derive in part from the resistance of the western bishops to the fi­ nality claimed by Theodosius for the eastern settlement of 381-2. In the event, the Ro­ man church’s anti-Apollinarian formula of 382 was drafted by an individual whose in­ terests were aligned with a party adversely affected by the decrees of Theodosius’ “coalition of [eastern] bishops” (McLynn, Ambrose, 141), namely the Paulinians of An­ tioch—see below. 8. Full Latin text and reference below, n. 45. The Latin continues: “Sed quoniam— ut iterum eadem dicam—uiuenti haec facta sunt ac uigenti, continuo egit omnia ut fraus commissi sceleris nudaretur, et nequitiae macula non innocenti uiro, qui nihil tale gesserat, adhaereret, sed in auctorem facti atque in uberiorem eius infamiam redundaret.”



a short declaratory statement or creed, supplemented where necessary with exclusionary clauses or anathemas.9 As a western contemporary of Athana­ sius had remarked, “Necessity introduced the custom of expounding the faith and of subscribing that which was expounded.”10 In the words of the writer quoted above, the faith of the church (fides ecclesiastica) could be written out (conscripta) and published (edita). Secondly, the process of re­ fining a Christian doctrine of God having precipitated an extensive body of writing by men retrospectively acclaimed as “catholic” writers, their texts—with others falsely attributed to them—now offered themselves as a basis for further elaborations de fide. Seeking to discountenance a doc­ trine from beyond the mental horizon of the Fathers of Nicaea, a dogma­ tist of 382 such as Bishop Damasus’ secretary would turn to the works of writers like Athanasius of Alexandria whose impeccably Nicene creden­ tials served as a guarantee of their orthodoxy on supra-Nicene topics. The practice of explicit argument ex auctoritate ueterum scriptorum catholicorum uirorunt, “from the ancient [or indeed not so ancient] writ­ ings of [supposedly] catholic men,” seems not to have become widespread until after the fourth-century search for the Christian doctrine of God had been brought to a conclusion, although many of the bibliographic re­ sources on which it drew had accumulated before that time. Throughout the trinitarian controversy, as Hanson observes, “all sides, Arians as well as pro-Nicenes, appealed to the tradition of the Fathers, and recognised that they must as far as possible teach doctrine . . . in consistency with what had been taught in the past.”11 Such appeals to tradition, however, rarely if ever took the form of textually verifiable references to individual teachers. When theologians of Athanasius’ or Hilary’s time clashed over the textual warrant for a disputed doctrine, their arguments were usually about Holy Scripture, not the works of earlier Christian teachers outside the biblical canon. Only with the “Theodosian” imposition of a supposed “Nicene” orthodoxy which the creed and anathemas of 325 were by then inadequate to represent, did a new generation of theologians—not all strictly orthodox by later standards—begin to make a habit of arguing for­ mally from what we should now call “patristic” texts. This turn of events, which historians of dogma tend to treat as inevitable and historians of lit­ erature to ignore, amounted to little less than a revolution in Christian lit­ 9. C f. R. P. C. Hanson, “ Dogma and Formula in the Fathers,” SP 1 3 .2 (19 75), 16 9 -8 4 ; repr. in his Studies in C hristian A ntiqu ity (Edinburgh: T. & T. C lark, 1985), 2 9 8 -3 18 . 10 . H ilary o f Poitiers, syn. 63 (PL 1 0.523C ): “ (N)ecessitas consuetudinem intulit, exponi fides, et expositis subscribi.” 1 1 . Search, 872.

VIII 500

erary practice. If the conciliar and imperial enactments of 380-82 ushered in a new ecclesiastico-doctrinal order, they also heralded a new order of books.12 FIDES PROF ER E N TI S CODI C E M Damasus’ secretary presumably did not expect to argue a case. Let us grant that his initial wielding of the phrase homo dominicus was founded on knowledge of one or more prior texts including (?) the one he would later adduce.13 We are given no reason to think that he would have identified an “authority” for it, had he not been challenged on the point. If we define pa­ tristic citation as the insertion into a new discursive context o f text explic­ itly attributed to one o f the Fathers (a procedure which is commonplace in Greek and Latin dogmatic writing after 430 but exceedingly rare, or at least poorly attested in the extant literature, before 400), then his intended use of the libellus Athanasii episcopi—if that was indeed among his “sources”— would not count as citation in this sense.14 The document he was drafting 12.1 derive the concept of an “order of books" from Roger Chartier, The Order o f Books, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), who alludes in turn to Michel Foucault’s inaugural lecture at the Collège de France, published as L’ordre du discours (Paris: Gallimard, 1971). Chartier aims to complicate the con­ temporary synthesis of post-structuralist hermeneutics and Foucauldian discoursetheory by insisting, after bibliographers like D. F. McKenzie and Jerome McGann, on the importance of social and material factors in literary production and reception. His ordre du livre comprehends the social arrangements that control the production of tex­ tual meaning in a given literate milieu and “the effects of meaning that material forms produce” (ix). Although he seems to me to exaggerate the distinctiveness of the early modem phase in the western “relationship with texts” and neglects classical and pa­ tristic literary technologies altogether, Chartier’s emphasis on the materiality of reading and writing practices should serve as a corrective to the unhistorical and anti-bibliological bias of some recent post-structuralist work on late antique and early medieval Latin “textuality.” 13. Otherwise we might suppose that he coined the term suo Marte and only later set about “authenticating” it. The currency of homo dominicus and its Greek equivalent in the dogmatic literature of the later fourth century (n. 22 below) make this, on balance, a less probable alternative. 14. “Les docteurs du IVe siècle, en dotant l’Eglise d’une riche bibliothèque théo­ logique ont rendu possible l’emploi intensif de l’argument patristique et la composition d’amples florilèges dogmatiques,” writes Marcel Richard of the Cyrillian reaction to Nestorius, observing, however, that “/'¡Jusqu'à la fin du IVe siècle ce procédé d ’argu­ mentation était resté chose tout à fait exceptionelle” (emphasis added). See his article, “Les florilèges diphysites du Ve et du VIe siècle,” in Das Konzil von Chalkedon: Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. A. Grillmeier and H. Bacht, 3 vols. (Wiirzburg: EchterVerlag, 1951-54), 1:721-48 (here 721-2), repr. in Opera minora, 3 vols. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1976-77), vol. 1, no. 3; Martin Tetz, “Zum Streit zwischen Orthodoxie und



was a credal formula of some kind, formally if not substantively an ances­ tor of the one that would later go by the title of Fides sancti Athanasii, but as yet without any attribution of its own. In normal circumstances, its claim to express “the faith of the church” would not have depended upon any explicit, legible appeal to individual named authorities. Unsignalled bor­ rowing or textual dependence of this kind is characteristic of Christian dog­ matic writing of the later fourth century, both in the abbreviated genre of the conciliar or personal creed and in more extended literary forms. (An­ other pertinent example ca. 382 would be the treatise De incamatione of Ambrose of Milan, bedecked with Athanasian and Basilian plumage but devoid of citations.15) The dogmatic professions and dissertations surviv­ ing from the final stages of the Arian controversy are saturated with other men’s texts, but it is typically the job of the modern Quellenforscher to sup­ ply notes of provenance. What principles could underlie the textual regime of late fourth-century Christian writers in such cases? Considered as a device of style or rhetori­ cal elocutio, the practice of silent assimilation accords with classical pre­ cepts encouraging the orator to turn inherited texts to his own use without advertising his assiduity as a reader.16 Contrariwise, as a mode of argument in (quasi-)judicial discourse it could be said to squander the persuasive Häresie an der Wende des 4. zum 5. Jahrhundert: Anfänge des expliziten Väterbe­ weises,” Evangelische Theologie 21 (1961): 354-68; Henry Chadwick, art. “Florilegium,” RAC 7 (1966), 1156f.; Studer, Riflessione (n. 2. above), 187-90. Some of our earliest evidence for the use of “patristic” testimonia in Latin dogmatic writing comes from the “Arian” Fragmenta theologica preserved in a Bobbio palimpsest, edited most recently by R. Gryson who dates them “after 380” (CCL 87:229-31 [citations of Hi­ lary, Phoebadius, Ambrose, all controverted], 235 [positive citations of Athanasius of Anazarbus and Theognis of Nicaea]). See also the essay by Neil B. McLynn in the pre­ sent collection. 15. See the remarks of O. Faller in CSEL 79 (1964), 48*-49*; McLynn, Ambrose, 148-9. 16. E.g., Quintilian, inst. orat. 10.1.19 (reading and imitation): “Lectio libera es t . . . repetere saepius licet, siue dubites, siue memoriae penitus adfigere uelis. Repetamus autem et tractemus, et ut cibos mansos ac prope liquefactos demittimus, quo facilius digerantur, ita lectio non cruda sed multa iteratione mollita et uelut confecta memoriae imitationique tradatur. ” Cf. Seneca, ep. ad Lucil. 84.3f. (The reader-writer as a bee mak­ ing honey with nectar from more than one flower, and other similes of multiple assimi­ lation), esp. 5-8: “nos quoque apes debemus imitari et quaecumque ex diuersa lectione congessimus separare (melius enim distincta seruantur), deinde adhibita ingenii nostri cura et facultate in unum saporem uaria illa libamenta confundere, ut etiam si apparuerit unde sumptum sit, aliud tarnen esse quam unde sumptum est appareat.. . . Hoc faciat animus noster: omnia quibus est adiutus abscondat, ipsum tantum ostendat quod effecit.” The Senecan passage is taken over entire, without acknowledgment, by Macrobius, sat. 1, praef. 5-8.

VIII 502

force of a clear and circumstantial presentation of prior judgments in com­ parable cases, or of a careful evaluation of relevant testimony, both of which were traditionally considered under the heading of “inartificial proofs” among the resources of oratorical inuentio. 17 In due course, we must assume, the demands of inuentio in Christian forensic oratory of the conciliar-controversial type began to preponderate over the scruples of a classicizing elocutio. From then on, ecclesiastical orator-writers sum­ moned their predecessors by name and quoted them verbatim. Exactly how and why this change occurred are important and difficult questions of Christian literary history. One reason for lingering over the story of Damasus’ assistant and the Apollinarians at Rome is that it (re)creates a scene in which implicit reliance on prior patristic texts in dogmatic drafting is made to disclose itself in the form of explicit citation in a forensic setting. By ac­ cident perhaps, instructively in any case, the secretary’s “bringing out” a codex with a work attributed to Athanasius provides us with a dramatic image of an otherwise virtually invisible transition from one textual regime to another. Patristic retractation in its more explicit modes reconfigures the orator’s traditional duty of invention (inuentio) as a procedure for discovering ear­ lier statements of the faith in written texts. Simultaneously, it shifts one of the burdens of memory (memoria) from the mind of the individual reader to the manuscript repository. We may imagine that Damasus’ secretary, on being asked to compose a formula that would exclude the “errors” of Apollinarius, first surveyed whatever potentially useful documents were to hand in the Roman episcopal archive (chartarium) or his personal collections. Later, when called upon to justify his own use of the term homo dominicus, he had only to reenact publicly the process by which he himself had come upon it: codex profertur, inuenitur sermo (“the book was brought 17. On the handling of prior judgments [iudicata, praeiudicia) in judicial discourse, see, e.g., rhet. ad Her. 2.13.20: “Ergo, quia possunt res simili de causa dissimiliter iudicatae proferri, cum id usu uenerit, iudicem cum iudice, tempus cum tempore, numerum cum numero iudiciorum conferemus”; ibid. 2.29.46; Quintilian, inst. orat. 5.2. The ex­ amination of witnesses (testes, testimonia) is discussed at length by Quintilian, inst. orat. 5.7; note also ibid. 5.5 (exposing forged documents). The author of the Ad Herennium gives a checklist of topics for and against the character of witnesses which is clearly rel­ evant to later habits of patristic argumentation: “A testibus dicemus secundum auctoritatem et vitam testium et constantiam testimoniorum. Contra testes: secundum vi­ tae turpitudinem, testimoniorum inconstantiam,” etc. (2.6.9). Full reference to the ancient literature on these methods of proof is provided by Josef Martin, Antik Rhetorik: Technik und Methode, Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft, Bd. II.3 (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1974), 97-100.



out, the phrase found”). What had formerly been an archival discovery should then have been repeated as a forensic one (ad probationem). Athanasius, who as a young deacon had attended the Council of Nicaea, who as bishop had more than once risked martyrdom to uphold its teach­ ing, and who had been dead for a decade, would bear witness through his writings to the reality of the Word made flesh.18 The point of the story as told is evidently to illustrate the fraud commit­ ted by a cunning Apollinarian heretic, the effect of which was to undermine the credit of the pope’s secretary as conveyor of a suspect document (fides proferenti talem codicem derogatur) and so to cast doubt on his probity as draftsman of “the faith of the church.”19 The moral is easily drawn. In the unwritten handbook of Theodosian patristic retractation, the part dealing with the writer’s duty of discovery should have contained a section devoted to archival security, beginning with an instruction never to lend theologi­ cal books. Yet in a society in which the usual way of adding to one’s library was by borrowing an exemplar and having it copied, and where favors in this kind were frequently exchanged, such a rule would be almost impos­ sible to keep.20 We might wonder how secure the Roman doctrinal archive had been before the Apollinarian pseudo-fraudster went to work. What was that libellus Athanasiii Was it really by Athanasius?21 Where had it 18. The rise of the textualized “Athanasius” as figure and guarantor of Nicene or­ thodoxy is the subject of a new study of Patrick T. R. Gray (in preparation). See already his “‘The Select Fathers’: Canonizing the Patristic Past,” SP 23 (1989): 21-36. 19. For fides in the regular classical sense of credit imputed either to the pleader in a legal case or to a witness or piece of evidence, see TLL 6,679,11.50-70; 684,11.50-72. The expression derogare (or abrogare) fidem alicui (alicui rei)> i.e., to “take away credit from a person or thing,” is common from Cicero onwards. Fides and auctoritas are fre­ quently associated in this context. 20. Bibliological research in the field of late antiquity has largely failed to take ac­ count of the processes of dogmatic drafting and debate after Nicaea. On the traffic in books in general, see Guglielmo Cavallo, “Libro e pubblico alia fine del mondo antico,” in Libri, editori e pubblico nel mondo antico, ed. G. Cavallo (Rome: Laterza, 1977), 83-132, and, in the Latin sphere, the more specialized studies of Evaristo Arns, La technique du livre d'après saint Jérôme (Paris: De Boccard, 1953) and Jürgen Scheele, “Buch und Bibliothek bei Augustinus,” Bibliothek und Wissenschaft 12 (1978): 14-114. Harry Y. Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History o f Early Christian Texts (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), usefully consolidates our knowledge for this period, without addressing the issues with which I am here concerned. 21. Almost certainly not, according to A. Grillmeier, u'0 KDpiaKÔç âvOpamoç: Eine Studie zu einer christologischen Bezeichnung der Vàterzeit,” Traditio 33 (1977): 1-63 at 33-8. (An abbreviated version of this article was published as “Jesus Christ, the Kyriakos Anthropos,” ThS 38 [1977]: 275-93).

VIII 504

come from?22 Did it contain a single complete work, several complete works, or excerpts from one or more separate works?23 Was it in Greek, as any work by the Alexandrian confessor must once have been, 01; as our source would lead us to think, in Latin?24 Up to this point we have taken our informant’s account of proceedings in 382 at face value. If we call its veracity into question, allowing that as orthodox history it may put an anti-heretical spin on events open to more than one interpretation, the uncertainties are multiplied. Another well in­ formed if scarcely impartial contemporary writer affirms that the Greek equivalent of homo dominicus was customarily used by Apollinarians.25 Why then should they have contested the phrase in 382? If in fact they did 22. The Greek equivalent of homo dominicus appears in several Athanasian pseudepigrapha, including the Sermo maior de fide or Epistub ad Antiochenos (CPG 2803, following Martin Tetz’s attribution to Marcellus of Ancyra). This work may have been part of a store of Athanasian and pseudo-Athanasian material exploited in the late 370s by an anti-Apollinarian faction at Antioch under Bishop Paulinus. For evidence of an “Eustathian library” of Nicene texts at Antioch in this period, first postulated by Mar­ cel Richard, see Martin Tetz, “Zur Theologie des Markeil von Ankyra I,” ZKG 75 (1964): 231-43, and Charles Kannengiesser, Athanase d'Alexandrie: Sur Vlncamation du Werbe, SC 199 (Paris: Cerf, 1973), 43-8 (repeating the substance of a paper given in 1963). Such a provenance for the document in our story would conveniently fit the ca­ reer of Damasus’ assistant (see below). Given the regular contact between Rome and the Paulinian church at Antioch since the mid-370s, however, the libellus may already have been in the papal collection at the time of his arrival. 23. There is nothing in our source to indicate that the text of the libellus Athanasii was coextensive with the book in which it appeared. If the diminutive has any force, it is more likely that the document cited was part of a compilation of the kind facilitated by the “new” technology of the codex. Cf. Tetz, “Zur Theologie,” 239: “Freilich muß man noch offenlassen, ob die einzelnen schon früh bezeugten [sc. athanasianischen] Schriften nur erst in einer Bibliothek gesammelt oder bereits ab Sammlung in einem Codex erfaßt warenn (emphasis added). 24. Tetz, “Zur Theologie,” 241 n. 120, suggests that the text in question may have been the pseudo-Athanasian Professio arriana et confessio catholica (ed. M. Simonetti, Pseudo-atkanasii De Trinitate libri X -X II [Bononiae: Capelli, 1956]), which answers the description of a libellus. Here we find (61.12-18): “Tenendum itaque et confitendum est hoc ueraciter, quod homo creuerit ac profecerit in Deum, hoc est in Dei filium. Euangelista ait quia qui receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri [John 1:12]. Et quomodo dominicus homo et seruilis forma in Deum proficit? Deus autem uerbum, uirtus et sapientia Patris semper fuit perfectus et aequalis genitori in substantia diuinitatis---- ” Cf. Grillmeier, “ÖKupiaKÖqävöpümoq,” 34. It is not my purpose in this paper either to deal with this problem of provenance or to enter on the theological issues raised by the formula kyriakos anthropos/homo dominicus. 25. Greg.Naz.,ep. 101 (To the presbyter Cledonius against Apollinarius): “htj anaraT^oav oi dvOpowcoi, draxdaOaxjav, ävOpomov avow 8exto'i Xeyowi . . . " (PG 37.117B). In Grillmeier’s opinion, however, “[f]ür die Apollinaristen ist [kyriakös dnthropos] eine contradictio in adiectoyein Widerspruch in sich”(“ Ö KUplaKÖqäv0pü)7Kx;,,’ 60).



not, what gave rise to the story of mysterious erasure and réinscription? The one irreducible datum in our narrative is the exhibition of a document, ascribed to Athanasius, in which the phrase homo dominicus or its Greek equivalent was written over an erasure. The narrator would have us believe that the reading under erasure was identical to the one over it, but he could not have known that by autopsy. He tells us that the codex was first in the possession of the orthodox party, that it changed hands twice, and that it was finally produced in open court where it became the subject of contro­ versy. Since, however^ his version of the events leading up to the moment of forensic probatio is patently designed to vindicate the fides of the pope’s secretary, we are entitled to consider what other versions could have been offered at the time. We might also ask—with better hope of satisfying our curiosity—what made the story in this form worth telling a decade and a half later. What was the point of commemorating a fraud which had failed and which, had it succeeded, would have left the textual record of Christ­ ian teaching “literally” unaltered? It is time to take a broader view of the processes of Christian doctrinal transmission. HERESY AND CHRISTIAN AUTHORSHIP “Orthodox” anxiety about various kinds of “heretical” tampering with texts (corruption, interpolation, misattribution, etc.) is attested long before the Theodosian Age, and has been well documented in modem scholar­ ship.26 The author of the Apocalypse pronounces the first and greatest anathema (Rev 22.18-19). Even before the unity that would later be called the canon of scripture had been definitively established, a similar concern for textual purity and integrity was manifesting itself in writings with no pretensions to biblical status. In the late second century, Irenaeus exhorts the reader of his work on The Ogdoad, “If you should transcribe this little 26. Wolfgang Speyer; Die literarische Fälschung im heidnischen und christlichen Al­ tertum: Ein Versuch ihrer Deutung, Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft, Bd. 1.2 (Mu­ nich: C. H. Beck, 1971), 171-303; Norbert Brox, Falsche Verfasserangaben: Zur Erk­ lärung der früchristlichen Pseudepigraphie, Stuttgarter Bibelstudien, Bd. 79 (Stuttgart: KBW, 1975). See now also Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption o f Scripture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), impressively reasserting the interrelated­ ness of issues of interpretation and textual transmission. Ehrman would apply the term “corruption” in an ironic sense wherever texts have been altered “to make them ‘say’ what they were already known to ‘mean’” (276, cf. 29-31). My own use of the term “forging” (after Robert M. Grant, cited below n. 29) is similarly ironic, but provisional. In order to give due weight to the “scribal” processes at work in early Christian litera­ ture, we should perhaps change these implicitly pejorative terms for a more positive vo­ cabulary of “scriptural” poetics.


book, I adjure you by the Lord Jesus Christ and by His glorious advent, when He comes to judge the living and the dead, to compare your tran­ script and correct it carefully by this copy, from which you have made your transcript. This adjuration likewise you must transcribe and include in your copy.” By a nice irony, these are the only words of that work to survive, transcribed out of context by Eusebius of Caesarea as “a splendid example of meticulous accuracy.”27 Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History is among other things an historical essay in the definition of the biblical canon and of the corpus of works left by others who (as the preface announces) “in each generation [were] ambassadors in writing of the divine word.”28 Robert M. Grant has recently offered a revised account of the efforts of early Christian readers to ensure that the literary works on which they re­ lied for their understanding of the faith were properly attributed and textually correct. Like other scholars before him, Grant connects many of these Christian initiatives with the methods of secular literary criticism, particularly those associated with the Alexandrian Museum. The main novelty of his study is its emphasis on the pioneering work done in that kind of criticism by men condemned as heretics by the early church, notably the Gnostics Marcion, Ptolemaus and Apelles. His final chapter, “The Orthodox Counter-Attack,” follows the course of Catholic criticism, mainly as it was applied to the biblical text, through the writings of Tatian, Theophilus of Antioch, Irenaeus, Clement, Origen, Julius Africanus and Dionysius of Alexandria, to Eusebius of Caesarea. The last few pages con­ tain a section on “Jerome and Authorship.” Grant concludes: “We have seen that heretics were the first to raise critical questions, but the orthodox rapidly forged ahead (so to speak) into the Greco-Roman world of lower and higher criticism. Above all others Origen was responsible for this move, but later giants included such antagonists as Eusebius, Rufinus, and Jerome.”29 For Grant, a classicist and historian of early Christianity, Jerome the critic is a skillful continuer of the work of Origen and Eusebius. Writing from another perspective, a contemporary philosopher and occasional lit­ erary theorist has raised the stakes. “In literary criticism,” declared Michel Foucault in an essay published in English in the late 1970s, “the traditional methods for defining an author—or, rather, for determining the configura­ 27. Ecclesiastical History, 5.20, trans. G. A. Williamson, 2nd. edn. revised by An­ drew Louth (London: Penguin, 1989). 28. Ecclesistical History 1.1; Bruce M. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), 201-7. 29. Robert M. Grant, Heresy and Criticism: The Search for Authenticity in Early Christian Literature (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993), 112.



tion of the author from existing texts—derive in large part from those used in Christian tradition to authenticate (or to reject) the particular texts in its possession* Modern criticism, in its desire to ‘recover’ the author from a work, employs devices strongly reminiscent of Christian exegesis when it wished to prove the value of a text by ascertaining the holiness of its au­ thor.”30 Foucault says no more about the correlation of sanctity and au­ thenticity in early Christian literary criticism, perhaps because it was fa­ miliar enough to him and others brought up in Roman Catholicism to be taken for granted. Instead, he launches into a discussion of the “Principles of Textual Criticism Known to Saint Jerome.”31 In D e Viris Illustribus, Saint Jerome maintains that homonymy is not proof of the common authorship of several works, since many individuals could have 30. “What Is an Author?” in Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Prac­ tice: Selected Essays and Interviews, ed. with an intro, by Donald F. Bouchard, trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1977), 113-38 at 127 (emphasis added). For a concise statement of the relations between this essay (which had been published in French in 1969) and Foucault’s other projects of the time, see Simon During, Foucault and Literature: Towards a Genealogy of Writing (Lon­ don and New York: Routledge, 1992), 120-25. Foucault subsequently revised the arti­ cle for a translation published in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism, ed. Josué V. Harari (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979), 141-60. In a chapter entitled “Figures of the Author” in The Order of Books (n. 12 above), Roger Chartier makes several corrections to Foucault’s schematic history of the “authorfunction” but misses the significance of the early Christian contribution. A similar modemocentrism pervades the essays in The Construction o f Authorship: Textual Appro­ priation in Law and Literature, ed. Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994). I have tried to take a longer view in “Erasmus’ Jerome: The Publishing of a Christian Author,” Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook 14 (1994): 62-99. The interest of Foucault’s remarks on the “author-function” for mod­ em patristic scholarship has already been noted by Frederick W. Norris, “Black Marks on the Communities’ Manuscripts,” 1994 NAPS Presidential Address, JECS 2 (1994): 443-66 at 459-61. 31. Although a footnote in the 1977 version of the essay refers to Arns, Technique (n. 20 above), Foucault’s source is in fact an article with this title by K. K. Hulley in Har­ vard Studies in Classical Philology 55 (1944): 87-109 at 105-109 (“Various Points Per­ tinent to Questions of Authorship”). His remarks on the problem of homonymy are a scrambled version of Hulley’s paragraph on uir. 9; 18 (John the Evangelist and John the Presbyter). His four principles of author-construction inaccurately summarize the next four paragraphs in the order 1, 3, 4, 2. Contrary to the impression given by his single reference to the De uiris illustribus, the evidence for those principles is drawn from a range of works, notably the preface to Jerome’s Commentary on Philemon. In fact, the only principle of authenticity used with any regularity in Jerome’s catalogue of Christ­ ian writers is that of consistency of style (e.g., uir. 1, 5, 15, 25, 58, the first three appli­ cations deriving directly from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History). Jerome’s practice in these matters is anything but systematic. See also Arns, Technique, 173-9; Speyer, Lit­ erarische Fälschung, 181-6; Grant, Heresy and Criticism, 108-9.


the same name or someone could have perversely appropriated another’s name. The name, as an individual mark, is not sufficient as it relates to a tex­ tual tradition. How, then, can several texts be attributed to an individual au­ thor? What norms, related to the function of the author, will disclose the in­ volvement of several authors? According to Saint Jerome, there are four criteria: the texts that must be eliminated from the list of works attributed to a single author are those inferior to others (thus, the author is defined as a stan­ dard level of quality); those whose ideas conflict with the doctrine expressed in the others (here the author is defined as a certain field of conceptual or theoret­ ical coherence); those written in a different style and containing words and phrases not ordinarily found in the other works (the author is seen as a stylistic uniformity); and those referring to events or historical figures subsequent to the death of the author (the author is thus a definite historical figure in which a series of events converge). Although modem criticism does not appear to have these same suspicions concerning authentication, its strategies for defining the author present striking similarities.32 . . . Thus, even while Saint Jerome’s four principles of authenticity might seem largely inadequate to modern critics, they, nevertheless, define the critical modalities now used to display the func­ tion of the author. (127-9)

Foucault almost certainly overestimates the singularity, in this respect, of Jerome’s catalogue of “Famous Men.” The scattered remarks in that work on problems of attribution contain little if anything that would have struck an Alexandrian critic of an earlier age as methodologically new and nothing for which precedent cannot be found in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History. The De uiris illustribus is not a particularly rigorous instance of the efforts of Christians “to authenticate t he. . . texts in [their] posses­ sion.” Indeed, Jerome seems more intent on possessing than authenticat­ ing. His criteria for inclusion are elastic. Josephus finds a place among the ecclesiastici scrip tores, as does the philosopher Seneca (saepe noster) on the strength of a spurious correspondence with Saint Paul. So too do a con­ siderable number of Christian writers whose theological opinions could no longer pass for catholic or orthodox in the “fourteenth year of the Emperor Theodosius” (uir. 135). A few years later Augustine would complain of this inconvenience and ask Jerome to add an heresiological appendix or gloss.33 (By then, as we shall see, the scholar of Bethlehem had been forced 32. In the revised (1979) version Foucault is less reserved: “Modern literary criticism, even when—as is now customary—it is not concerned with questions of authentica­ tion—still defines the author the same way . . . ” (151). 33. Ep. 40.6.9, written ca. 397-399. The letter miscarried and circulated at Rome. In his ep. 102 (402), Jerome relates that a copy of a letter purportedly by Augustine and written in his style had reached him in Bethlehem, and asks “si tua est epistula, aperte scribe uel mitte exemplaria ueriora.” After receiving an authenticated copy, he replied



to take a more circumspect view of the criteria for determining Christian authorship.) The Hieronymian De uiris illustribus is neither the acme of early Chris­ tian literary-critical method nor the reflection of any foundational consen­ sus. To concede this, however, is not automatically to dispense with Fou­ cault’s inspired misreading of his (secondary) sources. On the contrary, as we replace the textual imbroglio of 382 in the context of its literary narra­ tion, we may begin to see how Foucault’s guesswork and Grant’s scholar­ ship both contribute to a delineation of the “Theodosian” order of Chris­ tian books. OBELOS AND ANATHEMA As some of you have known all along, the hapless victim of the Apollinarian fraud in our story was none other than Jerome. In one of his letters he speaks of a time past when he “assisted Damasus, bishop of Rome, with ecclesiastical documents and drafted replies to the inquiries of eastern and western synods.”34 In 382 Jerome was newly returned to Rome after spending nearly a decade in the east, mainly at Antioch and Constantino­ ple. In the aftermath of the previous year’s synod he had journeyed from the eastern capital in the company of Paulinus, would-be Nicene bishop of Antioch, and Epiphanius of Salamis, the heaviest hammer of heretics of the Theodosian Age. The two bishops had been invited to a council in Rome.35 Jerome’s exact purposes are obscure. Almost all our evidence for his activ­ ity in that city between 382 and 385 comes from his own writings and is therefore subject to caution.36 As one well acquainted with the theological to most of the other points raised in it but passed over Augustine’s request for guidance on the heretical errors of certain of the uiri illustres. For the context, see Ralph Hen­ nings, Der Briefwechsel zwischen Augustinus und Hieronymus und ihr Streit um den Kanon des Alten Testaments und die Auslegung von Gal. 2.11-14, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae, vol. 21 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994), 34ff. 34. Ep. 123.9.1 (CSEL 56.82): “Ante annos plurimos, cum in chartis ecclesiasticis iuuarem Damasum, Romanae urbis episcopum, et orientis atque occidentis synodicis consultationibus responderem___ " The letter was written ca. 409. 35. Above, nn. 6-7. The Roman council duly excommunicated Paulinus’ rival in An­ tioch, Bishop Flavianus. 36. Stefan Rebenich, Hieronymus und sein Kreis: Prosopographische und sozialgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, Historia Einzelschriften, Bd. 72 (Stuttgart: Franz Steinet; 1992), 141-53, offers a fresh assessment. The involvement of Jerome’s friend and patron Evagrius of Antioch in the proceedings at Aquileia in 381 and their sequel provides an important personal link: Rebenich, Hieronymus, 73f., 142, now supple­ mented by his article “Hieronymus und Evagrius von Antiochia,” SP 28 (1993): 75-80; McLynn, Ambrose, 140-1.

VIII 510

literature emanating from such important centers as Antioch and Alexan­ dria, he was certainly fit for employment in the papal chancellery. But this was not to be his only theater. Within a short time he was making a name for himself as a writer on the bible. In the East he had come upon some of the works of Origen; at Rome he presented himself to western readers as a Latin Origen who would deliver biblical commentary such as they had never had. It was a masterly piece of freelancing.37 Even after he was com­ pelled to quit the Eternal City in 385, Jerome’s Origenian literary persona kept its hold over a Latin-reading Christian public that would henceforth obtain his works through intermediaries at Rome or else send for them to Bethlehem. Rounding off his catalogue of “Famous Men” in 392/3 with a generous notice on himself, Jerome must have felt (not without reason) that his niche in the pantheon of Christian letters was secure. And so it should have been, without further exertion on his part, but for the anti-heretical charisma of his former fellow-traveler, Bishop Epiphanius. The wearisome details of Epiphanius’ campaign against the alleged theological errors of Origen, launched at this very moment (393), will not detain us here. All we need recall is that Jerome adopted the bishop’s view of the matter, violently con­ demning the faults in doctrine of his master in scriptural exegesis and pursuing anyone less outspokenly anti-Origenist than himself with a vitu­ perativeness remarkable even by his own high standards.38 He did not, however, abandon Origen entirely, protesting that the scholar and spiritual guide could be saved even if the speculative theologian were damned. Nor did he discard his own Origenian persona as a Christian author. Jerome demanded the right to continue reading Origen, critically and se­ lectively, as (he claimed) he had always read him in the past. Was not he of all people the one best equipped for such a task of literary discernment, who had followed—nay, surpassed—Origen in critical scrutiny of the received text of Scripture? One of his letters written at Rome in the 380s echoes Tertullian’s famous question, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”39 Jerome had blazed a trail from one place to the other, via Alexandria. In the best tradition of the Alexandrian Museum, he had com­ 37. “Jerome’s Origen: The Making of a Christian Literary Persona,” SP 28 (1993): 135-45. 38. The shifts in Jerome’s stance on Origen during the 390s and afterwards are ex­ pertly plotted by Elizabeth A. Clark, The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Con­ struction o f an Early Christian Debate (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 121-51. 39. Ep. 22.29.7, recalling praescr. 7.9.



bined textual criticism with the practice of poetry,40 in his case a new kind of Christian poetry-as-art-of-scripture, an ars tractandarum scripturarum carefully constructed on the model of the Horatian ars poetica, indeed with phrases borrowed from Horace and other Latin poets.41 With a scorn like Horace’s for Augustan poetasters he had driven most other would-be Latin biblicists of his day from the field. And was he, the Christian poet-critic par excellence of the Theodosian Age, to be denied the liberty of bracketing certain passages of Origen that were inconsistent with the orthodox faith? “Bracketing” is a modern expression. What Jerome would do was “dag­ ger” or obelize, that is—following the practice of Hellenistic critics of Homer—place an obelos or short horizontal stroke in the margin to the left of the spurious verse or passage.42 Only now the passage would be judged spurious with respect to an imagined textual corpus of orthodoxy, rather than (as in Homeric criticism) with respect to the corpus of an individual author’s work. Censoria virgub, the critic’s wand, is the Latin phrase trans­ lating the Greek obelos that Jerome uses most often in connection with the theological “editing” of Origen.43 The impact on Christian literature of this reconceptualization of the obelos-function was potentially very great. Applied to a corpus of texts such as that theoretically constituted by the catalogue of “Famous Men” it could have yielded an orthodox textual organon of impressive dimen­ sions. (Perhaps that was what Augustine had in mind when he asked Jerome to add an heresiological apparatus to his work.) Of course there is no reason to think that Jerome ever meant to undertake an “edition” of Origen’s writings in accordance with Epiphanius’ anathemas. He proba­ bly hoped that rhetorical dagger-rattling would be enough to dispel any lin­ gering doubts about his probity as a reader of suspected texts. He reckoned, however, without the venturesomeness of his erstwhile friend Rufinus of Aquileia, who in 397 issued an alternative statement of the critic’s role with regard to texts of Origen. Enlarging on hints provided by the early fourthcentury Apology for Origen by PamphiluS and Eusebius, part of which he 40. On this tradition at Alexandria, see Rudolf Pfeiffer, History of Classical Schol­ arship from the Beginnings to the End o f the Hellenistic Age (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), esp. 87-104. 41. This is the argument of a study I have in hand on “Jerome’s Art of Scripture” (read as a paper at the Twelfth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford, August 1995), modifying and expanding suggestions made in JECS 1 (1993): 175-213 at 179-85. 42. L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Schobrs: A Guide to the Trans­ mission o f Greek and Latin Literature, 3rd edn. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 10. 43. E.g., epp. 61.2.5, 84.7.3; Ruf. 1.11,2.27.

Vili 512

translated, Rufmus argued that Origen’s works had been interpolated by heretics. Origen had said as much himself during his lifetime. And there were other instances of the same problem: in the works of Cyprian, for example, and of Hilary.44 There had even been a fairly recent case in the entourage of Bishop Damasus, involving certain Apollinarians and a codex containing a work by Athanasius.45 Rufmus knew better than to mention Jerome by name. When the latter got hold of a copy of his monograph uOn the Adulteration of the Books of Origen,” he identified himself to all future readers. He also heaped scorn on the theory of widespread heretical interpolation. Some of his counter­ arguments are well made. Others compound the problems raised by Rufinus’ approach. Concerning the alleged Apollinarian fraud of ca. 382, Jerome writes in the second book of his Apology against Rufinius: “My dear friend, in ecclesiastical writings when the issue is the truth of certain dogmas and the authority of the elders is invoked concerning the salvation of our souls, I beg you to desist from this kind of foolishness and not to mis­ take after-dinner tales for warrants of the truth. After all, it is possible that

44. The case is set out in Rufinus’ Liber de adulteratione librorum Origenis, ap­ pended to his translation of parts of the Apology. There is a modern edition by M. Simonetti in CCL 13. 45. Adult. 13 (CCL 20.15-16): “Adiciam adhuc unius fatti talis exemplum, quod memoriae quidem recentioris est (commissae autem nequitiae antiquum saris) et quod omnes ueterum fabulas uincat. Damasus episcopus, cum de recipiendis Apoltinarianis deliberano haberetur, edirionem ecclesiasticae fidei, cui iidem editioni, si ecdesiae iungi uelint, subscribere deberent, conscribendam mandauit amico suo cuidem presbytero, uiro disertissimo, qui hoc illi ex more negotium procurabat. Necessarium uisum est dictanti in ipsa editione de incarnarione Domini hominem dominicum dici. Offensi sunt in hoc sermone Apollinaristae: nouitatem sermonis incusare coeperunt. Adesse sibi coepit qui dittauerat et ex auctoritate ueterum scriptorum catholicorum uirorum confutare eos qui inpugnabant. Decidit ut uni ex ipsis qui nouitatem sermonis causabantur, ostenderet in libello Athanasii episcopi scriptum esse sermonem de quo questio habebatur. Quasi suasus iam ille cui hoc probatum fuerat, rogauit dari sibi codicem, quo et aliis ignoranribus et contradicentibus satisfaceret. Accepto codice, inauditum excogitauit adulterationis genus. Locum ipsum, in quo sermo iste erat scriptus, rasit et ipsum sermonem rursum rescripsit quem raserat. Codex redditus simpliciter receptus est. Mouetur iterum pro eodem sermone quaestio; ad probationem codex profertur; inuenitur sermo, de quo erat quaestio, ex litura in codice positus; fìdes proferenti talem codicem derogarne, eo quod litura ilia corruptionis ac falsitatis uideretur indicium.” Rufinus then concludes: “However, because—as I’ve said already in other connections—these tricks were played on a person who was still living and able to fend for himself, he (i.e., the “victim”) im­ mediately did what was necessary to expose this criminal fraud. And so it came about in this case that the stain of ill-doing adhered, not to an innocent man who had done none of the things imputed to him, but to the author (sic!) of the deed itself, and re­ dounded to his greater discredit” (Latin text given above, n. 8).



even if you heard a true account from me, someone else who knew nothing o f the matter would claim that you had made the story up.”46 Is this confirmation or denial? We might note that the logic of Jerome’s evasion at this moment exactly mirrors that of the alleged Apollinarian fraud in the original story: even if he (Jerome) had produced an authentic, uncorrupted text, it would have been easy for others to claim—or make it appear—that he had forged it for his own purposes. Had Jerome really been embarrassed at Rome in 382, more so than Rufinus’ account of the fraud and its speedy detection would lead us to believe? Had he experienced some difficulty shaking the charge of forging orthodox doctrine? Had he (heu nefas!) perpetrated a forgery? These questions are in their nature unanswerable. Rufinus’ reference to a presbyter disertissimus in the circle of Bishop Damasus is our only evidence outside Jerome’s own writings for his activity at the time, and even its evidentiary status is uncer­ tain. Sooner or later we must recognize that the text on which we have re­ lied for intelligence of events of the early 380s is more likely to be reliable as a record of those of the 390s. Rather than lessening the value of Rufinus’ narrative for a modern history of the earliest phase of retractatio patrum in Latin Christian literature, this post-dating may in fact enhance it. For what­ ever else they demonstrate, the De adulteratione and related documents of fraternal rivalry between Jerome and Rufinus leave us in no doubt that the challenge of reading Origen in the Theodosian Age had given rise to a new anxiety about the integrity o f the Christian doctrinal oeuvre as collabora­ tive work o f art. Conflating the sub-titles of the recent books by Hanson and Grant and giving Foucault his due, we may provisionally conclude that the end of the search for the Christian doctrine of God was the beginning of a new search for authenticity in Christian literature.

46. Ruf. 2.20 (CCL 79.56-57): “Etsuperfluumputoapertasineptias confutare, cum mihi mea ingeratur fabella—asino uidelicet lyra!—et sub nomine cuiusdam amici Damasi, romanae urbis episcopi, ego petar, cui ille ecclesiasticas epistulas dictandas credidit, et apollinarianorum uersutiae describantur, quod Athanasii librum, ubi ‘dominicus homo’ scriptus est, acceptum ad legendum, ita corruperint ut in litura id quod raserint rursus inscriberent, ut scilicet non ab illis falsatum, sed a me additum putaretur. Quaeso te, amice carissime, ut in ecclesiasticis tractatibus, ubi de ueritate dogmatum quaeritur et de salute animarum nostrorum maiorum ftagitatur auctoritas, huiuscemodi deliramenta dimittas et prandiorum cenarumque fabulas pro argumento non teneas ueritatis. Fieri enim potest ut, etiam si a me uerum audisti, alius qui huius rei ignarus est dicat a te esse conpositum et, quasi mimum Philistionis uel Lentuli ac Marnili, stropham eleganti sermone confictam.”


P e r e g r i n u s A g a i n s t t h e H e r e t ic s C lassicism , P rovinciality , a n d t h e P lace o f t h e A lien W riter in La t e R o m a n G a u l For Robert Markus on his seventieth birthday In t r o d u c t io n :

t h e n o t e o f p r o v in c ia l it y

"To get rid of provinciality,'* Matthew Arnold once said, "is a certain stage of culture.” For a nation’s literature to attain the level of the classical, the Oxford Professor of Poetry believed, it must feel the influence of a "supposed centre of correct information, correct judgment, correct taste,” such as was exerted on the literature of the French nation by the Acadé­ mie Française.1 Behind the idea of a central intellectual criterion, though obscured by the hellenizing tendency of Arnold’s thought, is the ancient notion of Rome as cultural metropolis, recendy reaffirmed by Sainte-Beuve in his Étude sur Virgile (1857). For the French critic, as later for T.S. Eliot, Virgil was "the very type of the classic, the voice of a metropolitan whole of which we are but provincial parts.1'2 If Arnold is able to reject this 1 The Literary Influence of Academies, in Lectures and Essays in Criticism, ed ited by R .H . S u p er, A n n A rb o r 1962, 245. A rn old delivered his lecture o n 'T h e In flu en ce o f A cad em ies on N ational Spirit an d Literature" in O xfo rd on Saturday, Ju n e 4, 1864. T h e text q uoted was first publish ed in The Comhill Magazine in A ugust o f that year. 2 F. K erm od e, The Classic: Literary Images of Permanence and Change [T h e T .S. E lio t M em orial L ectu res, 19 7 3], N ew York 19 7 5 ,18 . K erm ode discusses Eliot's use o f th e categories o f the classical, universal and provincial, especially in the lectures What is a Classic? (1944) and Virgil and the Christian World (19 5 1). H e concludes: “O bviously [the] d octrin e o f the imperium sine fine, which u n d erlies Elio t’s accoun t o f the classic, has a strong Latin and in d eed C atholic bias. T o say that V irgil exp resses ’the relatedness betw een two great cultures’ [i.e. classical R om an and C hristian] is to im ply a m etropolitan doctrine, to establish the cen tre o f authority, cu ltu re an d religion at R o m e, w here they are recon ciled 'u n d er an all-em bracing destiny'; the V irgilian fatum is recognized as Christian provid en ce, the Em p ire as holy an d sharing a centre with the C h urch . T h is m etropolitanism is exten d ed to poetry, w h ere it is id en tified by the qualities o f m aturity and civility. E liot calls the D ido e p iso d e in B o o k V I 'civilized'; A ugustine wept at it, but then he was a provincial" (25).


metropolitan model while retaining the key terms of urbanity and its opposite, provinciality, it is partly through the good offices of another Oxford man: In a production* which we have all been reading lately [Arnold declares], a production stamped throughout with a literary quality very rare in this country, and o f which I shall have a word to say presently - urbanity; in this production, the work o f a man never to be named by any son o f Oxford without sympathy, a man who alone in Oxford o f his generation, alone of many generations, conveyed to us in his genius that same charm, that same ineffable sentiment which this exquisite place itself conveys, - I mean Dr. Newman, - an expression is frequently used which is more com m on in theological than in literary language, but which seems to me fitted to be o f general service; the note o f so and so, the note o f catholicity, the note o f antiquity, the note o f sanctity, and so on. Adopting this expressive word, I say that in the bulk o f the intellectual work o f a nation which has no centre, no intellectual metropolis like an academy, like M. Sainte-Beuve's 'sovereign organ o f opinion,' like M. Renan's 'recognized authority in matters o f tone and taste,' - there is observable a note of provinciality. Now to get rid o f provinciality is a certain stage o f culture; a stage the positive result o f which we must not make o f too much importance, but which is, nevertheless, indispensable, for it brings us on to the platform where alone the best and highest intellectual work can be said fairly to begin. Work done after men have reached this platform is classical; and that is the only work which, in the long run, can stand.

Arnold salvages what he needs from the ideology of the imperial classic by appealing to an English writer whose study of the documents of early Christianity had led him inexorably back to Rome. On a strict inter­ pretation of this passage, all the critic borrows from the theologian is the language of "notes". But in fact he borrows more than th a t By recalling the precise categories of Newman's agonized reflection on Roman vs. Anglican claims ("the note of catholicity, the note of antiquity, the note of sanctity"), Arnold invokes a model of universality in Christian dogma which can lend its dignity to his own conception of the literary classic. O f course the fit is not perfect. In his concern with the intellectual culture of England ("this country"), Arnold professes an Anglicanism in literature which Newman had abandoned in religion. The "exquisite place" of Rome in this Amoldian literary-critical geography is to be taken by a "supposed[ly]" infallible provincial centre of "correct judgement", a centre which does not exist in England - except in so far as it is embodied in the rare "urbanity" of (Oxford) men like Dr. Newman... 5 The reference is to J.H. Newman's Apologia pro vita sua, first published as a series o f pamphlets between April and June 1864.



To members of the original Oxford audience who had been reading the Apologia, Arnold's coinage of the note ofprovinciality as a term of literarycritical art should have resounded with echoes of the ancient Christian writers whose pronouncements on catholicity had directed Newman's thinking on the relation between "Christianity" and "regional specificity". It should have recalled the quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus (as Newman quotes it) of Vincent of Lerins, whose treatise "ha[d] so often been taken as the basis of Anglicanism", and the securus iudicat orbis terrarum of Augustine by which, in his eyes, the theory of an Anglican Via Media had been "absolutely pulverized".4 Even if the lecturer did not consciously intend these patristic authors to witness his redefinition of the classic, their vivid presence in his text of first recourse invites us to consider the historical relations between the idea of the universal classic and that of the universal church, particularly as they worked themselves out in late antiquity. 'T he [Roman] Empire," writes Frank Rermode, "is the paradigm of the classic: a perpetuity, a transcendent entity, however remote its provinces, however extraordinary its temporal vicissitudes. But as everyone knows there were enormous discrepancies between this mystique of Empire and the facts of imperial history".5 A glance at some of those facts, and at the vicissitudes experienced by a particular group of prouinciales in the declining years of Roman dominion in the West, may help to account for the ease with which Arnold slips across the border between the discourses of literary criticism and theology. A literary culture that originates in an act of plunder is likely, if it flourishes, to assume a metropolitan character. The Romans subdued the non-Hellenistic world to the Greek arts by taking Greece captive home. The Roman citadel fell and became a cultural capital. From its beginnings in the third century B.C. to the end of the Antonine age, Latin literary culture had as its focus the city of Rome, urbs Roma. The standard of urbanitas, explicidy invoked in judgments of manners, linguistic correct­ ness and oratorical style from the time of Cicero, came to be applied in practice to all areas of literary-rhetorical accomplishment, imposing a strongly centripetal pattern on the demography of letters in the early imperial period. It was conventional wisdom (Horace again) that not everyone would have the luck to visit Corinth; but the man of literary ambition who never saw Rome would have counted himself unlucky indeed. Even after Ovid had taught his readers to identify the urbs Roma 4 Apologia, edited by M.J. Svaglic, Oxford 1967, 103; 111J. Stem , Tradition et intégrisme: Les modèles théologiques du V*™siècle selonJohn Henry Newman, in La tradizione: Forme emodi [Studia Ephemeridis"Augustinianum", 31}, Roma 1990,443-454. * The Classic 28.


with the orbis Romanus, and the privileges of Roman citizenship and Roman education had been distributed widely throughout the provinces of the empire, amateurs of Latin literature and eloquence as well as professionals - grammarians, rhetoricians, sophists - continued to gravitate to the City. The Roman literatus might cherish his provincial home and prize his opportunities of rural seclusion, but he typically went to Rome to m eet his peers. The quality of this metropolitan literary society has been captured in a famous essay by Erich Auerbach, which also charts its gradual dissolution from the second century onwards. "Literary life," Auerbach writes, "was split into many little groups. Rome was still its centre, and some of the larger provincial cities played a similar role. But the groups were not wholly dependent on the cities or, in general, on the functioning of any political organization. The spirit of ancient culture remained alive for a long time despite the decline of the empire and the cities. It survived the anarchy of the third century; it even survived for a time, in a few islands, the terrible shocks of the fifth. The insularity of intellectual life in the early Middle Ages is prefigured in the last years of the Western empire."6 There are several statements here that we might now like to see more fully argued, but the "provincial" or "insular" literary societies of the later Roman empire lie to the side of Auerbach's chief interest, which was the demise of Latin as a living literary language, dated by him around the beginning of the sixth century. To the openness and conviviality of public recitations of literary works in early imperial Rome he opposes the sequestered Latinity of the clerical and monastic elites of the early Middle Ages. His treatment of early Christian literature in Latin is similarly limited by the thesis of an emergent ecclesiastical sermo humilis. 7Thus he does not consider how the literary society of Latin readers and writers was organized in the fourth and fifth centuries, what relations held (or were supposed to hold) between its sundered parts, or how the old universe of Roman Latinity was accommodated to the new universe of Roman Christianity. These are the questions I wish to take up in the pages which follow, in an effort to unravel part of the complex literary and theological prehistory of Arnold's theory of the unprovincial classic. The main field of inquiry will be the Christian literature of fifth-century Gaul, especially that of the ancient Prouincia. The next section recreates the literary-dogmatic 6 Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, trans. R. Manheim, London 1965 [original German edn. 1958], 237-338, at 248. 7 For a recent reconsideration o f these controversial issues see M. Banniard, Viva voce: Communication écrite et communication orale du IV au DC siècle en Occident latin, Paris 1992, with the review by M. Fruyt in Antiquité Tardive 1 (1993), 259-63.



panorama of the late Roman, Christian biobibliography of Gennadius of Marseille, in order to establish a provisional locus for a Gallic author, Vincent of Lerins, whose texts are marked in a particularly interesting way by the "note of provinciality", though in a different sense than that intended by Arnold. The remainder of the paper is devoted to plotting the geographical, religious and literary-theoretical coordinates of Vincent's position as a Roman Christian writer. The conclusion attempts to situate the textual practices that mediated "Christianity" and "regional specificity" in late antiquity within the longer history of classicism and catholicity. THE SPACE OF CHRISTIAN DOGMA: GENNADIUS OF MARSEILLE AND THE D octores Ga l u c a n i

In the sixtieth chapter of his continuation of Jerome's De uiris iUustribus, written in Marseille shortly before the year 470, Gennadius recalls the case of Leporius, a monk convicted of false doctrine half a century earlier.8 Reprimanded by certain Gallic teachers (a Gallicanis doctoribus admonitus), Leporius had gone to Africa where, under Augustine's influence (in Africa per Augustinum... emendatus), he had composed a libellus retracting his former errors.9 Apart from the reference to Augustine, Gennadius' notice 8 Vir. 60 (ed. E. C. Richardson, TU 14.1, 1896, 81): "Leporius adhuc monachus, post presbyter, praesumens de puntate uitae quam arbitrio tantum et conatu proprio, non Dei se adiutorio obtinuisse credebat, Pelagianum dogma coeperat sequi. Sed a Gallicanis doctoribus admonitus, et in Africa per Augustinum adeo emendatus, scripsit emendationis suae libellum, in quo et satisfacit de errore et gratias agit de emendatione; simul et quod de incamatione Christi male senserat corrigens catholicam sententiam tulit dicens manentibus in Christo in sua substantìa duabus naturis unam credi Filii Dei personam." For Leporius' career, see the Prosopographie de l'Afrique chrétienne, ed. A. Mandouze, Paris 1982, 634-5, and CCL 64, 97-98. Probably a native o f Belgica Prima (Cassian, Incam. 1,2 speaks o f his heresy as arising "ex maxima Belgarum urbe", i.e. Trier), he migrated to Provence - in the aftermath o f the barbarian invasion o f 406? - and was living as a monk in the region o f Marseille when his christological opinions began to attract attention. On being excommunicated by the local bishops he fled to Africa, was taken in hand by Augustine, and eventually proved his orthodoxy before a council o f bishops gathered at Carthage in 418. Assuming it is one and the same Leporius who appears in other documents as priest and benefactor o f the church at Hippo, he must have been a person o f some substance. 9 Text in CCL 64 (ed. R. Demeulenaere, 1985) 111-23. The libellus is transmitted with a letter from Augustine and two o f his fellow African bishops to the Gallic bishops Proculus (of Marseille) and Cillenius [= Augustine, ep. 219]. Analysis by F. de Beer, Une tessere d'orthodoxie: le "Libellus emendationis" de Leporius, in Revue des etudes Augustiniennes 10 (1964) 145-85. According to A. Grillmeier, Christ in Christian

IX 554

derives in the main from the first book of Cassian's De incamatume Domini contra Nestorium, which contains several lengthy extracts from Leporius' libellus emendationis.10 Cassian speaks of the heretic as a nobis admonitus, a deo emendatus (1,4), ascribing the human labour of his final amendment to an assembly of bishops rather than to an individual. He maintains that because Leporius' revised christology had been upheld both by the African bishops (omnes Africani episcopi, unde scribebat) and by their counterparts in Gaul (et omnes Gallicani, ad quos scribebat), it could stand as an authoritative statement of the catholic faith. For where all agree, he avers, the truth is made manifest: indubitatae ueritatis manifestatio est auctoritas uniuersorum et perfecta ratio facta est ubi nemo dissentit ( 1,6). Gennadius evidently shared Cassian's assumptions about the value of the consensus omnium as a dogmatic criterion and of documents like the Fides Leporii as testimony to the same. Although he did not consult this particular document for himself, we can be sure that he would have done so if he could.11 The second "editor" of the Christian De uiris illustribus was fanatically interested in the textual demonstration of orthodoxy, in both its positive and negative (or anti-heretical) modes, and took special care to inventory concise expositions of the faith.1* His catalogue of Christian Tradition, Vol. 1: From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451), trans. J. Bowden, London *1975,464-66 at 466, "It is Augustine who speaks in this libellus", but the extent o f his involvement in its drafting is disputed. The Fides Leporii is cited by a number o f dogmatists o f the fifth and early sixth centuries: texts assembled by P. Glorieux, Prénestorianisme en Occident, Tournai 1959, 5-38. 10 Incam. 1,2-6 (ed. M. Petschenig, CSEL 17, 237-45). On the travestying o f Leporius as a crypto-Pelagian see J. Plaigneux, Le grief de compiiate entre erreurs nestorienne et pélagienne d'Augustin à Cassieri par Prosper d ‘Aquitaine, in Revue des etudes Augustiniennes 2 (1956) 391-402. Cassian's presentation o f the case: O. Chadwick, John Cassian, Cambridge s1968, 137-38, and V. Codina, El aspetto cristolàgico en la espirituaUdad de Juan Casiano, Rome 1966, 153f. Gennadius' summary in uir. 60 is plainly post-Chalcedonian. 11 B. Czapla, Gennadius als Litterarhistoriker: Eine quellenhistorische Untersuchung der Schrifi des Gennadius von Marseille "De viris illustribus", Munster 1898, 23-24, observes that the notice on Leporius is one o f only two places in Gennadius' catalogue where the compiler feigns direct knowledge o f a work which he only knew through the quotations o f a third party. 12 E.g. uir. 14, 23, 25, 43, 58, 66 (works De fide [aduersus haereticos ]); 24, 34, 66, 77 (short an d /or creedlike statements o f the faith); 17, 22 (expositions o f the baptismal creed); 44, 55, 71 (dogmatic statements by popes). See S. Pricoco, Storia ecclesiastica e storia letteraria: Il "De viris inlustribus" di Gennadio di Marsiglia, in La storiografia ecclesiastica nella tarda antichità, Messina 1980, 241-73, who notes "il costante, assorbente interesse dell'autore per le dottrine e le eresie" (248). The following paragraphs owe much to Professor Pricoco's perceptive analysis.



writers and the catalogue of heretics which was to accompany it are the instruments of an heresiological and doctrinal synthesis at once vast and compendious, without parallel in the West at this date. We are told that Gennadius was the author of eight books Against All the Heresies, five Against Nestorius, ten Against Eutyches, another three Against Pelagius, all apparendy lost (although material from them may have survived in medieval collections) Extant in his name is a Liber sine definitio ecclesiasticorum dogmatum in the form of an expanded creed, in which both orthodoxy and heterodoxy are rendered in the greatest possible detail with the fewest possible words.14 Gennadius' exceptional achievement as a theological compiler and epitomator in Latin must be partly attributable to his being (as his name suggests) an Easterner, or at least competent in Greek.15Thus he had access to some of the huge quantity of Greek dogmatic writing generated by the christological debate before and after the Council of Chalcedon, much of it in the form of compendia and anti-heretical catalogues.16 For all that, the style of his own doctrinal oeuvre (or the part of it we are able to inspect) remains recognizably Latin. The De uiris illustribus extends and adapts a Latin model, albeit one elaborated by a self­ professed connoisseur of Greek Christian literature. The lost Catalogue haereticorum may have been designed to answer Augustine's original

15 Titles listed in utr. 101. A. Feder, Zusätze des gennadianischen Schriftstellerkatalogs, in Scholastik 8 (1933) 381-83, argues from manuscript evidence that this notice was written soon after the completion o f the original catalogue, by som eone well acquainted with Gennadius' oeuvre. There are cross-references to a catalogue haere­ ticorum at uir. 36, 54: elements o f this work may have been preserved in additions to the treatises De haeresibus o f Augustine and ps.-Jerome. On the survival o f Gennadius’ writings in general see the article by C. Pietri, Gennadius von Marseille, in Theologische Realenzyklopädie\2 (1984), 376-78, with further references. 14 The work survives in two recensions, the shorter and earlier o f which is now generally attributed to Gennadius. Text edited by C. H. Turner in Journal of Theological Studies 7 (1906) 78-99; 8 (1907) 103-14; see also G. Morin, Le "Liber dogma­ tum" de Gennade de Marseille et problèmes qui s'y rattachent, in Reime Benedictine 24 (1907), 445-55. 15 P. Courcelle, Late Latin Writers and their Greek Sources, trans. H. E. Wedeck, Cambridge [Mass.] 1969, 236-38, credits him with "profound knowledge o f the theological debates o f the East". Gennadius mentions his own translations from Greek at utr. 11 and 72. 16A. GriUmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, Vol. 2: From the Council of Chalcedon (451) to Gregory the Great (590-604), trans. P. Allen and J. Cawte, London 1987, 51-87, provides a comprehensive survey. On the larger context see the valuable remarks o f B. Studer in Storia della teologia, I. Epoca patristica, ed. by A. Di Berardino and B. Studer, Casale Monferrato 1993, 487-94; 583-98.


criticism of Jerome's work.17 The Liber ecclesiaslicorum dogmatum builds on previous initiatives in Latin doctrinal summary.18 Gennadius, like Cassian (and Jerome) before him, was a literate-in-Greek writing for a Latinreadi ng public, a kind of resident alien writer. The concept of a Latin-reading public, even of a Christian Latinreading public, requires continual redefinition for the period in question. Among the variables to be considered is the geographical horizon of producers and consumers of literary texts, be they resident in Gaul, Italy, North Africa or any other western province of the Roman empire. Although the myth of Rome as cultural metropolis was destined to a glorious future, the City of Rome itself had by the beginning of the fifth century long ceased to be the automatic focus of Latin literary activity. Configurations of power and social influence in the Roman world had changed since the days of Pliny and Tacitus, and with them the patterns of patronage on which the production of literature depended.19 With the creation of new imperial residences and prefectures in the late third and fourth centuries, and the rise to prominence of a small number of episcopal sees during the theological controversies of the post-Nicene period, there was no longer any prospect of a restoration of the old structure of a centripetal and essentially unitary (Graeco-) Latin literary culture. What developed instead, in the second half of the fourth century, was a loose federation of local societies of literati held together by a common classical inheritance. In a literary system in which so little was fixed above the regional level, talented and ambitious writers could redraw the map of Latin letters in less than a lifetime. Ausonius in Trier and 17Augustine, ep. 40,6,9 (CSEL 34.2, 79-80), laments that Jerome had not included information on the errors o f heretics in his De uiris illustribus and asks that he compile a guide to the "peruersa dogmata... omnium haereticorum" for the benefit o f those "quibus aut non uacat propter alia negotia aut non ualent propter alienam linguam tam multa legere atque cognoscere." When Jerome failed to oblige, Augustine did his best to supply the deficiency with his own De haeresibus. 18As argued by A. Grillmeier, Mit ihm und in ihm: Christologische Forschungen und Perspektiven, Freiburg 1975, 632-43 [a revision o f remarks which first appeared in Studia Patristica 6 (TU 81, 1962) 390-408)], perhaps with too exclusive an emphasis on Augustinian precedents. The Statuta ecclesiae antiqua, which opens with another creedlike summary, likewise continues the work o f disciplinary codification begun by Gallic church councils in the first half o f the fifth century. The Statuta has been associated with Gennadius on internal grounds: C. Munier, Statuta ecclesiae antiqua, Strasbourg 1960 (text o f the canons repr. in CCL 148). 191. Gualandri, Per una geografia delia letteratura latina, in Lo spazio letterario di Roma antica, dir. di G. Cavallo, P. Fedeli and A. Giardina, 5 vols., Rome 1989-91, Voi. 2: La circolazione del testo, 469-505.



Bordeaux, Jerome in Bethlehem, Augustine in Hippo: each in turn made himself the focus of literate attention and his locality a centre of the Latinreading world, proving repeatedly that in literature, as in politics and religion, "all roads no longer ran to Rome."*0 Cassian belongs to the same generation of literary outriders as Jerome and Augustine, but his extra-Romanity is of a different cast. While their eccentric missions to a pan-Latin Christian readership often betray the residual influence of a Virgilian ideal of Roman cultural expansion, or at least of the corresponding Ovidian ideal of a literary reputation that would extend quaque patet domitis Romana potentia terris, his projects seem almost to merit the modem epithet of "post-colonial". In his monastic works of the 420s, the Institutes and Conferences, this émigré from the East, a native of the Dobrudja on the Black Sea coast, succeeded in staking out a Gallic more specifically, Provençal - territory, the limits of which he gives no hint o f wishing to enlarge. The trials of his own former life, a general tendency to regional separatism in early monastic self-definition, and the privileged situation of that particular part of the Roman world at the time of his writing, were all factors favourable to the construction, first in ideology and then in institutions, of a circumscribed and inward-looking Christian society, provincial almost to the point of insularity.21 "Here is my space," Cassian proclaims with Shakespeare's Mark Antony, having visited both Egypt and Rome (as well as Antioch and Constantinople) and written himself into a com er of south-eastern Gaul. In the context of this straitened literary-monastic propositum, the commission Cassian received in 429 from the Roman archdeacon (later pope) Leo for an authoritative refutation of Nestorian christology must have posed something of a dilemma.2* Here was a unique opportunity to consolidate his prestige in Gaul, yet in order to take it he would have to *°The phrase is borrowed from P.R.L. Brown, Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, London 1967,145. 21 See H.-I. Marrou, La patrie de Jean Cassieri, in Patristique et humanisme, Paris 1976, 345-61; J. Fontaine, L'ascétisme chrétien dans la littérature gallo-romaine d'Hilaire à Cassien, in La Gallia Romana [Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Problemi Attuali di Scienza et di Cultura, Quaderno 158], Rome 1973, 105-13; Philip Rousseau, Ascetics, Authority and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian, Oxford 1978, 169-76: "An Exile in Reverse"; RA. Markus, TheEnd of Ancient Christianity, Cambridge 1990,163-68. 22 On the circumstances o f the commission see Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, Vol. 1, 467-72; Chadwick, John Cassian 141-42; C. Pietri, Roma Christiana: Recherches sur l'Eglise de Rome, son organisation, sa politique, son idéologie de Miltiade à Sixte m (311-440), 2 vols. [Bibl. des Écoles Françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, 224], Rome 1976, Vol. 2, 1357-58; M.-A. Vannier, Jean Cassien a-t-il fait oeuvre de théologien dans le D e incamatione Domini ?, in Revue des sciences religieuses 66 (1992) 119-31.


address an audience in Rome and an adversary in Constantinople. Conventional as it is, Cassian's captatio beneuolentiae in the preface to the De incamatione contra Neslonum may reflect genuine anxiety about presenting himself in a new arena and before a new public.2* There is clear evidence in the work itself of a desire to remain within the ideological and geographical bounds of a previous literary career. Not only does the writer seek to adjudicate the doctrinal issue of Nestorianism on the basis of principles devised for monastic legislation in the Institutes and Conferences,24 he also makes a spirited attempt to domesticate his opponent by transporting him into a narrow world of his own creation. The first book of the treatise contrives an extraordinary déformation of its subject-matter, as it were simultaneously professionelle and régionale. Instead of Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople and scourge of the Pelagians, Cassian gives us Leporius, a Gallic monk (tunc monachus... apud Galbas) whose protoNestorianism turns out to be a species of the very Pelagianism which, owing to the manner of its recent demolition by Augustine, was then a matter of debate in the monastic milieux of southern Gaul. Faced with such gross geographical and heresiological inconsequence, it is no wonder some m odem critics of the De incamatione have suspected fraud.2* Gennadius was bound to follow Cassian in his presentation of Leporius, having no other major literary source at his disposal. But he was not obliged to follow him in every particular. As a native or naturalized Massilian with his own sense of place,26 and a much longer and broader perspective on the christological controversy than his predecessor commanded, above all as one intent on fitting Leporius into a "totalizing" account of Christian doctrine, he could be expected to make certain adjustments to the case. And so he does. By attending to those adjustments 25 Incam., praef (CSEL 17, 235): "Absolutis dudum collationum spiritalium libellis... cogitaram et propemodum constitueram post ilium proditae insrientiae pudorem ita me in portu silentii collocare... Sed uicisti propositum ac sententiam meam laudabili studio et imperiosissimo affectu tuo, mi Leo, ueneranda ac suspidenda caritas mea, Romanae ecclesiae ac diuini ministerii decus, producens me ex ilio pretemeditati silentii recessu in publicum formidandumque iudidum, et noua subire cogis adhuc de praeteritìs erubescentem..." 24 H.J. Sieben, Die Konzilsidee der Alten Kirche, Paderborn 1979, 149-70: "Der Konzilsbegriff des Vinzenz von Lerin" [previously published in Theologie und Philosophie 46 (1971) 364-86]; Rousseau, Ascetics and Authority 227-31 (taking a more positive view o f the author's excursion into the ecclesiastical realm than I do here). 25 E.g. R. Weijenborg, Leo der Grosse und Nestorius: Erneuerung der Fragestellung, in Augustinianum 16 (1976) 353-98. 26 Gennadius at Marseille: Czapla, Gennadius als Literarhistoriker 5-6; Feder, Zusätze 382.



and their analogues in related texts, we may begin to see why the business o f dogmatic writing experienced such remarkable growth in southern Gaul in the halfcentury after 430, and why it developed in the ways it did. First of all, Gennadius (re)personalizes the process of the heretic's amendment, drawing attention to the individuals involved in the affair of Leporius and to their personal authority in matters of the faith. He compromises Cassian's manifestly exaggerated claim that the Fides Leporii had been approved by "all the bishops" of Africa and Gaul, by specifying the agents of his correction as, respectively, the doctores Gallicani and Augustine. Both terms are loaded. Cassian had been careful to vest the final doctrinal authority of the Gallic church in its bishops as a corporation; only in his rather vague initial statement that Leporius had been reprimanded a nobis did he invite the inference that teachers of subepiscopal rank had played a role in the case. Gennadius' category of doctores is emphatically not a synonym for episcopi. The word conjures a class of expert theologians constituted independently of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and including (monk-) presbyters like Jerome, Rufinus, Cassian, and Gennadius himself.” Bishops might be members of that class, but not in virtue of their episcopate. Augustine was a bishop, one of the council of bishops that had judged Leporius in Africa; Gennadius suppresses the council and summons Augustine the doctor. Cassian, we have noted, does not mention Augustine at all in this connection. When he cites him by name in the seventh book of the Contra NesUrrium, he places him in the company of seven other sancti uiri atque inlustres sacerdotesTo have named Augustine alone of the African and Gallic bishops concerned with Leporius would not have served Cassian's purpose of establishing the consensus omnium, even had he been disposed to rely on a writer whose status as a universal doctrinal authority was currently being contested by Gallic theologians. Gennadius is as guarded in his approval of Augustine as Cassian had been.29 But he does not scruple to use his name and personal reputation as a counterpoise and complement to the authority of the doctores Gallicani. Secondly, Gennadius goes even further than Cassian in provincializing the Leporius affair. He does this by sharpening the geographical distinction between the localities of the heretic's initial arraignment and 27 Cf. Munier, Statuto 195-97, on this presbyterial bias. We may note Gennadius' description o f the Massilian priest Salvian as "magister episcoporum" (utr. 68). 28 Incam. 7, 23-30; usefully discussed by Sieben, Die Konzilsidee 167-68. 29 Vir. 39, which despite the skilful advocacy o f Pricoco, Storia ecclesiastica 258-59, still strikes me as a less than whole-hearted recommendation o f the bishop of Hippo.


his final correction: a Gallicanis doctoribus admonitus, et in Africa per Augustinum... emendatus. Already implicit in Cassian's account, the distinction acquires additional force from Gennadius' personalization of the doctrinal regime. It is now no longer the collegiality of the African and Gallic bishops that is asserted, but the cooperative faculties of two separate theological establishments. The change of emphasis becomes more significant when we replace the entry for Leporius in the larger structure of the De uiris iUustribus. As Salvatore Pricoco has shown in an important study, the structure of Gennadius' catalogue of Christian writers differs from that of Jerome's in several respects. Among the differences he notes is a tendency to group writers together on the basis of "thematic affinity." Pricoco explains: "At first sight the author appears to observe chronological order in his biographies, but on looking more closely we notice that the temporal succession is not always respected and that it is often accompanied or opposed by the tendency to create groupings. The dominant principle of such groupings is doctrinal agreement or discord" (ilprincipio deU'omologia o della contrapposizione dottrinale) .MWithout disputing this conclusion, I wish to investigate another principle that can be seen working intermittently to organize the groups within Gennadius' catalogue: the principle of comprovinciality. The specification of a writer's native or adopted province, or alternatively of the chinch in which he was ordained or held ecclesiastical office, is already a standard feature of the notices in Jerome's De uiris iUustribus, which in this respect as in others conforms to the model of classical biobibliographies. Rarely, however, does Jerome group writers together on the strength of their local associations.51 His chief guide to earlier Christian literature was Eusebius, who had provided a record of all those "who in each generation have proclaimed the divine word either orally or in writing."82 It was no part of Jerome's purpose to demonstrate the geographical distribution of Christian learning and eloquence, nor could he have done so without disrupting the chronological order of a list which was designed to culminate in his own current activity as a Christian writer in the fourteenth year of the emperor Theodosius.“ Although equally careful of chronology, Gennadius does sometimes allow the spatial 30 Storia ecclesiastica 247. 31 The group o f Spanish Priscillianist writers towards the end o f his catalogue (uir. 121-23) is an exception that proves the rule. 32 Hist, eccl 1,1 (trans. A. C. McGiffert in LNPF, Series 2, Vol. 1,81). My italics. 33 Vir. 135; P. Nautin, La liste des oeuvres de Jérôme dans le "De viris inlustribus", in Orpheus n.s. 5 (1984) 319-34.



coordinates of a writer's career to function as a contributory principle of classification. On close scrutiny, the notice on Leporius can be seen to occupy a cardinal position in the historico-geographical scheme of his catalogue. Towards the mid-point of the work,54 a series of notices organized around the figure of Augustine (37-40) gives way to another introduced by two Italian writers (41-42) and continuing with four writers associated with the Pelagian controversy, all active in Italy unless and until they were forced into exile (43-46). After pausing to retrieve two items that have lost their place in the chronological sequence (47-48), Gennadius includes Paulinus of Nola, an Italian bishop with well known Gallic connections (49), and three writers of unspecified, possibly Gallic, origin (50-52). Next comes a long section organized around the Nestorian controversy (53-59, excluding 57). Taken as a unit, these twenty or so chapters (37-57) disclose a strong interest in the doctrinal personality of Augustine and an over­ riding concern with the major theological controversies of Pelagianism and Nestorianism. The next notice (60) is on Leporius, in whom (according to an interpretation taken over by Gennadius from Cassian) the errors of Pelagius and Nestorius were combined; it thus recapitulates much of what has gone before. As one reformed by Augustine, Leporius provides a reminder of the latter's christological teaching, previously recommended by Gennadius (39). As one reprimanded by the doctores Gallicani, he also serves to introduce a series of highly esteemed Gallic teachers whose notices now follow in quick succession: Cassian of Marseille (62), Eucherius of Lyon (64), Vincent of Lerins (65), Salvian of Marseille (68), Hilary of Arles (70). In terms of strict chronology, Cassian's entry in the De uiris illustribus comes too late. It is hard to resist the suspicion that Gennadius delayed it by design, in order to emphasize the ascendancy of Gallic monastic theology in the second and third quarters of the fifth century. 34 The sequence o f notices runs: ... (37) Simplicianus, (38) Vigilius, (39) Augustinus, (40) Orosius, (41) Maximus, (42) Petronius, (43) Pelagius, (44) Innocentius, (45) Caelestius, (46) Iulianus, (47) Lucianus, (48) Avitus, (49) Paulinus, (50) Eutropius, (51) Evagrius, (52) Vigilius, (53) Atticus, (54) Nestorius, (55) Caelestinus, (56) Theodorus, (57) Fastidius, (58) Cyrillus, (59) Timotheus, (60) Leporius, (61) Victorinus, (62) Cassianus, (63) Philippus, (64) Eucherius, (65) Vincentius, (66) Syagrius, (67) Isaac, (68) Salvianus, (69) Paulinus, (70) Hilarius, (71) Leo ... Following Richardson, Feder and most other modern critics, I assume that uir. 30, 87, 93, 95-101 are non-Gennadian; thus uir. 47 is the median notice in the final state o f the original catalogue. It should be noted, however, that the catalogue was probably composed in stages before its issue in 477/8, uir. 1-68 belonging to a first redaction complete by c. 467: A. Feder, Die Entstehung und. Ver­ öffentlichung des gennadianischen Schriftstellerkatalogs, in Scholastik 8 (1933) 217-32.


Read in context, Gennadius' account of the synergism of the Gallic doctores and the great African doctor in the case of Leporius can be seen as highly favourable to the claims of a certain tradition of Gallic (i.e. Provençal) theology and theological writing, claims which his redaction of the De uiris illustribus was evidendy intended to promote. The situation is well described by Charles Pietri: "Gennadius records the rise of a Gallic Christianity, especially its Massilian centre as represented by a circle of religious figures with strong monastic and presbyterial attachments."“ Pietri speaks of a "regionalization of culture". Even if we do not go that far, we are surely justified in speaking of Gennadius' provincialism, meaning his partiality towards Christian writers of his own province, the ancient Prouincia. Beyond provincialism, however, there is a more important principle at stake in Gennadius' cataloguing of local affiliations, one which I tentatively call provinciality. The word is not meant here in its negative, Amoldian sense of an unmetropolitan literary culture. Provinciality in the present context is understood as the other side of catholicity when the latter is defined in geopolitical terms, as a valorization of regional difference that justifies the conviction of transregional identity. Although potentially present to Christian thought from the time of the first missions, this geographically based perception of ecclesial unity does not seem to have been a major factor in early doctrines of the church.*6We may guess that it only became widespread during the period to which Robert Markus has assigned the end of ancient Christianity in the West. Gennadius' attention to the provincial coordinates of Christian teaching and writing, and his willingness to allow considerations of geography to shape his literaryhistoriographical narrative, should I believe be interpreted as symptoms of an important development in the western (or Latin) representation of **TRE 12, 377: "G. räumt in De viris illustribus den doctores GaUicani einen besonderen Platz ein und belegt somit eine Regionalisierung der Kultur; er gibt den Aufstieg eines gallischen Christentums und insbesondere eines Marseiller Zentrum wieder, das einen dem Mönchtum eng verbundenen, von Presbytern bestimmten Kreis von Geistlichen darstellte." 36 The seeds o f later developments may be found, e.g., in Irenaeus, adu. haer. 1,10,2 and Tertullian, praescr. 33. It should be clear that the perception here alluded to is not reducible to the ancient theory o f the consensus omnium, which need not (and typically does not) make the geographical distribution o f witnesses a requirement for the proof o f unanimity. For the long history o f this theory and its early Christian applications, see K. Oehler, Der consensus omnium als Kriterium der Wahrheit in der antiken Philosophie und der Patristik, in Antike und Abendland 10 (1961), 103-29 [repr. with complements in his Antike Philosophie und Byzantinisches Mittelalter, Munich 1969, 234-71]. I owe this reference to Dom Basil Studer.



catholicity. The next section sketches a general background for this development, so that we may then study further signs of it in the flawed masterpiece of one of the doctores Gallicani of the early fifth century, an exceptionally acute reader of Augustine, associate of Cassian, number sixty-five in Gennadius' catalogue: Vincent of Lerins.*7 IMPERIUM RDMANUM AND ECCLESIA CATHOUCA: THE SACRED GEOGRAPHY OF THEODOSIANISM

T he Commonitorium or Tractatus Peregrini aduersus haereticos of Vincent of Lerins was written (or concluded) in 434.” It is, I shall suggest, in many respects a natural response to the half-century of cultural upheaval that falls in ecclesiastical history between the Council of Constantinople of 381 and the Council of Ephesus of 431, and in political history between the accession of Theodosius I in 379 and the Vandal invasion of Africa in 42930. O ne effect of the Theodosian revolution in church-state relations was to add a new geopolitical dimension to Christian ecclesiology, or at least to reinforce awareness of that dimension. The chief object of "Theodosianism", in C. N. Cochrane's memorable phrase, "was to establish a s7Gennadius, uir. 65 (ed. Richardson): 'Vincentius, natione Gallus, apud monasterium Lerinensis insulae presbyter, uir in scripturis sanctis doctus et notitia ecclesiasticorum dogmatum sufficients instructus, conposuit ad euitanda haereticorum collegia, nitido satis et aperto sermone, ualidissimam disputationem, quam, absconso nomine suo, adtitulauit 'Peregrini aduersum haereticos'. Cuius operis quia secundi libri maximam in schedulis partem a quibusdam furatam perdidit, recapitulatio eius paucis sermonibus sensu primo conpegit et in uno edidit. Moritur Theodosio et Valentiniano regnantibus [i.e. ante 451]." In his article Dogma: Zur Bedeutungsgeschichte des lateinischen Wortes in der christlichen Literatur bis 1500, in Gregorianum 57 (1976) 307-50; 658-701, K. J. Becker discovers in Vincent's treatise "de[r] erste[r] Versuch, dogma in die kirchliche Lehre und in das Nachdenken über den Glauben einzuführen" (340); cf. Madoz, Concepto (cited below n.45) 121-23. Although recognizing the influence o f the Gennadian De ecclesiastiás dogmatibus in popularizing this usage, Becker states (without referring to uir. 65) that Gennadius himself "scheint das Wort dogma kaum zu gebrauchen" (341). In fact Gennadius seems to have made a point o f adopting Vincent's own terms in his description o f the latter's work. MText in CCL 64 (ed. R. Demeulenaere, 1985) 147-95. For the date see comm. 29,7 where the Council o f Ephesus is described as "ante triennium ferme... celebratum". The manuscript tradition, corroborated by - or reflecting? Gennadius, uir. 65, indicates that the original text o f a second book o f the treatise was lost and that sections 29-32 are an authorial recapitulation o f the same. Whether in fact Vincent ever completed such a second book should probably remain an open question.


more or less exact coincidence between Catholicism and [Roman] citizenship." A civil edict of 380 ordained that all peoples under the empire should embrace "the name of catholic Christians" (catholicorum Christianorum nomen). Shortly afterwards a church council in Constantinople reaffirmed the doctrinal decrees of Nicaea. Thus, says Cochrane, "the Church... vindicated] to itself prerogatives which, since the time of Vergil, had been claimed by the Eternal City."*9 In short, Romanity was being redefined. No longer intrinsically connected with the urbs Roma, it was henceforth to be coterminous with an institution - the Christian ecdesia which had its historical roots in Palestine, for which contemporary geographical coordinates could be supplied when necessary (the Edict of Thessalonica specifies the sees of Rome and Alexandria), but whose internal coherence had never before been linked to any particular idea of its extension or circumscription in space. Had it been an object of reflection at the time, the assumed homology of ecdesia and imperium might well have proved a stumbling-block. In what sense, a sceptic could have asked, was the spiritual and doctrinal unity of the church assimilable to the political and cultural unity of the Roman empire? Would the integrity of the Christian religion depend in future on the maintenance of a metropolis such as Rome had once been and Constantinople was now becoming? What kind of Christian paideia would supply the place of the classical literary, rhetorical and legal curriculum as a basis for cultural unity? It is important to notice that these questions are not automatically answered by a traditional Christian Reichstheologie of the sort promoted in the Constantinian propaganda of Eusebius of Caesarea and reflected in the works of Latin writers of the later fourth and early fifth centuries such as Ambrose, Prudentius and Orosius.40 To believe, as many did, that the unification of the orbis Romanus under the emperors was part of a divine plan for the propagation of the Gospel, and that that 59 Christianity and Classical Culture: A Study of Thought and Action from Augustus to Augustine, Oxford 1940, 318-58, at 328, 332. He continues: "Thus apprehended, however, Theodosianism betrays a fatal confusion o f ideas. For to envisage the faith as a political principle was not so much to christianize civilization as to 'civilize' Christianity; it was not to consecrate human institutions to the service o f God but rather to identify God with the maintenance o f human institutions, i.e. with that o f the pax terrena " (336). 40 Convenient summaries o f this thinking in RA. Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St Augustine, Cambridge *1988, 45-53, and A. Demandt, Der Fall Roms: Die Auflösung des römischen Reiches im Urteil der Nachwelt, Munich 1984, 63-67 (and on the associated pagan Romideologie, 52-55). Detailed case-studies in F. Paschoud, Roma aetema: Études sur le patriotisme romain dans l'Occident latin à l'époque des grandes invasions, Rome 1967.



plan had been brought to glorious fulfilment in the time of the emperor Theodosius, was not necessarily to entertain a clear view of the ideal relations between geographically separated congregations of the faithful. Enthusiasm for the tempora Christiana had outstripped consideration of the space of Christian empire. It could perhaps be argued that the "spatial projection of sacred history" accomplished by fourth-century Christians in the plotting of biblical and other holy sites on the old map of the Roman empire had prepared the way for a further act of imagination which would make all imperial space sacred.'“ Not all geographical facts, however, could be so easily reconceived as historical ones. The vastness of the Medi­ terranean world, the diversity of its peoples and of their customs, and the formidable difficulty of communicating across such great distances, were contemporary realities which should have made it impossible to take for granted the facile equivalence of Roman citizenship and catholic Christianity. In the event, it does not appear that this kind of reflection on what might be called "sacred political geography" took place until after the initial euphoria of Theodosianism had worn off. As long as the unity of the empire and that of the church could both be separately assumed, as they could for a while in the 380s and 390s, there was no pressing reason to examine the beguiling thesis of their identity. Only as first one and then the other again began to show dangerous signs of strain did a few individuals concern themselves with the underlying principles at stake. By the mid-420s, when the author of the Commonitorium probably first came to the island of Lerins, the political unity of Rome was passing rapidly into history. Vincent himself may have been a refugee from one of the regions of northern Gaul worst affected by the recent barbarian depradations.42 To those who fled other parts of the country, Provence 41 See now Markus, End. of Ancient Christianity 137-55, and R.L. Wilken, The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought, New Haven 1992, 82-125. The latter observes that it was Eusebius who "directed attendon, for the first time in Christian history, to the religious and theological significance o f space" (88). However, Eusebius' insights do not seem to have led to the reconceptualization o f catholicity in spatial terms which "Theodosianism" logically entailed. 42 The idea that Lerins provided a safe haven for displaced aristocrats from northern Gaul, propounded by F. Prinz, Frühes Mönchtum im Frankenreich: Kultur und Gesellschaft in Gallien, den Rheinlanden und Bayern am Beispiel der monastischen Entwicklung (4. bis 8. Jahrhundert), Munich 1965 [rev. edn. 1987], 47-58, is called in question by S. Pricoco, L'isola dei santi: II cenobio di Lerino e le origini del monachesimo gallico, Rome 1978, 70-72. In order to suppose that the author o f the Commonitorium was a northerner we need to grant (1) that he is identical with the Vincent, brother o f Lupus, m entioned by Eucherius and (2) that the information given in the Vita


could still appear a model of Roman civilization, Italia um us quam prouinda as the elder Pliny had called it. Nevertheless, the presence of the Visigoths in neighbouring Aquitaine (where they had been settled by treaty in 418) was a potent reminder that the future of the pax Romana was partly in the hands of barbarians who had never submitted to the might of Rome.4* If the bulwarks of Roman citizenship now seemed less solid than they had in the recent past to an inhabitant of Gaul, those of catholic Christianity were hardly more reassuring. Along with the continuing political crisis, the early fifth century witnessed a series of dramatic challenges to the unity of the church, in both the key areas of theology and ethics. Arguments about divine grace and human free will, and about the divinity and humanity of Christ, exposed serious discrepancies in the religious culture of different parts of the Christian Roman world and raised doubts concerning the status of local traditions of belief and observance. The theologians of southern Gaul were keenly interested in these issues and well placed to grasp their implications. During the same period, the rise of radically perfectionist doctrines of Christian spirituality threatened to entrench deep divisions between the religious life of ordinary believers and that of an ascetic élite. Again, the situation in Provence may be considered paradigmatic.44 Everywhere new boundaries were being drawn, with the consequence that more and more people felt uncertain about where they stood. The story of Leporius, as told by Cassian and retold by Gennadius, conveys some of the perplexity of this situation as it was experienced by one involuntarily mobile Gallo-Roman literatus. The writings of Vincent of Lérins, Leporius' contemporary and comprovincial, represent a sustained and ingenious attempt to solve the problem theoretically.

Lupi o f Lupus' origins at Toul in eastern Lugdunensis is reliable. On these and related questions see Pricoco, Isola 51-53; M. Heinzelmann, Gallische Prosopographie, 260-527, in Franda 10 (1982), 531-718; R.W. Mathisen, Ecclesiastical Factionalism and Religious Controversy in Fifth-Century Gaul, Washington 1989, 76-85. On "autobio­ graphical" elements in the Commonitorium itself, below 551. 43 The Visigoths, moreover, were Arians. While this fact does not seem to have been at first a major cause o f anxiety to Catholics in Provence (on the changing attitude o f Prosper, as revealed in successive states o f his Chronicle, see the editors' remarks in Fifth-Century Gaul A Crisis of Identity, edited by J.F. Drinkwater and H. Elton, Cambridge 1992, 36), it would later supply one o f the motives for Salvian's polemical reconstruction o f the categories o f Christian, Roman and Catholic. 44 Markus, End of Ancient Christianity 157-79.



A lie n w r itin g : T h e Tr a c ta tu s Perecrini adversus haereticos

T he Commonitorium proposes a model of Christian unity-in-doctrine arrived at through a collation of texts dispersed in space as well as time. Simultaneously, and as a means to that end, it rehearses a role for the expert Christian reader-and-writer as a marginal, insular or exorbitant figure, one whose locus standi is outside the textual and geographical space o f the collation. It is a work of crisis in both the literal and generalized senses of the word, an exercise in theological discernment and the rendering of a particular set of historical circumstances. In deliberately addressing the issue of what it was to be a catholic Christian in the afterm ath of the Council of Ephesus, the pseudonymous author "Peregrinus" reveals what it meant to be a Roman citizen, and withal a citizen of Roman Gaul, at the close of the Theodosian Age. Since a full treatment of Vincent's political poetics of Christian dogma would carry us too far from our common theme, I shall simply summarize some of its leading ideas in order to provide a context for his use of the argum ent from ubiquity.4* Opportunists loci Among factors said to have favoured composition of the Commonitorium is the convenience of the place, opportunists loci. 46 The expression can be understood literally. The writer situates himself ob portum, or more exactly, in portu religionis. After a storm-tossed passage on the ocean of secular life, 45 The best modern treatment o f the Commonitorium remains that of J. Madoz, El concepto de la Tradicwn en San Vicente de Lerins: Estudio histórico-critico del “Conmonitorio ” [Analecta Gregoriana 5], Rome 1933. With the exception o f the chapter by Sieben (cited above, n.24), recent studies have added little o f substance. The thesis o f W. O'Connor, Saint Vincent of Lerins and Saint Augustine, in Doctor Communis 16 (1963) 123-257, should be used with caution. 46 Comm. 1,2 (CCL 64,147-8): "Ad quod me negotium non solum fructum operis, sed etiam consideratio temporis et opportunitas loci adhortatur. Sed tempus, propterea quod... Locus, autem, quod urbium frequentiam turbasque uitantes remotioris uillulae et in ea secretum monasterii incolamus habitaculum, ubi absque magna distractione fieri possit illud quod canitur in Psalmo: Vacate,' inquit, 'et uidete quoniam ego sum Dominus'. Sed et propositi nostri ratio in id conuenit, quippe qui, cum aliquandiu uariis ac tristibus saecularis militiae turbinibus uolueremur, tandem nos in portum religionis, cunctis semper fidissimum, Christo adspirante condidimus, ut ibi depositis uanitatis ac superbiae flatibus christianae humilitatis sacrificio placantes Deum, non solum praesentis uitae naufragia, sed etiam futuri saeculi incendia uitare possimus." The same nautical imagery occurs in an explicitly dogmatic context at comm. 20,7: "Idcirco etenim extra tutissimum catholicaefidei portum diuersis cogitationibus quatiuntur, etc."


he is now safely moored in the haven of a monastery. Such imagery is conventional in Latin monastic writing, yet seems to have had a special appeal for those who setded as monks on the seaboard of the ancient Prouincia in the early years of the fifth century; men like John Cassian (who made his landfall at Marseille around the year 415) and Eucherius (whose sojourn on the nearby island of Lerins began at the same time).47 Eucherius associates Vincent with Lerins in his De laude eremi and Instructiones and Gennadius refers to him as a priest of that island.48 The writer of the Commonitorium speaks of a double sequestration: urbium frequentiam turbasque uitantes remotioris uiUulae et in ea secretum monasterii incolamus habitaculum ["avoiding the crowds and busde of cities, we have our residence in a remote uiUula and, within that uiUula, in the seclusion of a monastery”] (1,4). These words have given rise to some controversy. Do they refer to the monastery founded by Honoratus on Lerins? If so, what is the force of the implied distinction between uillula and monasterium ? Various solutions have been proposed but none has yet won general assent.49 The problem is a minor one but it does illustrate the 47 See the passage from Cassian's De incamatione cited above (n.23) and the preface to the second series o f his Conferences, addressed to the Lerinese monks Honoratus and Eucherius (CSEL 13, 311-12); Eucherius, contempt. (PL 50, 726C): "Unus hie portus est.." Other references in Pricoco, Isola 144; 154. 48 Eucherius, instr., praef. (CSEL 31, 66), naming Vincent along with Hilary and Salvian as responsible for the education o f his son Salonius; laus 42 (CSEL 31, 483): "Haec [sc. Lirinus] habuit reuerendi nominis Lupus..., haec habuit germanum eius Vincentium, intem o gemmam splendore perspicuam". The past tense ("habuit") implies that the future author o f the Commonitorium was no longer at Lerins in c. 428 when Eucherius composed the De laude eremi, but that need not mean that he had left for good. It is possible that he joined his brother Lupus at Troyes after the latter was consecrated bishop there in 427, and returned to Lerins around 429 in time to take over the instruction o f Salonius from Hilary, who had become bishop o f Arles in the interval. Gennadius1 reference to Vincent as "apud monasterium Lerinensis insulae presbyter", if made in accordance with his usual practice, should indicate that this was his last residence. See n. 42 above for the prosopographical problem. M. L. Angrisani Sanfilippo, Problemi xnncenziani, in Quademi Catanesi di Studi Classici e Medievali 5 (1983) 347-49, insists on finding two different Vincents in the passages o f Eucherius. In view o f the pleasure taken by writers o f this milieu in word-plays on names and vocations, it is hard to believe that such a coincidence would have gone uncelebrated. 49 It is virtually impossible to make sense o f the sentence as long as uiUula is taken in the classical sense o f a small villa or country-house. As was observed by R. S. Moxon in his (Cambridge 1915) edition o f the treatise ad loc., the word uilla was by this time "already on its way to mean a village", hence uillula can refer here to "the 'settlement' of which the monastery formed a part". Thus either the monastery



complexity of the issues surrounding the new sacred topographies of this period. It has not, I think, been noticed that a good, plain sense may be obtained by emending uillttlae to insulae. The writer would then have sought the geographical seclusion of an island and, within the confines of that island, the social and spiritual seclusion of a monastic community.80 No matter that the island of Lerins was not physically very remote; the contemporary writings of Eucherius and others are sufficient warrant for the idea of its spiritual distance from the mainland. Even unemended, the text testifies to an emergent spirituality of place in which, as has been remarked, the "vocabulary of monastic conversion is saturated with the language of spatial separation."51 That vocabulary is the common property of a number of the doctores GaUicani of the age. To Vincent, writing under the double influence of Cassian and Augustine, belongs the distinction of adapting the new Christian topography to the requirements of dogmatic theory. Minimus omnium seruorum dei Peregrinus The writer’s rhetorical localization of his work is only one of several initial signs of the willed "topicality" of the Commonitorium. He also announces himself as Peregrinus... minimus omnium seruorum Dei (1,1). The is a communal residence within a larger settlement which includes non-religious persons or the monastic dwelling (habitaculum monasterii) is that o f a solitary living in proximity to other monks. In the absence o f any other indication in our sources that the first Lerinese monks shared their island with a non-religious population, the latter alternative is a priori the more plausible, as argued by Angrisani Sanfilippo, Problemi vincenziani 344-47. Against this interpretation, it may be urged that the expression habitaculum monasterii (or h. monachorum) appears in the writings o f Cassian as a synonym for coenobium, and that monasterium regularly stands for the community as a whole in early Lerinese texts. There remains the possibility that the text o f the Commonitorium is corrupt at this point. 50 It may be objected that insulae is the lectiofacilior, but that is only necessarily so if the copyist had Gennadius’ notice on Vincent to hand. Since the reading uillulae is com m on to all four extant MSS and the editio princeps (based on another MS no longer extant), the substitution o f [uill]ulae for [ins]ulae would have to have occurred at an early stage in transmission. The vulgate o f the same five authorities offers at least eight obvious errors at other points in the Commonitorium and derives, according to Moxon's stemma, from an archetype at two or more removes from the Lerinese (?) original. The emendation can thus be defended on text-critical grounds, even if only a rash editor would adopt it. 51 Markus, End of Ancient Christianity 161; cf. Pricoco, Isola 131-44 ("La separazione dal mondo"). There is a fuller discussion o f this aspect o f Lerinese spirituality in C. Leyser, The Monastic Thought and Culture of Pope Gregory the Great in Their Western Context, c.400-604, unpubl. Oxford D.Phil. thesis 1991, 78-141.


treatise is duly ascribed to "Peregrinus" in the manuscript tradition and it is only on the strength of Gennadius' statement that Vincent chose to issue it thus, absconso nomine suo, that we are able to identify it as his. The device of pseudonymity can be situated within a more general practice of authorial concealment adopted by fifth-century Christian writers of southern Gaul, one that was justified both by apostolic precept and by monastic tradition. That practice is most fully expounded by Salvian, in a letter explaining the use of the pseudonym "Timotheus" in one of his own works.” The addressee of the letter is a former disciple of Salvian's, Salonius the son of Eucherius, who having also studied at Lerins under Vincent was doubtless already a connoisseur of the pseudonymist's art. The Lerinese monks evidently took an ascetic delight in these tricks of imperfectly concealed authorship.“ Whether or not they meant to frustrate subsequent attempts at attribution is hard to judge, although it is certainly the case that the Christian literature of late Roman Gaul presents unusual problems in this regard. What is clear is that from an early stage, and for as long as there existed no general clue such as Gennadius' catalogue, the readership of works like the Tractatus Peregrini was liable to be divided into two constituencies: on the one hand, a coterie of those who appreciated the device of pseudonymity but could see through it to identify the author, and on the other, a larger (?) group to whom the real author remained unknown. In so far as the division between knowing and unknowing readers coincided with that between monks and ordinary Christians it would tend to reinforce the separation that we have already noted as a component of Lerinese monastic ideology. In these conditions, authorial identity or identifiability can be said to structure the community 52 Ep. 9, studied by N. Brox, ßuw Me auctor? Pseudonymität und Anonymität bei Salvian, in Vigiliae Christianae 40 (1986) 55-65, who observes the consonance o f Salvian's view with texts o f Cassian on the utility o f an assumed persona in monastic teaching. Salvian had begun his treatise Ad ecclesiam (c. 440?) with the words: 'Timotheus, minimus seruorum dei, ecclesiae catholicae toto orbe diffusae..." , echoing both Vincent and Augustine. In his letter to Salonius he explains that he had used a pseudonym (1) so as not to appear to glory in his own achievement and (2) so that prospective readers would not be deterred by their knowledge o f who the author was. Both texts are edited by F. Pauly (CSEL 8) and G. Lagarrigue (SC 176). “ Cf. the comment o f P. Lejay (reviewing H. Koch, Vinzenz von Lerin und Gennadius: Ein Beitrag zur Literaturgeschichte des Semipelagianismus, in TU 31.2, Leipzig 1907, 37-58) in Revue critique (1908), 26: "Ces moines de Lerins nagent dans le mensonge pieux comme des poissons dans l'eau." Brox, Quis iUe auctor? 59, speaks o f an "unverständliche Geheimnistuerei". This is not the place to discuss the complex problem o f the "publication" o f Vincent's work: for a summary and references see CCL 64,130.

IX P e re g rin u s a g a in s t t h e H e r e tic s


of literate Christians and through them the Christian community at large. T he "author-function", as Michel Foucault called it,Mis not abolished but transformed. The choice of the pseudonym "Peregrinus" has important implications for any reading of the Commonitorium. The name, as others haved remarked, has a monastic colour.* In the present application, it encourages us to regard the description of the writer's past life and conversion from the saecularis militia as exemplary rather than auto­ biographical, thereby loosening the link between authorship and individual experience. Even were Vincent writing in propria persona we should be hard pressed to extract biographical data from his preface: the more so when he writes as Everymonk. This universalization of the authorial role, entailing as it does the suppression of individual authorial identity, is directly relevant to the dogmatic methodology of the Commonitorium. Writing to Salonius a few years later, Salvian would raise the question whether any good could come of knowing the authorship of a contemporary text. He concludes with a negative: Cum enim nullus sit profectus in nomine, qui profectum in scriptis inuenit superflue nomen scriptoris inquirit ["For since there is no profit in a name, the reader who profits from a literary work seeks in vain for the name of its author"].56 Such carelessness of attribution is hard to reconcile with the scrupulous attention given to authenticated - that is, authorized - testimony in the Commonitorium, unless we allow for a radical distinction between the writings of the maiores, on which the integrity of the faith may depend, and those which Salvian ascribes to homines huius temporis such as himself.57 Not

54 In his article What Is an Authorl, in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in PostStructuralist Criticism, edited by J. V. Harari, Ithaca 1979, 141-60, Foucault ascribes a major role in the construction o f the m odem idea o f the author to Jerome and other early Christian thinkers concerned with the authentication o f doctrinally normative texts. 55 B. Luiselli, Sulla pseudonimia di Vincenzo di Lerino, in Atene e Roma 4 (1959), 21622, rightly rejecting the old hypothesis according to which Vincent adopted a pseudonym in order to attack Augustine's views with impunity; J. Leclercq, Aux sources de la spiritualité occidentale, Paris 1964, 35f. ("Monachisme et pérégrination"). 56Ep. 9, 4 (SC 176, 122). In this paragraph the word profectus appears four times in as many sentences, fructus once as a synonym. Salvian consistently opposes the nomen auctoris to the nomen alienum [i.e. adsumptum ]. 57 The expressions huius temporis homo, praesentis temporis homo and libri neotericae disputationis appear in the opening section o f Salvian's ep. 9 where they distinguish current Christian literary activity from that o f the apostles. Vincent's main discussion o f the use o f the scripta maiorum for the determination o f disputed points o f doctrine is at comm. 28-29: see below 556-557.


only the names but also the lives of the former must be securely documented if their texts are to serve as reliable witnesses to the tradition. Thus the Commonitorium places a premium on literary biography, even as it refuses ordinary readers the assurance of full biographical control over its own authority. The solution of this paradox lies in the theory of nonauthorial relatio developed later in the preface, according to which the benefit (Jructus) or profit (profectus) of a literary work derives from the tradition which it reports rather than from any personal contribution by the (pseudo-) author.58 We may also perhaps detect a note of polemic in Vincent's dismissal of the claims of the Christian auctor. O f his Latin contemporariers, none had asserted the ineluctability of the relation between a writer's teaching and his own lived experience more firmly than Augustine. By the time Vincent began the Commonitorium, the Retractationes was circulating in Gaul.59 In this last, unfinished revision of a lifetime's literary work, the foremost Christian teacher of his generation had let it be known that the reader's profit in the total Augustinian text - the ensemble of the opera Augustini - would depend on his or her having a correct sense of the progress of the author's understanding as he wrote it.60This attempt to yoke the profectus lectons and profectus scriptoris in a particular case was strenuously resisted by certain monks of Provence, including (almost certainly) Vincent himself. We do not have to regard the Commonitorium as an all-out assault on the reputation of the bishop of Hippo in order to see that it addresses the methodological problems raised by the reception of his literary and doctrinal oeuvre.61 The peregrinatio was Augustine's favourite image for the

58 Comm. 1,6: "Sed iam in nomine Domini quod instat adgrediar, ut scilicet a maioribus tradita et apud nos deposita describam relatoris fide potius quam auctoris praesumptione..": See below, 553f. 59 It is certain that Prosper, Hilary and their associates had received a copy: Hilary, ep. ad Augustinum 10 (CSEL 57, 479) ; Prosper, resp. (PL 51, 191B). Angrisani Sanfilippo, Problemi Vincemiani 358-58, detects an echo o f retr. 13 in Vincent, comm. 1,7-8. It could be argued that Vincent's theory o f the profectus reUgionis as a collective, ecclesial elaboration o f Christian dogma in writing was partly a response to Augustine's idea o f the personal profectus scribendo. 60 See esp. retr. 1, prol. 3 (CCL 57, 6): "Quapropter quicumque ista lecturi sunt, non me imitentur errantem, sed in melius proficientem. Inueniet enim fortasse quomodo scribendo profecerim, quisquis opuscula mea ordine quo scripta sunt legerit. Quod ut possit, hoc opere quantum potero curabo, ut eundem ordinem nouerit." 61 Vincent's role in the so-called "semi-Pelagian controversy" and its bearing on the argument o f the Commonitorium have been variously assessed in the past: for a judicious review o f evidence and arguments see R. A. Markus, The Legacy of Pelagius:



Christian life in this world, elaborated both in the City of God and, in more personal terms, in the Confessions.62 Not least of the ironies of the Tractatus Peregrini is its resolutely anti-autobiographical presentation of the pilgrim's progress. Whereas Augustine's idea of the pilgrimage is naturally forwardlooking and dynamic, Vincent's is curiously static and circumspect. The former represents himself in via, the latter obportum. Fides relatons A place removed, the locus of the Commonitorium is also a place to stand. 'T o stand inquiring right, is not to stray," a Christian poet would affirm many centuries later, while instructing an imaginary interlocutor to "ask [his] father" which was the true religion.6* The poet was recalling the biblical verse that Vincent makes the epigraph of his treatise (1,1): "Ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee" (Deut. 32: 7). In their original context these words are a summons to the people of Israel to remember God's past mercies. Reinterpreted to fit the re­ quirements of late antique Christian asceticism they became a sanction for the authority of monastic leaders. The same verse is quoted in one of Cassian's Conferences to underline the necessity for young monks to consult their elders if they are to avoid the sin of praesumptio (2,15). In the most im portant contribution to our understanding of the Commonitorium in half a century, H.J. Sieben has demonstrated a close correspondence between the terminology of Vincent's anti-heretical treatise and Cassian's vocabulary of monastic tradition, at the same time indicating a more fundamental affinity between the Vincentian rule of faith and the guiding principles of Provençal monasticism.64 Given these connections, any Orthodoxy, Heresy and Conciliation, in The Making of Orthodoxy: Essays in Honour of Henry Chadwick, edited by R. D. Williams, Cambridge 1989, 219-20. 62 Texts collected by J. van Oort, Jerusalem and Babylon: A Study into Augustine's ”City of God" and the Sources of his Doctrine of the Two Cities, Leiden 1991, 131-42 ('The city o f God as an alien”). “ John Donne, Satire III, 69-79. 64 Konzilsidee 149-70 (see n. 24 above), partly corroborated by A.Pastorino, II concetto di "tradizione" in Giovanni Cassiano e in Vincenzo di Lerino, in Sileno 1 (1975) 37-46. While accepting Sieben's suggestion that "[d]ie entscheidenden theolo­ gischen Vorstellungen des Commonitoriums wären... vom Geist und von der Tradi­ tion des südfranzösischen Mönchtums mitgeprägt und beeinflußt" (169), I would not wish to argue - without further investigation - that the Vincentian theological m ethod was a product o f Cassianic monachology. It is at least equally plausible that Cassian's ideas o f a universal monastic rule were formed by analogy with the regula fidei, as suggested by A. de Vogüe, Les sources des quatrepremiers limes des "Institutions" deJean Cassien, in Studia Monastica 27 (1985), 241-311, at 310. Nor, contra Sieben, do I


divergence on the part of the writer of the Commonitorium from the Cassianic model deserves our close attention. To look no further than the preface, Vincent’s redefinition of the author-function clearly owes much to the example of the Conferences. Cassian claimed the privilege of inscribing a teaching hitherto orally transmitted; to render that claim more plausible he adopted the genre of the reported conference or conlatio.“ Vmcent does likewise. His opening quotations from the Bible evoke an oral tradition. Now, he says, that traditional teaching will be committed to writing: uidetur mihi... quod res non minimae utilitatis... futura sit, si ea quae fideliter a sanctis patribus accept, litteris conprehendam ["I am persuaded that., it will be of no litde use... if I should put down in writing the things which I have faithfully received from the holy fathers"] (1,1). His text, we are led to expect, will be the graphic deposit of previous oral conferences: ut a maioribus tradita et apud nos deposita describam relatoris fide potius quam auctoris prcusumptione ["to record with the fidelity of a reporter rather than with the presumption of an author what our forefathers have handed down to us and committed to our keeping"] (1,6).66 Despite this initial ostentation of oral tradition and face-to-face encounter, it quickly becomes apparent that Vincent's concern is not so much with conlatio in the Cassianic sense of a monastic conference as with "collation" in the ancient and modem sense of a comparison of texts. Recent studies have confirmed that the orality of Cassian's Conferences is for the most part a slender fiction.67 That of the Commonitorium is regard Vincent's appeal to antiquitas as necessarily in conflict with Augustine’s promotion o f a conciliar theory based on unwersitas. The sense o f a possible collision between these two base-concepts (also strongly felt by Newman) seems to me to result in part from the m odem neglect o f Vincent's reflection on the spatial coordinates o f catholicity. 68 Con. praef. 1 (CSEL 13, 3): "quae in usum stilt ut antea non uenerunt" (referring to the subject-matter o f the Institutes ); 3-6 (ibid. 4): "ut scilicet de instituto atque doctrina tantorum uirorum quaedam tradere audeam memoriae litterarum... non tam mea quam patrum instituta... ut nobis earundem traditionum memoriam plenam et sermonem ad dicendum facilem conferre dignetur [sc. Deus], quo tam sancte eas tamque integre quam ab ipsis accepimus explicantes ipsos quodammodo suis institutis incorporatos et quod maius est Latino disputantes eloquio vobis exhibere possimus." 66 Cf. 2,1: "Saepe igitur magno studio et summa adtentione perquirens a quamplurimis sanctitate et doctrina praestantibus uiris quonammodo possim certa ac quasi generali ac regulari uia catholicae fidei ueritatem ab haereticae prauitatis falsitate discernere, huiusmodi semper responsum ab omnibus fere rettuli..." With this perfunctory evocation o f past "conferences" with learned and holy men the monastic scenography o f the Commonitorium comes to an abrupt end. 67 K.S. Frank, Fiktive Mündlichkeit als Grundstruktur der monasüschen Literatur,



immediately transparent Indeed the literate or textual emphasis of its dogmatic discourse has been claimed as its most original feature.68 Quod ubique

The aim of the Commonitorium is to demonstrate criteria for identifying tô katholikôn in matters of the faith. "For that is truly and in the strictest sense 'catholic'," the writer confides, "which the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, which comprehends all things universally (uniuersar liter)" (2,5). "This will indeed be so," he continues, "if we follow universal­ ity, antiquity, and consensus (si sequamur uniuersitatem antiquitatem consmsionem )" (2,6). From these three principles of catholicity we might try to infer three others that would serve, either singly or in combination, to characterize unorthodox doctrine. The opposite of antiquity would be novelty, of consensus singularity or individuality; both these inferences are borne out by the remainder of Vincent's treatise, in which novelty and heresy are consistendy equated and much attention is given to the problem of individual dissidence. It is harder to find the right antonym for the primary criterion of universality, precisely because of its primary - or rather, prior - status with respect to the other two criteria.69 As a synonym communication to the Eleventh International Conference on Patristic Studies, Oxford, 19-24 August 1991. 68 Sieben, Konxilsidee 155: "Die Eigenart der Anwendung besteht, kurz gesagt, darin, daß Vinzenz eine schriftliche Quelle neben, um nicht sagen, über der Schrift postuliert... Darin, daß Vinzenz die Doppelheit von Schrift und Tradition näherhin so versteht, daß er der Heiligen Schrift eine schriftliche Tradition als Norm, und zwar in Gestalt fester, bestimmter Texte gegenüber- oder zur Seite stellt, liegt u. E. seine Originalität älteren kirchlichen Theorien gegenüber." I would argue that the theoretical possibility o f this kind o f textual recourse depends on Vincent's strategy o f authorial alienation, while its practical possibility should be seen as a function o f the literary (i.e. bibliographical) resources o f an insular-provincial "centre" like Lerins. On both counts the originality o f the Commonitorium is closely tied to its provinciality. 69 Cf. B.U. Hüntemann, Tertulliani de praescriptione haereticorum libri analysis cum appendice de Commonitorio Vincentii Lirinensis, Aachen 1924, 65 (cited by Sieben, Konxilsidee 151 n.12): "Haec Vincentii regula proinde nota 'catholicitatis' siue uniuersalitatis innititur, et quidem uniuersalitatis 1) localis, 2) temporalis, 3) personalis. Distinctio haec uitiosa est, quia etiam uniuersalitas localis et temporalis inhaeret personis et ideo tertium membrum in prioribus iam continetur... Veritas huius regulae e sola uoce catholicae iam declaratur...". The personal focus of Vincent's theory is already explicit before he declares his master-principle: "Hie forsitan si requirat aliquis: Cum sit perfectus scripturarum canon sibique ad omnia satis superque sufficiat, quid opus est ut ei ecclesiasticae intelligentiae iungatur auctoritas? Quia uidelicet scripturam sacram pro ipsa sui altitudine non uno


for catholicity in Christian doctrine, universality must already stand for community in both time and space. And because that community is one of personal beliefs it must also already imply consensus. Thus we could say that universality (or catholicity) is defined wherever, whenever and by whomsoever it is challenged. That is the idea expressed in Vincent's most famous axiom: In ipsa item cathoUca eccUsia magnopere curandum est, ut id teneamus quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est ["In the catholic church itself all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all"] (2,5). We should note that this statement occurs before the etymology of catholicum, which in turn introduces the triad of uniuersitas, antiquitas, consensio. The order of the argument is as revealing as the sequence of terms used for each triple formula. By introducing the criterion of ubiquity in first place and at the beginning of the section, "Peregrinus" prepares us for a definition of Christian orthodoxy in which geographical factors receive special em­ phasis. The concept of universality is no sooner suggested by his definition of the catholicum than he appropriates it to a particular use: Sequemur autem uniuersitatem hoc modo, si hanc unam fidem ueram esse fateamur, quam tota per orbem terrarum confitetur ecdesia ["We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole church throughout the world confesses"] (2,6). Ubiquity, the universality of the true faith under its local, spatial or geographical aspect, assumes the name of universality itself. Perhaps because the Vincentian "canon" has for so long been misquoted by Anglican divines - quod sempert quod ubique, quod ab omnibus as Newman has it, reversing the order of the first and second "notes" m odem readers of the Commonitorium have been slow to appreciate the delicacy of the writer's sense of place. It is true, of course, that many of the arguments of the treatise are organized around the opposition between antiquity and novelty, and that nouitas - rather than, say, localitas - is the quality which "Peregrinus" most readily associates with heretical teaching. Yet by the end of the work he has committed himself to a dogmatic theory in which the dimension of time and the dimension of space are of equal importance, and to a textual practice in which the latter clearly predominates. The real reason why this fact has been missed, I suspect, is that the end of the work is so long in coming. The Commonitorium is a masterpiece of postponement; only in its abbreviated second book (which Gennadius would have us believe the result of an accident) does Vincent deal with the most pressing issue of theological method of his time, namely the problem of determining a point of doctrine not explicated in the eodemque sensu uniuersi acdpiunt..." (2,2). The Commonitorium is an attempt to circumscribe the universe o f Christian readers o f the Bible.



Nicene creed or any similar pronouncement of a general council. This is the fourth and last kind of doctrinal emergency anticipated in the introduction: Quid, si tale aliquid emergat, ubi nihil eiusmodi reperiatur ? ["What if some error should spring up, on which no conciliar decree is found to bear?"] (3,4).70 In such a case, "Peregrinus" reports, the faithful Christian will collate the published opinions of the maiores, specifically of those who "though living in diverse times and places (diuersis licet temporibus et lods ), yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one catholic church, stand forth as approved authorities."71 The first three kinds of emergency have been dealt with, more or less expeditiously, in the first book {comm. 1-28). The fourth kind is finally exemplified by the affair of Nestorius as handled by the Council of Ephesus (comm. 29-33 = the purported recapitulatio of the "lost" second book or commonitorium ). This is the long delayed climax of the work, the moment at which "Peregrinus", the individual relator and collator, offers to present the acts of the recent council in a manner conforming to the theological poetics of the previous sections.72 70 Comm. 3,1-4 (CCL 64, 149): [1] "Quid igitur tunc faciet christianus catholicus, si se aliqua ecclesiae particula ab uniuersalis fidei communione praeciderit ? Quid udque, nisi ut pestifero corruptoque membro sanitatem uniuersi corporis anteponat?" [Illustrated by the Donatisi controversy: 4,2]. [2] "Quid, si nouella aliqua contagio non iam portiunculam tantum, sed totam pariter ecclesiam commaculare congiuri Tunc item prouidebat, ut antiquitati inhaereat, quae prorsus iam non potest ab ulla nouitatis fraude seduci." [Illustrated by the Arian controversy. 4,3f. Note esp. 4,4: "urbes populi prouinciae nationes, uniuersum postremo Romanum imperium funditus concussum et emotum est".] [3] "Quid, si in ipsa uetustate duorum aut trium hominum nel arte duitatis unius nel prouinciae alicuius error deprehendatur? Tunc omnino curabit, ut paucorum temeritati uel inscitiae, si qua sunt uniuersaliter antiquitus uniuersalis concilii decreta, praeponat." [Illustrated primarily by the application of the Nicene Creed in the Arian controversy: 5,1-5. Note esp. 5,5: "non partis alicuius, sed uniuersitatis... defensio"; 5,6: "neque... pro alicuius prouinciolae temeraria conspiratione".] [4] "Quid, si tale emergat, ubi nihil eiusmodi reperiatur? ..." On Vincent's concealed "inductive" method - i.e. his reasoning from the facts (as he saw them) o f recent theological controversy to a rule which he then presents as though it were deduced from first principles - and the paradigmatic role o f the N icene Creed in his theory see Sieben, Konzilsidee 151-52; 157-59. 71 Comm. 3,4 (CCL 64,150): "Tunc ope ram dabit, utconlatasintersemaiorum consulat interrogetque sententias, eorum dumtaxat, qui diuersis licet temporibus et locis, in unius tamen ecclesiae catholicae communione et fide permanentes, magistri probabiles exstiterunt". Cf. 29,6 (190): "Deinde, si qua noua exsurgeret quaestio... recurrendum ad sanctorum patrum sententias, eorum dumtaxat qui suis quique temporibus et locis in unitatecommunionisetfidei permanentes, magistri probabiles exstitissent". n Comm. 28,1 (CCL 64, 186): "Hie iam consequens esse uideo, ut exemplis


Before referring to those acts Vincent repeats a procedure that is by now familiar to his readers, appealing to Saint Paul for apostolic endorsement of the principle at stake.7* Passages from First Corinthians are duly adduced and adapted.74 The first provides the term doctores, which Vincent glosses as tractatom and takes to encompass the class of Christian teachers whose testimony he means to exploit.75 These teachers, he adds almost in an aside, are providentially distributed throughout the church in time and space, in ecclesia Dei diuinitus per tempora et loca dispensatos (28,9). We have been prepared for this idea by the preceding discussion of another Pauline verse, in the course of which the writer tendentiously demonstrem, quonammodo profanae haereticorum nouitates prolatis atque conlatis ueterum magistrorum concordantibus sibimet sententiis deprehendantur et condem nentur"; 29,7 (190): "Quod ne praesumpdone magis nostra quam auctoritate eccle­ siastica promere uideremur, exemplum adhibuimus sancti concilii, quod ante ^ triennium ferme in Asia apud Ephesum celebratum est uiris clarissimis Basso Antiochoque consulibus." Vincent's account o f the Council o f Ephesus raises many problems o f interpretation, some o f which I shall address in a separate article. See Madoz, El concepio 157-63; Sieben, Konzilsidee 158-60; B. Studer, La recezione del concilio di Efeso del 431, in La tradizione: Forme e modi, [Studia Ephemeridis "Augustinianum", 31], Rome 1990, 427-42. 73 Cf. comm. 7,5; 8,1 ("Cum ergo tales quidam circumeuntes prouincias et duitates atque errores uenalicias circumferendo etiam ad Galatas deuenissenL.."); 21,3 ( I Tim. 6: 20-21). 74 Comm. 28,9-10 (CCL 64, 188): "Quorum beatorum patrum sanctum catholicumque consensum ne quis sibi temere contemnendum forte arbitretur, ait in prima ad Corinthios apostolus: 'Et quosdam quidem posuit Deus in ecclesia primum apostolos,' - quorum ipse unus erat - 'secundo prophetas,' - qualem in Actibus Apostolorum legimus Agabum - 'tertio doctores,' - qui tractatores nunc appellantur, quos hie idem apostolus etiam prophetas interdum nuncupat, eo quod per eos prophetarum mysteria populis aperiantur. Hos ergo in ecclesia Dei per tempora et loca dispensatos, quisquis in sensu catholici dogmatis unum aliquid in Christo sentientes contempserit, non hominem contemnit sed Deum: a quorum ueridica unitate ne quis discrepet, inpensius obtestatur idem apostolus dicens: 'Obsecro uos, fratres,ut id ipsum dicatis omnes, et non sint in uobis scismata, sitis autem perfecti in eodem sensu et in eadem sententia.' 75 For Vincent, as for most contemporary Latin Christian writers, the primary meaning o f tractare is "to interpret the Bible" (cf. comm. 11,3; 31,6), though it is notable that he inflects the sense towards the act o f dogmatic definition (comm. 16,9; 23,17). As remarked by G. Bardy, Tractare, tractatus, in Recherches de science religieuse 33 (1946), 232 n .l, his turn o f phrase in the present passage ("doctores, qui tractatores nunc appellantur") suggests that the corresponding use o f the noun tractator was comparatively recent. Augustine's frequent appeals to earlier "tractatores diuinarum scripturarum", especially in his anti-Pelagian works, may have been decisive.

IX P e r e g r in u s a g a in s t t h e H e r e t ic s


expands and adapts a sentence from the De praescnptione haercticomm of Tertullian to include both "islands" and "provinces".76 Such valorization of geographical diversity as a positive principle in the formulation of dogma marks a new development in Latin theological writing. That heresies were providentially ordained had been asserted by Saint Paul and others since, and is reaffirmed by "Peregrinus" with special reference to the problem of em inent but fallible teachers (comm. 10-20). The geographical diffusion of sound doctrine had only rarely been a matter of theological interest in the past.77 But perceptions were changing. We might say that the experience of the Pelagian and Nestorian controversies had finally forced Christians in the West to look around the world they inherited from the Theodosian setdement of church as state. The distances between Rome and Carthage, Alexandria and Constantinople, Jerusalem and Marseille had been newly measured. It was no longer enough to invoke the essential unity of the Christian tradition in different regions (as Irenaeus had) or to refer in a general way to the agreement of the apostolic sees (Tertullian). Doctrinal consensus now had to be shoum to transcend physical boundaries, and this could only be done - either side of an ecumenical council - by assembling texts with identifiable, reliable and bcalizable authors. Signs of an awareness of these altered conditions can be found in a number of Latin 76 Comm. 24,1-6 (CCL 64, 180-81): "Sed ad apostolum redeamus. 'O Timothee,' inquit, 'depositum custodi, deuitans profanas uocum nouitates... Yocum', id est dogmatum rerum sententiarum nouitates, quae sunt uetustati, quae antiquitati contrariae. Quae si recipiantur, necesse est ut fides beatorum patrum aut tota aut certe magna ex parte uioletur; necesse est ut omnes omnium aetatum fideles, om nes sancti, omnes casti continentes uirgines, omnes clerici leuitae et sacerdotes, tanta amfessorum milia, tanti martyrum exerdtus, tanta urbium, tanta populorum celebritas et multitudo, tot insulae, prouinciae, reges, gentes, regna, nationes, totus postremo iam paene terrarum orbis, per catholicam fidem Christo capiti incorporates, tanto saeculorum tractu ignorasse errasse blasphemasse nescisse quid crederei, pronuntietur. 'Profa­ nas,' inquit, 'uocum nouitates deuita,' quas recipere atque sectare numquam catholicorum, semper uero haereticorum fuit. Et reuera, quae umquam haeresis nisi sub certo nomine, certo loco, certo tempore ebulliuit?" Cf. Tertullian, praescr. 25,3 (CCL 1, 209): "Interea perperam euangelizabatur, perperam credebatur, tot milia milium perperam tincta, tot opera fidei perperam ministrata, tot uirtutes, tot charismata perperam operata, tot sacerdotia, tot ministeria perperam functa, tot (Unique martyria perperam coronata." 77 See n.36 above, citing passages from Irenaeus, adu. haer., and Tertullian, praescr. Vincent's many debts to Tertullian's treatise are clearly signalled in the apparatus o f Demeulenaere's edition in CCL 64 (the suggestion that he may also have been responsible for a manuscript collection o f the African writer's works subscribed "Nicasius” [= 'Vincentius" in Gk.] is dismissed by Luiselli, Sulla pseudonimia 221-22).


works from the 420s and early 430s: in the later writings of Augustine, whose conviction of the "universality" of the true Church, confirmed ecclesiologically in his long struggle with the Donatists, had been put to the proof dogmatically by Pelagius and Julian;78 in the De incamatione contra Nestorium of John Cassian, of which something has already been said; and in the Epitoma chronicon of Prosper of Aquitaine, in which the tempora et loca of Dogmengeschichte are so surprisingly inserted into the annals of political history.79 Practices of doctrinal reference and citation were evolving and Vincent was one of the first to draw a general lesson: the provincialism of a doctrine would still be grounds for condemning it; provinciality - the fact o f a geographically distinct attestation of a disputed Christian teaching - was henceforth to be considered a gift of God. Vincent's reading of the acts of the Council of Ephesus scrupulously observes the principle of geographical diversity just outlined.80 Indeed it is

78Augustine's sense o f "catholicity": P. Batiffol, Le caiholicisme de saint Augustin, Paris 1929; Markus, Saeculum 113ff. His textual proofs o f consensus against the Pelagians: G. Màrtil, La tradición en san Agustin a través de la controversia pelagiana, Madrid 1943; O. Wermelinger, Rom und Pelagius: Die theologische Position der römischen Bischöfe im Pelagianischen Streit in den Jahren 411-432, Stuttgart 1975, 264f.; G. Maschio, L'argomentazione patristica di s. Agostino nella prima fase della controversia pelagiana (412418), in Augustinianum 26 (1986), 459-79. 79 RA. Markus, Chronicle and Theology: Prosper of Aquitaine, in The Inheritance of Historiography, edited by C. Holdsworth and T.P. Wiseman, Exeter 1986, 31-44; S. Muhlberger, The Fifth Century Chroniclers: Prosper, Hydatius and the Gallic Chronicler of 452, Leeds 1990, 70-73. 80 Comm. 30,1-6 (CCL 64, 191): "Sunt ergo hi uiri, quorum in ilio concilio uel tamquam iudicum uel tamquam testium scripta recitata sunt: sanctus Petrus, Alexandrinus episcopus, doctor praestantissimus et martyr beatissimus; sanctus Athanasius, eiusdem ciuitatis antistes, magister fidelissimus et confessor eminentissimus; sanctus Theophilus, eiusdem item urbis episcopus, uir fide uita scientia satis clarus, cui successit uenerandus Cyrillus, qui nunc Alexandrinam inlustrat ecclesiam. Et ne forsitan unius ciuitatis ac prouindae doctrina haec putaretur, adhibita sunt etiam illa Cappadociae lumina, sanctus Gregorius, episcopus et confessor de Namando, sanctus Basilius, Caesareae Cappadocum episcopus et confessor, sanctus item alter Gregorius, Nyssenus episcopus, fidei conuersationis integritatis et sapientiae merito fratre Basilio dignissimus. Sed ne sola Graecia aut oriens tantum, uerum etiam occidentals et latinus orbis ita sensisse adprobaretur, lectae sunt quoque ibi quaedam ad quosdam epistulae sancti Felicis martyris et sancti Iulii, urbis Romae episcoporum. Et ut non solum caput orbis. uerum etiam latera illi iudido testimonium perhiberent, adhibitus est a meridie beatissimus Cyprianus, episcopus Carthaginiensis et martyr, a septentrione sanctus Ambrosius, Mediolanensis episcopus. Hi sunt igitur omnes apud Ephesum sacrato decalogi numero magistri consiliarii testes iudicesque producti..."



striking how little interest he expresses in the temporal diversity of the wit­ nesses cited in support of the Cyrillian christology. Only two of these, Peter of Alexandria and Cyprian of Carthage, flourished before the mid-fourth century and in neither case is the fact given any prominence. Betw een

t w o u n iv e r s e s :

C l a s s ic is m

a n d c a t h o l ic it y

I do not wish to exaggerate the "novelty" of the Tractatus Peregrini. The eponymous relator claims the sanction of ecclesiastical tradition for all his pronouncements, and modem research into the work's sources and analogues largely bears him o u t The Vincentian emphasis on provinciality as a heuristic for catholicity is clearly prefigured in the works of his older Latin-writing contemporaries, Augustine and Cassian chief among them. But neither of these authors scrutinizes the concept of doctrinal ubiquity as minutely as he does. Nor do they derive from it any special rationale for their own activity as Christian readers-and-writers. Herein, I suggest, lie both the uniqueness and (in a non-derogatory sense) the ultimate provincialism of Vincent's position. At a time when monastic writers in Southern Gaul, particularly those associated with Lerins, were beginning to claim the privilege of their physical and geographical separateness for other kinds of religious endeavour, Vincent saw an opportunity to adapt the new spiritual topography of the Gallic church to the demands of Latin dogmatic writing in the post-Theodosian, post-Augustinian age. A final comparison of his case with those of two other Gallo-Roman writers of the period will help to indicate the historical significance of his initiative. A decade and a half before Vincent began to study the acta of the Council of Ephesus, the Gallic senator and poet Rutilius Namatianus returned reluctandy from Rome, where he had been Prefect of the City, to an Aquitaine devastated by the recent passage of barbarian armies. The poem which he wrote on the occasion survives, like the Commonitorium, truncated (though in this case there is less reason to doubt that it was once complete). In form as well as content the De reditu suo is an eloquent expression of the myth and reality of Rome as cultural metropolis and of the "classical" literary system of which it had once been the natural centre. Urbem fecisti, quod prius orbis erat, the poet announces in his elegiac tribute to the goddess Roma, confidendy predicting the renewal of Roman imperial glories.81 Even if, as some modem critics have suggested, a lost third book of the poem opened with a laus Galliae to match the eulogies of Rome and Italy in the first two, there can be no possibility that Rutilius was 81 Red. (ed. J. Vessereau -F. Prechac, Paris *1961) 1,66. On Rutilius' optimism see J.F. Matthews, Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court A.D. 364-425, Oxford 1975, 325-28.


attempting to provincialize the essentially urban economy of Roman letters. He himself may have returned to Gaul but the "return" - in literary value - on his poem was still due to Rome as the initial source and final depository of all cultural capital. To opt out of this classical literary system would be as unthinkable to Rutilius as to give up his Roman citizenship, an act deserving the scorn he heaps on those voluntary outcasts, the monks of the islands of Capraria and Gorgona.82 Whatever the writer's actual religious position may have been, his poem is polemically anti-Christian in its classicism and leaves no room for any literary-religious profession that is not traditionally Rome-centred.“ It was of course possible to mount a distinctively Christian literary enterprise, even one that was ascetically motivated, without contending direcdy with the Roman ideology of imperialism and the imperial classic. Cassian's works are an example of such silent neutrality. More remarkable, perhaps, is the combination of world-renouncing asceticism and overt political conservatism which can be detected in the writings of Eucherius of Lyon. Even in the De contemptu mundi, a work designed to persuade its reader to give up secular ambitions for a monastic retreat, Eucherius is able to reproduce the Constantinian-Theodosian Reichstheologie in its strongest form, adding a thrust against those (in his own immediate circle?) who took a less optimistic or more indifferent view of the relations between church and empire.84 As he marks out an ideal space for the 82 Red. 1,439-52; 515-26. Note especially his evocation o f a recent aristocratic convert: "Perditus hie uiuo funere du« erat. / Noster enim nuper iuuenis maioribus amplis, / Nec censu inferior coniugioue minor, / Impulsus furiis homi­ nes terrasque reliquit, / Et turpem latebram credulus exul agit" (518-22). “ Paschoud, Rama aetema 156, following U. Knoche, speaks o f "un paganisme traditionel d'essence culturelle, littéraire, qui lui sert plus à affirmer une situation sociale qu'une foi religieuse." 84 Cont. (PL 50, 721C-722A): "Et ut ad ista descendam, illa aliquando externa omnia, id est nationes et regna, putasne ob aliud in ditionem ac ius cessisse Romanum, et ob aliud magnam partem generis humani in unum transisse populum, nisi ut facilius tamquam medicamentum per corpus unum ita per unam gentem fìdes infusa penetraret et ut capiti ingesta uelociter se per membra diffundieret 1... Inde est quod nunc terra a solis ortu et occasu, ab aquilone et mari, Christum resonat, quod ad uitam omnia mundi latera concurrunt, dum fidem Thrax, fidem Libys, fidem Syrus, fidem receptat Hispanus. Magnum ergo ex hoc diuinae pietatis argumentum est, quod sub Caesare Octauio, cum utique Romana possessio uerticem tenuit, tunc se Deus terris dedit. Itaque ut tua apud te proferam, cum ab ortu regni huius centesimus et octogesimus quintus fere supra millesimum uertatur annus [= 430 A.D.]; quidquid uel sub illa dominatione regum uetusta uel sub illa deinde gemina administratione consulum Romano accessit imperio, omnia Christi aduentui praeparata et diffundendae fidei prouisa potest, si quis idoneus est

IX P e r e g r in u s A g a in s t t h e h e r e t i c s


Christian intellectual at the physical edge of the Roman world, a space which in another of his writings takes the shape of the "desert" island of Lerins, this monastic confrere of Vincent's also puts securely in place the ideological bridge across which he and other Lerinese monks would eventually "return", as bishops, to the business of late Roman civil administration. Not all the monks of Lerins went on to bishoprics, however. Many presumably never imagined that they would. Vincent seems to have ended his days as presbyter... apud monasterium Lerinensis insulae. Is it possible to credit him with a more radically ascetic, less accommodating attitude to the Roman Empire than can be found in the writings of some of his Lerinese brethren? The answer is probably no. Whereas Rutilius dates his return to Gaul ab urbe condita 85 and Eucherius uses the same terminus to provide a dramatic date for the monastic secessus urged in his De contemptu mundi, Vincent anchors his Commonitorium to the Council of Ephesus, said to have been transacted nearly three years earlier uiris clarissimis Basso Antiochoque consulibus (29,7). If the double dating by consular and conciliar year suggests that he has a more ecclesiastical idea of time than either of the other two writers, it also confirms that the imperial scheme remained unshakeable for him.86 The apocalypticism of his prefatory consideratio temporis (1,2) is very attentuated. Other references to empire and emperors in the treatise reinforce the impression of political conservatism.87 We may conclude that Vincent was no more able or inclined to think "outside the imperial dimension" than the majority of his Gallo-Roman contemporaries.88 And yet within the narrow confines of his Commonitorium he is able to envisage a textual universe and a literary-dogmatic practice which are substantially independent of the political structures of the Roman Empire. Although the word prouincia, as he uses it, can still be taken to refer to an administrative unit of the empire, it no longer seems to carry any political weight. Instead it functions as a sign of geographical difference, as do such other terms as ciuitas, urbs, regnum, populus and natio. assertor, ostendere." Pricoco, Isola 203 reads "si quis est idoneus anelar" and detects "[un] sapore polemico" in this final phrase. I rely on Pricoco's discussion o f Eucherius' work in the chapter o f his book entitled "L'ideologia", esp. 192-204. 85 Red. 1,135-36. On the date and related questions, including Rutilius' knowledge o f Augustine's De ciuitate Dei, see A. Cameron in Journal of Roman Studies 57 (1967), 31-39. 86 Compare Prosper's juxtaposition o f consular and regnal dates with decades of the Passion era: Muhlberger, Fifth Century Chroniclers 64. 87 Pricoco, Isola 190-91 ("Anche Vincenzo, come altri dei suoi contemporanei, identifica l'impero di Roma con il mondo"). 88 Cf. Fifth-century Gaul (cited above, n.43) 183.


Vincent's world is still bounded by the limits of Rome's empire, but for the purposes of "de-fining" Catholic doctrine what concerns him most is the separation and distribution of textual witnesses, in space as well as time. Whereas for the homecoming senator Rutilius Namatianus "provinciality" meant removal from the Eternal City, for the credulus exul Vincent it is a measure of distance between two points, neither of which necessarily coincides with Rome. We could say that he conceived a universe - a Christian doctrinal universe - without a centre.89 But then we should also have to say 'that he conceived a literary system in which every m odem writer is a voluntary exile. I spoke earlier of the willed topicality of the Commonitorium,90 but it would be more accurate to speak of its willed a-topicality. For the "place" which the author/reporter chooses for himself is really no place at all; it is a fictional locus outside the world of theological discourse in which all doctores or tractatores have proper names, dates and places. Only by presenting himself as an alien to this world, a peregrinus without fixed address, does the aspiring dogmatist obtain the freedom to collate texts in full knowledge of their provenance but without incurring suspicion of his own provincial attachm ent Needless to say, no author can survive long in this limbo of anonymity and expatriality. His very success as a collator entails his disappearance from the records of literary history. Vincent only survives because another writer with "local" knowledge, Gennadius of Marseille, was able within a generation to re-name him and re-place him among the writers of his province, the doctores Gallicani. *



To conclude: in approaching the viewpoint of the Traclatus Peregrini aduersus haereticos as uncommitted modem readers we find ourselves in an imaginary world which, though still Roman in many of its incidental properties, has ceased to be Roman in its fundamental conception. Instead of the old imperial universe comprising an urban capital and subject provinces, Vincent proposes a new ecclesial universe based on the verification of doctrinal identity across regional difference. At the same time, without engaging in polemic against a classical literary system which had already lost its credibility for most Roman literati, he proclaims the possibility of a Christian literary enterprise in which the homines huius temporis (Salvian) would seek to occupy the outermost edge, rather than the centre, of the textual-geographical space constituted by the lives and 89 Notwithstanding the respectful tone o f his references to the Roman see: e.g. comm. 6,5; 32-33. Cf. Madoz, Concepto 172-80. 90 Above 549.



writings of their most illustrious predecessors. In the phase of Latin literary history which stretches from the death of Augustine to the end of late antiquity (in the largest sense of the term),91 that enterprise would be carried forward by numberless literate Christians, most of whose names unlike those of Vincent and Gennadius - are inevitably lost to us. Its ideology of liminality and anonymity, and many of the corresponding textual practices, would survive the new literary classicisms associated with the ideas of renouatio and translatio from the Carolingian period onwards. They would outlast the political papacies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and the temporary recentring of Christian intellectual life on the City of Rome. They would even withstand the rough handling of an Oxford Professor of Poetry, and (if I am not mistaken) eventually influence the classicism of the most metropolitan of twentieth-century English poets. For are not T.S. Eliot's ideas of the poet's activity as "a continual extinction of personality" and of the literary tradition as "monuments form[ing] an ideal order among themselves"9* a distant tribute to the insular poetics of monks like Vincent of Lerins? There are other places Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws, Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city But this is the nearest, in place and time, Now and ¿n England. ("Little Gidding”)

91 Cf. Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike, Bd. 5: Restauration und Erneuerung 284-374 n. Chr., hrsg. von Reinhart Herzog, Munich 1989, 1-2, for a definition o f Latin literature o f the period 284-735 A.D. as "die erste nachrömische Literatur Europas”. 98 See Eliot's Tradition and the Individual Talent (1919).


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana: a new look at the evidence

I. Introduction The Theodosian Code was meant to replace all other collections of ‘general laws’ from the period which it covered, and largely succeeded in doing so. Historians might wish that its success had been less complete. We should like to know what materials were available to the compilers of the Code, what they did with them, and how faithfully they carried out the emperor’s instructions. The survival of a substantial body of fourth- and early fifth-century imperial legislation transmitted independently of the Code would have enabled us to answer these questions. But because the actual and potential sources for the composition of the Code were also the immediate victims of its imposition we are, for the most part, left to infer the process from its product. This unfavourable state of affairs is not without significant parallel in other areas of late antique literature. The literary historian of this period is constantly confronted with the results of a number of more or less successful attempts to canonise one text or version of a text at the expense of others. We have only to think of the honour given to Virgil in Macrobius’ S a tu rn a lia or the privilege accorded certain ‘approved’ writers in the C om m onitorium of Vincent of Lérins (both works closely contemporary with the Theodosian Code) to be reminded that the early fifth century was a time of critical importance in the formation of more than one kind of literary canon. Yet the grammarians and the authors of Christian orthodoxy seem, if anything, to have been more sparing of the extra-canonical than Theodosius and his legal commissioners, at least to judge from the quantities of classical and patristic ‘apocrypha’ that were allowed to slip through their nets, compared with which the body of leges extra collectionem that we are able to set beside the Theodosian Code is small indeed. Within this category of extravagantes, a special place is held by the group of imperial constitutions first published in 1631 by the Jesuit scholar Jacques Sirmond under the suggestive, if potentially


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


misleading, title of A ppendix Codicis Theodosiani.1 The ‘Sirmondian Constitutions’, as they are usually called, are a series of sixteen (or properly eighteen) laws issued between AD 333 and 425, dealing mainly with ecclesiastical issues. As an ensemble, they have three obvious claims to consideration by students of the Theodosian Code. They include matter which, not being reproduced in the Code, may be the kind of thing that Theodosius’ commissioners either missed or purposely disregarded.2 They contain laws that are reproduced in the Code in an abbreviated form or according to different original copies, and so shed light on the editorial practice of the Code’s compilers and the nature of their sources.3 Finally, their existence as a collection may be the result of a private initiative in legal codification as early as, or even earlier than, the making of the Code itself. In other words, the Sirmondian Constitutions may be seen (1) as a supplem ent to the Code, (2) as a control on the Code, and (3) as a minor analogue of the Code. While all these aspects of the Sirmondians have been recognised by students of the Theodosian, the third could bear more attention than it has yet received. I f the Sirmondian Constitutions represent a late antique legal collection, as is commonly supposed, they raise a number of questions similar to those which we are accustomed to ask of the Theodosian Code itself. What kind of a collection was it? When, where, and how did it take shape? What purpose was it meant to serve? How much of the original collection has survived? Of course it is one thing to ask such questions of a text as well presented and attested as the Theodosian Code, quite another to ask them of an anonymous untitled compilation containing no identifiable editorial matter and transmitted ‘entire’ (if that is the right word) in only two manuscripts, one of which was copied from the other. Given the intrinsic difficulty of the problem posed by the origins of the Collectio Sirm ondiana, we might expect to find an interesting diversity of modem solutions to it. In fact we find an alm ost perfect consensus. The handbooks tell us that the collection was formed between 425 (the date of its latest law) and 438 (the date of the Theodosian Code) in Gaul or North Africa.4 The unanimity of their 1 Appendix Codicis Theodosiani novis constitutionibus cumulation Cum epistolis aliquot veterum conciliorum et pontificum Romanorum nunc primum edit is. Opera et studio Iacobi Sirmondi presbytero Societatis Iesu (Paris 1631). 2 Const. Sirm. 1 ,3 ,5 ,7 ,8 and 13. 3 Const. Sirm. 2, 4, 6, 9, 10-12, 14-16. The parallels with CTh are signalled ad loc. in Mommsen's edition (cited n. 5 below). Note that Const. Sirm. 17-18 in Sirmond’s Appendix are excerpted from CTh: see n. 11 below. 4 Thus, inter alios, P. Krüger, Geschichte der Quellen und Literatur des römischen Rechts (2nd ed., Munich and Leipzig, 1912), 333-4; L. Wenger, Die Quellen des Römischen Rechts (Vienna 1953), 542; H.F. Jolowicz and B. Nicholas, Historical Introduction to the Study of Roman Law (3rd ed. Cambridge, 1972), 465; J. Gaudemet, Institutions de VAntiquité (2nd ed. Paris 1982), 739 n.3, summarising the author’s detailed presentation of the Sirmondians in the Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique 1

X 180 notices is due to their being derived from a common source: the prolegemona to Mommsen’s 1905 edition of the Sirmondian Consti­ tutions, published as a complement to his edition of the Code.5 Now Mommsen’s opinion, like Papinian’s (CTh 1.4.3), m ust be allowed to carry a certain weight in such matters. But in this case he is scarcely an independent witness. In most major respects his preface resumes the findings of his countryman Gustav Haenel, which had first appeared in print in 1840.6 Conceived partly as a rejoinder to Godefroy’s denial of the authenticity of the first three constitutions, Haenel’s essay remains to this day the only extended treatment of the transmission and prove­ nance of the Collectio Sirm ondiana. One hundred and fifty years later, it is perhaps not too soon to reopen the discussion. *

Broadly speaking, we may distinguish three kinds of evidence for the origins of the Sirmondian collection: the external evidence of manu­ scripts and attestations, the internal evidence of the contents and their arrangement, and the circum stantial evidence of relevant compilatory activity in places and periods in which such a collection might have been put together. Any satisfactory solution to the problem will presumably depend upon the tracing of these three lines of evidence to a point of convergence. Following Haenel’s example, I have chosen to begin with the external evidence. For practical reasons, I base my observations mainly on the published findings of other scholars; insofar as their work appeared after 1905, or too late to influence Mommsen, it may conduce to a view of the Collectio Sirm ondiana significantly different from the current com m unis opinio. Needless to say, I have no wish to preempt further study of the manuscript tradition of the collection and the various texts associated with it. Such study may, in due course, provide data to replace the guesswork to which I have at times resorted. Nevertheless, without undertaking any new palaeographical or codicological research, I hope to be able indicate the limits within which a set of answers to the questions posed above can reasonably be sought.

(1962), cols. 1229-30, s.v. Théodosien (Code). Compléments. For a different view, long since out of favour, see L. Duchesne, Fastes épiscopaux de l’ancienne Gaule I (2nd ed. Paris 1907), 147, with P. Fournier and G. Le Bras, Histoire des collections canoniques en Occident I (Paris 1931), 28. 5 T. Mommsen and P.M. Meyer, Theodosiani libri XVI cum constitutionibus Sirmondianis et leges novellae ad Theodosianam pertinentes (1905), i, cccxxviii-ccclxxz. The constitutions follow at 907-21. 6 G. Haenel, De constitutionibus quas Iacobus Sirmondus Parisiis a. 1631 edidit dissertatio (Leipzig, 1840), substantially reproduced in his Novellae constitutions imperatorum Theodosii II, Valentiniani III, Maximi, Maioriani, Severi, Anthemii. XVIII constitutiones, quas Iacobus Sirmondus divulgavit (Bonn, 1844), cols. 409-39.

X The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


II. E xternal evidence First we must determine the extent of our ‘collection’. That is, we must decide whether we are dealing with a single collection of legal texts or w ith two (or more) separate, contiguous or overlapping series. Haenel divided the manuscripts of the Sirmondians into three classes according to their contents.7 His first class consisted of manuscripts containing Const. 1-18, the second of those containing Const. 1-7 or odd item s from within that series, the third of those containing Const. 1-3 only. Since it is now known that one of the two manuscripts in his third class was copied on the other, and as we may suspect that the earlier of those manuscripts represents a truncated variant of his second class, I shall limit my discussion to the first two classes.8 These I shall distinguish as (1) manuscripts representing a long recension of the Collectio Sirm ondiana and (2) manuscripts representing a short recension of the collection. M anuscripts representing the long recension Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek lat. 83 (Phillipps 1745) + Leningrad, Saltykov Schedrin Public Library F.v.II.3 [= Mommsen’s Z] Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 1452 Sirmond’8 A ppendix or im peratoriarum aliquot legum collectio consists of 21 laws, the last three of which, he states, were derived from sources other than those that supplied the first eighteen.9 These three laws are of considerable interest, since two of them (dated 417 and 430) are not in the Theodosian Code while the third, though in the Code, appears to have been transmitted separately from it.10 However, the history of their transmission does not directly concern us here and I shall have no more to say about them. For the present purpose, the Collectio S irm o n d ia n a in its long recension consists of the first eighteen constitutions printed by Sirmond. His sources for these were a Lyons canon-law manuscript (now divided between Leningrad and Berlin) and its apograph, a Codex A n itien sis (i.e. from Le Puy, now in Paris). These manuscripts present the constitutions in a single sequence numbered I-XVIII. C onst. 17 and 18 are both introduced as de Teodosiano sub titulo X X V II, de episcopali definitione, or as taken from the twenty-seventh section of Book 1 of the Theodosian Code, where 7 Novellae constitutiones, cols. 41 If. 8 The MSS in question are Ivrea, Biblioteca Capitolare 35 and its apograph, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 4406 (Mommsen’s E and ’E). See also n. 13 below. 9 Appendix Codicis Theodosiani, 56. 10 Haenel, Novellae constitutiones, cols. 475-6 (note g); Gaudemet in Diet, de Droit Canonique 7, col. 1229.

X 182 indeed they may be found.11 This is usually assumed to imply that they were added as an afterthought to a collection assembled without reference to the Theodosian. Mommsen prints only Const. 1-16 in his edition of the Sirmondians and modern scholars are at one in regarding that as the primitive form of the collection. Plausible as the reconstruction may appear, it is based on a circular argument. Only if we know when and how such a ‘primitive’ collection was formed can we say for certain what could or could not have belonged to it. Granted, if Sirmond’s collection was in existence before 438 it could not then have contained items de Teodosiano. Yet we have as yet no evidence that it was in existence by that date. Const. 1-18 all appear in the same hand in the Lyons manuscript, which is not likely to have been written much before 700.12 Study of the codicological context may enable us to push back the term inus ante quem for this state of the collection by a few decades, but it will hardly take us into the fifth century. I shall come to the codicological evidence in a moment. First it will be convenient to glance briefly at the manuscripts of the shorter recension of the Collectio Sirm ondiana. P rincipal m anuscripts representing the short recension13 Ivrea, Biblioteca Capitolare 35 [E] Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek lat. 82 (Phillipps 1741) + Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica reg. lat. 1283 [Y] Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 12445 [D] Oxford, Bodleian Library Selden B.16 [O] These manuscripts all present Const. 1-7 as complements to Book 16 of the Theodosian Code in the form transmitted by the Breviary of Alaric.14 Interestingly enough, no manuscript of the Breviary is known to contain any of Const. 8-16. Owing to the relatively late date (ninth century onwards) of EYDO and associated manuscripts, the significance of their contents for the textual history of the Sirmondian collection(s) is unclear. If we could assume that the archetype of such manuscripts belonged to a first generation of expanded forms of the Breviary, we should have a strong reason for postulating the existence of the short recension of the Sirmondians as early as the beginning of the sixth century. A question would then arise as to the relation 11 Const. Sirm. 17-18 - CTh 1.27.1-2. The text of the Berlin MS breaks off before the end of Const. Sirm . 18; since a final leaf is missing it is possible that the collection originally contained an additional law, albeit a relatively short one. 12 See below. 13 Described in detail by Mommsen, 'Prolegomena in Theodosianum’, viff. 14 Ibid., lxxxii-xcii.


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


betw een this short recension and the longer recension attested by the Lyons manuscript. A p riori, there would seem to be only two possibilities: either the long recension grew out of the shorter, or the short recension is a truncated form of the longer. Since the ‘break’ between the short and long forms occurs between Const. 7 and 8, both of which refer to the release of petty criminals at Easter, we should have to suppose either that the continuator of the short recension began his work with a law on the same topic as the one which he found at the end of the existing collection, or that the two parts of the original long recension were accidentally separated at that point. Neither alternative seems to me inherently more probable than the other and I therefore submit that the evidence of the Breviary manuscripts containing Sirmondian constitutions does not - as presently understood - help us determine which of the two recensions, long or short, is the earlier. Having registered this negative point, we may return to our primary source for the long recension of the Collectio Sirm ondiana-. the Lyons canon-law manuscript. The Codex L ugdunensis from Sirm ond to the present day In the preface to his A ppendix Codicis Theodosiani, Sirmond informs us that he had first transcribed the ‘new’ constitutions from a Lyons manuscript (Codex L ugdunensis ecclesiae), then collated his transcrip­ tion against a manuscript of Le Puy (A nitiensis alter). He further specifies that neither of these manuscripts contained the Theodosian Code itself (i.e. neither contained an interpolated text of the Breviary of Alaric). Both, instead, were canon-law manuscripts containing, among other material, the acts of African and Gallic councils: non Theodosianas leges, sed synodos p a rtim A fricanas, p a rtim G allicanas continebant.15 It is evident that the two manuscripts in question were those to which Sirmond frequently refers in the apparatus to his edition of the Gallic councils, published in 1629, and whose general agreement he there observes.16 The Le Puy manuscript, as already mentioned, was copied on the one from Lyons; though useful to editors as a source of readings for parts of the text now illegible in, or missing from, the Lyons manuscript, it is of no independent value for a study of its contents. We may therefore confine ourselves to the Lyons manuscript. In Sirmond’s preface to the Concilia A ntiqua G alliae, this manuscript is described more precisely as having belonged to the the chapter library of Lyons cathedral (L ugdunensis ... Ecclesiae 16Appendix Codicis Theodosiani, sig. a 2 \ 16 Concilia antiqua Galliae ... cum epistolis pontificum, principum constitutionibus, et edits Gallicanae rei ecclesiasticae monumentis, 3 vols. (Paris 1629).

X 184 M etropolitanae codice) and as containing the Collectio D ionysiana (i.e. one of the canon-law collections compiled by Dionysius Exigu us) followed by the acts of nineteen Gallic councils from Arles I (314) through Mâcon I (581/3).17 Thanks to work done by C.H. Turner at the beginning of this century it is now possible to trace an almost complete history of the Codex L ugdunensis from the moment it entered Jacques Sirmond’s hands to its current resting-places in Leningrad and Berlin. That history is chiefly important as confirmation that the portion of the manuscript now in Berlin is our sole independent witness to the long recension of the Collectio Sirm ondiana. It also shows how the fortunes of a manuscript even in recent tim es can affect - and occasionally reflect - the course of historical scholarship. Some time after Sirmond had used it, the Lyons manuscript made its way into the library of the Jesuit Collège de Clermont in Paris. How it got there is not known, though we may surmise with Turner ‘that Sirmond, in his wanderings round France, found the monks or canons more willing to lend him the manuscripts he pressed them for than to take the trouble to ask for them back’.18 In any case, a large number of other manuscripts used by the great editor also ended up at the Collège de Clermont (where Sirmond lived from 1608 until his death in 1651). By the time the Jesuit house was suppressed and its library put up for sale in 1764, the Codex L ugdunensis had apparently been divided into three parts.19 The first and second parts, numbered 563 and 564 in the Clermont catalogue, subsequently fell into the hands of the Russian bibliophile Peter Dubrovsky who, as secretary to the Russian ambassador in Paris at the time of the French Revolution, managed to obtain a considerable quantity of manuscripts belonging to the Benedictine Abbey of St Germain des Prés, which he later gave to the Imperial Library in St Petersburg. (It is possible, therefore, that Clermont 563-564 had gone to St Germain des Prés in 1764.) 17 Ibid., sig. e3r: ‘In Lugdunensi... Ecclesiae Metropolitanae codice, post Dionysianam collectionem, quem primo habet loco, Synodi Gallicanae subiiciuntur XVIII, Arelatensis I, Valentina, Regensis, Arausicana I, Vasensis I, Arelatensis II, Agathensis, Aurelianensis I, Epaonensis, Arelatensis sub Caesario, Carpentoratensia, Arausicana II, Arvemensis, Aurelianensis III, Aurelianensis V, Arelatensis sub Ravennio, Vasensis II, Arelatensis sub Sapaudo, & alia manu post adiecta Matisconensis 1/ 18 C.H. Turner, ‘Chapters in the History of Latin MSS.’, JTS 1 (1900), 435-41 at 436. For information on the life and scholarly career of J. Sirmond (1559-1651) one may begin with the Oratio in obitum Iacobi Sirmondi S.I. by Henri de Valois (Valesius), published separately in 1651 and later prefixed to Sirmond’s Opera varia, 5 vols. (Paris 1696; repr. Venice 1728). There is a bibliography of his works in C. Sommervogel, S.J., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus VII (Brussels and Paris, 1896), cols. 1237-61. The fullest modem notice is by P. Galtier, S.J., in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, 14.2 (1941), cols. 2186-93. 19 The sale of the College’s library was advertised in a Catalogue des livres de la Bibliothèque des ci-devant soi-disant Jésuites du Collège de Clermont, dont la vente commencera le 19 mars, etc. (Paris 1764). A ‘Catalogue des manuscrits’ was to have been issued separately; I have not been able to ascertain whether it appeared.


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


Meanwhile, the third part of the Lyons manuscript (Clermont 569), containing among other things the text of the Collectio Sirm ondiana, w as sold in 1764 to the Dutch collector Gerard Meerman, in whose library it bore the number 578.20 When the Bibliotheca Meermanniana w ent to sale in 1824, the English bidders at the auction included Dr Thomas Gaisford, Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford and later Dean of Christ Church, acting for the Bodleian Library, and Sir Thomas Phillipps, a wealthy private collector whose library at Middlehill in Worcestershire (transferred in 1863 to Thirlestaine House, near Cheltenham) was for many years one of the most important repositories of Greek and Latin manuscripts anywhere in the world.21 Gaisford acquired 58 volumes for the Bodleian, including the oldest surviving copy of Jerome’s C hronicle.22 Canon-law manuscripts were evidently not high on his shopping-list (a Greek manuscript numbered 20594 in Madan’s catalogue and said by him to contain ‘Canons, etc.’ appears to have been the only purchase of this kind). Sir Thomas Phillipps, we are told, was unwilling to bid against the Bodleian’s representative. It may therefore be assumed that the latter showed no interest in the many canon-law manuscripts, including a portion of Sirmond’s Codex L ugdunensis (Clermont 569 * Meerman 578 = Phillipps 1745), that passed at that moment into the Middlehill collection. While it was in England, Sirmond’s manuscript was inspected by Gustav Haenel, who gave a full description of it in the prolegomena to “ See the entry in the sale-catalogue of the Meerman Library, Bibliotheca Meermanniana; sine catalogue librorum et codicum manuscriptorum, quos maximam partem collegerunt viri nobilissimi Gerardus et Joannes Meerman ... Quorum publica fiet auctio die VIII sqq. Junii, anni MDCCCXXIV Hagae Comitum in aedibus defuncti, Tomus IV: Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum, no. 578: ‘Collectio canonum Galliae. Notitia provinciarum et urbium Gallicanarum. - Encyclica Leonis Papae adversus Hilarium, Arelatensem Episcopum. - Rescripts varia Imper. Constantini, Valentiniani, Theodosii et Honorii [i.e. the Sirmondian Constitutions]. In membr., saec. VIII. fol. 116., character« rustico majori, forma quadratus, initio mutilus, summis foliorum valde exesis ...’ In the Bodleian Library’s copy of the catalogue (Mus. Bibl. III. 8°. 108) this item and others bought by Phillipps are marked with a handwritten ‘P . A marginal note on p. 1: ‘P - bought by Sir Thomas Phillipps’ is in C.H. Turner’s hand, though the ‘P notations are not his. 21 On Sir Thomas Phillipps see the anonymous article in the Dictionary of National Biography, 15 (1909), 1078-8 (first published as vol. 45 [1896], 192-5), and S. de Ricci, English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts (1530-1930) and Their Marks of Ownership (Sandars Lectures, 1929-30; Cambridge 1930), 119-30. The history of his library has been copiously documented by A.N.L. Munby in his Phillipps Studies, 5 vols. (1951-60) and summarised by N. Barker in Portrait of an Obsession, the Life of Sir T. Phillipps the World’s Greatest Book Collector (London 1967). The circumstances of the Meerman sale are recounted in Phillipps Studies I, 19 (Phillipps’ preface to his own catalogue of 1828) and III, 25-8. 22 F. Madan, A Summary Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford IV (Oiford 1897), 433-42. The sixth-century Jerome MS, now Bodleian Library Auct T. 2. 26, was described by Mommsen in Hermes 24 (1889), 393-401.

X 186 his edition of the Constitutions, and by Georg Pertz, who in the summer of 1844 spent a fortnight at Middlehill making a list of manuscripts relevant to the programme of the recently launched M onum enta G erm aniae H is to r ic a l In 1887, following the death of Sir Thomas Phillipps, the Sirmondian manuscript was one of a large number of former Meerman (i.e. ultimately Clermont) manuscripts bought en bloc by the Royal Library in Berlin, where they would henceforth be at the disposal of Theodor Mommsen and other scholars working on the M G H.24 A full descriptive catalogue of the Meerman manuscripts in Berlin was published in 1892.20 Among the first to use the new Berlin, Königliche Bibliothek lat. 83 (formerly Phillipps 1745) was Friedrich Maassen, whose long-awaited edition of the Merovingian church councils for the M G H finally appeared in 1893.26 A little less than three decades earlier, Maassen had been told by informed persons in Oxford that he would not be allowed access to Sir Thomas Phillipps’ library, and had therefore relied on Haenel’s account of Phillipps 1745 for the description which he gave of it in his catalogue of Latin 23 G. Haenel, Catalogi Librorum manuscriptorum qui in bibliothecia GoLliae, Helvetiae, Belgii, Britanniae M., Hispaniae, Lusitaniae asservantur (Leipzig 1830), cols. 803-96, covering Phillipps 1-2986, largely copied from Sir Thomas Phillipps' own published catalogue; Novellae constitutions, cols. 413-16, on Phillipps 1745. G.H. Pertz, ‘Reise nach London und Middlehill, Juli bis September 1844’, Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde 9 (1847), 486-504 at 499. Munby, Phillipps Studies III, 40-1. Letters from both men to Phillipps are quoted by Barker, Portrait (cited n. 21 above; see under their names in the index). 24 Munby, Phillipps Studies V, 22-6 provides details of the sale. The possibility that the Prussian government might acquire the Phillipps-Meerman MSS was apparently first raised by Mommsen himself after a visit to Thirlestaine House in 1885. A letter from Sir Edward Maunde Thompson recommending him to the administrator of the library casts interesting light on the German scholar’s contemporary reputation: ‘Professor Mommsen who is here in London tells me that he is to go down to Cheltenham. I shall be very much obliged to you if you will do everything you can for him. You will find him a very pleasant man - and he speaks English very well. He is one of the most tremendous swells that they have in Germany - and at his name every German student shakes in his thick boots and knocks his shock head on the pavement in adoration. I believe he has never been known to make a mistake in his life, and he has the power of dictating ten books at a time to as many scribes. But as you are an Englishman you need not tremble [!] - only be kind to him’ (.Phillipps Studies V, 19-20). The autograph of this letter is in the Bodleian Library. 26 Verzeichniss der von der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin erworbenen MeermanHandschriften des Sir Thomas Phillipps (1892), including V. Rose, Die lateinischen Meerman-Handschriften des Sir Thomas Phillipps in der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, republished as Bd. 1 of Rose’s Die Handschriften-Verzeichnisse der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin 1893; same pagination). The description of Phillipps 1746 (no. 83 in the new catalogue) is at 167-71. For details of Phillipps MSS subsequently acquired by the Royal Library see E. Jacobs, ‘Die von der königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin aus der Sammlung Phillipps erworbenen Handschriften’, Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen 28 (1911), 23-9. 26 F. Maassen, Concilia aevi Merovingici, MGH Leges III, Concilia, I (Hannover 1893), with a brief description of Phillipps 1745 at XIII.


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


canon-law manuscripts.27 Contrary to Haenel, Maas sen correctly identified the Phillipps manuscript as Sirmond’s Codex Lugdunensis m inus the first 22 quires. However, he had no idea where to look for the m issing portion. The reconstruction of the Codex Lugdunensis as a whole only become possible in 1879 when another collaborator on the M G H , Karl Gillert, published an inventory of Latin manuscripts in the Imperial Library of St. Petersburg. His list included the former Clermont 563-564, since reunited as Petersburg F.v.II.3.28 Even then, the connection between the two halves of the original codex would only have been apparent to an exceptionally sharp-sighted connoisseur of canonical manuscripts. Such a man was Cuthbert Hamilton Turner of Magdalen College, Oxford, who in 1890 had embarked on an ambitious project to edit the earliest Latin documents of canon law.29 Turner narrowly missed the opportunity to collate Phillipps 1745 while it was still in England.30 Even so, he was able to set Gillert’s description of the St. Petersburg manuscript against the description of its other half in the Berlin catalogue and reconstruct a unity corresponding to Sirmond’s Codex Lugdunensis. His article reporting the discovery appeared in the first volume of the Jo u rn a l o f Theological S tu d ies in 1900,31 too late for 27 ‘Bibliotheca Latina juria canonici manuscripta’, Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Wien, Phil.-Hist. CI. 56 (1867), 157-212 at 169-80; Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des canonischen Rechts im Abendlande bis zum Ausgange des Mittelalters I (Graz 1870), 775-7. 28 K. Gillert, ‘Lateinische Handschriften in St. Petersburg9, Neues Archiv 5 (1879), 597-617 at 616-17. On p. 617 the author writes: ‘wo der Codex [F. v. II. 3], bevor er in die Hände Dubrowsk/s gelangte, aufbewahrt worden sei, habe ich nicht feststellen können.* 29 This lifetime's labour issued in the two great volumes of Turner's Ecclesiae Occidentals Monumenta Iuris Antiquissima, published in parts between 1899 and 1939 (the final fascicle appearing posthumously). It is clear that Turner intended from the first to edit the Gallic councils of the fourth and fifth centuries, for which Sirmond’s Lyons codex would have been a capital source. Among other miscellaneous papers of his now at Pusey House, Oxford, is a copy (dated 22.9.92) of the following letter from Mommsen, apparently written in response to an inquiry by Turner: ‘Dear Sir, The synods included in our collection [i.e. the MGH] begin with Orléans 517, and include the 6th and 7th century: the previous of the 4th and 5th have been excluded, as also the statuta eccllesiae] antfiqua], They do not belong to the part under my direction, and I cannot approve the decision; but it has been taken by our council, and so you are at liberty regarding the earlier Gallic councils. Yours truly, Mommsen/ In the event, Turner was only able to publish the acts of the councils of Arles I and II and of Vaison, and the Statuta ecclesiae antiqua. There is a notice on C.H. Turner by H.N. Bate in the Dictionary of National Biography, 1922-1930 (Oxford 1937), 861-4, based on a longer memoir prefixed to Turner's posthumously collected papers, Catholic and Apostolic (London and Oxford, 1931). 30 Ecclesiae Occidentales Monumenta Iuris Antiquissima, Il.i: Concilia Ancyritanum et Neocaesariense (Oxford, 1907), praef., vii: ‘Codicem [sc. Berlin, Phillipps lat. 83] ipse non vidi, quippe qui iter longinquum Berolinense suscipere non valuerim (non enim cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum) neque ut in Angliam per spatium temporis exiguum commodaretur impetrari potuit. Utinam adhuc apud nos constitutum contulissem!’ Turner had the relevant parts of the MS collated for him by a member of Magdalen College and by his friend Alexander Souter. 31 Cited n. 18 above.

X 188 Mommsen to take account of it in his edition of the Theodosian Code. It was followed three years later by another containing a detailed study of the St Petersburg part of the manuscript, which Turner had arranged to consult on loan in the Bodleian.32 After Dr Gaisford’s failure to raise an eyebrow at the Meerman sale of 1824, this was the closest Oxford ever came to housing Sirmond’s Lyons codex. The Codex L ugdunensis: contents a n d successive states The Codex L ugdunensis originally contained 306 folios made up 38 quaternions and a single bifolium.33 The first and last folios having been lost, those that remain are now numbered 1 through 185 in the Leningrad part and 1 through 119 in the Berlin part. The manuscript begins with the preface of Dionysius Exiguus to the second edition of his collection of canons, followed by capitula or summary lists of contents for the councils in the Dionysian collection, the Council of Ancyra, and twelve Gallic councils of the fourth, fifth, and early sixth centuries. Next comes the full text of the councils, in the order given by the capitula down to the Council of Epaon (517). Thereafter the relation between capitula and text becomes somewhat confused. It is clear that the collection announced in the initial summary of contents was progressively augmented with new matter. There are acts from an further seven Gallic councils, together with a variety of other ecclesiastical texts. The Collectio Sirm ondiana is the final item among these additions. How did it get there? Unless its inclusion was a scribal accident, we must assume that someone judged this a fitting place for such material, and that the character - and perhaps even the origins of the collection may therefore be illuminated by its codicological context. Before we can understand that context, it is necessary to reconstruct the stages by which the ‘Lyons’ collection (as I shall call it) acquired the form presented by the Codex L ugdunensis. We shall look first at the main sequence of councils down to Arles V (554), then at the final supplements to the collection including the Sirmondian Constitutions.

33 ‘Chapters in the History of Latin MSS. III. The Lyons-Petersburg MS of Councils’, JTS 4 (1903), 426-34. 33 See the descriptions by Turner (article cited in previous note), Rose (cited n. 25 above) and, for the Leningrad portion of the MS, A Staerk, O.S.B., Les manuscrits latins du V* au XIII* siècle conservés dans la bibliothèque impériale de Saint-Pétersbourg I (St Petersburg 1910), 13-15.


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


1. The m ain conciliar sequence: G allic councils to A rles V (554) As already indicated, the full text of the councils in the Lyons codex follows the order given in the initial summary of contents as far as the Council of Epaon (517). The discrepancies between the capitula and the main text after that point may be seen from the following table: Table 1: C ontents o f th e C odex L u g d u n en sis

C apitula


XXII Epaon (517) XXIIII A rles‘secunda’* [Vaison II (529)]** [End of capitula]

XXIII Epaon (517) XXIIII Arles IV (524) XXV Carpentras (527) Capitula s. Augustini XXVI Orange II (529) Clermont (535) Orléans III (538) Orléans V (549)

* Capitula relate to Orange II (529) ** Number and title missing

At the end of the acts of the Fifth Council of Orléans (549) the copyist wrote EXPLICIT FELICITER AMEN (fo. 80), then continued with three more councils, namely: Arles III (449/461) Vaison II (529) Arles V (554), before concluding a second time with the prayer DEUS ADIUVA ME. Up to this point the task of copying seems to have been performed mainly by two scribes (with occasional assistance from a third and possibly a fourth). Scribe A wrote Leningrad fo. l-15v, 63v, 154-185v and Berlin fo. 187v (i.e. as far as the prayer DEUS ADIUVAME) in a predominantly uncial hand, while Scribe B wrote Leningrad fo. 16-63r and 64-153v in semi-uncial. Thus:

X 190 Table 2: Scribes of the Codex Lugdunensis

Leningrad F.v.II.3

Scribe A fo. l-15v

Scribe B fo. 16-63r

63v 64-153v 154-185v Berlin lat.83


[Fo. 88-119 unassigned; see below]

As Turner points out, irregularities in the quiring of the Leningrad portion of the manuscript suggest that, at least for some of the time, the two men worked simultaneously from detached parts of a single exemplar.34 Various explanations have been advanced for the inconsistencies between capitula and text, and for the disorderly arrangement of the councils between Arles IV (524) and Arles V (554). Despite the objections recently raised by Hubert Mordek,35 I see no reason to dissent from Turner’s view that the capitula represent a primitive collection to which additions were subsequently made. The collection in its first state would have contained: (1) The Dionysiana in its second edition. (2) The Council of Ancyra. (3) Twelve Gallic councils numbered XIII-XXV, in strict chronological order, beginning with Arles I (314) and going down to Vaison II (529), with Orange II (also 529) in next-to-last place. (On this view, the reading A relatensis secunda in the capitula [no. XXIIII] must be explained as an error resulting either from confusion of Ar[elaten8is] and A r[ausicana] or from the prominence of Caesarius of Arles at Orange II.) Such a collection could have been made in or shortly after 529. It had evidently not been in existence long before someone noticed that it lacked both Arles IV (524) and Carpentras 34 ‘Chapters in the History of Latin MSS. III.’, 427-8. 36 Kirchenrecht und Reform im Frankenreich. Die Collectio Vetus Gallica, die älteste systematische Kanonessammlung des fränkischen Galliens (Berlin 1975), 46 n. 34.


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


(527) and had these inserted in their proper place in the text, though without attempting to revise the capitula. The anti-Manichaean C apitula 8. A u g u stin i were presumably added at the same time.36 Exactly what happened to Vaison II at this juncture is hard to say, but as a natural complement to Orange II it would, both before and after the addition of new material, have been the last item in the corpus and so the one most likely to be lost through damage or accidental separation. If this reconstruction is substantially correct, the ‘Lyons’ collection in its second state would have contained a chronological series of Gallic councils numbered XIIII-XXVI (or XIIII-XXVII as long as the acts of Vaison II were still present). At least one, and probably as many as three, further supplements were added before the collection attained the form in which it appeared to the copyists of the present manuscript. First, three more councils - Clermont in the Auvergne (535), Orléans III (538) and Orléans V (549) - were added in correct chronological order but (apparently) without ordinal numbers. The terminal clause EXPLICIT FELICITER AMEN that occurs after Orléans V marks the end of the collection in its th ird state. The next set of additions - consisting of Arles III (449/461), Vaison II (529) and Arles V (554) - is rather a mixed bag. Only the last council, which provides a term inus post quern for the collection in its fourth sta te , is chronologically posterior to what comes before. The other two councils, including Vaison II (which, I have suggested, may have fallen out of the collection at an earlier stage) are manifestly gap-fillers. Either these items were already present in the exemplar of our Lyons manuscript, or they were added by the Lyons scribe from another source. Given the early date (554) of the last addition relative to the probable (late seventh-century) date of the Lyons manuscript itself (see below), the former alternative is the more likely. In this case, the ejaculatory DEUS ADIUVA ME that follows the acts of Arles V would derive, like the previous EXPLICIT FELICITER AMEN, from the exemplar, and we can conclude, with Turner, that the whole of the Leningrad and Berlin manuscript down to and including the Fifth Council of Arles ‘represents a collection made, or rather completed, soon after the middle of the sixth century’.37 The attempt to distinguish successive stages in the development of the canonical collection contained in the first 273 folios of the original 36 See E. Dekkers, O.S.B. and A. Gaar (éd.), Clav is Patrum Latinorum (2nd ed., Steenbrugge, 1961), no. 534: 'Prosperi’ anathematiamata seu capitula 8. Augustini, ‘Anno 526, vel 515’. Text in J.P. Migne (éd.), PL LXV, cols. 23-6, repr. from Sirmond’s Concilia Antiqua Galliae. 37 ‘Chapters in the History of Latin MSS. III.’, 434. See also J. Gaudemet, Les sources du droit de l’Eglise en Occident (Paris 1985), 143.

X 192 Codex L ugdunensis (i.e. Leningrad, fo. [0]-185 + Berlin, fo. 1-87) is a necessary preliminary to study of its remaining contents, which include the Collectio Sirm ondiana in its long recension. There, as in what precedes, we are confronted with a semblance of disorder resulting, in all probability, from a series of rational but imperfectly coordinated initiatives. Unfortunately, Turner’s interest in the Lyons codex did not extend this far and no student of the Sirmondians has (to my knowledge) yet attempted to replace the collection in the codicological context which he so successfully reconstructed. Not having had an opportunity to inspect either part of the codex, I shall not pretend to solve all the problems that remain. The following remarks may at least help set an agenda for future research. 2. F inal supplem ents; the Collectio Sirm ondiana So far as we can now tell, the last 33 folios of the Lyons codex (i.e. Berlin, fo. 88-[120]) contained the following four items: (1) An Adnotacio provinciarum adque urbium G allicanarum , i.e. the N o titia G alliarum .38 (2) The letter D ivinae cultum of Pope Leo the Great to the bishops of Viennensis concerning metropolitan authority in that province at a time when it was being wantonly usurped by Hilary of Arles.39 (3) The acts of the First Council of M&con (581/583). (4) The Collectio Sirm ondiana in its long recension (Const. 1-18). Maassen, following Haenel’s description, observes that these pages of the manuscript are written in a different hand from the one which had copied the preceding items and concludes that they represent a later addition.40 Turner, relying on Rose’s description in the Berlin catalogue, mentions the appearance of a new hand at this point but wisely abstains from making any inference. Having detected the work of more than one scribe in the Leningrad portion of the codex, he naturally wished to know ‘which, if any, of these hands continue to write in the Berlin portion’ but (since the Berlin Library would not part with the manuscript) never had a chance to find out.41 E.A. Lowe saw and described both parts of the Lyons codex in separate volumes of his Codices L a tin i A ntiquiores but made no attempt to sort out the relation of the scripts.42 With the help of Lowe’s descriptions and facsimiles it is nevertheless possible to give a partial answer to Turner’s question.43 M Text ed. Mommsen in MGHAA. IX (1892), 552-612. See also n. 56 below. 39 Text in PL LIV, 628-36. See also n. 57 below. 40 Ge8chichte der Quellen, 777. Compare Mordek, Kirchenrecht, 45-6. 41 ‘Chapters in the History of Latin MSS. III.’, 428. « CLA VIII (Oxford 1959), no. 1061; XI (1966), no.**1061. 43In addition to the facsimiles published in CLA, I have used those in Lowe’s earlier


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


As we would expect, the first hand in the Berlin part of the manuscript is the same as that on the last folio of the Leningrad part (see Table 2), described by Lowe in one place as ‘a curious narrow uncial’ and in another as ‘a heavy uncial with long ascenders and descenders and short uprights knob-like or wedge-shaped at the head-line’. This is our Scribe A, responsible for some 45 of the Leningrad folios and all of the Berlin manuscript down to DEUS ADIUVA ME (fo. 87v), the end of the conciliar collection in what we have taken to be its fourth state. According to Lowe, the rest of the Berlin manuscript, including the Collectio S irm o n d ia n a , was written in half-uncial by two different scribes, one of whom produced ascenders that are ‘long and club-shaped’, while those of his collaborator were ‘often wedge-shaped’. Comparison of facsimiles published in CLA and elsewhere reveals that the semi-uncial hand with the long and club-shaped ascenders is the same as that found in the Leningrad manuscript and that the copyist whom I have called Scribe B was at work in the latter part of the Berlin manuscript. More particularly, it shows that this scribe copied (all or at least part of) the N o titia G alliarum and (all or at least some of) the acts of the First Council of Mdcon. Did he also copy the Sirmondian Constitutions? It seems he did. A lithographic print included by Haenel in his 1840 Dissertatio reveals that the lines introducing C onst. 1 (exem plum legis de confirm ando etiam in ter m inores aetates iudicio episcoporum et testim onium unius epi accepto ferri) are in the same hand as the immediately preceding text of M&con I, that of Scribe B.44 Without access to the manuscript, that is as much as one can say with confidence. The part assigned to Lowe’s other copyist (Scribe C) remains obscure. There is, however, no indication in the apparatus of Haenel’s or Mommsen’s edition, or in Rose’s description of Phillipps 1745, of a change of scribal hand in the text of the Sirmondians. We may therefore assume that the whole series of constitutions was copied at the same time as the other final supplements to the ‘Lyons’ collection, and that it formed part of a putative fifth state of the collection whose term inus post quem is fixed by the First Council of Macon. A term inus ante quem for that state is provided by the date of production of the manuscript. Consequently, if we can fix the latter with reasonable precision we shall have established chronological limits within which to look for a S itz im Leben for the Collectio Sirm ondiana. 3. D ate an d place o f production o f the codex Palaeographers who have studied the Codex L ugdunensis - Turner, monograph on the Lyons scriptorium, cited n. 46 below. 441 owe my photocopy of this page of Haenel’s Dissertatio to the kindness of Professor T.D. Barnes.

X 194 Ludwig Traube, and Lowe - agree in dating it to the seventh century, with a preference for the period c. 650-700.46 In his epoch-making monograph on the Codices Lugdunenses A n tiq u issim i, published in 1924, Lowe went so far as to claim that the manuscript ‘showed every sign of being a product of the Lyons [calligraphic] school’.46 As Rosamond McKitterick has recently reminded us, however, Lowe was inclined to be over-enthusiastic in his detection of such signs.47 With respect to this particular manuscript, he him self came in time to take a more cautious view, giving as his opinion in CLA that it was ‘written in a Burgundian centre under Insular influence, to judge from the script’.48 Certainly the codex was at Lyons by the ninth century when it was used and annotated by the deacon Florus, and for that reason it deserves the epithet L ugdunensis applied by Sirmond and retained (partly for the sake of convenience) in this chapter. But the presence of a book at Lyons in the ninth century is not by itself an argument for its production there two centuries earlier. As McKitterick points out, it ‘may simply represent the zeal with which Florus ... and his predecessors collected books from the surrounding region’.49 Apart from these general grounds for scepticism, it is unlikely that a canon-law collection copied in Lyons in the second half of the seventh century would stop short at the First Council of Macon of 581/583. Thanks to Mordek’s masterly study of the systematic canon-law collection renamed by him the Vetus G allica, we now know that the last years of the sixth and first part of the seventh century were a period of intense conciliar and canonical activity in the church of Lyons. Already by c. 600, this activity had issued in the production of the Vetus G allica, a work largely based (for the Gallic councils) on the ‘Lyons’ collection in what we have taken to be its fourth state but also drawing on other sources for the acts of the First, Second and Third Councils of Lyons and those of the First and Second Councils of Macon.50 Even allowing for a decline in the intellectual vigour of Lyons canonists in the second half of the seventh century, one can hardly imagine that the same collection would be reproduced there at that time with so few complements. Rather than admit such an improbability, I prefer to suppose that the so-called Codex L ugdunensis was copied somewhere else in the period c. 650-700. 45 Traube’s notice is in his Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen I (Munich 1909), no. 238. 46 Codices Lugdunenses Antiquissimi (Lyons, 1924), 45. 47 The Scriptoria of Merovingian Gaul: A Survey of the Evidence’, in H.B. Clarke and M. Brennan (ed.), Columbanus and Merovingian Monasticism (1981), 178. See also her article on 'Knowledge of Canon Law in the Frankish Kingdoms before 789’, JT St n.s. 36 (1985), 105. 48 CLA VIII, 12. 49 The Scriptoria of Merovingian Gaul’, 182. 50 Kirchenrecht, 45-6.


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


Whoever copied it presumably either had access to an exemplar containing everything that we now find in the manuscript or else found the collection in its fourth state (i.e. including everything down to DEUS ADIUVA ME at the end of Arles V) and added four further items, perhaps but not necessarily drawn from a single manuscript source. That the manuscript was produced in a Burgundian centre, as the palaeographers suggest, is borne out both by the fact that the main core of the text derives from a collection also known to have been at Lyons by c. 600 (when it was used for the Vetus G allica) and by the presence of the acts of the First Council of Mâcon. 4. H istorical developm ent o f the ‘Lyons’ collection: from A rles to Lyons Having obtained a clear idea of the contents and likely successive states of the ‘Lyons’ collection, we must now try to place its evolution in a historical context. In doing so, we may hope to recreate the circumstances in which the Sirmondian Constitutions came to jostle with the other texts listed above. Mordek has shown how, in the course of the half-century following the death of bishop Caesarius of Arles in 542, the responsibility for mcgor initiatives in the conciliar life of the church of south-eastern Gaul passed gradually from Arles to Lyons.51 The process of accretion of specifically Gallic conciliar and other materials in the ‘Lyons’ collection ought, I believe, to be viewed against the background of this translatio sacerdotii. In its earliest recoverable state, as indicated by the original sequence of capitula, the collection may be said to present an Arles-centred corpus of Gallic councils, perhaps completed by a person or persons operating outside the immediate sphere of Caesarian influence (and thus capable of missing two of the less obvious councils from the period 517-529). Those missing councils, as we have seen, were duly inserted in the second state of the collection. The th ird state discloses a definite ‘northern’ bias: omitting the Caesarian council of Marseille (533), it includes both the Third and Fifth Councils of Orléans, both of which were presided by the bishop of Lyons, but passes over an intervening council in the same city presided by the metropolitan of Bordeaux and attended by only two bishops from Lugdunensis. The fourth state is attained with the addition of an important supplement of Arlesian material - most of which, however, reached the compiler too late to find its proper chronological place. The collection ending DEUS ADIUVA ME (Berlin, fo. 87v) should thus 81 Ibid., 16, 74-5; see already P. Fournier and G. Le Bras, Histoire des collections canoniques I, 44. J. Gaudemet, Les sources du droit de l’Eglise (Paris, 1985), ch. IX is a good summary of current knowledge about Gallic canon-law collections of the sixth and seventh centuries.

X 196 have taken shape somewhere in the ecclesiastical provinces of Viennensis and Lugdunensis, probably closer to Lyons than to Arles, in the years following the Fifth Council of Arles of 554. In c. 570 a council attended by fourteen bishops or their representatives from sees within the Burgundian realm of King Guntram met at Lyons under the joint presidency of bishops Philippus of Vienne and Nicetius of Lyons. As was by then customary, the council invoked the authority of existing canon law in enacting its own canons, of which there were just six.52 One or more codices canonum would presumably have been available to members of the council during its sittings. But there is nothing in the acta that requires us to suppose that the bishops at Lyons in c. 570 had at their disposal a text of canon law as extensive as the Collectio L ugdunensis in its fourth state. A decade or so later the situation had changed significantly. The sixteen Burgundian bishops who assembled at Mâcon (near Lyons) at the command of King Guntram in 581/583 and who there enacted twenty canons on a wide variety of disciplinary issues were evidently subscribing a legislative programme drawn up on the basis of a careful collation of texts. Besides the usual prefatory reference to the p a tru m sta tu ta , the acts of the First Council of Mâcon contain verbatim extracts from the canons of Epaon (517) and of Clermont (535) and a possible allusion to a canon of Orléans III (53S).63 All three of these councils are included in the ‘Lyons’ collection in its fourth state, a copy of which is known to have been at Lyons by c. 600. The presiding bishop at Mâcon I, as at Mâcon II a few years later, was Priscus of Lyons, a prelate much maligned by Gregory of Tours but who nevertheless appears, on the evidence of these councils, to have been a zealous reformer somewhat after the manner of Caesarius of Arles. Although Mordek is inclined to deny him a role in the confection of the Vetus G allica, Priscus’ conciliar activity may not be wholly unrelated to the renewed interest in canon law that animated the church of Lyons at this time.54 82 Maassen (cited n. 26 above), 139: 'Cum in nomine Domini in Lugdunensi urbe ad synodale concilium venissemus tarn pro renovandis sanctorum patrum institut is, quae praesentis temporis necessario fecit opportunitas iterari, quam his, etc.* There is another edition of the Merovingian councils by C. de Clercq, Concilia Galliae A511-A.695 (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, 148A; Tumhout, 1963). See also now J. Gaudemet and B. Basdevant (éd.), Les Canons des conciles mérovingiens, 2 vols. (Paris, 1989) and O. Pontal, Die Synoden im Merowingerreich (Paderbom, 1986). 53 Maassen, 155: ‘Cum ad iniunctionem gloriosissimi domni Guntramni régis tam pro causis publicis quam pro necessitatibus pauperum in urbe Matiscenis nostra mediocritas convenisset, primo in loco visum nobis est, ut in nomine Domini non tam nova quam prisca patrum statuta sancientes id ipsum, quod constituimus, titulis praesentibus in canonibus legeretur insertum.’ The parallels with canons of earlier councils are noted in the apparatus of Maassen and de Clercq; Pontal, Die Synoden 157 n. 11 provides a useful conspectus. 64 Libri Historiarum IV, 36 (Priscus’ evil conduct); VIII, 20 (Priscus at Mâcon II, an


The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


And not only in canon law. The acts of Macon I and II contain a number of references to canones et leges, to civil as well as well as ecclesiastical law.55 The implications of this usage, which marks a new departure in both the style and substance of Gallic conciliar pronounce­ m ents, are beyond the scope of the present paper. We should note, however, that the two councils refer explicitly to leges in connection (a) w ith the privileges of ecclesiastical courts and (b) with relations between Christians and Jews, both topics treated in Sirmondian Constitutions (Const. 1 ,3 ,6 ; 4). The conjunction is a significant one, for it points to a time and milieu in which special efforts were being made to coordinate Roman law with the law of the church and to produce (or at least invoke) the textual warrant for both. When the authors of conciliar acta were so concerned to cite the lex Rom ana, a series of imperial edicts on matters affecting the church might easily be appended to a collection o f conciliar texts. The appearance of the Collectio Sirm ondiana as the coda to a mainly canonical collection, and as the immediate sequel to the canons of Macon I, may thus be interpreted as a symptom of developing attitudes towards law and legal texts in late sixth-century Gaul. What else can we deduce from the evidence of the Codex Lugdunensis? Of the supplements that characterise the ‘Lyons’ collection in what we have taken be its fifth and final state, two have yet to be discussed: the N otitia G alliarum and the letter D ivinae cultum of Pope Leo the Great. Both texts, I suggest, are item s of propaganda designed to assist a restructuring of Gallic ecclesiastical politics in the time of King Guntram. As Jill Harries has shown, the N otitia G alliarum in the form in which we have it is an ecclesiastical document, probably ‘compiled or published in response to a specific crisis concerning the status of metropolitan cities’ in Gaul.56 In the context of the ‘Lyons’ collection, it may be seen as an endorsement of the metropolitan claims of Lyons and Vienne at the expense of those of Arles, there presented merely as a civitas in the provincia Viennensis. This interpretation is corroborated by the inclusion with the N otitia of Pope Leo’s famous letter to the bishops of Viennensis, in which he

interesting addition to the canonical record). Mordek, Kirchenrecht, 75ff. places the compilation of the Vetus Gallica at Lyons in the pontificate of Priscus’ immediate successor, bishop Eutherius (c. 586-602). 66 Màcon I, c.16 (Maassen): *Et licet, quid de Christianis, qui aut captivitatis incursu aut quibuscumque fraudibus Iudaeorum servitio inplicantur, debeat observari, non solum cannonecis 8tat ut is, sedi et legum beneficio iam pridem fuerit constitutum; sed quia nunc, etc/ Màcon II, c .ll: ‘Licet reverentissime canones et sacratissime legis de episcopali audientia in ipso pene Christianitatis principio sententiam protulerint, etc/; c.14: ‘Ex interpellatione quorundam cognovimus calcatis canonibus et legibus ..., secundum canonum atque legum tenore, etc/ Cf. c.13: *... tractatis omnibus, quae divine vel humane iuris fuerunt/ 66 ‘Church and State in the Notitia Galliarum\ JRS 68 ( 1978), 28.

X 198 rejected the jurisdictional claims of the most ambitious and turbulent fifth-century bishop of Arles.57 III. C onclusions As was stated at the outset, solving the problem of the origins of the Collectio Sirm ondiana requires recourse to at least three kinds of evidence: external, internal, and circumstantial. Since this paper only addresses the external evidence of the manuscript tradition, it cannot provide any final solution. That said, however, our review of the tradition has enabled us to reach a number of tentative conclusions which, while they may not fix the ultimate origin of the collection, at least suggest a plausible S itz im Leben for its emergence. 1. There is is no evidence at present for the existence of a Sirmondian ‘collection’ before the last quarter of the sixth century. It is possible that further study of the tradition of the short recension (i.e. Const. 1-7, transmitted with Book 16 of the Theodosian Code in the form of the Breviary of Alaric) will cause this conclusion to be revised. Meanwhile, since we have no reason to suppose the short recension earlier than the long one, discussion of the origins of the collection must focus on the long recension, represented by Sirmond’s Codex L ug du ne ns is. 2. On palaeographical grounds, the Codex Lugdunensis should probably not be dated earlier than c. 650. The collection which it contains (including the Sirmondians) could, however, have come into existence at any time after the First Council of Mâcon (581/583). Indeed, since it does not contain the canons of the Second Council of Mâcon (585), there is a strong prim a facie case for dating this state of the ‘Lyons’ collection to the period between 581 and 58S.58 3. As one of four documents together distinctive of the final state of the ‘Lyons’ collection, the Collectio Sirm ondiana belongs to a milieu in which (a) new attention was being paid to the relation between civil


57 On the events that called forth Leo’s letter see now R.W. Mathisen, Ecclesiastical Factionalism and Religious Controversy in Fiflh-Century Gaul (Washington, 1989), ch. VII. The text is known to have been included in a Gallic conciliar collection at a relatively early date: H. Wurm, Studien und Texte zur Dekretalensammlung des Dionysius Exiguus (Kanonistische Studien und Texte, 16; Bonn, 1939), 101 n. 42. 58 The fourteenth Sirmondian Constitution, mistakenly numbered 43 (XLIII for XIIII), is independently attested in an early seventh-century addition to the important Corbie MS of canon law, now Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 12097. From this evidence Maassen, Geschichte der Quellen, 795, concluded that the Collectio Sirmondiana "müsste ... zu Ende des 6. oder doch spätestens zu Anfang des 7. Jahrhunderts schon existirt haben*.

X The Origins of the Collectio Sirmondiana


and canon law, (b) special care was being taken to collect and present texts recording law of both kinds, and (c) legal documents were being used to support the metropolitan claims of one msgor Gallic see at the expense of those of another. The milieu in question is that defined by the conciliar and political activity of bishop Priscus of Lyons in the early 580s. In order to be more precise than this we should have to m ake a full study of the relation between the historical circumstances ju st adumbrated and the specific contents of the Collectio S ir­ m ondiana. *

The position outlined above is very similar to that taken by Haenel in the 1840s.69 As was mentioned earlier, Mommsen’s prolegomena to the Sirmondian Constitutions are largely indebted to Haenel’s research. Only in the matter of dating the collection did Mommsen differ significantly from his predecessor, believing that such a collection could not have come into existence after the promulgation of the Theodosian Code. In fact, Haenel’s view of the emergence of the collection is perfectly compatible with Mommsen’s assumption concerning its ultimate origins. If Mommsen is right, the compiler who added the final supplement to the ‘Lyons’ collection in c. 580-585 (as I have argued) would have found all or most of his imperial constitutions in a single document more or less contemporary with the papal letter D ivinae cultum . The collection we know as the Sirmondian Constitutions may have begun its existence as a minor anticipatory analogue of the Theodosian Code, the work of some unknown Gallic (?) compiler of the early fifth century. But it owes its survival to a currency achieved at a later date. This chapter may help to reinstate the Collectio Sirm ondiana as a document of Merovingian as well as late Roman history and literary culture - like the Theodosian Code itself.

59 Novellae constitutiones, cols. 421-4, locating the compilation of the Sirmondians at Lyons between c. 580 and c. 700.


The Demise o f the Christian Writer and the Remaking of “Late Antiquity From H.-I. Marrou’s Saint Augustine (1938) to Peter Brown’s Holy Man (1983)

For Jacques Fontaine THE DEATH AND WORKS OF AUGUSTINE “We must at all costs avoid doing the feeling for Late Antique men,” Peter Brown has written.1 But our sympathy is never misspent. There was nothing left of Augustine now but his library. Possidius compiled a full list of his works; he thought that no man could ever read them all. All future biographers of Augustine come to feel something of what Possidius felt in that empty room: “Yet I think that those who gained most from him were those who had

My thanks go to Susanna Elm and Naomi Janowitz for inviting me to the Berkeley colloquium on “Charisma and Society,” and to members of the audience, especially Peter Brown, for their many helpful comments and suggestions. Professor’s Brown’s reflections on his 1971 book, The World of Late Antiquity (below, n. 40), “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” Symbolae Osloenses 72 (1997): 5-30, reached me after I had completed this paper; references to his essay have, however, been inserted at several points in the notes. 1. Peter Brown, The Making o f Late Antiquity, The Carl Newell Jackson Lectures at Harvard University, 1976 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), 10.

XI 378 been able actually to see and hear him as he spoke in Church, and, most of all, those who had some contact with the quality of his life among men.”2

Possidius said nothing about an empty room. Before we can begin to feel what he may have felt there, it must be imagined for us by the historian. For us? Only, on a literal reading, if we number ourselves among those “future” or now present “biographers of Augustine.” The empty room may be no bigger, nor any more crowded, than it seemed at first. Yet those who read to the end of Augustine o f Hippo: A Biography are likely to feel, for their part, that the author of that book did not mean the terms of his title to be too exclusive. Peter Brown, writes a medieval historian, “came to Ancient History through an unusual entrance, a small one: the life and thought of one man,” but concedes: “The man was rather exceptional.” Augustine’s primary distinction, suggests Alexander Murray, was to have been “the most prolific of extant writers in Latin.”3 And he quotes the lines that once ran beneath his portrait in the library of Isidore of Seville: “He lies who says he has read all your works”—the sentiment less pointedly expressed by Possidius, who could have found it already in Jerome’s eulogy of iron-bellied Origen.4 The story Peter Brown would tell of “Late Antiquity,” Murray infers, was framed initially in the interstices of Augustine’s unencompassable literary legacy, as if in the room vacated by Possidius. Given the importance of this disciplinary concept in current Anglo-American historical scholarship, it is an inference we may like to test.5 2. P[eter] R. L. Brown, Augustine o f Hippo: A Biography (London: Faber & Faber, 1967), 433, the final paragraph of the book, citing Possidius, Vita Augustini 31.9. A new edition of the biography, with an epilogue, is forthcoming. 3. “Peter Brown and the Shadow of Constantine,” Journal o f Roman Studies 73 (1983): 191-203 at 192. 4. “Mentitur qui te totum legisse fatetur, / Aut quis cuncta tua lector habere potest?” (PL 83, 1109), cited by Brown in the first footnote of his first publication on Augustine: “Saint Augustine,” in Trends in Medieval Political Thought, ed. Beryl Smalley (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), repr. in Religion and Society in the Age of Saint Augustine (London: Faber & Faber, 1972); cf. Possidius, Vita Augustini 18.9 (perhaps deriving from Augustine, De civitate Dei 6.2, on Varro); Jerome, Ep. 33.5 (Origen and Varro). 5. Warren Treadgold, “Taking Sources on Their Own Terms and on Ours: Peter Brown’s Late Antiquity,” Antiquité tardive 2 (1994): 153-59, is sweepingly dismiss­ ive. For broader and more balanced views, see René Martin, “Qu’est-ce que l’Antiquité ‘tardive’? Réflexions sur un problème de périodisation,” in AIÔN: Le temps chez les Romains, ed. R. Chevallier; Caesarodunum, lObis (Paris: A. & J. Picard, 1976), 261-304; Marc van Uytfanghe, “L’Antiquité tardive, le Haut Moyen Age et la seconde moitié du XXe siècle: Affinités réelles ou imaginaires?” Didactica classica Gandensia 19 (1979): 139-82; Alexander Demandt, Der Fall Roms: Die



For all his reserves of fellow-feeling, the late twentieth-century author of Augustine o f Hippo need have had little but texts in common with his early fifth-century counterpart. The subtitle was our guarantee of that. This new book would not be a saint’s life, not hagiography, in either the precritical sense of writing “inspired by religious devotion to the saints and intended to increase that devotion” (H. Delehaye) or the postBollandist, positivist one of sifting history from legend. Rather it would be an instance of biography, a classical and modern genre of somewhat elastic boundaries.6 For a writer who did not wish to be constrained by his subject, generic uncertainty conferred distinct advantages. Coming just four years after R. W. Southern’s Saint Anselm and His Biographer, itself the progenitor of several other “Oxford” books of saints,7 the unsainted Augustine o f Hippo simultaneously claimed the title of biography and, not incidentally, left the biographer’s role out of account. Like Possidius, Peter Brown would seek to convey “something of the course and quality of Augustine’s life.” His own character, as he first describes it, is that of “a historian of the declining Roman Empire.”8 The balance between biography and history is carefully struck, and tilted towards the latter. In 1968, eight years before the series that would become The Making o f Late Antiquity, the Carl Newell Jackson Classical Lectures at Harvard were delivered by Arnaldo Momigliano, of all classicists the one who has most directly influenced Peter Brown’s work. His theme was The Development o f Greek Biography.9 “When I was young,” Momigliano recalled, “scholars wrote history and gentlemen wrote biography. But

Auflösung des römischen Reiches im Urteil der Nachwelt (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1984), 170ff. (“Der Fall Roms und das Ende der Antike in der neueren Geschichtswissenschaft”); Frank M. Clover and R. Stephen Humphreys, “Toward a Definition of Late Antiquity,” in Tradition and Innovation in Late Antiquity, ed. F. M. Clover and R. S. Humphreys (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), 3-20. 6. James J. O’Donnell, “The Next Life of Augustine,” in The Limits o f Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture, ed. William E. Klingshim and Mark Vessey (Aim Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming). 7. R. W. Southern, Saint Anselm and His Biographer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963). The book is divided into two parts, on Anselm and Eadmer respectively, and includes extensive discussion of the traditions of Latin hagiography from Sulpicius Severus forward. Ten years before his study of Anselm, Southern had published a work whose title Peter Brown would adapt for his own purposes: The Making o f the Middle Ages. 8. Augustine, 9. 9. Arnaldo Momigliano, The Development o f Greek Biography (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971; expanded edn. 1993).

XI 380

were they gentlemen? Scholars were beginning to wonder. They were increasingly suspicious of their neighbours, the biographers. The biogra­ phers were no longer keeping their place. They claimed to be endowed with special intuitions of human motives; they even claimed to be the real historians” (2). Not only was that claim no longer controversial in 1968; for those interested, as Momigliano declared himself to be, in “full-blooded social history,” the insights of the biographer had come to seem additionally precious as a counterpoise and complement to system­ atic prosopography and the microscopic analyses of the Annales school (6). The study of Late Roman history would have provided a case in point. Work on the Prosopography o f the Later Roman Empire was by then well advanced.10 One of its directors, A. H. M. Jones, had recently published a vast descriptive survey in which the records of thousands of individual lives were flattened to yield a report on the structures of Late Roman society.11 Although traces of the Annales school are harder to discern in insular Late Roman scholarship of the ’60s, it seems likely that the medieval historian who began his book on Augustine with a chapter headed “Africa” and a map of the Mediterranean had already begun to ponder the lessons of Henri Pirenne and Fernand Braudel.12

10. For the origins of this enterprise, see Stefan Rebenich, “Mommsen, Hamack und die Prosopographie der Spátantike,” Studia Patrística 29 (1997): 109-18 [Engl, trans. in Medieval Prosopography 17 (1996): 149-67, 223-29]. 11. A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey, 3 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1964). See the notices by Brown in Economic History Review 61 (1967): 327-43, repr. in his Religion and Society, 46-73, and by Momigliano in The Oxford Magazine, 4 March 1965, 264, repr. in his Quinto contributo alia storia degli studi classici e del mondo antico, Storia e Letteratura, 115 (Rome: Edizioni di Storia et Letteratura, 1969), 645-47. Momigliano archly compared Jones’s work to the report of a British Royal Commission on the state of the Later Roman Empire. For Brown, it marked the point from which “any further study of the role of Christianity in Late Roman society must begin” (Religion and Society, 51). As instances of Brown’s own application of prosopographical methods to such study from 1960 onwards, one could cite the first three articles reprinted in the “Rome” section of Religion and Society. See now his “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” Symbolae Osloenses 72 (1997): 13-14. 12. Cf. Brown, “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” 16-17. The work of W. H. C. Frend, author of The Donatist Church (1952), is an important link and exception: see Brown, Religion and Society, 240, and his later essay on Pirenne in Daedalus 103 (1974): 25-33, repr. in Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 63-79. In Brown’s tribute to Pirenne we may also read the credentials of the 1971 holy man. “It was as a symbol of a style of life,” he writes, “that Pirenne stuck to the role of the Syrian merchant in creating the Romania of post-Roman western Europe. For Pirenne had that capacity of the greatest historians of civilization, and especially of historians who attempt to deal



Brown’s Augustine stood at a disciplinary crossroads. Which way did it point? In hindsight, perhaps, Momigliano’s 1968 lectures can be seen as prophetic. While the “lives” of Christian bishops and holy men lay beyond his scope on that occasion, he was alert to their appeal. In the biographies of the later Imperial age, he noted, “we sense a new atmosphere. The writers of biographies created a meaningful relation between the living and the dead” (104). These evocations already sound uncannily Brownian, even if the classically minded Momigliano was still the respecter of limits that would have to be overidden on the way to The Cult o f the Saints (1981). In closing, he hinted that the generic separation of history from biography had served a useful purpose in antiquity; it had enabled the Greeks and Romans “to appreciate what constitutes a poet, a philosopher, a martyr, a saint” (104).13 There is another way in which Momigliano’s 1968 lectures can help us to recognize, at this distance, what Brown’s 1967 Augustine was not. One of the dominant forms of Greek and Roman biography was the life of the poet, philosopher, or (to speak anachronistically) the prominent writer or intellectual. Jerome’s catalogue of “Famous Men,” the De viris illustribus, is cited several times by Momigliano as testimony to a prior tradition of collected “lives” of this kind. Following Suetonius and the Alexandrian model of literary biography, Jerome made the main emphasis

with the problem of changing styles o f civilization: a warm blush of romantic fervour that led him to identify himself wholeheartedly with one style of life, and so to follow its development and modification with a passionate interest heavy with love and concern” (Society and the Holy, 78, emphasis added). Here as elsewhere, Brown joins the name of Pirenne with that of Michael Rostovtseff: “Pirenne for the Middle Ages; Rostovtseff for the ancient world: each in his way was a great European bourgeois, studying with deep commitment the fate of civilization based on cities” (79). For “style of life” as a historiographical concept, compare the remark of Momigliano cited below, n. 35. 13. The inclusiveness of this list refleas the renewal of interest in early Christian biography that was one of the features of “late classical” (especially Latin) scholar­ ship in the 1960s. The section of Momigliano’s bibliography devoted to “Lives of the Saints” provides a snapshot of the subdiscipline in 1968. Philological and genre-based studies predominate, with two recent works of French scholarship representing the best and most forward-looking in that kind: Jacques Fontaine, Sulpice Sévère: Vie de Saint Martin, Sources Chrétiennes, 133-35 (Paris: Cerf, 1967—[69]) and Pierre Courcelle, Recherches sur les Confessions de Saint Augustin, 2nd edn. (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1968). See now M. J. Edwards and Simon Swain (eds.), Portraits: Biographical Representation in the Greek and Latin Literature of the Roman Empire (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), esp. 22f., 227f., and Paul Zankei, The Mask of Socrates: The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity, trans. Alan Shapiro, Sather Classical Lectures, 59 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).

XI 382

of his biographies bibliographical. His subjects are represented primarily by their literary works. An exception had to be made for Origen, because his writings were so extensive; an index of them had been drawn up by Pamphilus and Eusebius, based on the contents of the library at Caesarea, which Jerome translated into Latin, with the comment that no one could possibly read all that the Alexandrian had written.14 Jerome’s cataloguing of his own literary works in the final chapter of the De viris illustribus was undoubtedly one of the models for Augustine’s Retractationes and thus, indirectly if not directly, of the Indiculum appended by Possidius to the Vita Augustini. In scale and coordination the Possidian “Life and Works of August­ ine” is unprecedented in Latin literature, unless something of Varro’s once matched it. Besides its other functions, the Vita is the first Reader’s Guide to Augustine, companion to the Complete Works which no one could read through.15 Almost to the last, Augustine’s first biographer has his subject’s books in view, if not actually in hand. If a pagan poet, now dead, could expect to live on in the voices of his readers, surely the bishop of Hippo would survive in his many writings.16 This Possidius avers, only then—in the last breath of the Vita—to insist on the privilege of those persons, himself included, who had shared Augustine’s company while he was alive, adding (in the words of Matthew 13.52) that “he was no mere ‘scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, bringing forth out of his treasure things new and old.’”17 ERAT N O N SOLUM ERUDITUS SCRIBA in regno caelorum, de thesauro suo proferens nova et vetera. This is the statement that hangs in the silence of that empty room imagined by Peter Brown, at the moment of his parting company with Augustine and our parting from him— readers of books, all of us, who yet would know each other “face to face.” I emphasize its opening clause, in order to point up what I take to be one of the most significant aspects of Peter Brown’s representation of Late Antiquity: its tacit and tactical effacement, in the interests of a certain kind of vividness or (in Momigliano’s phrase) social-historical 14. Above, n. 4. On Jerome’s place in the tradition of the bibliographical De mris illustribus, see R. Blum, “Die Literaturverzeichnung im Altertum und Mittelalter,” Archiv fur Geschichte des Buchwesens 24 (1983), 1-256 at 98-113. 15. James J. O’Donnell, “The Authority of Augustine,” Augustinian Studies 22 (1991): 7-35 at 16; Mark Vessey, “Opus Imperfectum: Augustine and His Readers, 426-435 a . d . ” (forthcoming in Vigtliae Christianae). 16. Possidius, Vita Augustini 31.8. 17. Ibid. 31.10, the immediate sequel to the passage translated by Brown on the last page of his Augustine (cited above, n. 2).



“full-bloodedness,” of the products and procedures of ancient literacy. The process is already under way in Augustine, even before Brown makes “Late Antiquity” a working concept. We may detect it both in his discreet entrance on our behalf into the room once occupied by Possidius, and in his willingness, once installed there, to have us forget that its walls are lined with books. For it is not only Possidius who wordlessly gives way to the twentiethcentury historian; Augustine the writer, the man who wrote more than anyone could ever read, takes second place in Brown’s account to the man as he lived “among men.” While the books themselves are never scanted, they are no longer—as they had been in the first Vita Augustini— the armature for the post-conversion narrative. Instead, we find them neatly stacked (by Michael Walsh) in chronological lists between sections of Brown’s text, coordinated with the events of Augustine’s life but outside the biography proper. Unlike Possidius, Brown does not need to remind us that “Augustine was no mere scribe.” Readers of this Augustine will not easily mistake him for one. Indeed, if they enter into the bond of sympathy assumed by the book’s closing paragraph, they will witness the death of a Christian writer in a sense beyond any intended by Possidius’ description of the bishop’s last days. How instrumental that demise may have been in the remaking of a modern disciplinary category, will appear more clearly if we set Brown’s Augus­ tine against its nearest antecedent. “LETTRÉ DE LA DÉCADENCE,” LATE ANTIQUE M A N ____ Thirty years before Peter Brown made Augustine the opening to a wider world, another scholar had embarked upon a similar adventure. By 1977, when a French publisher endorsed Henri-Irénée Marrou’s Décadence romaine ou antiquité tardive? with a quotation from Religion and Society in the Age o f St. Augustine, it would have been difficult to say which of the two men, Brown or Marrou, had the better claim to be considered the founder of modern Late Antiquity.18 Brown himself has always hailed Marrou as a master. Recently he paid tribute to “the 18. Henri-Irénée Marrou, Décadence romaine ou antiquité tardivei IIIe-VIe siècle (Paris: Seuil, 1977), back cover: “‘Il n’y a guère eu de périodes, dans l’histoire de l’Europe, qui aient légué aux siècles suivants autant d’institutions aussi durables.’ C’est par ces mots que l’historien anglais Peter Brown évoque les derniers siècles de l’Empire romain [cf. Religion and Society, 13]. À la notion de cette décadence [‘derniers siècles’] . . . Henri Marrou oppose la notion positive d’antiquité tardive.” There follows an excerpt from an obituary of Marrou by André Mandouze, published

XI 384

warmth and authority of Henri-Irénée Marrou’s portrayal of Saint Augustine as a lettré de la décadence, and a little later, as a ‘late antique man,’ confidently embedded in a late, late classical tradition in its final, Christian form.”19 Lettré de la décadence, “late antique man” . . . . It is tempting to ask, echoing Marrou himself in a related context, Num tertium quid? 20 Not, it seems, for Marrou himself, whose own confidence in the late, late classical tradition as an interpretative matrix for the study of Christian cultural forms in the ancient Mediterranean world seems never to have been shaken.21 The leading text from Brown’s work in Décadence romaine ou antiquité tardive? is a passage stressing the durability of late antique institutions—law codes, ecclesiastical and monastic orders, the ideal of a Christian empire.22 We look in vain in Marrou’s text for a sign of the coming of the “holy man.”23 Marrou’s antiquité tardive is a

earlier that year in Le Monde: MLe nom de Marrou sera à jamais attaché à la découverte (ou à la redécouverte) d’un immense domaine, celui de cette ‘antiquité tardive et chrétienne’ déjà grosse de tout le monde moderne et qui, sans lui, serait devenu un fief de la science allemande”(!). In its attention to the Christian writer, Mandouze’s massive Saint Augustin: Laventure de la raison et la grâce (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1968) provides a striking contrast to Brown’s Augustine of the previous year; his complementary thesis was a Retractatio of the Retractationes. See also Mandouze’s “Cohabiter avec Augustin?” in Saint Augustin, ed. Patrie Ranson (n.p.: L’Age d’Homme, 1988), 11-21. 19. Remarks at the 22nd New England Medieval Conference, “From Antiquity to the Middle Ages,” Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, October 14-15, 1995 (unpublished). See now Brown, “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” 10. 20. Henri-Irénée Marrou, “Civitas Dei, civitas terrena: num tertium quid?” Studia Patristica 2 (1957), 342-50. Marrou’s reflections on Augustine’s doctrine of the two cities, announced in his 1949 “Retractatio” (below, n. 24) and pursued in such works as L'ambivalence du temps de l'histoire chez saint Augustin (1950) and Théologie de l'histoire (1968), have had a shaping influence on Anglophone scholarship in the area of Late Antiquity, principally through the writings of Peter Brown and R. A. Markus. 21. See the memoir by his pupil Marguerite Harl, Le déchiffrement du sens: Études sur l'herméneutique chétienne d ’Origène à Grégoire de Nysse (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1993), 9-26; Ottorino Pasquato, “L’agiografia tra cultura, società e Chiesa in H. I. Marrou,” Augustinianum 24 (1984): 315-32; and the essays collected in the first section (“Décadence ou antiquité tardive?”) of H.-I. Marrou, Christiana Tempora: Mélanges d'histoire, d'archéologie, d'épigraphie et de patristique, Collec­ tion de l’École française de Rome, 35 (Rome: École française de Rome, 1978). 22. Marrou, Décadence romaine, 111 (the passage cited above, n.18). The footnote also refers to Brown’s biography of Augustine, translated into French by Mme Marrou (1971), and The World o f Late Antiquity (1971) “[qui] traitfe] le même sujet d’ensemble que le présent petit livre.” 23. The cover illustration, however, is of a silver reliquary from Syria (now in the Musée du Louvre) depicting Simeon the Stylite and the serpent.



macrocosm of the “late antique man,” who is himself (as Brown reminds us) the disciplinary descendant of the lettré de la décadence, a product of late classical literary culture in a very particular sense. Décadence romaine ou antiquité tardive? appeared a few months after Marrou’s death. At the other end of his publishing career is the work that gave the question its point and poignancy. In the title of his 1938 thesis, Marrou had yoked together the name of Augustine, the word “culture,” and the idea of historical limits, in a phrase that was to prove both resonant and highly problematic: Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique}* By “culture” he meant the intellectual equipment of a cultivated man, by implication a member of the educated élite. In a more general sense, the word denoted for him the specifically intellectual aspect of a “civilization.” (He was adamant that it was not, like the German Kultur, a synonym for civilization itself.) The aim of his thesis was to chart the mutation of ancient Graeco-Roman culture into a “Christian culture of medieval type,” through a study of the writings and thought of an outstanding specimen of “late Roman civilization.” The defining quality of medieval European civilization, according to Marrou, was its subordination of all forms of intellectual activity to the demands of the Christian faith, a principle he found enshrined already in Augustine’s De doctrina Christiana. In that treatise, more clearly than any of his other writings, the bishop of Hippo had expounded his mature conception of the ideal Christian culture, “its place in life, its goal, its technique, its methods” (332). Marrou translates the phrase doctrina christiana as “Christian culture,” without further qualification, insisting, against scholars who saw the work as a handbook for the clergy alone and thus of restricted application, that Augustine conceived of no other form of Christian learning for which rules could be given. (The higher learning which he called sapientia was beyond prescription.) The De doctrina christiana set out “the only culture approved by Augustine for the ordinary Christian intellectual.”25 It was a culture rigorously deter­ mined by the transcendent goal of frui Deo, exclusive of all that was 24. Henri-Irénée Marrou, Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique, Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, 145 (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1938; reissued with a “Retractario,” 1949; 4th edn. 1958). 25. Ibid., 380. Under the nom de plume of Henri Davenson, Marrou had already published his own Fondements d ’une culture chrétienne (1934). While his thesis on Augustine was strictly “secular” in its methods and conclusions, much of its impetus derived from the attempt—partly a reaction to the neo-Thomist Augustinianisms of such as Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson—to formulate an ideal of Christian culture that was both traditional and befitting the modern age. At Lyons in the early

XI 386

merely curious or disinterested. While he could not help thinking in the disciplinary categories of his classical culture, Augustine showed no sentimental attachment to their contents. We should not be deceived by the unfamiliar aprioristic taxonomy of disciplines in Book Two of the De doctrina Christiana. Simply replace the substance of Augustine’s approved curriculum in the categories of the ancient paideia, and take stock (407, n. 1; 404, n. 1). The classical literary syllabus has been largely evacuated. Little remains of the mathematical and scientific disciplines. Everything is reduced to the minimum required for the task of understanding Scripture. There is no doubt about Augustine’s basic attitude: “rigid,” “fierce,” “intransigeant,” “disdainful of specifically human cultural values,” “obsessed with the dictates of the eternal”— these are a few of Marrou’s judgments. Yet the final verdict on this new cultural program is a positive one. If there was violence in Augustine’s “despoiling” of classical culture, then, Marrou suggests, it was violence of a desirable and creative kind, and not only from the Christian point of view. As a Roman intellectual of the late fourth century A .D ., Augustine represented a culture that had long since degenerated from its former strength, grown sclerotic, turned in on itself. He was un lettré de la décadence. Where another historian could present the end of the Roman Empire as an act of suicide, Marrou imagines Graeco-Roman culture dying of boredom in advanced old age. The “end” evoked in his title would have come without any help from disaffected Christians. It was to Augustine’s credit that he recognized the parlous state of contemporary Roman culture and redeployed its remaining resources in such a way as to guarantee not only the service of a new religion but also, whether he intended it or not, the survival of classical humanism as a vital and self-renewing force. Viewed in this light, the De doctrina Christiana had the distinction of being at once the “founding charter of a Christian culture” (413) and the witness to a heroic prise de conscience of Roman decadence. Despite the vigor of its argument and the brilliance of its erudition, Marrou’s book was too absolute and paradoxical to satisfy all his critics. Nor did it long please its author. A decade later he issued a lengthy “Retractatio,” modifying a number of the positions previously taken. The most important revision concerned the title of the book and the 1940s and later in Paris, Marrou would be at the center of a Catholic Renaissance in French intellectual life that continued through the decade after the Second Vatican Council. This movement helped create an atmosphere receptive to the idea of a distinctive culture of (Christian) “Late Antiquity.”



model of cultural demise that it implied. “My intent,” he wrote in retrospect, “was to contribute to the solution of the problem which, since Gibbon, we have agreed to call the ‘Decline and Fall’ of ancient civilisation” (663). Without referring to any of the political, economic, or social factors previously cited by historians in connection with this process, he had posited a cultural decline obedient to its own quasibiological rules. This, he now saw, was an error, the product of a classicist’s bias against the post-classical and an unconscious reliance on nineteenth-century myths of Roman decadence. Properly considered, the traits of Augustine’s culture that he had once taken for symptoms of decadence turned out, for the most part, to be either natural outgrowths of classical culture or the result of choices made from a range of options offered by it. Augustine does not confront us with the “end” of ancient culture—or if he does, “that culture, as we see it in him, is not on the point of expiration: it has already become something else” (689). The dichotomy of “ancient” and “medieval” was a false one. In abandoning it, Marrou also abandoned his narrative of cultural-end-as-culturalbeginning and the scheme of a supersession of “classical” by “Christian” culture. He was no longer even sure that “Christianity” was the defining quality of the culture advocated by the bishop of Hippo; there were, he now recognized, signs of a distinctive cultural ideal—in Marrou’s terms, a quasi-Platonic Form of the “life of the spirit”—common to both Christians and non-Christians in the Late Roman period.26

26. Ibid., 692. Cf. the introduction to his Histoire de l’éducation dans l’antiquité (below, n. 29), where Marrou speaks of “le système, la Forme, qui donne à une civilisation son unité intérieure et sa valeur spirituelle” (24). In that work the “end” of antiquity is presented as the term of an evolution from a culture of warriors to a culture of scribes. “C’est seulement dans la dernière période de cette histoire, quand la foi chrétienne se décidera à organiser culture et éducation autour du Livre par excellence, la Bible, source de tout savoir et de toute vie, que le lettré antique deviendra définitivement un scribe” (19, emphasis added). On the reading of the De doctrina christiana proposed in 1938, Augustine could seem the natural patron of such a (medieval) “scribal” culture, but in 1949 Marrou insists that he is “beaucoup plus proche de ses contemporains païens que de ses lointains héritiers du VIII'-XIe, ou du XII*, du XIIIe siècles” and refers, for evidence of pagan spiritual ideals, to the researches of A. J. Festugière on the cult of Hermes Trismegistus. In his complemen­ tary thesis MOYC1KOC ANHP: Étude sur les scènes de la vie intellectuelle figurant sur les monuments funéraires romains, Bibliothèque de l’Institut français de Naples, 1.4 (Grenoble: Didier & Richard, 1938; reissued with a postface, Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 1964), Marrou sought to delineate a continuity between aristocratic pagan and Christian “religion(s)” of literary and philosophical culture in the Late Roman period, so preparing the ground for the “Retractatio” of 1949. Whether or not the mousikos anêr and Festugière’s hermetist are strictly one and the same type,

XI 388

If this newly apprehended culture was neither simply classical nor Christian-medieval, what was it to be called? German historical scholar­ ship had coined the expression die Spatantike for a period between the second and eighth centuries a . d .,27 a neologism which Marrou had treated rather gingerly in his original introduction-28 Now he would have both belonged to a time before the final emergence of a Christian “scribal" culture— from Marrou’s point of view, safely within the limits of the ancient paideia. 27. The use of this term for a disciplinary concept can be traced to the art historian Alois Riegl at the turn of this century, but the periodization has a longer history; see Reinhart Herzog, “Epochenerlebnis ‘Revolution’ und Epochenbewußtsein ‘Spätantike’: Zur Genese einer historischen Epoche bei Chateaubriand,” in Epochenschwelle und Epochenbewußtsein, ed. R. Herzog and Reinhart Koselleck (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1987), 195-219, and the bibliographical survey in the Handbuch der lateinischen Literatur der Antike, Bd. 5: Restauration und Erneuerung 284-374 n. Chr., ed. R. Herzog (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1989), 39-44. Attempts by German historians to distinguish a period of “Late Antiquity” within the older tripartite division of Antiquity, Middle Ages, and Modernity can be followed down to c. 1960 in two collections edited by Paul Egon Hübingei; Kulturbruch oder Kulturkontinuität im Übergang von der Antike zum Mittelalter, Wege der Forschung, 201 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968), and Zur Frage der Periodengrenze zwischen Altertum und Mittelalter, Wege der Forschung, 51 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1969). 28. The context is revealing: “Sans doute bien des travaux remarquables ont déjà contribué à montrer l’intérêt de certains aspects de cette civilisation romaine tardive. De Fustel de Coulanges a Rostovtsev, un gros effort a été fait pour dégager les caractères originaux de la structure sociale du Bas-Empire et pour y rechercher tout se qui en elle annonce déjà le régime féodal. . . . A peu près tous les domaines se sont prêtés à des recherches analogues: ainsi sur le plan religieux les belles études de Dölger mettent en lumière tout ce que le Christentum doit à YAntike, au Spätantike en fait le plus souvent” (vi-vii). On the research programme of Franz Joseph Dölger (18791940), see the monograph by Theodor Klausei; Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum, Ergänzungsband 7 (1980); Gerhart May, “Das Konzept Antike und Christentum in der Patristik von 1870 bis 1930,” in Patristique et antiquité tardive en Allemagne et en France de 1870 à 1930, Actes du Colloque franco-allemand de Chantilly (25-27 octobre 1991), ed. Jacques Fontaine, Reinhart Herzog and Karla Pollmann (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1993), 4-19. In a footnote to the passage quoted, Marrou cites the work of Riegl as a corrective to premature notions of Roman decadence, then generalizes: “Une idée se fait jour (c’est celle qui se dégage de tout l’enseignement de Pirenne comme des brillants essais de Ch. Dawson): entre antiquité classique et moyen âge ce ne sont pas les invasions barbares qui marquent la limite, comme par une rupture brusque; il faut au contraire reconnaître Vautonomie d'une longue période de transition; on la fera commencer avec la crise du IIIe siècle et la restauration dioclétienne; elle ne s’achève qu’au bout du VIIIe siècle, avec la renaissance carolingienne” (emphasis added). The mention of Christopher Dawson connects Marrou’s enterprise with an important strain of English Catholic reflection on the destinies of Christianity and the Roman Empire which has in some ways been more potent in the modern history of “Late Antiquity” than the broader tradition of Anglican patristic scholarship. Besides articles on Gibbon’s Decline and Fall and



used it, if only it made better French! Instead, he proposed a classicizing term of his own, designed to express the Wnew religiosity” that began to manifest itself in the second century and that assumed political significance in the age of Constantine. In his Histoire de l'éducation dans l'antiquité, published just before the “Retractatio,” Marrou had distinguished a Hellenic civilization of the polis from a Hellenistic civilization of the paideia.29 To those two limiting concepts he now added a third, that of a “civilization of the Theopolis.”30 Replaced in this context, Augustine no longer cut the unfashionable figure of a lettré de la décadence. Instead, as “late antique man,” he had a new world at his feet. Having dismantled the dichotomy of “ancient” and “medieval” and discovered a “culture of Late Antiquity” common to Christians and pagans alike, Marrou needed to explain anew how the religious compo­ nent of Augustine’s program fitted the course of European cultural history. His “Retractatio” is curiously ambivalent on this point. At first it appears merely to repeat in a modified form his earlier opinion of the culturally restorative effect of the Christian quest for transcendence. The Augustine’s City of Gody Dawson produced a much-read narrative of “Late Antiquity” avant la lettre, under a title which Brown’s work would partly overwrite: The Making o f Europe: An Introduction to the History o f European Unity (London: Sheed and Ward, 1932, and many later editions). See now Stratford Caldecott and John Morrill (eds.), Eternity in Time: Christopher Dawson and the Catholic Idea of History (Ediburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1997). 29. Henri-Irénée Marrou, Histoire de l'éducation dans /’antiquité (Paris: Seuil, 1948 and subsequent edns.). The book was dedicated to a student executed by the Nazis in Lyon in 1944, with an epigraph from Augustine’s City o f God 4.30: “per fidem martyrum, pro veritate morientium, cum veritate viventium.” The “Retractatio” to Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique is thick with discoveries from Marrou’s wartime rereading of Augustine’s magnum opus. 30. “[C]’est bien une civilisation différente qui s’épanouit au Bas-Empire, dans l’atmosphère de la ‘nouvelle religiosité’. Il faudrait pouvoir disposer d’un mot propre pour la désigner. L’allemand, qui accueille facilement les néologismes, a pris l’habitude de parler de la Spàtantike: reprenant les termes dont se servait Reitzenstein, je dirais aujourd’hui que saint Augustin ne m’apparaît plus als antiker und mittelalterlicher Mensch mais bien désormais als spàtantiker Mensch. Le français, plus conservateur, demeure comme asservi aux traditions classiques: peut-être, puisqu’il s’agit de l’opposer à la POLIS comme à la PAIDEIA, pourrait-on proposer d’appeler cette civilisation, d’inspiration si profondément religieuse et, depuis Constantin, à dominante chrétienne, l’âge de la Théopolis” (694-95). A note refers to the use of the toponym Theopolis by the Gallic ex-prefect Dardanus, a correspondent of Augustine, for an alpine retreat near Sisteron; cf. Marrou, “Un lieu dit ‘Cité de Dieu,’” in Augustinus Magister: Congrès international augustinien (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1954), 1.101-110. Marrou here joins those other “great European bourgeois,” Pirenne and Rostovtseff, “studying with deep commitment the fate of civilization based on cities” (above, n. 12).

XI 390

religious utilitarianism of Augustine’s program, though bad in itself, was good for ancient culture; it could even be considered the point of departure for a “renaissance” (686). This sounds like a version of the original claim for Augustine as founder of medieval culture. Read closely, however Marrou’s revision points in another direction. A few pages later, the term “renaissance” is attached to the flourishing “culture of the Theopolis” in the “age of Constantine and Theodosius.” Had it not been for the disaster of the barbarian invasions, Marrou suggests, that culture might have endured for centuries in the West, as a kind of “Latin byzantism.” And it was precisely that culture, so tragically short­ lived in the event, that Augustine’s work should be taken to represent (696).31 The Christian culture of the Latin Middle Ages would be something quite different; although it too could be traced back to the fourth century, its origins lay “outside the cultural mainstream, in the sequestered milieux of the Desert . . .” (692, n. 2). This last point is tucked away in a footnote, with a reference to the discussion of early monastic schools in Histoire de l’éducation dans l’antiquité. There is another tantalizingly loose end in the retractated Saint Augustin et la fin de culture antique. In 1938 Marrou had held up the De doctrina Christiana and other works of Augustine as preparatory to the Christian culture of later centuries, without venturing on the history of their reception. In the original conclusion, he had affirmed that the structures of Augustine’s intellectual life as a Christian bishop “prefig­ ured those which would govern the culture of the western Middle Ages,” adding that it would be another matter to say “how far the observed analogies were the effect of direct filiation, influence or simple parallel­ ism” (541). This careful disclaimer is suspended in the “Retractatio,” where Gregory the Great and others are confidently cited as disciples of Augustine and products of his school (684). Not surprisingly, the larger task of tracing the influence of Augustinian principles is once again postponed, even though it might now have seemed more pressing, in view of Marrou’s revision of the course of western culture after 410. As long as the Christian culture of the European Middle Ages could be 31. It is this emphasis on the fragility of the Augustinian Christian-classical culture—a response, no doubt, to the recent French experience of “barbarian” invasion—that finally distinguishes Marrou’s 1949 position from the one he had taken in 1938. For an exactly contemporary attempt by a German scholar to rescue an ideal of (late) “Roman” (literary) culture for twentieth-century Europe, see Ernst Robert Curtius, Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter (Berne: A. Francke, 1948), with Peter Godman’s “Epilogue” to the latest reprinting of the English translation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).



envisaged as a realization of the theory outlined in the De doctrina Christiana, the writing of its history would require only confirmatory reference to that and other Augustinian texts. As soon as a division was made between the mainstream culture of the Theopolis and the marginal culture of the Desert, the putative “Augustinianism” of the Middle Ages became a more complex property. (How, as a matter of fact, were the * texts and prescriptions of a ruined Theopolis interpreted in the new monastic milieux of the West?)32 Whereas in 1938 Marrou had con­ cluded with an invitation to medievalists to recognize on every page of his thesis aspects of the civilization they already knew, in 1949 he was content to quote Possidius’ record of Augustine’s bequest of his literary works, posteris custodiendos semper, as if inviting others to begin where he left off.33 THE CIVILIZATION OF THE THEOPOLIS The credit for bringing the problem of the “civilization of the Theopolis” to the notice of British and American scholarly audiences is Momigliano’s. The latter had reached his conviction of the importance of Christianity for Roman history while still living in his native Italy, around the time Marrou was writing his Saint Augustin. In a talk given in America in 1959 and later printed as the introduction to the collection of Warburg Institute lectures which he edited under the title of The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth C e n t u r y Momigliano ob­ served that discussion of the “end” of ancient Graeco-Roman civilization had for many years been focused mainly on political, social and economic factors, to the virtual exclusion of the Christian religion. Recalling that Gibbon had regarded the rise of Christianity, or what he saw passing for Christianity, as a major cause of Rome’s decline and fall, he argued that the time had come to review this aspect of the question. “Of course,” he added, “it will not be a simple return to Gibbon. What Gibbon saw as a merely destructive power must be understood on its own terms of Civitas dei—a new commonwealth of men for men [sic]. 32. An issue recently addressed by another close reader of Marrou, in a book dedicated to Peter Brown: Robert Markus, The End o f Ancient Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 157ff. 33. Possidius, Vita Augustini 31.6. The invitation was implicitly renewed in his popular Saint Augustin et Vaugustinisme (Paris: Seuil, 1955 and later edns.). 34. The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century, ed. A. D. Momigliano (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963). The introductory essay is entitled “Christianity and the Decline of the Roman Empire.”

XI 392

Christianity produced a new style o f life, created new loyalties, gave people new ambitions and satisfactions.”33 The task for the modem historian, working with Gibbon’s tools but without his prejudices, would be to describe the impact and long-term consequences of such changes. It would require a certain disciplinary broadmindedness. In the recent past, historians of Christianity—Momigliano names Adolf von Hamack and Ernst Troeltsch—had allowed their theological instincts to get in the way when dealing with “the Church [as] a society competing with the society of the Roman empire,” while social and economic historians on the other hand—he names Michael Rostovtzeff and Henri Pirenne—had “remained unimpressed by theologians who talked or seemed to talk about the idea of the city of God” (ibid., emphasis added). The key to Momigliano’s thought here is in the word “seemed.” Understanding Christianity “on its own terms” did not mean taking those terms literally. Theological talk of the city of God could be referred to the history of human ideals, acts and institutions. “Civitas dei—a new commonwealth of men for men” was Momigliano’s inspired misreading of Augustine, for the sake of a new Late Roman history. The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity included a lecture by Marrou on Synesius of Cyrene as “a man of the Spatantike,” one of those for whom the Hellenistic-Roman devotion to literary-rhetorical and philosophical learning had become a “religion of Culture,”36 an exponent of the “civilization of the Theopolis” even before he converted

35. Ibid., 6 (emphasis in the original). A note refers the reader to statements of the same theme in Momigliano’s work as early as 1936. Under the influence of Croce, the young Momigliano had taken a strongly idealist, Hegelian view of the evolution of civilization. In a memoir of Momigliano, Peter Brown relates his early judgment on the work of Michael Rostovtzeff: “Led by his zest for the vividly documented achievements of the Greco-Roman bourgeoisie, Rostovtzeff had overlooked the deeper contradictions of the Roman Empire, which Hegel had understood-so well: the alienation which pined the individual against a universal Empire too wide to be loved would lead to the mass religious movement of the Christian Church. Rostovtzeff, Momigliano acutely noted, had no eye for such depths, and, for that reason, could not explain the final revolution associated with the triumph o f Christianity in the later Empire” (“Arnaldo Dante Momigliano 1908-1987,” Proceedings of the British Academy 74 [1988], 405-42 at 410, emphasis added; cf. 415-16 for a similar judgment on the work of Ronald Syme). See also Lellia Cracco Ruggini, “Arnaldo Momigliano e il tardoantico,” in Omaggio ad Arnaldo Momigliano: Storia e storiografia sul mondo antico, ed. L. Cracco Ruggini, Biblioteca d’Athenaeum, 11 (Como: New Press, 1989), 159-84. 36. H.-I. Marrou, “Synesius of Cyrene and Alexandrian Neoplatonism,” in The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity, 143; cf. his M OYCIKOC ANHP (above, n. 26), 255ff.



to Christianity.37 This paper on Synesius matched Marrou’s earlier work on Augustine and the classical tradition in its concentration on “culture” in the narrow sense. Without mentioning the French scholar by name, Momigliano was inviting students of the Later Roman Empire to complicate his kind of intellectual history by tackling the secular politics of the Theopolis. The challenge was promptly answered. The historian who would make “Late Antiquity” current in English seems to have used the phrase for the first time in print in a review of The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity. Writing in The Oxford Magazine, Brown noted how, in the lectures edited by Momigliano, “The character of the fourth century emerges clearly. We are still in ‘Late Antiquity.’ Men like Synesius and Ammianus Marcellinus (the bestdrawn portraits in the book [the latter by E. A. Thompson]) still share in the preoccupations of previous centuries: they had to decide to what extent they would expose themselves to the new religious ideals that had existed for a long time on the horizon of the classical tradition ”3i The pairing of “nouvelle religiosité” and classical paideia is as clearly Marrou’s as the horizontal language is Brown’s, and Marrou alone of all the lecturers had used the term Spàtantike or “Late Antiquity.” The English phrase appears without quotation marks in Peter Brown’s writings from 1967 onwards; his biography of Augustine yields the variants “Late” and “Later Antiquity,” though neither form is heavily marked there and “Late Roman” remains commoner than both. There is also a reassuring reference to the “profound change that we call ‘The End of the Ancient World and the Beginning of the Middle Ages’” (367). That locution would soon be a fossil. As early as 1961 Brown had published an article in the Journal o f Roman Studies in which he set out to address, “from a limited viewpoint, a problem in the interpretation of the religious history of the Later Roman Empire.”39 Between then and 37. “Henri-Irénée Marrou,” Brown recalls, “gave a magnetic evocation of the tension of Christianity and Neo-Platonism in the mind of Synesius of Cyrene, gesturing like a great bird in the upward light of the podium, as he spoke of the intellectual ascent of the soul to God” (article cited above, n. 35, at 426). 38. Brown, Religion and Society, 149, emphasis added. The review appeared in the issue of 16 May 1963. 39. “Aspects of the Christianization of the Roman Aristocracy,” Journal of Roman Studies 51 (1961): 1-11 at 2 (Religion and Society, 163). The previous sentence runs: “Thus a question has been posed acutely by the state of our present knowledge; what we have reconstructed is the coherence of the conservative elements in the Late Roman aristocracy; what we still need to explain is their gradual transformation in the tempora Christiana." The Latin phrase is Augustine’s, already made a term of modern historiographical art by Marrou.

XI 394

1971 he expanded his point of view to take in most of what we are now accustomed to think of as “The World of Late Antiquity.” The book of that title40 announced itself as “a study of social and cultural change,” an account of the processes by which “the Late Antique world came to differ from ‘classical’ civilization” (7). In his review of Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique the medieval historian and Annaliste Marc Bloch had criticized the author for neglecting “the social components of the problem of culture,” and Marrou had conceded the fault.41 Brown, by contrast, now brought “culture” and “society” so closely together as to leave scarcely any daylight in between. Where Marrou had described an intellectual “culture” and then asserted its solidarity with a larger “civilization,” whether of paideia or Theopolis, Brown presented a “civilization” in which “society” and “culture” were products of each other and “reli­ gion” an aspect of both. At the same time, he gave substance to Momigliano’s deliberate misreading of Augustine. Gibbon’s “awful revolution,” in which Christianity and the Roman Empire ruined each others was reconceived as a less calamitous, if no less momentous, “spiritual revolution” or, with a (slightly ironic?) bow to the Oxford ancient historian Sir Ronald Syme, as a “Late Roman revolution” in which Christian beliefs and aspirations were the catalysts of far-reaching social change.42 40. Peter Brown, The World o f Late Antiquity: From Marcus Aurelius to Muhammad (London: Thames and Hudson, 1971). In “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” 17, Brown recalls that the term “Late Antiquity” was then “relatively new” to him, and suggests that it may have been his publisher; Geoffrey Barraclough, who proposed using it in the title. 41. Annales d ’histoire sociale 1 (1939), 185: “L’attitude adoptée par M. Marrou devait le conduire, presque nécessairement, à laisser dans l’ombre à peu près totale l’action exercée sur la ‘culture’ d’une élite par les forces les plus générales de la vie de société.” Marrou’s response, while seemingly missing the point Bloch meant td make, introduces a theme of social mobility which was to be central to Brown’s early representation of Christian intellectuals in the later Roman Empire. In his Histoire de l’éducation, Marrou recalls, he had insisted on “le caractère foncièrement aristocratique de la culture antique”; however, “il faut tenir compte du fait qu’Augustin n’est pas né dans le milieu aristocratique. . . . Il a été . . . un parvenu de la culture. Cette culture, il l’a acquise, non sans effort. . . [et] cela explique qu’il ait pu jeter sur elle un regard neuf, objectif et critique” (“Retractatio,” 652-53, emphasis added). See now Brown, “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” 12-15, 26-29, and, for additional prosopography, Claude Lepelley, “Quelques parvenus de la culture de l’Afrique romaine tardive,” in De Tertullien aux Mozarabes: Mélanges offerts a Jacques Fontaine (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1992), 1.583-94. 42. Cf. the introduction to Religion and Society, 13, where Brown reacts to the traditional representation of the “Late Antique period” as “an age of other­



To put the matter thus abstractly is, however; already to miss an essential quality of Peter Brown’s historical writing.43 It is not the making and filling of conceptual categories—not even the (re)making of the category of “Late Antiquity,” for which no paraphrasable content is ever suggested—that gives The World o f Late Antiquity its evocative and explanatory power, but the author’s talent for finding language, imagery, and examples with which to spin a web of tightly interrelated narratives on such already familiar themes as “the new mood” in religious thought, the political crisis of the third century, or the cultural aspirations of the “the last Hellenes.” Central to the overall story of the book, implicitly answering (or at least beginning to answer) the call for a revision of Gibbon, is an account of the way in which “a world obscurely prepared among humble men . . . in little conventicles was able to come to the fore in the form of an organized Christian Church” (57). A “COCKNEY” RELIGION Early in The World o f Late Antiquity Brown discusses the place of education within the shifting social and moral structures of the fourth century. His first point is an abridgment of Marrou’s thesis on the mousikoi andres, those prospective citizens of the Theopolis for whom literary culture was already a religion. It is not surprising [he writes] that pagans and Christians fought so virulendy throughout the fourth century as to whether literature or Christianity was the true paideia, the true Education: for both sides expected to be saved by education. The man who had chiselled and polished himself like a statue through devotion to the ancient classics was the highest ideal. He is shown on his sarcophagus, gazing quietly at an open book— a “man of the Muses,” a saint of classical culture. Soon he will become a saint: the Christian bishop with his open Bible, the inspired Evangelist crouched over his page, are direct descendants of the Late Antique portrait of the man of letters. (32)

worldliness in which sheltered souls withdrew from the crumbling society around them, to seek another, a Heavenly, City.” It was not enough to substitute the notion of an age of the Theopolis for one of Roman decadence; one had also to acknowledge how extraordinarily productive that age had been by the standards of this world. Then follows the passage on the durability of late antique institutions which would catch Marrou’s eye (above, n. 22). 43. The quality which Alexander Murray (cited above, n. 3, at 202) aptly calls “poetic.”

XI 396

Contemporary images of the two kinds of “saint” appear on the facing page. A detail from a late Roman sarcophagus presents the late antique “man of culture—sitting in his teacher’s chair (prototype of the bishop’s cathedra), with a cupboard full of ancient scrolls of the classics,” while an eighth-century Evangelist-portrait exemplifies the “culture of scribes” which Marrou had set at the end of a long evolution of once-aristocratic ideals of paideia.44 For Brown, the transition from one type of book-centered sanctity to another is an index of Late Roman social mobility. His second point, which generalizes Marrou’s redescription of Augustine as un parvenu de la culture,*5 imparts a new dynamism to the politics of the Theopolis. In the later empire . . . one feels a sudden release of talent and creativity such as often follows the shaking of an ancien régime. A rising current of able men, less burdened by the prejudices of an aristocracy and eager to learn, maintained a tone of vigour and disquietude that distinguishes the intellectual climate of Late Antiquity from any other period of social history. Of the Fathers of the Church, for instance, only one— Ambrose— came from a senatorial family. The men who were able to leave their mark on the highest society of the empire had all of them made their way from obscure towns— Plotinus from Upper Egypt, Augustine from Thagaste, Jerome from a Stridon that he was glad to see the last of, and John Chrysostom from a clerk’s office in Antioch. Where would this fluidity end? (33)

Where would this fluidity end? Aside from its diegetical function at the end of a section, the question is meant to be subtly disruptive. According to Marrou in 1949, the culture represented preeminently by Augustine, the culture of the Theopolis, had no continuous existence in the West after 410, certainly none after 430. The new “scribal” culture of the Middle Ages drew its inspiration from the Desert. Augustine was still a creature of the City; however critical he might be, as an outside^ of the élite traditions of the paideia, his own style of intellectual life remained inextricably tied to them. While generations of scribes came after him, Possidius was right to claim that the bishop himself was “no mere scribe.” Brown’s less stately narrative springs over this generational gap, in West as in East, by showing how social structures were already loosening during the fourth-century pax Romana and how ideas nur­ tured “in the cities of the Mediterranean” (ibid.) could mutate in new environments—including those of the real or imagined desert. The 44. Above, n. 26. 45. Above, n. 41.



history of relations between Christianity and classical literary culture forms an essential part of the argument. “Christianity,” he writes, “was able to pass the classical culture of an élite to the average citizen of the Roman world.” For Christianity was an essentially “Cockney” religion. It had clung to the contours of urban life throughout the empire. It was “Cockney,” also, in assuming at least a minimal participation in literacy: the first thing an Egyptian peasant found himself being made to do, on joining a monastery, was learning to read—so as to understand the Bible.4*

The culture of the Theopolis, as Marrou had defined it, was high (or high-aspiring) bourgeois culture; in no sense could it be qualified as “Cockney.” By a simple, almost casual repetition of this unclassical epithet, and its simultaneous extension to a rural (or “desert”) monastic context, Brown decisively alters the sociology of the Spatantike. The alteration is clearly announced in his writings of the mid- to late 1960s. In an essay on “Christianity and Local Culture in Late Roman Africa,” Brown observes that “one of the distinctive features of Chris­ tianity in the ancient world as a whole, and in Africa in particular, [was] that it was a Religion of the Book.”47 He then considers the implications of that fact both for the uneducated populace and for the educated élite of Late Roman society. For the former, conversion from paganism to Christianity meant unlearning a native, oral “language” of culture in order to submit to “the uniformity of a written book.” The mediators of the new text-based culture would be educated men, but not necessarily men trained up in the classical paideia. The Bible dictated the terms of an alternative literacy. “[T]o participate fully in Late Roman Christianity, as a clergyman or a monk, inevitably involved suffering the fate which Irish legend ascribed to a convert of St. Patrick: ‘He baptised him and handed him the A.B.C. . . Already a generation before Patrick, an African writer had shown the way forward: “Behind Augustine’s vast ouptut in Hippo, we can sense the pressure of the need to extend this religious literacy as widely as possible” (emphasis added).48

46. Ibid., 93. 47. Journal o f Roman Studies 58 (1968): 85-95 at 89 (Religion and Society, 288f.). 48. See also William V. Harris, Ancient Literacy (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989), 319-20, partly critical of Brown’s position, with Vessey, “Literacy and Litteratura, a . d . 200-800,” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 13 (1992): 139-60 at 152; Robin Lane Fox, “Literacy and Power in Early Christianity,” in Literacy and Power in the Ancient World, ed. Alan K. Bowman and Greg Woolf (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 126-48. Cf. Brown, “The World of

XI 398

Footnotes at this point admiringly recall the chapters of MarroiTs Histoire de l’éducation on “Christianity and Classical Education" and “The Appearance of Christian Schools of the Medieval Type.” But there is a salient difference of narrative line. The first of those chapters described a Christian-classical culture sans avenir in the West, at least in the immediately succeeding centuries,49 while the second began afresh with the history of a Christian-monastic culture whose origins lay in the Egyptian desert in the time of Pachomius and which would eventually culminate in the medieval “culture of scribes. ”50 Marrou’s narrative is thus one of substantial cultural ¿«continuity. Although he could not deny Augustine a role in the propagation of Christian literacy of the monastic kind, he was in no hurry to cast him as an influential theorist of the same. Nor was he interested in presenting the bishop’s use of a simple style in his sermons and certain of his other works (semto humilis) as a historically significant innovation in Christian pedagogy.51 Late Antiquity Revisited,” 25, identifying “the relation between monotheism, literacy and the status of sacred texts” as “a truly crucial aspect of the period . . . barely touched upon in The World o f Late A ntiquity” 49. Histoire de l’éducation, 434: The great bishops of the fourth and fifth centuries “ont pu réaliser pour eux-mêmes un type remarquable de culture chrétienne, le répandre autour d’eux par l’exemple et la prédication, en faire même la théorie, comme c’est le cas pour saint Augustin, en définir les objectifs, les cadres et les méthodes: ils n’ont pas cherché à l’établir sur un système d’éducation approprié. Formés eux-mêmes dans l’école classique, dont ils mesuraient parfaitement les lacunes et les dangers, ils trouvaient naturel de s’en accommoder.” A note refers to the author’s 1938 thesis for discussion of Augustine “comme théoricien d’une culture chrétienne.” The force of the indefinite articles (“un type de culture chrétienne,” “une culture chrétienne”) should not be missed; for all his efforts to avoid dichotomies in the 1949 “Retractatio,” Marrou’s history of the western Spàtantike remained a tale of two cultures, one of which (Theopolitan, aristocratic, philosophical and/or literaryrhetorical) gave way under the shock of barbarian invasion to another (eremitic, demotic, “scribal”). 50. Ibid., 435: “Dès le IVe siècle, nous voyons . . . apparaître un type d’école chrétienne, tout entière ordonnée à la vie religieuse et qui n’a plus rien d'antique___ Il s’agit de l’école monastique” (emphasis added). 51. But note Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique, 539, balancing Augustine’s “profonde fidélité d’un lettré . . . aux cadres de la latinité classique” with “ce sentiment, si remarquable et si vivant chez lui, du respect pour le simple peuple des fidèles, fussent-ils illettrés, en opposition avec le caractère si hautainement aristocratique de la culture antique.” While perfectly cognizant of the latter tendency, Marrou never attempted to follow its implications for the subsequent history of Christian literary culture in the West. Cf. Erich Auerbach, Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, trans. Ralph Manheim (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), 27-66 (“Sermo Humilis”); Michel Banniard, Viva voce: Communication écrite et communication orale du IVe au IXe siècle (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1992).



Like Momigliano’s view of the Christianization of the Roman Empire, Marrou’s view of late antique Christian culture remained “essentially ‘aristocratic.’”52 As a critic of Augustine’s literary style, he attached himself by preference to the great writerly chefs-d’oeuvre; the Confes­ sions, On the Trinity, the City o f God.5i Brown’s contrasting emphasis on the popular quality of the bishop’s “vast output in Hippo” reconverts a portion of his literary legacy into the experience of those who “had been able to see and hear him as he spoke in church” (Possidius), encouraging us to envisage a Christian culture that would transcend— from below, as it were—the late classical cult of letters which Marrou had made a defining feature of the civilization of the Theopolis.54 The same silent refiguring of the Christian culture of Late Antiquity can be discerned in Chapter 23 of Brown’s Augustine, entitled “Doctrina Christiana.” From the first footnote, the discussion unfolds under Marrou’s benevolent gaze. Augustine is “a Late Roman man of letters to the core” (259), shaped by cultural traditions as “massive and [appar­ ently] irremovable as the foothills of the Himalayas” (264), one who took the Bible as “the basis of a ‘Christian culture,’ a doctrina Christiana” by analogy with the poetry of Vergil (263). Nonetheless, the book we read under that title “is one of the most original [he] ever wrote” (264). Marrou, too, had claimed a high degree of originality for the De doctrina christiana, proclaiming it in 1938 the “founding charter of a Christian culture,” an assessment which he never revised. Brown takes a different tack. For him the originality of the book lies less in its radical adjustment of the ancient paideia to Christian ideals than in its radical revaluation of ancient “culture” as a whole. Whereas Marrou had discarded the theoretical assumptions on which Augustine launches his review of human disciplinary knowledge,55 Brown fastens on them in

52. Brown, Religion and Society, 148. 53. Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique, 61ff. (“Saint Augustin compose mal”!); “Retractatio,” 665ff. 54. In his 1968 article, Brown also cites the work of Marrou’s pupil Pierre Riché, Éducation et culture dans l’Occident barbare, 6e-8e siècle, 2nd edn. (Paris: Seuil, 1962), at 133-34. The reference is to a paragraph on the “Evangelization of the urban and rural masses” which draws mainly on early sixth-century texts to complete a tableau of Christian “Opposition to classical culture.” The following section (“A uniquely religious culture”) resumes Marrou’s thesis on the rise of monastic culture. 55. Augustine, De doctrina christiana 2.19.29: “Duo sunt genera doctrinarian, quae in gentilibus etaim moribus exercentur, unam earum rerum quas instituerunt homines, alteram earum quas animadverterunt iam peractas aut divinitus institutas. Illud quod est secundum institutiones hominum, partim superstitiosum est, partim non est. . . .”

XI 400

all their startling modernity. Because Augustine recognized “that culture was the product of society,” he was able to relegate pagan religion to the status of an “‘agreed language’ between men and demons.” Once this area of social practice had been ruled out of bounds, what remained of the class of “things humanly instituted” was of no religious importance. “Thus, at a stroke, much of classical literature, and indeed the habits o f a whole society, were secularized” (266, emphasis added).“ Thus, at a stroke, Brown recaptures the depth and breadth of Augustine’s vision of human life. Classical “culture” is no longer orientated exclusively on the study of classical texts, as it had been in Marrou’s view of the civilization of the paideia. Instead it comprises the whole range of signifying practices constitutive of a society. The point is clinched by a cross-reference to a letter in which Augustine condones the wearing of earrings, one of the subclasses of social signifier deemed “necessary and convenient” in the De doctrina Christiana. Then, without pausing, Brown opens the discussion in two directions at once. He looks forward in Augustine’s texts to the City o f God, where the bishop would use his new cultural awareness to “judge the Empiré on its merits as a purely human institution.” And he looks outward to his social milieu: “Behind this change in Augustine’s attitude to culture, there lies the change in his own quality of life. Immensely sensitive to environment and to human contact, he now moved among men, many o f whom were entirely uneducated. In a sense, he had ‘come home’” (266, emphasis added). The whole manoeuver, which takes barely three paragraphs, is typical of the historiographic effects worked in Augustine o f Hippo. Without sacrificing any of Marrou’s verifiable insights, Brown has wound the grey thread of his intellectual history back into the skein of Augustine’s texts and experience, and drawn it out again polychrome. The tendency of Brown’s revision of Marrou’s (revised) thesis o f '1949 should now be plain. His Augustine is to be spared the distinction of representing an ideal of Christian culture that was still, for all its religious radicalism, too aristocratic and classical to survive the shock of the barbarian invasions. Augustine’s “homecoming,” Brown implies, almost took the form of an anti -paideia. “His education . . . had only been half of him. Not all members of his family had been educated. Furthermore, in the monastery at Hippo, he had created an environment in which uneducated men were the equals of the sophisticated: Possidius,

56. Brown here develops Marrou’s thinking on the Augustinian concept of the saeculum (above, n. 20).



for instance, was ‘fed on the good bread of the Lord’, quite innocent of the Liberal Arts” (ibid.) The instance is a telling one, since it was Possidius who insisted on preferring Augustine’s company in life, his conversation to the library of Christian instruction he had left behind him at his death. Yet it is not altogether free of ambiguity. For it was the same Possidius who catalogued that library’s contents, executing the bequest (posteris custodiendos semper) which we found quoted at the end of Marrou’s “Retractatio.” Returning to this complex legacy in a little book entitled St Augustin et I’augustinisme,57 Marrou had illustrated his first page of text with the same portrait from a sixth-century Roman fresco that would later appear on the front cover of Augustine o f Hippo, and, as if anticipating a younger scholar’s rereading of Book Two of the De doctrina Christiana, devoted a brief commentary on the image to Roman codes of dress, in which he pointed out that the figure in the portrait was already wearing the closely cut tunic of the later Roman period.58 Brown, for his part, at first follows the younger Marrou, emphasizing the more traditional aspect of the subject’s deportment. “As he sat as a bishop on his cathedra with a book open across his knees,” he writes at the beginning of Chapter 23, “Augustine would have found himself in a position not very different from that to which he had been accustomed in his previous career. He was once again a teacher, expounding a venerated text. In the first surviving portrait of him, we see him sitting, a typical educated man o f his age, his eyes fixed on a book” (259, emphasis added). The inscription beneath the fresco emphasizes Augustine’s eloquence as an expositor of the divine word: HIC OMNIA DIXIT ROMANO ELOQVIO / MYSTICA [SJSENSA TONANS.59 Borrowing the accents of Marrou again, Brown comments: “We cannot help noticing the extent to which the ‘Divine eloquence’ of God is the eloquence of a Late Roman writer. For no one else would have made such a cult of veiling his meaning. Such a man lived among fellow-connoisseurs, who had been steeped too long in too few books.” Despite its innovativeness, the De doctrina Christiana

57. Above, n. 33. 58. St Augustin et ¡’augustinisme, 5; cf. 154. 59. Giuseppe Wilpert, “Il più antico ritratto di s. Agostino,” in Miscellanea Agostiniana, voi. 2 (Rome: Tipografìa Poliglotta Vaticana, 1931), 1-3. Marrou’s (and Brown’s) view of Augustine as a new-style “man of letters” is now restated by Frances M. Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation o f Christian Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 270-77.

XI 402

remained unmistakably a product of that milieu. “[The biblical text] alone, could become the centre of a whole auxiliary literature. In an age when culture was thought o f exclusively in terms o f the understanding o f a classical text, the Bible was nothing less than the basis of a ‘Christian culture’” (263, emphasis added). Augustine manifestly believed as much. Even if we lacked the confirmatory analyses of Marrou and others, his literary oeuvre would be there to prove it. Hence when Brown goes on to argue that, by adopting an alternative or “modern” conception of culture in the De doctrina Christiana, Augustine succeeded in “cut[ting] for ever, in [his] own mind at least, the Gordian knot that had bound him to his past education” (264), we may be forgiven for wondering whether the biographer has not caught (or put) his subject in two minds at once. How can a single treatise attest both its writer’s subjection to an inherited literary culture and his emancipation from it? And why, if Augustine’s “homecoming” is culturally as well as biographically signifi­ cant, does the first surviving portrait of him present him so clearly—on Brown’s interpretation, as well as Marrou’s—in the guise of a lettré de la décadence? These potential contradictions, which the fluency of the chapter on “Doctrina Christiana” cannot entirely conceal, are symptom­ atic of a larger tension in the book as a whole. Deeply sympathetic as he was to Marrou’s vision of Augustine as a “‘late antique man,’ confidently embedded in a late, late classical tradition in its final, Christian form,”60 the author of Augustine o f Hippo was anxious not to be cramped by it. For good reasons, we may now think. Marrou’s partially retractated “Augustine” could help inspire a historian of Christianity and the Late Roman Empire to question the categories that had shaped previous treatments of those subjects. It made possible a fresh assault on “Gibbon’s problem.” But it also brought With it certain liabilities, notably a classicist’s undertstandable weakness for the intellectual life of the élite and—its corollary in this case—a view of the Spàtantike which distinguished so sharply between the last exponents of the aristocratic paideia and their monastic, “medieval” successors as virtually to detach the cultural history of the fifth and later centuries in the West from its antecedents. Without drawing attention to these shortcomings, Peter Brown’s work on Augustine and “The World of Late Antiquity” in the 1960s deftly mitigates their effects. We have noted, in particular, how his own narratives tend to collapse Marrou’s division between an essentially conservative, bourgeois-aristocratic “culture of 60. Above, n. 19.



the Theopolis” and a newer, more demotic “culture of the desert.”“ And we have seen how, at every turn, he expands the French scholar’s intellectualized, text-centered approach to Late Antiquity, to write a cultural history at once broader in social compass and far richer in narrative color and variety. Brown himself supplies a phrase with which to capture the difference between these two historiographic styles. Shortly before developing a “characteristically warm image” of Marrou’s in The Making o f Late Antiquity, he remarks that “[t]he historian of Late Antiquity who wishes to turn philologist and to live among texts will soon find that there is nothing new under the sun” (7).62 Where Brown and Marrou finally part company as guides to the world of Late Antiquity is in their manner of “living among texts.” THE SAINT AS EXEMPLAR: MAKING PERSONS INTO CLASSICS By tracing the profile of those late antique men of the Muses in the contours of their own sarcophagi, Marrou had rendered a particular notion of culture “more concrete and more real” to the modern reader.63 When Brown, in his chapter on “Doctrina Christiana” in Augustine o f Hippo, raises the possibility that the text of the Bible, like the texts of Homer or Vergil, “could form a man for all he needed in this life” (263), he alludes to an ideal of Vhomme total that was at the heart of the civilization of the paideia. The same ideal is expressed in more plastic terms in his definition of the “man of culture” as one “who had chiselled and polished himself like a statue through devotion to the ancient classics.”64 The image of self-sculpting is Plotinus’, and Marrou had given it prominence: 61. Cf. Brown, “The World of Late Antiquity Revisited,” 29: “The spreading of a form of classical culture by the Christian church appeared to me, in the 1960s, to be part of a process of the ‘democratization of culture’ [Santo Mazzarino], which struck me as a central feature of late antique civilization as a whole.” Now, he writes (in 1997), “I no longer regard Christianity as the principal agent in the diffusion of a more adaptable form of classical culture to previously marginal groups and regions.” In other words, the relation between Marrou’s “culture of the Theopolis” and its successor states needs to be rethought (again). 62. I take this statement as both admonition and caution. The historian of Late Antiquity should be philologist enough to recognize the “lateness” of the culture chosen for study (cf. Society and the Holy, 93: “Late Antiquity is always later than we think”), without allowing his or her instinct for the “classical” to obscure the supratextual reality of historical change. 63. Marrou, MOYC1KOC ANHP (above, n. 26), 299. 64. Above, 395.

XI 404

(This] idea underlies the whole of Hellenistic thought. To make oneself; to produce from the original childish material, and from the imperfecdy formed creature one may so easily remain, the man who is fully a man, whose ideal proportions one can just perceive: such is every man’s lifework, the one task worthy of a lifetime’s devotion.65 The “idea” of such a moral-aesthetic perfection was precisely that, an ideal Form which was only ever partially matched in reality, and which institutional developments from Hellenistic times onward made progres­ sively harder for individuals to attain.66 As Marrou presents it, the Hellenistic concern with formalized school-study of literary texts already marked a departure from the originally “aristocratic” paideia with its focus on athletic, musical, and artistic accomplishments and the emo­ tional bond between master and pupil. This bookish and scholastic tendency would eventually culminate in the technical, “scribal” educa­ tion of the early Middle Ages, but not before the ancient ideal had enjoyed a late florescence in the “religion of culture” reflected in texts and monuments of the Imperial era and elsewhere aligned by Marrou with the “culture of the Theopolis.”67 In the lectures published as Power and Persuasion: Towards a Christian Empire (1992), Brown has taken Marrou’s account of the late classical paideia as one of the startingpoints for his fullest assault, to date, on “Gibbon’s problem.” An important part of the preparation for that work is laid in an article of the early 1980s, which refers in turn to his earlier study of the late antique holy man. The genre of biography, suggested Momigliano, had enabled the Greeks and Romans “to appreciate what constitute[d] a poet, philoso­ pher, a martyr, a saint.”68 In his 1971 essay on “The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity,”69 Brown looked past the hagiographer 65. A History o f Education in Antiquity, trans. G. Lamb (London: Sheed and Ward, 1956), 98; cf. 44, quoting Plotinus, Enneads 1.6.9: “Be always at work carving your own statue.” 66. Ibid., 95ff. (“The Civilization of the ‘Paideia’”) and the Conclusion to Part Two (“Classical Humanism”). 67. With the texts cited above, nn. 26, 30, 49, see also History of Education, 100101. In this context Marrou refers in passing to “the civilization of the City of God— the THEOPOLIS, i.e. the Christian civilization that covers the late Roman Empire from Constantine’s time onwards and the Western and Byzantine Middle Ages” (100, emphasis added). In his “Retractatio” of 1949, however, he seems to set an earlier lower limit to the culture of the Theopolis in the West, dictated by the barbarian invasions (above, n. 31). 68. Above, n. 13. 69. Journal o f Roman Studies 61 (1971): 80-101, cited here in its revised reprinting in Society and the Holy, 103-52. As the headnote records, Brown first read



and his texts to the sociology of that appreciation. The proceeding is glossed near the beginning of The Making o f Late Antiquity, where he places hagiography in the context of a general late ancient preference for “literary portraiture in the form of biography and autobiography,” and gestures to the portraits of philosophers. “Such works,” he writes, “are the product of milieux that expected the values of a religion, of a learned tradition, or of a culture to be summed up and made operative among men in outstanding individuals” (14). Once this point is granted, the historian can legitimately fix his gaze on the type of individual the texts represent, without being detained too long, if at all, by questions about the literary mode of representation. Brown’s saint of 1971 quickly steps clear of the tangle of hagiographic texts and traditions studied by the Bollandists and their philological coadjutors.70 It is the holy man himself, not his ancient biographer, who fashions the figure required by his cultural milieu: What men needed . . . in the later Empire was the acting out of clearly defined roles by figures with a function in society. The portraiture of the age shows that a philosopher had to be seen to be a philosopher. In this ritual of self-definition, the holy man led the field. (135)

To corroborate his vision of the holy man as living statue or selfportrait, Brown improvises on the theme of Plotinus that Marrou had already orchestrated in another context. The late antique holy man, in this account, owed his ascendancy to a decline of public faith in more traditional or institutional forms of access to the supernatural. But how

this paper at Momigliano’s seminar at the Warburg Institute in London, on 3 March 1970. For the date and setting, see Michael H. Crawford, “L’insegnamento di Amaldo Momigliano in Gran Bretagna,” in Omaggio ad Amaldo Momigliano (above, n. 35), 36, and, for a reassessment of Brown’s work on the late antique Holy Man, a volume of essays edited by Paul Hayward and James Howard-Johnston, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. 70. Cf. Brown, Authority and the Sacred: Aspects o f the Christianisation of the Roman World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 57ff. (“Arbiters of the Holy: The Christian Holy Man in Late Antiquity”), and the partly parallel treatment in “Arbiters of Ambiguity: A Role of the Late Antique Holy Man,” Cassiodorus 2 (1996): 123-42. Brown writes: “On looking back, I think that, in 1 9 7 1 ,1 had been content to see the [holy man] in close up, as it were. In so doing, I was following almost too closely the grain of our principal sources (on which I worked most intensely at the time)—the vivid Lives of individual holy men, usually written, by their disciples, after their death” (Authority and the Sacred, 59). As in his Augustine, it is Brown’s ability—first as reader, then as writer—to put himself in the place of the ancient biographer that partly accounts for the vividness of his own narrative and concomitant eclipse of the “original.”

XI 406

could any individual set himself sufficiently apart from the ordinary run of mortals to perform this mediating function? Brown’s answer: by a kind of monumental art, not unlike that which placed the mousikos aner on his tomb. It is perhaps one of the most faithful indications of the whole style o f late Roman society that the objectivity that men so desperately needed was less often vested in impersonal institutions, such as the oracle site, or in depersonalized figures, such as the possessed medium, but was only thought acceptable in a man who could be closely observed to be in the act o f forging total dissociation in himself, by hammering it out like cold metalwork, from a lifetime o f asceticism. (135-36, emphasis added)

L’homme, c’est le style. To the extent that the holy man defined a “whole style of late Roman society,” he could be said to define Late Antiquity itself. Appeals to the durability of post-classical institutions, picked up by Marrou and his publishers in time for Décadence romaine ou antiquité tardivef,71 are already qualified in 1971 by a stress on the role of the individual subject of biography and portraiture. Brown concludes: The predominance o f the holy man, therefore, marked out Late A ntiquity as a distinct phase o f religious history. The classical period conjures up the image of a great temple; the Middle Ages, of a Gothic cathdral. In between, it is the portraits that strike the imagination, the icons of the holy men, the austere features of the philosophers, the ranks of staring faces in frescoes and mosaics. For some centuries, the locus of the supernatural was thought of as resting on individual men. (151, emphasis added)

The implications of this last statement were to be pursued in The Making o f Late Antiquity. In an important sense, however, modem “Late Antiquity” was remade in 1971, in the historian’s fashioning ojf an individual-type that could stand for an age: the type of the holy man, ascetic counterpart, by virtue of his “total” dissociation, of that elusive ideal of personal and social wholeness, the exemplary man of the classical paideia.72 The character of Brown’s holy man as historiographic and disciplinary construct appears more clearly still in his 1983 essay, “The Saint as Exemplar in Late Antiquity.”73 Adapting a phrase from a recent review of another writer’s work, he begins by making a broad application of the

71. Above, n. 18. 72. Cf. Marrou, History o f Education, 219ff. 73. Representations 1.2 (1983): 1-25.



principles of classical humanism. For pagans, Jews, and Christians alike in Late Antiquity, he writes, “a literary tradition existed for the sole purpose of ‘making [persons] into classics’: exposure to the classics of Greek and Latin literature was intended to produce exemplary beings, their raw humanity molded and filed away by a double discipline, at once ethical and aesthetic” (1). A note refers us in the first instance to a description by A. J. Festugiere of “the paideia which formed a man en tant qu’hotnme, at least in bourgeois circles” in a typical late antique milieu, namely late fourth-century Antioch.74 It is another eloquent citation. Festugiere’s book, subtitled “Libanius, Chrysostom and the Monks of Syria,” consisted of a series of philologically minute casestudies in the problem raised by Marrou’s “Retractatio” and schemati­ cally treated by the same author in the final chapters of his History o f Education: the problem of the relation between classical (or civic) and monastic (or eremitic) cultures in Late Antiquity.75 In his 1971 article, Brown had carefully situated the holy men of Syria in a geographical zone beween desert and city.76 Now, a decade later, he will find a way of assimilating the social forms of the paideia to those of the most rigorous asceticism. “We find ourselves,” he continues, “in a world whose central elites were held together by what Henri-Irenee Marrou has brilliantly characterised as ‘The Civilization of the Paideia.’ The Greco-Roman world, in which the saints later appeared, was a civilization of paideia in the same way as our own is a civilization of advanced technology” (1, emphasis added). For Marrou, a culture of technology was the exact antithesis of classical humanism. Where the latter made each person a work of art and ensured the open conversation of human beings united by the logos, the former turned men themselves into tools and confined

74. A. J. Festugière, Antioche païenne et chrétienne, Bibliothèque des Écoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, 194 (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1959), 211-25 at 215. The chapter is entitled “Paidéia grecque et éducation chrétienne.” 75. As resumed by Festugière, this is ultimately “le problème du collège chrétien” (405). Given the perceived moral déficiences of the classical paideia, what was the proper form of a Christian education? Between the worldliness of a Libanius and the inhumanity of the Syrian monks yawned a chasm which the monk-bishop Chrysostom was powerless to bridge; there was no room here for that mediating “culture of the Theopolis” imagined by Marrou. For a learned Dominican like Festugière the values of early western (“proto-Benedictine”) monasticism are naturally more attractive than those of Chrysostom and the athletes of the Syrian desert; see, e.g., Antioche païenne et chrétienne, 212, 240. 76. “The Rise and Function of the Holy Man,” 11 If.

XI 408

them in their specialities.77 These considerations help explain the French scholar’s lack of enthusiasm for the instrumental literacy and “scribal” culture of the early Middle Ages in the West, and his nostalgia for the higher literary and philosophical ideals of a hypothetical “culture of the Theopolis.” Brown, who never adopted that particular coinage, had begun as early as the mid-1960s to elide the distinction which it upheld, associating Augustine with the emergence of pragmatic forms of Chris­ tian literacy and postulating—if not demonstrating—a direct line of descent between the mousikoi andres or “saints” of classical culture and the writing Evangelist-figures of the Middle Ages.78 These initial adjust­ ments to Marrou’s narrative of cultural metamorphosis were made with respect to the situation in the West. On turning to the East in his 1971 article, Brown was able to set issues of literacy and literary culture firmly to one side, to concentrate on the figure of the Syrian holy man as a living work of monumental art. Apart from the echoes of Plotinus noted above, there is little in that article to remind us directly of the civilization of the paideia. Its Symeon the Stylite, like Festugière’s, stands at the opposite pole to the literary-rhetorical culture of a Libanius. All the more remarkable, given these precedents, is Brown’s appeal to “classical” values in 1983. How could an appreciation of late classical humanism help explain the rise of the Christian saints? “The Saint as Exemplar” opens with a bid to rescue the culture of the paideia in its later phases from the condescension of modern readers, including historians of Late Antiquity, who might be tempted to regard it—as Marrou had in 1938, and as Brown himself was still inclined to in 1967—as the province of men “steeped too long in too few books.”79 Where Festugière, mounting a similar defence, had cited Plato alongside Libanius,80 Brown’s points of reference are scrupulously late antique. Yet he succeeds in imparting a vision of humanist pedagogy and practice that concedes nothing in warmth or vibrancy to Marrou’s evocation of the original Hellenic ideal. This is a culture in which the personal attachment of master and pupil is still intensely felt,81 where the exacting ethics of 77. History o f Education, 222-25. 78. Above, n. 44. Though commonplace in art- and book-historical accounts of the “author”-portrait between classical antiquity and the Renaissance, this genealogy turns out, on closer scrutiny, to be problematic. I shall return to it in a separate study. 79. Brown, Augustine, 259, cited above, 401. 80. Antiocbe païenne et chrétienne, 223-24. 81. “Intensive male bonding between the generations lay at the heart of the ‘Civilization of Paideia.' No student ever went, as we do, to a university conceived of as an impersonal institution—to ‘Cal,’ to ‘the G. T. U.’ (How much these abbrevia­



the logos determine how a man “related to and spoke with others both in face-to-face situations and in his correspondence and literary produc­ tion,” and whose goal remains the production of “perfect” men of a certain type, “the human equivalent of industrial diamonds” (4). It is against the background of such a massively stable, centuries-old “moral landscape,” Brown suggests, that we should envisage the appearance of the Christian saint. In a world where the disciplines of élite grooming and deportment already disposed men to place their faith in “vivid persons as objects of a personal loyalty and imitation” (3), the Christian holy man had a special claim to attention; for he was the representative of Christ, “the Exemplar of all exemplars” (6). Imitation, representation, exemplarity. The journal which published “The Saint as Exemplar” in its second issue, Representations, itself represented a loose coalition of literary critics and others interested in a new analysis of mimetic relations (literary, textual or discursive, accord­ ing to the cut of one’s post-structuralism) and of their role in shaping societies or cultures. By vesting the repraesentatio Christi, as he called it, in the “vivid person” of the late antique holy man, Brown circumvented one of the main challenges posed by such a “New Historicism” or “Cultural Poetics,” that of theorizing the interactions of text and society. In 1971 he had been able to take the textual presence of the holy man for granted; generations of philologists had labored over the Lives o f the Saints—it was time for a social historian to see what could be made of them. By 1983 his hagiology is even freer of the constraints of the hagiographie. Now the “idea of the holy man as Christ made accessible” (10) acquires an almost transcendent quality, virtually independent of discourse, in any case supratextual. It does so, in the first place, by assimilation to a skillfully repristinated version of the classical paideia in which, as if by a reversal of Marrou’s narrative of creeping technicity, the material and institutional encumbrances of advanced literacy gradually disappear^ leaving master and disciple in a state of pure, unmediated “personal” communion.82 It is time to make a pause and to measure the distance we have traveled in this partial disciplinary history. In a first, tentative recasting

tions speak of our desire to treat learning as a studiously impersonal process!) He would always have gone to a person—to Libanius, to Origen, to Produs” (2). 82. Cf. Society and the Holy, 92: “The ars artium of Late Antique studies consists in avoiding premature judgment as to the ‘unreality’ of the classical tradition as it was used by Late Antique men.” The next paragraph, which anticipates the argument

XI 410

of Marrou’s narrative of the Theopolis, devised among adepts of the chilly Oxford school of Literae Humaniores, Peter Brown had had Augustine “come home” to a milieu in which men were able communi­ cate without the detours imposed by classical literary-rhetorical culture, even if the Christian bishop could never entirely shed the mantle of a lettré de la décadence in which another historian had draped him. A decade and a half later; recently expatriated to the warmer (if no less neo­ classical) surroundings of Berkeley, California, he was ready to make a bolder claim. On nearer acquaintance, “Late Antiquity” was turning out to be an age in which the most ancient ideals of the classical paideia were simultaneously engrossed and superseded by a new technology for the making of men. “How, in practice,” asks Brown, “did the Late Antique saint both fulfil in the eyes of others, and internalize in himself” the roles now attributable to him? In the course of the next few sentences, if not before, the sympathetic reader will feel that he or she has finally escaped the confines of the room once imagined for Possidius. Let us begin with the holy man at his most particular, as the particular disciple of a particular master. Let us take as our starting point a marble plaque discovered in the ruins of a little church in central Anatolia. It is an inscription set up by a certain Lucianus, the disciple of none other than the great martyr; Saint Lucian of Antioch.

(The inscription follows.) Such language [Brown comments] enables us to sense something of the vigor of the early phases of the ascetic movement of the fourth century. In

made in the opening section of “The Saint as Exemplar” has a revealing footnote: “In this context, one cannot cite too often the wise remarks on Hellenistic and Late Antique culture by H. I. Marrou, A History o f Education in Antiquity, [161]: ‘It is a mistake to say, as is often said by its detractors, that it was ‘born with its head back to front,’ looking back to the past. It is not autumnal, tormented with nostalgic regrets for a vanished spring. On the contrary, it looks upon itself as firmly established in an unchanging present, in the full blaze of a hot summer’s sun. It knows what mighty resources it possesses, what past masters it has had. The fact that these appeared at certain moments of time, under the influence of certain historical forces, is unimportant. What matters is that they exist and can be re-discovered in the same way, again and again, by each successive generation, can be recognized and admired and imitated. A classical culture can be defined as a unified collection o f great masterpieces existing as the recognized basis o f its scale o f values." Brown omits the passage italicized, obscuring the fact that Marrou is speaking of the textual imitation of canonical models, i.e., of the relation of exemplarity evoked by Horace’s injunction to aspiring poets: “exemplaria Graeca / nocturna versate manu, versate diuma” (Ars poetica, w . 269-70). The existential reality of the classical tradition is thus secured, in Brown’s account, at the cost of the material reality of its literary media.



this movement, the intensity o f the master-pupil relationship, that had ensured the continuity and the characteristics of the “Civilization of Paideia , ” had been heightened to such an extent that literacy itself, both the medium and the raison d ’etre of traditional paideia, was vaporized in the intensity of face to face loyalty. Direct force o f example was what mattered most; and the “Imitation of Christ,” not mediated by any text or visual aid, was the logical extension to the divine Master of the tangible, almost preverbal adherence of the human pupil to his human model. (15-16)

Lucianus the holy, “men of historian passing.

and Possidius were both, in their subordinate ways, writers of “scribes instructed unto the kingdom of God” if no longer the Muses.” It is a measure of Peter Brown’s powers as an of Late Antiquity that, reading him, we scarcely mark their

XII Erasmus’ Jerome: The Publishing of a Christian Author *

Assimilation or Construction? Representing a Literary Relationship

In the Seventh-Annual Birthday Lecture a few years ago, John C. Olin of­ fered us the fruits of his long reflection on Erasmus and Saint Jerome. After documenting the Dutchman’s reliance on his patristic precursor as a model of Christian humanism and theological method, Olin concluded with a state­ ment of the broader significance of this special relationship: “The affinity between the two great scholars,” he wrote, “is a classic example of that revi­ val of antiquity—that return to the sources—we associate so basically with the Renaissance. The bond is a witness of a ‘discovery’ but also of an assimila­ tion. . . To most students of Erasmus this assessment would have seemed both just and sufficient. For confirmation of it we had only to await publication of Volume 61 of the Collected Works of Erasmus, allotted to the edition of Jerome. That volume duly appeared in the summer of 1992, edited by Olin and James F. Brady.2 Here at last was Erasmus’ Jerome, Life and Letters to­ gether, republished for the first time since the sixteenth century, “albeit only in selected parts and on a very reduced scale.”3 With these definitively Erasmian texts once more readily accessible, readers of the English Eras­ mus could look forward serenely to a second harvest of patristic material in Vol­ ume 62, curious to see what other affinities and assimilations might therein be revealed.4

' “Erasmus and Saint Jerome: The Close Bond and Its Significance,” Erasmus of Rotterdam So­ ciety Yearbook 7 (1987): 33-53, now largely reproduced in CWE 61 (see also Erasmus of Rotterdam: The Man and the Scholar, ed. Jan Spema Wieland and Willem Th. M. Frijhoff [Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1988], 182-86, for an excerpt). Earlier studies by Olin of Erasmus and Jerome appeared in Thought 54 (1979): 313-21, and ActaConventus Neo-Latini Sanctandreani, ed. 1. D. McFarlane (Bingham­ ton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1986), 269-74. 2Patristic Scholarship: The Edition of St Jerome (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), cited hereafter as CWE 61. 3CWE 61 :xi. For the contents of this volume, see below. 4Other contributions to the modem scholarship on Erasmus and Jerome are listed by Brady and Olin in the notes to the introduction of CWE 61. After Wallace K. Ferguson’s edition of the Hieronymi Stridonensis Vita in the Erasmi Opuscula (The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1933), the first serious approach to this topic was made by a patristic scholar and Jerome specialist: Denys Gorce,


So one might have predicted—incorrectly, as it turns out. The present essay should have been a review of CWE 61. In a certain sense, I hope, it may still serve that purpose. At the same time, and at the cost of a few more pages of the Yearbook,5 I want to address some of the issues raised by Lisa Jardine’s searching study of Erasmus, Man of Letters, published less than a year after the Brady-Olin volume, which presents a major challenge to the prior consensus regarding Erasmus’ Jerome.6 Drawing partly on my own research into patristic models of literary activity and their influence,7 1 shall put forward a view of the relations between the Opera Hieronymi and Opera Erasmi which, while consistent with Jardine’s in its emphasis on strategies of publication, is also compatible with the more traditional interpretation upheld by Olin, Brady, and others. Even as Olin’s lecture went into print in 1987, scholars of Renaissance humanism were reacting to a radically new account of their traditional subject-matter.8 The joint work of Jardine and Anthony Grafton, From Hu­ manism to the Humanities pointed to a deep and lasting inconsequence in the educational enterprise of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century European human­ ists. It was an inconsequence manifesting itself in a set of correlated discrep­ ancies: between cultural aspiration and social convenience, pedagogical the­ ory and classroom practice, the faith in literary study as a path to virtue and the fact of a literary training that made a few men (and fewer women) eloquent without demonstrably making them good. It was, in short, the gap between an ancient ideal of humanitas and the reality of the “humanities” as instituted in early modem Europe. What leading Renaissance humanists, including

“La patristique dans la réforme d’Érasme," in Festgabe Joseph Lcrrtz, 2 vols. (Baden-Baden, 1958), 1:233-76 at 255ff. Gorce writes of “une connaturalité (between E. and J.] qui saute aux yeux” (257) and remarks upon the humanist’s tendency to “erasmi»” his patristic counterpart, “projetant sur lui ses propres sentiments” (270). Among more recent studies special mention should be made of Eugene F. Rice, Jr., Saint Jerome m the Renaissance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), ch. 5: “Hieronymus redivivus: Erasmus and Saint Jerome.” 5My thanks to the Editor for her indulgence, and to Lisa Coulthaid, Charles Kannengiesser, James Nielson, Hilmar Pabel, and Bill Winder for their help and criticism. 6Lisa Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters: The Construction of Charisma in Print (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). 7See my “Patristics and Literary History,” Journal of Literature and Theology 5 ( 1991): 341-54, for a statement of principle. 8Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Lib­ eral Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe (London: Duckworth, 1986). See the reviews by Ronald G. W itt in Renaissance Quarterly 41 (1988): 479-82, and by lan Maclean in Compar­ ative Literature 40 (1988): 78-81.


Erasmus, consistently proclaimed as the moral and spiritual benefits of the program of studies they promoted, and what that program could be shown to deliver, were two different things. Modem defenders of the liberal arts inherit the same contradictions. So Grafton and Jardine, in their powerful and pro­ vocative book. As they build their central argument through a series of detailed case-studies, we are forced to ask by what extraordinary means, or series of ac­ cidents, the humanism thus depicted came to be the dominant educational ideology of early modem Europe. Part of the explanation, they suggest, is to be found in the singular ability of Erasmus of Rotterdam to inspire the repeated “act of faith” which kept humanist theory and practice together for his con­ temporaries. How did Erasmus work such magic? Mainly, it seems, by impress­ ing people with his own moral character and religious intent, and by encour­ aging them at every turn—above all through his printed correspondence—to see those qualities as contingent on a “classical” literary training. The authors conclude that for a large constituency of sixteenth-century students, parents, and patrons of learning, “it is Erasmus himself (his personal reputation for Christian devotion and probity of character) who validates the equation ‘competence in the ancient languages is equivalent to a preparation for Christian piety’, a validation which . . . was so successful as to leave its mark on institutional attitudes towards a liberal arts education right down to the present day.”9 As its programmatic title suggests, Jardine’s latest book takes up two of the minor themes of the earlier collaborative work—Erasmus’ self-presentation and the role of the printing house as purveyor of humanist ideology—and com­ bines them into a single, complex hypothesis about the printed fabrication or construction of the “world of learning, belief, and, above all, integrity” that we associate with the name of Erasmus. Based on a minute scrutiny of the bib­ liographical evidence for Erasmus’ transactions with his printers and other co­ adjutors, especially in the decisive period from 1515 to 1524, the new book announces itself as a detective thriller of literary-historical research. And be­ cause the author is almost as good a storyteller as she is a scholar, it fully lives up to that billing. Erasmus is both hero and villain, the “great man” of his own narration and a wily mechanical on the make, Prospéra and Autolycus rolled into one, with a streak of Bottom the typographer. Of the other major printing or printed characters drawn here, the most conspicuous newcomer (with re­ spect to From Humanism to the Humanities, in which patristic elements in hu­ manist ideology pass largely unremarked) is Jerome, named first after Erasmus ’Grafton and Jardine, 142. Italics in the original.


in the introduction and the subject of two and a half chapters out of six. This is of course no accident. The main forensic discovery of Jardine’s detective work arises directly from the textual and other evidence surrounding the 1516 and 1524 editions of Jerome's Letters. The making of those editions, it turns out, was also in large part the making of Erasmus. Here is how Jardine solves the mystery of the humanist’s charismatic appeal: When, in graphic and textual representations of himself, Erasmus chose to inhabit the familiar figure of Saint Jerome, with all the grandeur and intellectual gravita* that might thereby accrue to him, he claimed a role in the secular sphere equivalent to Jerome’s in the spiritual. His figurai presence was designed to give prominence to the northern humanist movement, to enable it to achieve international prestige and prominence; personal fame was merely a by-product. Jerome stood for the dissemina' tion of true scripture throughout the Western world; Erasmus would stand for the dissemination of humane learning across Europe. What made Erasmus’s textual self-presentation so enduringly convincing was the virtuoso use he made of richly signifying, reassuringly current, readily available models. Around the figure of Saint Jerome in his study . . . Erasmus built a multidimensional cultural persona, resonating with verbal echoes and visual allusions, a persona wholly compatible with that of the auctor on the model of the Church Father or the civic hero of Greece or Rome. . . . The merging of Erasmus with Jerome is achieved so bril­ liantly, with such consummate skill, that it is little wonder that that image has endured so convincingly down to the present day. [A]s we watch the strategic recuperation for the charismatic man of letters of the aura which had traditionally surrounded the portrait and ‘life’ of the holy man of conventional hagiography, we are . . . witnessing the transition from ‘sacred’ to ‘learned’ as the grounds for personal spiritual salvation.10

Other scholars have recognized the interdependence of Erasmus’ biographical and text-critical undertakings in the Jerome edition and his intent to render a portrait of the church father as much like himself, Erasmus, as possible; but 10Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 4; 5; 59. See especially ch. 2: “The In(de)Scribable Aura of die ScholaT'Saint: Erasmus’s Life and Letters of Saint Jerome,” 55-82. Following Andrée Ha yum, “Dtirer’s Portrait of Erasmus and the Ars Typographorum,” Renaissance Quarterly 38 (1985): 650-87, Jardine devotes another chapter to visual representations of Erasmus-as^Jerome. 1 shall not discuss this part of her book.


none ever cast the humanist’s relationship with his early Christian predecessor so strongly or exclusively in terms of appropriation and secularization. Where earlier writers considered “the figure of Jerome” in Erasmus’ career and writings as a model or influence, Jardine considers it primarily as the means to an end. Since the end in question is the promotion of an educational routine which (on her analysis and Grafton’s) has no necessary or visible connection with the moral and religious values it is supposed to inculcate, it follows that the only significant product of the humanist’s “strategic recuperation” of the aura of Saint Jerome is a “by-product”: eternal fame for Erasmus “as the archetype and exemplar of the European scholar.”11 The logic of this argument has already been rehearsed in the introduction to From Humanism to the Humanides, where it is suggested that even when we have stripped them of the status they claimed for themselves as masters of “good” or morally improving letters, the most famous humanist teachers can still be hailed as “the progenitors of modem scholarship and modem literature.”12 Erasmus, Man of Letters explains with marvelous clarity how its subject placed himself in a light in which he could be taken for the father of modem humanistic scholarship. It also demonstrates most effectively, through a judi­ cious combination of traditional bibliography and contemporary histoire du livre, the importance of material, mechanical and commercial factors in the “production” of humanist discourse. On both counts, it must be considered a triumph of revisionist scholarship. But how compelling is the representation of Erasmus’ Jerome? We are likely to feel, having read Jardine’s book, that “af­ finity,” “assimilation,” and the other terms commonly used to describe this kind of cultural relationship or transaction are no longer adequate to the case in hand, and that judgments like Olin’s should be reformulated. At the same time we may wonder whether Jardine has not over-compensated for what she regards as the entrenched “pietism” of much current Erasmian scholarship.13 An appeal to CWE 61 at this point will no doubt seem naive to some. How­ ever, when Brady and Olin (in their introduction) write of Jerome’s place in Erasmus’ plans and propaganda for a “restored theology,” and single out the latter’s work on the New Testament,14 we are reminded of an aspect of the "Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 189. 12Grafton and Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities, xiii. 13Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 7, citing the Toronto edition of the Collected Works of Erasmus as a prime instance of “the pietistic history of Erasmus and Erasmian humanism," to be contrasted (unfavorably) with “the considerable body of secular studies of Erasmus . . . which in recent years has included some masterly detailed work” and “the strenuously nationalistic and bib­ liographical work by the great scholars of Low Countries humanism.” I4CWE 61:xxxiv-v.


relationship which, for all its obvious importance, is almost entirely excluded from Erasmus, Man of Letters. The grounds for that exclusion—and, I venture to suggest, the signs of its arbitrariness—are apparent in the passages quoted above. For the writer surely goes too far in asserting that when we watch Erasmus “merge” with Jerome we are already “witnessing the transition from ‘sacred’ to ‘learned’ as the grounds for personal spiritual salvation.” (If this is the long cultural perspective of From Humanism to the Humanities, it has now somehow been telescoped into the lifetime of Erasmus.) That assertion, like the statements that Erasmus “claimed a role in the secular sphere equivalent to Jerome’s in the spiritual” and that he “would stand for the dissemination of humane learning” as Jerome had “stood for the dissemination of true scrip­ ture,” takes for granted precisely the identification of “scholarship” and “letters/literature” with secular values that Erasmus, standing on Jerome’s au­ thority, refused to concede. Read in the context of an anti-Erasmian (or con­ temporary humanist) divorce between secular and sacred letters, Erasmus’Jer­ ome can all too readily be claimed for the Arts side of the library. Any other reading, Jardine implies, must be “pietistic.” Must it? It is at this point, after applauding her critical and bibliographical analyses of Erasmus’ hieronymizing, that I am bound to disagree with her. In order to account for the para­ doxical success of Northern humanism, Jardine needs an Erasmus somehow at cross-purposes, capable of producing effects (or “by-products”) he did not fully envisage. “At the heart of the Jerome edition,” she asserts, “is the fusion, or perhaps confusion, of secular and sacred attention.”15 The historical Erasmus, I suggest, is neither so confusing nor so easily confused. 1 shall argue in this article that Erasmus’ “Jerome” is a more consistent per­ formance than Jardine is willing to grant, and that much of its consistency can be traced to the Hieronymian “original. ” In order to do so, I must make a larger place for “the auctor on the model of the Church Father” than her passing ref­ erence seems to allow.16 This in turn means looking more closely at that l5Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 74- My italics. The passage continues: “That deliberate redirecting of readerly attention at the text itself, simultaneously as text and as true object of pious devotion, is the source of a real critical confusion, to which I think we ought to give serious at­ tention.” It is not clear who suffers this “critical confusion.” Erasmus? His sixteenth-century read­ ers? Modem humanists still laboring under an Erasmian yoke? On the theological rationale for Erasmus’ “redirecting of readerly attention at the t ext . . . as text,” see Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle, Erasmus on Language and Method in Theology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977). 16When Jardine speaks of “the model of the Church Father or the civic hero of Greece or Rome” (my italics), she associates the patristic auctor with a humanist ideal whose vanity has already been exposed in From Humanism to the Humanities (notably in the final chapter on Cicero’s “Perfect Orator”). My aim will be to show that the role of the Christian author was a viable one for Erasmus, and that he lived it.


model, particularly as embodied by Jerome. Whereas modem study of the re­ lationship between Erasmus and Jerome has typically proceeded from the Erasmian side, 1shall try to discern the pattern of a patristic literary enterprise and to show how it might have appealed to a sixteenth-century “man of letters. ” By situating the humanist’s literary projects—specifically, his projects of Chris­ tian authorship—historically with respect to those of the church father, we may eventually discover the terms for a description of the cultural significance of Erasmus’ Jerome that is both historiographically secular and fully attentive to the particularities of a Christian literary tradition. This article can only gesture towards such a description. It begins, inevitably, with the publishing of Jerome in 1516. Readers of Erasmus’ Jerome: The Duke, the Monk, and the Librarian Rarely was a patristic edition so eagerly awaited or so quickly bought up as the Omnia opera Divi Eusebii Hieronymi issued in 1516 by Johann Froben and his Basel associates. The advance publicity was skilfully handled, the editor-in-chief supplying his own “puffs" in a series of letters printed together the year before.17 In some quarters a prompt sale was assured, even for so costly a work. Consider the case, admittedly exceptional, of Duke Frederick of Sax­ ony. “The prince whom I serve,” wrote Georg Spalatin to Erasmus in Decem­ ber 1516, “has in his ducal library every book of yours that I have been able to find, and intends to buy any others that you may hereafter publish anywhere in the world.”18 The new Jerome did not go on sale until September but the duke’s librarian can already plausibly report his master’s admiration and his re­ alization that “before you corrected [the text], we might seem to have had any­ thing but the books of Jerome” (nihil minus quam Hieronymi libros habuisse). Per­ haps, he adds in a postscript, Erasmus would favor him and his other admirers in that part of Germany with notice of his forthcoming publications (quid post Hieronymi opera sis editurus). Sed quorsum haecl Spalatin’s report on the acquisitions of the ducal library of Wittenberg introduces a matter of great delicacy. He was writing on behalf of an unnamed Augustinian priest, to convey the latter’s disquiet at certain passages in Erasmus’ Annotations on Romans, published earlier that year with

l7L«tters of Erasmus to Cardinals Raffaele Riario and Domenico Grimano, Pope Leo X and Maarten van Dorp (Epp. 333-35; 337), printed in the Damiani elegeia of August 1515; CWE 61:238 n. 29; Jardine, Erasnms, Man of Letters, 14 n. 26. l8Allen 501, lines 39-44; CWE 4:167. The passage is quoted in CWE 61:xxxvi-xxxvii.


the Novum Instrumentum. The priest’s name was Martin Luther, and in the autumn of 1516 he had just completed a series of lectures on Romans at the University of Wittenberg and was beginning another on Galatians. Together the two sets of lectures comprise all the major elements of his celebrated “Ref­ ormation breakthrough.”19 Luther found Erasmus’ interpretation of the Apos­ tle’s teaching on sin, the Law, and righteousness excessively literal. The fault he attributed to the commentator’s defective knowledge of the anti-Pelagian writings of Augustine and his over-reliance on the authority of Jerome. “I do not hesitate to disagree with Erasmus,” he wrote to Spalatin in October, “be­ cause in the interpretation of Scripture I place Jerome as far behind Augustine as Erasmus in all things places Augustine behind Jerome.”20The verdict, albeit polemically phrased, was a measured one. Luther’s rapturous discovery of Au­ gustine had not precluded close study of Jerome’s writings; indeed he seems to have shared Erasmus’ predilection for the Letters. For a while in 1516 the Wittenberg professor was without a copy of the Works, having entrusted his own to a friend. “Don’t be surprised that I, a theologian, don’t have Jerome’s works,” he told Spalatin in late August: “I am waiting for Erasmus’ edition.”21 Luther’s expectation of Erasmus’ Jerome complements Duke Frederick’s in providing a context for the publishing event of late 1516. It also calls forth an irony which Erasmus was spared at the time but which modem readers can savor to the full. In representing Luther’s objections to Erasmus, the duke’s librarian tactfully omits the polemical comparison between Jerome and Au­ gustine.22 Nor does he attempt to reproduce the cryptic allusion in Luther’s subscription: “Farewell, my Spalatin, and pray for me,” the earlier letter ended, “—In haste, from a comer of our monastery, October 19, 1516. F. Martinus

19Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man between God and the Devil, trans. E. Walliser-Schwarzbart (New York: Doubleday, 1989), 151-74. 20D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Briefwechsel, 18 vols. (Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus, 1930-85) (hereafter WABr], 1:70 (Nr. 27, 17-19): “Ego sane in hoc dissentire ab Erasmo non dubito, quod Augustino in scripturis interpretandis tantum posthabeo Hieronymum, quantum ipse Augustinum in omnibus Hieronymo posthabet. ” The context of the comparison is provided by Oberman, Masters of the Reformation: The Emergence of a New Intellectual Climate m Europe, trans. D. Martin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 71-75. There is a very informative, if tendentious, commentary on Luther’s letter in Emst-Wilhelm Kohls, Luther oder Erasmus: Luthers Theologie in der Auseinandersetzung mit Erasmus, vol. 1 (Basel: F. Reinhart, 1972). 2lLuther's Works 48: Letten 1, ed. and trans. Gottfried G. Krodel (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963), 16-17; WABr 1:50. 22Spalatin’s letter to Erasmus on Luther’s behalf is Ep. 501.


Luder Augustinianus.”23Luther had written before “from our little monastery” but this was the first time, to judge from his extant correspondence, that he professed to write ex cmgulo mcmasterii. The figure might pass unnoticed but for the occasion. A relatively unknown theologian had issued an exegetical chal­ lenge to the most famous Christian biblicist of his day, calling into question the probity of his recourse to ecclesiastical tradition. For Friar Martin, busy with a commentary on Galatians, the present difference of opinion over St. Paul inevitably recalled an earlier one, notorious from the correspondence of the parties involved: Augustine and Jerome.24 Augustine’s scruples about Jerome’s exegesis of Galatians 2:11-14 (Paul’s reproach to Peter for not eating with gentiles) and Luther’s difficulty with Erasmus’ scholia on Romans alike bore on issues of theological substance (the meaning and application of the Law), hermeneutical principle (the veracity of Scripture; literal versus spiritual interpretation), and exegetical method (Jerome’s citation of the Greek fathers, contested by Augustine; Erasmus’ ne­ glect of Augustine and the tradition he represented, alleged by Luther). In both cases the challenge was mounted by a scholar of mainly local renown (Au­ gustine in North Africa in 394; Luther in Saxony in 1516) on another of international standing. For the symmetry to be perfect, Luther would have to take the place of the young priest of Hippo. Instead, by a humorous stroke that confirms his fine appreciation of Jerome’s epistolary pantomime, he adopts the position of the world-weary monk of Bethlehem. At a critical point in the ear­ lier correspondence, Jerome had begged to be left in the peaceful obscurity of his old age. Let Augustine instruct the nations of the world and fill the gra­ naries of Rome with a new African harvest (i.e. stock the Latin-reading half of the empire with his Christian writings). He, Jerome, is content to whisper 23WABr 1:71 (Nr. 27, 42-45): “Vale, mi Spalatine, et ora pro me. Cclcriter ex cmgulo monasterii nostri die sequenti S. Lucae fesrum 1516. F. Martinus Luder Augustinianus.” My italics. For the sequel see André Godin, “Érasme et Luther d’après leur correspondance: Quaestio disputata?" Mélanges de la Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne 5 (1984): 7-18. 24This famous falling-out is briefly recounted by R. J. O’Connell, “W hen Saintly Fathers Feuded: The Correspondence between Augustine and Jerome,” Thought 54 (1979): 344-64. For the history of patristic exegesis of Galatians 2:11-14, see J. B. Lightfoot, Sami Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, 10th ed. (London: Macmillan, 1890 and repr.), 128-32, and on the issues as Au­ gustine saw them, Gerhard Strauss, Schriftgebrauch, Schriftauslegung und Schriftbetueis bei Augustin (Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1959), 44-73. The correspondence between Augustine and Jerome has been newly translated by Carolinne White (Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 1990). I refer to the Latin text of Jerome’s letters in the edition of I. Hilberg in the Corpus Scripiorum Ecdesiasacorum Latmorum (CSEL), vols. 54-56 (Vienna: Tempsky, 1910—18); references in this case are by letter and section (not line) number.

XII 71

in a comer of his monastery to a single wretched auditor and reader: mihi sufficit cum auditore vel lectore pauperculo IN ANG ULO MONASTERII susurrare.25At the end of his bold letter to Spalatin, Luther takes Jerome’s comer, even as he takes on Jerome’s most ardent admirer in the name of Augustine. Writing on his own behalf to Erasmus two and a half years later he would strike the same “angular” pose but discreetly drop the Hieronymian iunctura verborum.26 Spalatin’s letter to Erasmus of December 1516 suppresses the name of Luther and Luther’s Jerome-like polemical stance, supplying in their place a picture of the addressee as editor of the Opera Hieronymi and best-selling Chris­ tian author. While intentionally a ploy to mollify Erasmus, the substitution may also be said to function intertextually to reconfigure the literary historical circumstances evoked by Luther-as-Jerome. As the foregoing quotation from Jerome’s letter suggests, the altercation between Jerome and Augustine over Galatians 2:11-14 and related matters was at least in part about the competing careers of two Christian writers, one of whom had already acquired a “global” reputation from the literary labors of his monastic seclusion, the other of whom—by 404, the date of the letter quoted, a bishop—was winning acclaim as a spiritual provider beyond the limits of his diocese. Both men were com­ bining publicly recognized forms of Christian life and service with a kind of literary activity or Christian literary “profession” for which there were as yet no rules or agreed terms, and few clear precedents. Jerome, following the ex­ amples of a number of earlier ecclesiastical writers but setting most store by that of Origen, strove to formalize the role of the Christian man of letters as an ascetic writing on the Bible. By the mid-390s, a decade after his Milanese conversion, Augustine had assimilated most of Jerome’s program, submitting it, however, to a rigorous theoretical critique, notably in the De doctrina

25Jerome, Ef>. 112.22 (CSEL 55:393): “Peto in fine episiulae, ut quiescentem senem d im veteranum militare non cogas et rursum de vita periclitari. Tu, qui iuvenis es et in pontificali culmine constitutus, doceto populos et novis Africae frugibus Romana tecta locupleta. Mihi sufficit,” etc. I take vel in the phrase auditore vel lectore in the conjunctive sense common in late Latin (other MSS have ac and et). Jerome may mean that his (imagined) one auditor is also the person who reads to him. The rhetoric of remote comers recurs in the prologue to Jerome’s De viris illustribus: “mihi in hoc terrarum angulo" (for references see below, n. 30). 26Allen 933, lines 30-33: “Ita, mi Erasme, vir amabilis, si ita tibi visum fuerit, agnosce et hunc fraterculum in Christo, tui certe et studiosissimum et amantissimum, caeterum pro inscitia sua nihil meritum quam ut m angulo sepultus communi etiam coelo et soli ignotus esset. . . . “ Luther’s ironic Hieronymian posturing was to be given a new lease of life by the artist, known only by his initials of W W. S .,” who depicted him after his death as a latter-day Jerome in a portrait crudely imitated from a more famous engraving by Diirer.


Christiana and Confessiones.27Other contemporary Christian writers made their own arrangements. Professional nomenclature was still inchoate. The term “theologian” was not yet current in the West, while doctor and magister were increasingly reserved for bishops and did not necessarily imply writerly activ­ ity. Jerome was fond of invoking the ideal of an ars (or scienda) scripturarum, analogous but superior to the so-called “liberal arts.” Augustine’s usage is harder to pin down; the precise content of his ideal of doctrina christiam re­ mains a subject of debate among modem scholars.28 Uncertainties about the status and generic name of the Christian writer surface in the letter of Jerome alluded to in Luther’s subscription. In 392 Jerome produced a catalogue of all those who, from the time of the apostles to his own, had written in the service of Christianity. His models were the classical inventories of famous poets, or­ ators and other kinds of literary “professional,” such as Suetonius’ De viris ¡1lustribus. Augustine obtained a copy soon after publication and wrote to the author for clarification of certain points, including the proper title of the work. Some people, he reported, were calling it Epitaphium.29 Jerome’s response, in the letter from the “comer” of his monastery, is characteristically brusque: surely Augustine is familiar with the Suetonian type of catalogue? “And so,” he concludes, “this work of mine is to be called ‘On Famous Men’ [De viris ilUistribus] or properly ‘On Ecclesiastical Writers’ [De scriptoiibus ecclesiasticis], even though many unskilled emendatores say that it is entitled ‘On Authors’ [De auctoribus)."i0 Variously titled, this work of Jerome’s was to be enormously influential in later ages, both as a model of Christian biobibliography and as a source of

27On these developments see my “Jerome’s Origen: The Making of a Christian Literary Per­ sona," in Studia Patristica 28: Papers presented at the Eleventh International Conference on Patristic Studies held m Oxford 1991, ed. Elizabeth A. Livingstone (Leuven: Peeters Press, 1993), 135-45, and “Conference and Confession: Literary Pragmatics in Augustine’s 'Apologia contra Hieronymum,’ ” Journal of Early Christian Studies 1 (1993): 175-213. 28For a recent attempt to settle the matter see Gerald A. Press, “ ‘Doctrina’ in Augustine’s ‘De doctrina Christiana,’ ” Philosophy and Rhetoric 17 (1984): 98-120. 29Augustine, Ep. 40.2 (CSEL 34.2, ed. A. Goldbacher [1898], 71). 30Jerome, Ep. 112.3 (CSEL 55:370): “Ergo hie liber vel de inlustribus viris vel proprie de scrips toribus ecclesiasticis appellandus est, licet a plerisque emendatoribus inperitis de auctoribus dicatur inscriptus.” The Hieronymian De viris iüuscribus (in J.-P. Migne, ed., Patrologia Latina 23:631760) was critically edited by E. C. Richardson in Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der cl* tchristlichen Literatur 14 (Leipzig, 1896). An English translation by the same scholar appears in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd ser., ed. Philip Schaffand Henry Wace (New York, 188792; repr. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989), 3:359-84.

XII 73

information on figures from the early Christian period.31 When Luther had to preach on St. Bartholomew’s Day, 1516, he wrote urgently to Spalatin: “Please lend me a copy of St. Jerome’s letters for an hour, or (better still) transcribe for me as quickly as you can what that saint has written about St. Bartholomew the Apostle in the little book On Famous Men.”32 Such requests were easily granted. To approach Erasmus on behalf of a friend who disagreed with his choice of patristic guides to the interpretation of St. Paul was a much stiffer task. Yet there too Spalatin trod ground that Jerome had marked out. “Nothing,” he assured the great humanist, “is more eagerly sought for in the fairs or more quickly sold out at the booksellers . . . than the monuments of your genius.”33 What, we might ask, have these sales data to do with the restoration of that “pure and unadulterated ancient the­ ology” which in the same breath the writer proclaims as Erasmus’ special prov­ ince ?The answer of course is that they have everything to do with it. The com­ mercial production and marketing of the Christian author in the early print era, for which Erasmus’ Jerome may stand as a symbol, was a process begun in the age of the church fathers. Only its technology was post-Gutenberg. The publishing strategies which enabled Erasmus to appear in Spalatin’s eyes, or at least in his rhetoric, as a benevolent dictator of the “republic of (theological) letters”34 were essentially those developed by Christian writers of the late fourth and early fifth centuries, and by Jerome in first place among the Latins. In a counterfactual but nonetheless historical sense, Jerome’s sixteenth-century editor was published by Jerome. It is this collaboration between the two men, which the recent work of scholars such as Olin, Rice, and Jardine has exposed so interestingly on Erasmus’ side, that I wish to explore further. As a first step, it will be useful to recapitulate Jerome’s achievements as a publishing Christian 3‘For a general view see R. Blum, “Die Literaturverzeichnung im Altertum und Mittelalter: Versuch einer Geschichte der Biobibliographie von den Anfängen bis zum Beginn der Neuzeit,” Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens 24 (1983): 1-256; Mary A. Rouse and Richard H. Rouse, “Bibliography before Print: The Medieval De vms iliustribus,” in Bibbologia 3: The Role of the Book m Medieval Culture, ed. P. Ganz (Tumhout: Brepols, 1986): 133-54, repr. in Rouse and Rouse, Authentic Witnesses: Approaches to Medieval Texts and Manuscripts (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), 469-94. »Luther's Works 48:17; WABr 1:50. 3JCWE 4:167; Allen 501, lines 37-39: “Sunt ingenii tui monumenta in tanto apud nos precio ut nihil cupidius in emporiis quaeratur, nihil citius apud bibliopolas vendatur, nihil etiam diligentius legatur." MAllen 501, lines 5-6: “te [sc. Erasmum], tam varie in republica Utteraria non tam adiuvanda quam restituenda penitus occupatum”; cf. 74-76: “utinam quem, si non meo ipsius, certe reipublicae totius theologicae exaudias nomine.”


writer and to indicate some of the ways in which his initiatives, jointly with those of other post-Nicene fathers, affected the authorial and editorial under­ takings of later generations of European “men of letters.” The Author as Editor: Jerome Like most of the church fathers, but to an exceptional degree, Jerome was his own editor and publisher. Not content simply to “issue” his works (edere in the normal late classical sense of releasing an exemplar from which copies could be made), he endeavored to supervise every stage of their material pro­ duction and dissemination.35 As indeed he was bound to. Texts of the kind he was producing—multilingual, biblical, often theologically sensitive— called for special diligence in the transcription. Moreover, in the absence of an organized trade in Christian books, any author who sought an extensive readership (a fortiori one who had determined, in a certain manner, to live by the pen) had no choice but to be his own entrepreneur.36 After a limited ex­ periment in Rome in the early 380s, Jerome expanded his one-man Christian publishing operation after moving to the Holy Land in 386. Every year, at the beginning of the spring navigation, copies of the winter’s lucubrationes were sent by trusted messenger to Rome.37 There, appointed agents among Jerome’s city friends ensured their further multiplication and diffusion, at the same time keeping the author informed of readers’ reactions (even, in one famous case, intervening to stop publication of a work that was giving offense).38 Readers in distant provinces who wanted a set of Jerome’s works were advised to send

35Evaristo Ams, La technique du livre d’après saint Jérôme (Paris: De Boccard, 1953), provides a wealth of detail. 36O n the conditions of Christian book production in late antiquity see G. Cavallo, “Libro e pubblico alia fine del mondo antico,” in Ubri, editori e pubblico net mondo antico, ed. G. Cavallo (Rome: Laterza, 1977), 83-132. 37Pierre Naurin, “L’activité littéraire de Jérôme de 387 à 392,” Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie 115 (1983): 247-59. As Nautin remarks, “Pour Jérôme à Bethléem, éditer, publier un livre, c’est-à-dire le livrer au public, cela consiste à l’envoyer à Rome.” As a “freelance” Christian writer heavily dependent on patronage—typically In the form of cash donations for the mainte­ nance of his monastic establishment at Bethlehem—Jerome also cultivated contacts in other parts of the western Roman empire. For details of these arrangements, see Stefan Rebenich, Hieronymus undseinKreis: Prosopographische und sozialgeschichdiche Untersuchungen, Historia-EinzeUchriften 72 (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1992). 38Ams, La technique du livre, 129- 72. Jerome's friends tried to withdraw his violently polemical treatise Against Jovmian in 392.


their own copyists to Bethlehem.39 A recently discovered letter from Jerome to Aurelius, bishop of Carthage, probably written in 392, invites the latter “to do what other bishops from Gaul and Italy have done,” that is, send a scribe to spend a year with Jerome and bring back all that he has written to date.40 The writer’s concern to promulgate his collected works in an approved text (me exemplaria tribuente) is accompanied by a natural desire to prevent false attributions. The commentary on Matthew’s Gospel that Aurelius reported having under Jerome’s name is by somebody else, he is told (hoc opus edidisse me penitus ignoro). To assist his public throughout the Latin-reading world in identifying his genuine works, as well as to confirm their sense of his unique status among living Christian writers, Jerome included a bibliographical notice on himself at the end of his catalogue De vins illustribus.41 The first appearance of this epoch-making, because in a sense constitutive, résumé of “Christian literature” can be dated shortly after the letter to Aurelius. Later issues of the catalogue were supplemented—if not by Jerome himself, then by his Roman friends—to take account of the author’s continuing production.42 Jerome’s efforts to control the reception of his own literary oeuvre did not stop with the surveillance of its textual production and reproduction. He also went to great lengths to project a consistent image of his activity as a Christian “man of letters. ”43 It was not enough that his readers should identify his works correctly and read them in good copies; they were invited, indeed expected, to recognize the figure of the author as he himself depicted it. The adumbration of Jerome’s ideal authorial persona begins with his earliest writings, datable to 39Ibid., 171, citing Jerome, Ep. 75.4, concerning a Spaniard named Lucinus who, if Jerome’s account is to be believed, sent six scribes “to copy all that I have ever dictated from my youth until the present time.” Cf. Ep. 71.5 where Jerome speaks of collating and correcting the copies made for this customer. Lucinus and his wife were evidently generous patrons of the Bethlehem monastery. *°Ep. 27* in Sancti Aurelii Augustini. . . Epistolae ex duobus codicibus nuper in lucem prolatae, ed. Johannes Divjak (CSEL 88 [1981]), 130-33. The passage in question runs as follows: “quia . . . non parva de scripturis sanctis composuimus, si tibi placet et commodum videtur, fac quod alii de Gallia et alii de Italia fratres tui, sancti episcopi, fecerunt, id est mitte aliquem fidum tibi qui unum annum hie faciat me exemplaria tribuente et déférât ad te cuncta quae scripsimus. ” On the context see Vessey, “Conference and Confession” (above, n. 27), 181. 4lDe vir. ilL 135 (see n. 30 for editions); Pierre Nautin, “La liste des oeuvres de Jérôme dans le ‘De vins inlustribus,’ ” Orpheus n.s. 5 (1984): 319-34. 42A. Feder, Studien zum Schriftsuüerkatalog des heiligen Hieronymus (Freiburg-i.-Br., 1927), 11Off. considers the manuscript evidence for early “up-dated” versions of the catalogue. 43Vessey, “Jerome’s Origen” (n. 27 above), offers a partial description of this process.


the late 370s when he was living in the desert near Antioch (the probable “scene” of his arraignment on a charge of Ciceronianism, later recounted in a famous letter).44 Its perfection belongs to his Roman sojourn of 382-85 and the years immediately following in Palestine. In his letters and prefaces of that period, and less overtly in his other works, Jerome constructs an image of the scriptor ecclesiasticus that would be forever his, even when it was assumed and adapted by others. The defining traits of this textually constituted persona are an exemplary Christian asceticism; a constant activity of reading-and-writing centered on the text of Holy Scripture and issuing in works of translation and commentary; and, as the essential condition of that activity, a thorough com­ petence in the biblical languages.45 Its unifying model is the literary personality of Origen as inferred from the latter’s own writings and those of Eusebius of Caesarea, lmitari ex parte Origenem, “to emulate Origen up to a point”: that was the rationale and promise of Jerome’s literary career as it spectacularly took off in the early 390s.46Not until the middle of the decade, as the anti-Origenist propaganda of both his friends and enemies grew more frenzied, was he obliged to specify the exact point of his departure from the great Alexandrian philol­ ogist and exegete.47 Jerome thus not only issued his own works, he also issued a deliberately com­ posed textual image of their author. Tempting as it may be for us to speak of the second of these processes as Jerome’s self-presentation, self-production or self-fashioning, I believe we do better, setting aside modem concepts of self­ hood and personality, to speak simply and comprehensively of Jerome’s pub­ lication of “Jerome,” author-and-work. I say this for reasons at once practical and theoretical. Practically speaking, our access to a personal Jerome outside his own text is extremely limited. What we see, allowing for accidents of trans­ mission and perspective, is what we were meant to get; the edition of the au­ thor and the edition of the work are inseparable. The same could of course be said with some truth of many other authors and oeuvres of the pre-modem MFor the chronology of the saint’s early life see now Rebenich, Hieronymus und sem Kreis (above, n. 37), in many places substantially modifying the standard biographies of Gnitzmacher, Cavallera, and Kelly. Rebenich’s account of Jerome’s strategies of publicity suggests numerous points of comparison with the career of Erasmus. 45Stefan Rebenich, “Jerome: The ‘Vir Trilinguis’ and the ‘Hebraica Veritas,' ” Vigihae Chrisdanae 47 (1993): 50-77; Adam Kamesar, Jerome, the Hebrew Bible, and Greek Scholarship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). +6The phrase appears in the preface to Jerome’s Liber mterpretationis Hebraicorum nonunion. 47See now Elizabeth A. Clark, The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 121-51.


era. There is, however, a special reason for suspecting the bio/bibliographical distinction in Jerome’s case. As Michel Foucault has pointed out in an influ­ ential essay, our current notions of “author” and “work,” and of the relation and divisibility of those two entities, almost certainly owe something to the compiler of the first Christian De viris illustribus and a great deal to “the manner in which Christian tradition [in the early centuries and thereafter] authenti­ cated (or rejected) the texts at its disposal.”48 This insight of Foucault’s has received surprisingly little notice from literary theorists, probably because the relations between early Christian conceptions of the “author-fimction” (Foucault’s term) and modem European literatures are as a rule too subterra­ nean to be felt even by readers with some patristic knowledge. Between Jerome and Erasmus, by contrast, those relations come into open view. Foucault sug­ gests that “modem literary criticism, even when . . . it is not concerned with questions of authentication, still defines the author” according to criteria pro­ posed by Jerome in the De viris illustribus.49 He might also have observed that Jerome, as an item in his own catalogue and a zealous advertiser of his own works, provides a classic instance of auto-authentication. In the light of this precedent it becomes easier to see why Erasmus’ repristination of Jerome and the establishment of his own authorial status should be so intimately related— or, to put it another way, why the ability of men like Spalatin to “recognize” Erasmus as a Christian author should be so closely bound up with their appre­ ciation of his activity as recognitor operum divi Hieronymi. The Author as Editor: Erasmus At the time of Jerome’s death in 420 it would have been difficult to imagine any writer, Christian or non-Christian, succeeding more completely than he had done in the elaboration and public definition of a personal literary oeuvre. True, Augustine in his Retractationes would shortly attempt to raise authorial

48“W hat Is an Author?” in Textual Strategies: Perspectives m Post-Stnictvtraiist Criticism, ed. Josué V. Harari (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979), 141-60, at 150 (an earlier and sub­ stantially different version of this essay appeared in French in 1975). Foucault’s summary of Jer­ ome’s criteria for determining authenticity is to be compared with Erasmus’ in CWE 61:76. In his new study, Heresy and Criticism: The Search for Authenticity in Early Christian Literature (Lou­ isville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993), Robert M. Grant reveals the indebtedness of early “Catholic” Christianity to the critical practices adopted by “heretics” for the evaluation of texts. His account of these practices, which concentrates on critical questions relating to biblical (or putatively biblical) texts, closes with a brief discussion of “Jerome and Authorship" (108-12). 49Foucault, 151.


control of literary production and reception to an even higher pitch, but then in matters such as this Augustine was at least partly Jerome’s disciple. For many centuries after Augustine, no Latin Christian writer would either need or be able to assert himself so forcefully. A Christian literary system was by this time (early fifth century) virtually in place, soon to be complete, with its own mech­ anisms of book production, distribution and readerly consumption. Options for Christian authors, in the sense of individuals fit to be noticed in contin­ uations of the Hieronymian De viris illustribus, would henceforth be more ob­ vious and more narrowly circumscribed. In a Christian society that was assured of its canonical texts, patristic as well as biblical, the “author-function” un­ derwent a radical mutation, we might even say a partial eclipse. There were to be great authors but few new authors. Already to a considerable degree by the late fifth century, and increasingly as standards of literary culture declined in the West after the breakup of the Roman empire, Latin literary activity as­ sumed the form of a collective re-elaboration of Christian texts of the period ca. 350-450, especially those attributed to Ambrose, Jerome, Rufinus and, pri~ mus semper inter patres, Augustine. In future every scribe or writer—the dis­ tinction is hard to sustain for the medieval period—would be in a position to be his own “editor” of the available part of the patristic canon. Only in the 1990s, with the publication of the first few volumes of the Clavis patristica pseudepigraphorum medti aevi,50 is the full extent of this pseudo-editorial (or pseudo-authorial) activity becoming apparent to others besides specialists in the modem edition of patristic texts.51 For the routine distinction between medieval pseudo-editing of the kind just evoked and modem “scientific" editing of the fathers, we have Erasmus to thank among others.52 The difference, it may be observed, has less to do 50Vols. 1A-1B, ed. J. Machielsen (Tumhout: Brepols, 1990), cover sermons alone; the first is devoted entirely to pseudo-Augustinian and pseudo-Ambrosian material. 511 do not pretend to give a comprehensive account of the “author-function” in the Middle Ages. For important developments such as the accessus ad auctores and the theory of compilatio, see Maddalena Spallone, “I percorsi medievali del testo: ‘accessus’, commentari, florilegi,” in Lo Spazio letterariodi Romaantica, 5 vols. (Rome: Salerno, 1989-91), 3:387-471, and A. J. Minnis, Medieval I'heory of Authorship, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988). 52O n Erasmus as editor of classical and patristic texts, see Pierre Petimengin, “Comment étu­ dier l’activité d’Érasme éditeur de textes antiques ?” Colioquia Erasmiana Twronensia (Toronto: Uni­ versity of Toronto Press, 1972), 1:217-22; Jacques Chomarat, Grammaire et rhétorique chez Erasme, 2 vols. (Paris, 1981), 2:451-507; D. F. S. Thomson, “ErasmusandTextualScholarship,” in Erasmus of Rotterdam: The Man and the Scholar, ed. Jan Spema Weiland and Willem Th. M. Frijhoff (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1988), 158-71; John F. D’Amico, Theory and Practice m Rervxisscmce


with the systematic collation of manuscripts and variant readings (a depart­ ment in which Erasmus’ achievements are nowadays reckoned fairly modest) than with the restoration or reconstruction of a clearly delimited and consis­ tently authenticated corpus of the writings of an ancient author.53 The ardu­ ousness of this task varied with the honor given to the author in question by medieval pseudo-editors. As a rule, classical texts posed fewer problems than early Christian ones, not only because the former were less frequented during the Middle Ages but also because, as products of an alien literary system, they were less likely to be contaminated, conflated or supplemented by sympathetic rewriting.54 The greatest danger for a non-Christian Greek or Latin text was that it should be partly or entirely lost; hence the excitement generated by “discoveries” of classical codices by humanist scholars of the Renaissance. Although much early Christian literature had been lost too, authors of the stat­ ure of Jerome or Augustine were more liable to damage by over-cultivation than by neglect. On ne prête qu’aux riches, as the saying goes. The challenge in such cases, as Erasmus and others saw it, was first to separate the genuine writings from the supposititious and then, for every text securely attributed, to re-establish the original reading wherever a later hand had been at work. Modem textual critics distinguish internal and external grounds for the at­ tribution of authorship. In the case of an ancient text, however, arguments from external grounds are typically the fruit of extensive survey of the textual tradition, and this criterion therefore occupies a minor place in Erasmus’ ed­ itorial practice. For him the two main tests of a text’s authenticity are both internal, pertaining respectively to res and verba. The first calls in question the text’s historical verisimilitude: could the reputed author have written these things? The second calls in question its literary style: would the reputed author have expressed himself in tius way ?While the historical test will normally suf­ fice to unmask all but the most ingenious fabrications, only the stylistic one has the potential to be decisive in every case. Its application depends on the editor’s almost instinctive apprehension of his author’s characteristic modes Textual Criticism: Beams Rhenanus Between Conjecture and History (Berkeley: University of Cal­ ifornia Press, 1988), 30-38. 53Cf. Petitmengin, 220: “Ce qu’on peut dès maintenant admirer, c’est le génie avec lequel il a su dégager, de façon presque définitive, les oeuvres authentiques des Pères de la foule des ‘pseudo’ qui avaient proliféré tout au long du Moyen Age.” 54Seneca, of course, being a notable exception. On Erasmus’ efforts to re-establish this pagan author as such, see Winfrid Trillitzsch, Seneca tm literarischen Urteiider Antike, 2 vols. (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1971), 1:221-50, esp. 234-38.


of expression, a faculty which Erasmus assimilates to the senses of sight and smell. What is required is the ability to sniff or spy out the author in the text.55 Because of the difficulty of establishing external grounds for assigning author­ ship in certain classes of frequently copied and adapted ancient Christian texts (e.g. sermons), stylistic criticism has probably played a larger role in patristic philology since the Renaissance than it has in the corresponding science of classical literature. It may even have led on occasion to the discovery of Chris­ tian “authors” where none existed before.56 Cursory and schematic as it is, this account of the fortunes of Christian authors-and-works between antiquity and the modem world may enable us to locate Erasmus’ Jerome provisionally in the longer publishing history of Latin literature. For a man who believed, as Erasmus apparently did from an early stage in his career, that bonae litterae had been in abeyance for a thousand years and that the goal of literary learning was sacred exegesis, there were, broadly speaking, two ways of reinstating “the author. ” The first and only sure way was to present one or more ancient Christian writers in a form in which they would once again be read and appreciated. This, conventionally speaking, was the business of an editor or translator. The second, more hazardous option was to essay Christian authorship in one’s own right. Erasmus, to judge from the avail­ able evidence, set out early to follow both courses at once and continued in both until the end of his life. The close connection between the two aspects of his double publishing operation is suggested by, on the one hand, the 55A clear statement of these principles may be found in Erasmus’ preface to the first part of the second volume of his edition of Jerome (1516) = CWE 61:67-82. There is a good discussion by Rice, Saint Jerome m the Renaissance (n. 4 above), 125-29. Note, however, that the latter’s statement “that even today the identification of which [of Jerome’s) letters were spurious, as well as their sequence, remains largely that first established by him” ( 128: my italics) is only a little more than half-true: the sequence in which Jerome’s letters are now read was not determined until after Erasmus (see below), although his narrative of the Life undoubtedly influenced it. 56See, for example, the very Erasmian prefatory statement by the Benedictine scholar Dom Germain Morin in his 1903 edition of the sermons he attributed to Jerome, reprinted in Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina 78 (Tumhout: Brepols, 1958): VII-XXL A great exponent of stylistic criticism in the tradition of the Benedictines of St. Maur, Morin spent a lifetime identifying the authentic sermons of Caesarius of Arles (d. 542) within the mass of pseudonymous (principally pseudo-Augustinian) homiletic material extant from the early Middle Ages. Since Caesarius him­ self ran an atelier for the excerpting and rearranging of other preachers’ sermons, it is probable that Morin created an “authorial” corpus that its putative author would not have recognized. Even Jerome appears to have attached less importance to his homiletic oeuvre than to his other literary productions; on the controverted status of die sermons attributed to him by Morin see now Pierre Jay, “Jérôme à Bethléem: les Troctums m Psaimos,” in Jérôme entre l’Occident et l’Orient, ed. Yves-Marie Duval (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1988), 367-80.


planned inclusion of the patristic editions and translations in his own Opera omnia57 and, on the other, the appearance of a Life of Erasmus (by Beatus Rhenanus) in his posthumously issued edition of the Latin Origen.58 Men of Letters The new Christian author, in the sixteenth century as in the fourth, was a man of letters in more senses than one. We have already noted the impor­ tance of Jerome’s correspondence as the medium for his projection of a sharply drawn authorial persona. It was to Jerome’s Letters, and the opuscula commonly published with them in early editions, that Erasmus, like other humanist read­ ers, was most strongly attracted.59 What he learned from the saint’s collected correspondence was more (and perhaps less) than an exemplary Christian pi­ ety, more even than an exemplary combination of piety and erudition. He also learned how concerted letter-writing could establish the persona of an author and so assist in creating a public for new kinds of literary work. “(A]s Jerome’s editor,” Jardine writes, “Erasmus was in the best possible position to under­ stand how wholly our sense of a remote intellectual figure [may be] shaped by his carefully organised and orchestrated correspondence.” As the saint’s letters “made Jerome in Bethlehem present and spiritually effective to a circle of con­ temporary correspondents,” so “the successive volumes of Erasmus’ own Epistoiae, edited by [his] devoted followers and published by presses across Europe between 1516 and the end of [his] life,” can be seen as part of a strategy by which Erasmus simultaneously constructed and dominated “the emerging northern humanist ‘world of learning.’”60 Needless to say, the kind of bibliographical evidence that enables a scholar to plot the “organisation” and “orchestration” of Erasmus’ printed correspon­ dence does not exist for late antique authors, a fact which helps to explain why 57Allen, vol. 1, I, page 42 (in the catalogue addressed to John Botzheim, published by Froben in 1524): “Non us [tomus] dicetur Epistolis Hieronymi, in quibus tantum laboris a nobis exha usturn est, ut non impudenter possim hoc opus meorum catalogo attexere. . . .” In the later catalogue addressed to Hector Boece (Ep. 2283) the ninth ordo of Erasmus’ works included the editions of Jerome, Cyprian, Hilary, Irenaeus, Ambrose and Augustine. Cf. ASD 1-1 :VII—X; CWE 23:xiii. Erasmus’ sense of a personal property in Jerome’s work is interestingly treated by Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 164-5. “ Allen, vol. I, III. 59Rice, Sairu Jerome in the Renaissance (note 4 above), 84-115, provides a succinct account of the humanist enthusiasm for Jerome before Erasmus. See also John M. McManamon, “Pier Pa­ olo Vergerio (the Elder) and the Beginnings of the Humanist Cult of Jerome,” Catholic Historical Review 71 (1985): 353-71. “ Jardine, Erasmus, Mon of Letters, 148.


scholars of Jerome have taken so long to see through their equivalent of P. S. Allen’s monumental edition of the Opus epistolarum Erasmi. Modem editions of Jerome’s correspondence follow a chronological order worked out in the eighteenth century by Domenico Vallarsi under the influence of Erasmus’ nar­ rative of the Vita Hieronymi ex ipsius potissimum licteris contexta.61 Oddly enough, Erasmus seems to have had no thought of upsetting the traditional thematic division of the epistolary corpus in his edition.62 Yet as Jardine points out, it was only after an exacting critique of the authenticity of items in that corpus that he was able to arrive at purportedly “first-person testimony, [fit] to be reworked . . . into a biographical ‘life’ perfectly correlated with the ‘Works.’”63 In other words, Erasmus circumvented the traditional pseudo­ editorial construction of Jerome-in-his-letters, even while retaining vestiges of it in his own edition, in order to construct a relation of author-and-work which suited his purposes, and which still affects the way we see this church father. Erasmus’ Jerome is substantially the Jerome of modem patristics, not only be­ cause Erasmus established the canon of his writings and wrote the first “his­ torical” biography of the saint but also because twentieth-century interpreters of Jerome continue to rely on a textual narrative (that of the edited Letters) that is itself constructed on Erasmian lines.64 As Jardine explains it, Erasmus’ use of Jerome’s correspondence as a model for the publication of his own was grounded on his ability to treat the letter both as a uniquely intimate or affective literary form and as a species of the rhetorical performance known since antiquity as declamatio. To introduce the first half of this precarious equation, she cites Erasmus’ scholion on a letter of Jerome to Nitias (or Niceas), which in turn takes up a definition of epistolary intercourse attributed to the Roman comic writer Turpilius: “Exchange of let­ 6lVessey, “Jerome’s Origen” (n. 27 above), 135. See Vallarsi’s preface, repr. in Patroiogia Lat­ ina 22:XLIII-XLV; his own biography of the saint “ex eius potissimum scriptis concinnata” follows at cols. 5-17 5 . 62Rice, Saint Jerome m the Renaissance (n. 4 above), 124-25. Erasmus' correspondence with Gregor Reisch (Epp. 308-9) suggests that Reisch, had he remained in charge of the Jerome edi­ tion, would at least have sorted out the non^epistolary items from the Letters, as the elder Amerbach had proposed. Erasmus is resolute: “veterum ordinem sequemur exceptis adulterinis” (Allen 308, line 22). 63Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 149. MBy happy coincidence, Jardine’s book appears amid a flurry of studies by patristic scholars which draw attention to the criticaMnterpretative problems posed by the Opus epistolarum Hieronymi. See the work of Rebenich, Clark (already noted by Jardine, 277 n. 41), and Vessey cited above (nn. 27, 37, 45, 47) and numerous articles by Pierre Nautin, some of them listed and sum­ marized in his article, “Hieronymus” in the Theologische RecdenzyklopOdie 15 (1986): 30 4 -15. In a curious play of mirrors, Jardine's Erasmus may finally enable us to see through Erasmus’ Jerome.


ters is the one thing, [Turpilius] says, that makes absent persons present.”65 This dictum appealed to Erasmus, who repeats it in his treatise on letterwriting without acknowledging Jerome as the source.66 Acknowledgment would have been superfluous in any case since, as Erasmus knew, the idea of letters as presence-in-absence was a commonplace of classical epistolary the­ ory; that Turpilius’ name, let alone Jerome’s, should have become attached to it was merely accidental.67 In fact, the letter to Niceas is exceptional in Jer­ ome’s correspondence in its close engagement with this body of epistolary the­ ory. Had Erasmus been deeply interested in theoretical discussion of the epis­ tolary mode, other late classical and early Christian writers would have served him better.68 We should assume, then, that it was as a practical demonstration of the power of letters to “represent the very life itself of a person” (vitam ipsam hominis)69 that Jerome’s correspondence recommended itself to him. Nothing could be more plausible. Although Jardine does not attend directly to any of Jerome’s letters as literary performances, her characterization of the Erasmian familiar letter as “an ‘intimately theatrical’ form” is perfectly applicable to the Hieronymian model.70 At this point in the argument, if not already with the entrance of Turpilius, the concept of the letter as a uniquely authentic mode of literary expression is compounded by a sense of theatre consistent with the (ostensibly) counter­ vailing ideal of the declamation or rhetorical “put-on.” For that ideal in a spe­ cifically Christian context Jardine finds telling evidence in Erasmus’ rhetorical commentary on Jerome’s Ad Heliodorum de laude vitae solitariae, the first letter 65Jerome, Ep. 8.1 (CSEL 54:31): “Turpiliuscomicus tractans de vicissitudine litterarum: ‘sola,’ inquit, ‘res est, quae homines absentes praesentes faciat.’” Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, ISO51. ^D e conscribendis epistolis, ed. Jean-Claude Margolin, ASD 1-2:225, lines 7-9: “Est enim (quod scite scriptum est a Turpilio comico) epistola absentium amicorum quasi mutuus sermo. . . . ” Turpilius’ dictum survives only in Jerome’s report. 67For the classical tradition and its continuation see Klaus Thraede, Grundzüge griechischrömischer Brieftopik, Zetemata48 (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1970), esp. 146-61 (“Der Brief als Vergegenwärtigung der Person”), and K. Krauter, “Acsi ore ad os . . . Eine mittelalterliche Theorie des Briefes und ihr antiker Hintergrund,” Antike und Abendland 28 (1982): 155-68. In his note on this passage in the De conscribendis epistolis, Margolin speaks of a “(definition classique, reprise avec de légères variantes par tous les auteurs de traités épistolaires. ” ^E.g. Pliny the Younger, Symmachus, Paulinus of Nola, Sidonius Apollinaris. 69This phrase from Erasmus’ preface to the 1521 collection of his Epistulae ad diversos (Ep. 1206) is quoted by Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 15 1 n. 14. 70Cf. “Jerome’s Origen” (n. 27 above), in which I suggest that “(i]t is in the Letters and Prefaces . . . that Jerome is most clearly seen putting on his public faces, the masks in which he will appear—and through which he will speak—to his various audiences” (137).


in his edition and the only one equipped with a separate artistic gloss.71 Partly on the strength of convergent passages in the De conscribendis epistolis, she is able to relate Erasmus’ appreciation of Jerome’s letters as “Christian declamationes . . . written to make the Christian faith . . . compelling for a circle of devoted followers”72 to a more general interest on his part in the epistolarydeclamatory mode as a means of instruction, an interest that also appears in his edition of Seneca. She concludes that “we have missed the point if we treat Erasmus’ epistolae and his many published declamationes as attempts at sincerity or authenticity in our own post-Romantic sense. The issue for Erasmus is one of affective presence: what are the modes of discourse which will make the ab­ sent praeceptor a vividly present force, an influential source of learning, wher­ ever his texts are read? In a period and a location (early sixteenth-century northern Europe) which proclaims the value and moral worth of‘plain truth,’ it is a tricky direction to take.”73 No less tricky, for that matter, in the Chris­ tian society of the late fourth-century Mediterranean.74 Jardine’s brilliant analysis of Erasmus’ epistolary strategy should do much to stimulate future study both of Erasmus’ letters and published declamations and of Jerome’s. At the same time, the evidence she adduces for the complicity of these two exponents of “affective presence” may lead one to suspect that her claims for the construction of Erasmus’ literary personality mprint are some­ what exaggerated. According to Jardine, the Erasmus we know is primarily a man of printed letters, one who established his fame in Froben’s Basel printing shop, a “highly sophisticated manipulator] of the medium of print, its circu­ lation and marketing.”75 Now it is possible to concede the primacy of print in the finished textual construction without assuming that Erasmus was first and last a homo typographies, or that Dürer’s travestying of Jerome as such con­

71Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 169-70. The artis annotaáo on this letter is translated by Brady and Olin (CWE 6 1:12 3 -3 1), who likewise observe the link between this commentary and Erasmus’ recommendation of the Ad Hehodorum as a model of the epístola exhortatoria in the De conscribendis epistolis (ASD 1-2:353). 72Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 173. Italics in the original. For evidence of Erasmus’ likely debt to Jerome in the matter of “circle-building,” see also Rebenich, Hieronymus und sem Kreis (n. 37 above), and Elizabeth A. Clark, “Elite Networks and Heresy Accusations: Towards a Social Description of the Origenist Controversy,” Semeja 56 (1991): 8 1- 10 7 (now largely reproduced in The Origenist Controversy, n. 47 above). 73Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 173-4. 74Jardine, ibid., 15 1 n. 13, cites a definition of the familiar letter from the unauthorized Ubeüus de conscribendis epistolis of 1521 which includes the phrase “tamquam cum amiculo in ángulo susurres, non in theatro clames.” Is this another echo of Jerome, Ep. 112.22? "Ibid., 23.


veys the whole truth about his editor’s career.76Jerome, after all, achieved an international reputation before the advent of printing, and while Erasmus’ fame did not reach its height until after 1516 (the date of publication of the first separately printed selection of his letters), the man Froben engaged for the Novum instrumentum and Hieronymi opera was hardly unknown to the Latin-reading public of Europe. Granted that earlier printed publications such as the Adagia and Moriae encomium had contributed greatly to Erasmus’ re­ nown, we must surely also allow a role to the manuscript culture of humanist letters.77 By arguing that “comparatively late in Erasmus’s life, his reputation as a trans­ lator, editor and pedgagogic theorist was consolidated into a solid international reputation,”78Jardine leaves the way open for a complementary account of the earlier phases of the humanist’s career that would pay due attention to his use of the techniques of manuscript publication. Elsewhere, however, she uses the language of “letters” in a manner that elides distinctions between writing, pub­ lishing and print. At one crucial moment, her implied chronology of Erasmus’ “self-production” becomes seriously embroiled. Citing a reference to the Ad Heliodorum de vita solitaria in the treatise on letter-writing, she comments: “This sentence is in the early and late versions of the De ccmscribendis epistolis. In other words, Erasmus’ own published letter-writing falls squarely within the period of his close involvement with the letter-writing of his hero, Jerome.”79 The synchronism intended in the second sentence is presumably between Erasmus’ collaboration on the early editions of his own letters (1516-1522), discussed in a previous section of the same chapter, and the first two editions ofjerome’s letters (1516,1524), twin foci ofjardine’s study of Erasmus’Jerome; an accompanying reference to the printed text of the De ccmtemptu mundi (1522) confirms these termini. But then what are we to make of the phrase “the early and late versions of the De ccmscribendis epistolis”?Whereas the pub­ lication of the revised text of this work also belongs to 1522, the earlier state 76See Hayum, “Diirer’s Portrait of Erasmus” (n. 10 above). 77This aspect of Erasmus’ relations with his patrons and a larger (though still relatively restricted) public is newly illuminated by David Carlson, English Humanist Books: Writers and Pa­ trons, Manuscript and Print, 1475-1525 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993), ch. 4: “Authorial Parsimony: The Circulation of Some Poems of Erasmus, c. 149 5-1518. "Carlson recognizes that Erasmus used a variety of means to press his work upon his “target audiences,” and that those means “included both printed materials and manuscripts, and manuscripts of discemibly different sorts, each of which had particular properties and meanings, advantages and disadvantages, of which Erasmus appears to have been sensible” (99). His book thus provides a useful corrective to what might be called the tyfwgrammatocentrism of Jardine’s view of Erasmus’ publishing career. 78Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 147. My italics. ^ b id ., 170. Emphasis in the original.


represented by Siberch’s edition of the previous year is commonly held to derive from a draft of 1499, which would take the Jerome/Erasmus epistolary complex back a decade and half before the date at which it first manifested itself in print.80 This longer time-scheme, which I assume Jardine does not in­ tend, is also implied by the phrase “the period of his close involvement with the letter-writing of his hero, Jerome,” which on the usual reckoning would reach back at least to 1500 (by which time Erasmus had apparently conceived the plan of an edition of the Letters) or even to the late 1480s (when he claimed to have copied these texts out in his own hand).81On the other side ofJardine’s narrow chronological fourchette, Erasmus’ involvement with Jerome’s letters and the publication of his own can be said to have continued until the Dutch­ man’s death in 1536. The interference of these two time-schemes—one relatively short (ça. 1516-24) and dictated by the dates of printed editions, the other longer (ca. 1490-1536) and linked to the documented experiences of a literary life and death—seems to indicate an unresolved tension in Jardine’s study, an unwill­ ingness to concede to the artifices of (manu)script even a small part of what is claimed for the mystery of print. Be that as it may, there is clearly something missing from an account of Erasmus’ construction of authorial presence that does not explain either how he came to be in a position to publish the Novum Instrumentum or even why he should wish to do so, particularly when the ac­ count in question lays heavy emphasis on the precedent of Jerome.82 In Jar­ dine’s defense it must be said that the “formative” years of Erasmus’ life have ^ o r the complex history of the De conscribendis epistolis, see J.-C. Margolin’s introduction to his edition in ASD 1-2, and Judith Rice Henderson, “The Composition of Erasmus’ Opus de conscribendis epistolis: Evidence for the Growth of a Mind," in Acta Convenius NeO'Latim Torontcmensis, ed. Alexander Daizell et al. (Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1991), 147-54, with refs, to other recent studies. 8lPlans for an edition: Epp. 138-39; 141 (letters first published in the Farrago of 1519 but ap­ parently based on originals of December 1500). Erasmus’ personal copy: Allen 22, lines 2 1-2 2 : MIam olim . . . eas [sc. Hieronymianas epistolas] non modo legi, sed et quotquot sunt propriis ipse descripsi articulis.” This letter to Comelis Gerard, dated June 1489? by Allen, was among those first published with the Vita Erasmi of 1607. Although understandably sceptical of the “genuine­ ness” of much of this supposed early correspondence, Jardine (Erasmus, Man of Letters, 149 n. 3) does not call in question “Erasmus* long-standing commitment” to Jerome’s Letters, which is in any case sufficiently corroborated by other evidence from this period of his life. Godin, Erasme lecteur d’Origène (below, n. 88), 16, translates the phrase propriis . . . articulis as “telles qu’elles sont [i.e. the letters), période par période” but the Toronto rendering (“with my own hand”) is clearly the right one. The emphasis is on Erasmus’ scribal exertions in the cause of “good letters." 82This deficiency is partly supplied by Erika Rummel, Erasmus’ ‘Annotations’ on the New Tes­ tament: From Philologist to Theologian (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), esp. 15 -18 , assigning Jerome a major role in the shaping of Erasmus’ theological vocation.


received disproportionate attention in the past and that the relative paucity of information (including bibliographical data) for that period has sometimes led to a rather speculative style of biography. In this state of affairs, Jardine’s arguments for the later production of the humanist author pose the question whether similar analyses could not be offered for his earlier career, considered henceforth in terms of authorial “construction” as well as of intellectual “formation.” One obvious area for study in this light is Erasmus’ epistolography before 1516—its sources, strategies, and practical effects. Jardine wisely exhorts us to pay more regard to the printing history of the letters and to place less cre­ dence in the deceptively linear narrative of Allen’s edition,83 but I take it she does not mean us to eschew all inference about the form, content, or circu­ lation of putative manuscript ancestors of printed texts. Again, the example of patristic correspondence such as Jerome’s or Augustine’s is methodologically relevant. In such cases we have no printers’ dates by which to control the “au­ thorized” appearance of particular texts, nor usually any evidence of early vari­ ant states. Yet it is still possible to reach reasonable hypotheses about the gen­ uineness and genesis of particular texts or collections, mainly from the internal grounds appealed to by Renaissance editors like Erasmus.84 Jerome’s accom­ plishment as a textual producer of Jerome need not prevent us from studying the processes of that production. Nor does the printed Erasmus foreclose all access to the pre-print author. There are good reasons for believing that Eras­ mus was continually experimenting with “letters,” in both the epistolary and manuscript senses, from his schooldays in Deventer until the first printing of his correspondence, and that signs of these early experiments are to be found both in the subsequent Opus epistolarum and in such related works as the De contemptu mundi, De conscribendis epistolis and the edition of Seneca (whose 83In doing so, she joins a growing band of scholars interested in restoring the original profiles of humanist letter-collections. For the state of the question, especially as it affects Erasmus, and some very pertinent remarks on the “fictionalization of personality” in Renaissance epistolography, see Judith Rice Henderson, “On Reading the Rhetoric of the Renaissance Letter,” in RenaissanceRhetorik / Renaissance Rhetoric, ed. Heinrich F. Plett (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1993), 143-62. 84See for example H. Lietzmann, “Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Briefsammlung Augustins,” in his Kleme Schriften (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1958), 260-304; D. de Bruyne, “Les anciennes collections des épitres de saint Augustin,” Revue Bénédictine 43 ( 1931): 284-95. Valuable as these initiatives are, there is much more work to be done in tracing the development of Augustine’s epistolary publicity. The task of penetrating behind the medieval collections of Jerome's letters, partially inventoried in the first two volumes ( 1A -1B ) of B. Lambert, Bibiiotheca Hieronymiana Manuscripta, 4 vols, in seven (Steenbrugge: St. Pietersabdij, 1969-72), has barely been begun; see P. Lardet, “Épistolaires médiévaux de saint Jérôme,” Freiburger Zeitschrift fitr Philosophie und Theobgie 28 (1981): 271-89.


Epistulae to Lucilius may have been among the first major epistolary collections he encountered). Only in the context of a wider study of this complex mass of material, and of the epistolographic residue of other northern humanists both in print and manuscript, will it be possible to assess the full cultural import of Erasmus’ “close involvement with the letter-writing of Jerome.” The same defense of the pre-print Erasmus would, if needed, also justify fur­ ther research into his choice of models of authorship besides Jerome. The habit of listing exemplary authors, which Jerome himself popularized in miniature catalogues such as those in his letters to Paulinus and Magnus,85 was one that Erasmus seems to have picked up early on. Already in his writings of the late 1480s(?) and 1490s the maintenance of his own literary persona entails the promotion—and in some cases, defamation—of other literary figures.86 Tra­ ditionally interpreted as symptoms of a humanist aemulatio or sympathetic ri­ valry, these gestures of “canonical” alignment contribute to the public delin­ eation of a new authorial figure. So far as I am aware, they have yet to be studied in detail. What is the policy behind Erasmus’ lists? How do they de­ velop? By what means does he insert himself into the company of those he commends? Answers to these questions would provide a useful complement to Jardine’s penetrating exposé of the promulgation by Erasmus and his col­ laborators of a partly fictional genealogy of Northern humanism centered on the literary personalities of Rudolph Agricola and Alexander Hegius.87 In connecting himself with such near-contemporary figures, as in his relations with ancient authors, Erasmus operates a double procedure of name-dropping and (re)publication. The most seemingly casual collocations of authors’ names in his writings often constitute fragmentary, tendentious literary genealogies. Even ancient authors who do not enter Erasmus’ lists until quite late in his career can be seen with hindsight to have played a role in the earlier production of his work. The clearest example of such a “sleeping” partner is the patristic writer with the best claim to be considered the third man in the relationship of Erasmus and Jerome: Origen of Alexandria. Thanks to the meticulous re85Jerome, Ep. 58.5 and 10; Ep. 70.4-5. The letter to Magnus and Erasmus' commentary are given in CWE 6 1:20 1—6. For the genre see Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953; repr. with an afterword by Peter Godman, 1990), 256-60. ^Lists in Allen 20, lines 96-105 (“Ego meos duces quos sequar habeo . . . possibly echoing Jerome, Ep. 58.5: “Habet unumquodque proposi turn principes suos: Romani duces imitentur Camillos . . . poetae aemulentur Homerum, Vergilium . . . nostri duces . . .n); Ep. 23 (modem writ­ ers); Epp. 26; 31 ; etc; De contemptu mundi, ASD V-1 :80 (where the list of approved authors follows a quotation from Jerome, Ep. 22). There are many more examples in the early version of the Liber anabarbarorum and in the presumed early drafts of pedagogical works from the mid- and late 1490s. 87Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, 83-98.


searches of André Godin there is no longer any doubt about the profound in­ fluence of Origen’s biblical exegesis on Erasmus’ emerging sense of Christian literary vocation.88 His early reading of Jerome’s letters would already have ac­ quainted him with the figure of Origen and the canon of his writings. Around 1502, through the offices of the Franciscan Jean Vitrier, he encountered the Alexandrian’s works at first hand. That initial exposure, Godin has argued, was catalytic for Erasmus’ formulation of a program of Christian study, writing and publication oriented on the sacred text. Like Jerome before him, but in a changed institutional context, Erasmus came to conceive of this scriptural activity as an ars, the sources and methods of which Origen had revealed to him: Aperit enhn quasi fontes quosdam et rationes indicat artis theologicae, as he wrote to Colet.89 In his own presentation of the Ratio verae theologiae and in the multiple lists of approved theologians that he issues from 1515 onwards, Origen occupies first place among Greek patristic authorities and first place overall, with Jerome his Latin doppelgànger.90 Jerome was supreme among Latin theologians because he alone could stand comparison with the Greeks. In following Jerome, Erasmus followed Origen. That much was already plain to Erasmus’ younger contemporary Petrus Mosellanus, when in a polemical speech before the University of Leipzig in 1518 he brought the scholar of Bethlehem back to life to ratify the double succession: Origen—Jerome— Erasmus.91 Of all the literary genealogies claimed or invented by the Dutch humanist, this was the most aristocratic. The long meditated edition of Origen, published after Erasmus’ death, was the tribute due to an outstanding theologian.92 There is no suggestion, how­ ever, that Origen could ever have distracted Erasmus from his first project of publishing Jerome. On purely theological grounds the Alexandrian master ^Érasme lecteur d'Origène, Travaux d’Humanisme et de Renaissance 190 (Geneva: Droz, 1982). Godin’s final chapter, entitled “De l’actualité d’Origène: les jeux de miroirs érasmiens” (631-85), is the natural pendant to Jardine’s study of Erasmus and Jerome. 89Allen 18 1, lines 38-40; Godin, Érasme lecteur d'Origène, 13. 90Godin, Érasme lecteur d'Origène, 139-40; CWE 61:69. In constantly suggesting that “scarcely even learned Greece” can match Jerome for all-round accomplishment, Erasmus may be recalling Jerome’s own exhortation to Paulinus (Ep. 58.8) to achieve an excellence in Latin Christian letters “quod docta Graecia non haberet.” Since Jerome’s letter to Paulinus advertises the author’s own unparallelled achievement in this sphere, the point did not require much de­ velopment. 91Godin, Érasme lecteur d’Origène, 215-20 ; Erika Rummel, Erasmus and His Catholic Critics, 2 vols. (Nieuwkoop: De Graaf, 1989), 1:68-72. 92Godin, Érasme lecteur d'Origène, 560-630, with the critique of Jacques Chomarat, “Sur Érasme et Origène: Plaidoyer,” in Colloque Érasmien de Liège, Bibliothèque de la Faculté de Phi­ losophie et Lettres de l'Université de Liège 247 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1987), 8 7 -113 .


should have supplanted his disciple. On literary and aesthetic grounds he was no match for him. Origen had written in Greek. A large part of his work was lost. Most of what was extant had survived only in Latin versions, and those from diverse hands. Whatever else may have delayed the Origenis opera, these were reasons enough to disqualify it from the kind of attention Erasmus lav­ ished on Jerome in the period to 1524.93 As a Latin writer with a Latin-reading public in view, he first of all needed a patron among the Latin fathers whose oeuvre had survived substantially intact, even if adulterated. Jerome had this virtue along with the many others Erasmus delights to recall: he could be pub­ lished ad litteram. The Edition of Jerome Erasmus’ Jerome, as Jardine and others have shown, is a construct at once textual and pictorial, where the text is paramount even in the picture. De­ piction proceeds by de-scription, a point to which I shall return in a moment. Considered as a set of printed artifacts, the publishing of this author may be said to comprise (1) the advance notices appended to the Damiani elegeia of 1515; (2) the nine-volume Hieronymi opera of 1516, in which Erasmus’ cas­ tigation of the epistolary corpus fills the first four volumes; (3) a number of letters in the Farrago nova epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami of 1519 attesting the writer’s longstanding involvement with Jerome; (4) the revised Hieronymi opera of 1524-26, in which the authentic opus epistolarum occupies a place apart in the first three volumes, designed to be bound in one. Of these four elements of a cumulative and progressively refined print-portrait, only the first and third (redistributed in Allen’s edition of Erasmus’ correspondence) are conveniently available to modem readers in the language of Erasmus.94 Allen also prints some of the prefatory material from the 1516 and 1524 editions.95 The Latin text of Erasmus’ Li/e of Jerome (from the same source) was critically edited by Wallace K. Ferguson more than half a century ago.96 No student of 9JCf. Godin, Érasme lecteur d’Origène, 445, marking Erasmus’ insistence that any judgment of Origcn’s orthodoxy be founded “sur l’examen du texte lui^même dans son intégralité et sa teneur originale. ” For the same reason that Origen could not stand such a test—that is because, as Erasmus asserts, nihil habemus ut ab ipso scriptum est—he could not take the place of Jerome in the humanist’s publishing program. 94Letters from the Damiani elegeia: Epp. 333-35 and 337. Letters from the Farrago relating to the edition of Jerome: Epp. 138-39, 141, 149, 245, 248, 264, 273, 332. 95Epp. 396 (dedication to Archbishop Warham [1516, repr. 1524]), 326 (excerpts from preface to Part 3 of Volume 2 [1516]), 1451 (preface to Volume 2 [1524]). The English version of the first of these in CWE 61 is reprinted from CWE 3. 96See n. 4 above. CWE 61 follows the eclectic text established by Ferguson from a collation of the early editions.


Erasmus, Man of Letters will believe that a full appreciation of the Erasmian Jerome (or Hieronymian Erasmus) is possible without access to the “original” printed editions. Used in conjunction with information provided by such ma­ jor studies as Jardine’s and Rice’s, however, the material published in English translation in CWE 61 affords readers outside the great ducal and university libraries an extensive view of this unique editorial-authorial construct. Although, as I have argued, Erasmus’ “edition” of Jerome comprehends a great deal besides the texts printed in the Hieronymi opera of 1516/24, the Tor­ onto editors not unreasonably confine themselves to the contents of those volumes. Along with the prefatory letters already translated in the Toronto edition of the Correspondence, they provide translations of the other major prefaces from both editions (including two attributed to the brothers Amerbach) and of the Life of Jerome, together with a selection of six of Jerome’s let­ ters with Erasmus’ summaries, scholia and other apparatus. With one possible exception, the Hieronymian letters chosen are among the most obviously im­ portant in the collection, whether one judges them as instances of Jerome’s epistolary art and publishing strategy, for their importance in the Christian tra­ dition after his death, or according to the use made of them by Erasmus outside the edition itself.97 Indeed they would provide an excellent starting-point for any inquiry into the influence of patristic models on later European literary theory and practice (a fact which could partly justify the generous amount of space taken up in CWE 61 by the Hieronymian text, reproduced in W. H. Freemantle’s translation from the Library of Nicene and Post'Nicene Fathers). Otherwise, the chief novelty of this volume, and much of its value for those with access to Ferguson’s edition of the Vita Hieronymi but not to the Hieronymi opera itself, lies in the complete (English) texts provided of the important prefaces to Parts 1 and 3 of the second volume of the 1516 edition, in which Erasmus explains why and how he separated the “authentic” Jerome from the agglomeration of spurious material attached to his oeuvre in the earlier 97The letters are Jerome, Epp. 14 (to Heliodorus on the solitary life); 52 (to Nepotian on the clerical life); 22 (to Eustochium, on virginity); 15 (to Damasus on the formula of the three hy­ postases); 70 (to the Roman orator Magnus on reading pagan authors); 53 (to Paulinus of Noia on the study of Scripture). The first three letters belong to the first group of authentic texts in Erasmus’ ordering (“quae ad vitam instituendam pertinent”); Volume 2 of the 1516 edition was reserved for spuria; the second group of authentic letters (“quae ad refellendos haereticorum errores et malevolorum calumnias pertinent”) is represented by the fourth and fifth letters in the new se­ lection; the final group (“quae sacrorum voluminum habent enarrationem”), designed to introduce the longer exegetical works in the following volumes, is represented by the letter to Paulinus. The letter to Damasus is included by the editors of CWE 61 partly on the grounds that “it is a significant affirmation of the authority of the ‘chair of Peter’ M(194), but Erasmus makes little of the point.


tradition.98 Read along with the Life, these texts take us to the heart of Erasmus’ project of (re)constructing the Christian author. The Scribe m the Printing House Before concluding this slanted review of current research on Erasmus’ Jer­ ome, I should like to make three observations based on my own study of the basic texts listed in the previous section. I offer them as marginalia to the chapter of Jardine’s study entitled “The In(de)scribable Aura of the ScholarSaint in His Study: Erasmus’s Life and Letters of Saint Jerome.” The language of “in-scription,” like that of “aura,” is the critic’s. Where Jardine writes “in(de)scribable,” Erasmus writes “describable.” The objects of his description are Jerome, his life and work. How does he proceed? Erasmus describes Jerome anti'theatrically. The fact is striking, in view of the consistently theatrical or declamatory style of Erasmus’ discourse of “affective presence,” itself justified (as Jardine has shown with such finesse) by the ex­ ample of Jerome’s correspondence. Instead of Jerome the actor, Erasmus claims to give us Jerome “as he really was.” Beginning the Life of Jerome with a re­ jection of the ancient practice of fictionalizing the characters and exploits of great men, he even sides with Augustine against both Jerome and Origen in condemnation of this kind of contrivance (hoc fuci genus, artificium mentiendi).99We dishonor the saints, he says, if we imagine “that like Aesop’s little crow they delight in being displayed, as it were, on the stage adorned with the exotic plumage of false virtue.”100 The term of display (ostentari) is the same one that Erasmus uses in other contexts of Jerome’s saintly exhibitionism,101 yet no sense is to be allowed here of the hero as performer. Such men are not "T h e text of the first of these prefaces shows significant additions in 1524 and subsequent editions, which are not recorded by CWE 61. "References to the Latin text of the Hirronymi vita are by line number of Ferguson’s edition, here lines 8 and 22. Erasmus alludes successively to the quarrel between Jerome and Rufinus over Jerome’s dream (Rufinus having accused Jerome of breaking his oath to abandon pagan authors) and to the controversy between Jerome and Augustine over Galatians 2 :1 1 - 1 4 (Jerome having claimed, after Origen, that Paul’s argument with Peter was simulated). 100CWE 61:19; Vita, 32-4: “ut Aesopicae comiculae ritu velut in proscaenio gaudeant osten­ tari.” 10lCf. Allen 334, line 112: uest in divo Hieronymo novam quandam et variam eruditionem cum sancta quadam ostentatione coniunctam”; Allen 335, line 276: “minis est opum suarum ostentator”; Allen 396, line 197: “pia nimirum ambitione et sancta quadam ostentatione iactitans opes suas’1. A trace of this idea subsists in the Vita at lines 79-80: “At Divus Hieronymus, nisi quod abunde iuxta Graecorum proverbium autos hauton £uiiscnt hac parte parum erat felix," the implication being that die only true ostentator Hieronymi is Jerome himself—or, by extension, the man who reissues his texts as Erasmus was doing.

xn to be staged, they are to be described: “I think that nothing is better than to portray (describere) the saints just as they actually were,” he continues.102 Al­ though “portray” is a legitimate translation in this instance, it masks the cen­ tral conceit of Erasmus’ biography, which depends crucially on the twin clas­ sical senses of describere as both ( 1) to copy or transcribe from an original and (2) to represent in painting or writing. The Life of Jerome is advertised from the outset as representation-by-transcription: Exhnii doctoris Hieronymi Stridonensis vita ex ipsius potissimum Utteris [1516; scripds 1524, etc.] contexta per Desyderium Erasmum Roterodamum, the title runs. Because Jerome has written his own life in his works, the biographer’s task is simply to arrange what he finds there.103 This opinion of the autobiographical transparency of a multi­ generic literary text seems oddly naive coming from one so attuned to the ar­ tifices of declamatory rhetoric as Erasmus. Why does he undersell Jerome the artist at this point? The natural inference is that he wished to portray the artist more or less as the latter had portrayed himself, and that meant not raising too many questions about the relation between le style and Ihomme même. In­ stead, Erasmus sets up a diversion from the issue of biographical authenticity in Jerome’s works by fixing our attention on the “author* of the pseudepigrapha de Hieronymo variously fathered on Eusebius of Cremona, Cyril of Jerusalem, Augustine and others.104 This man was an actor, if ever there was one!105 In l02CWE 61:22; Vita, 65: “Ego nihil arbitror esse rectius quam eiusmodi describere sanctos, cuiusmodi fuerunt ipsi. . . l03V«a, 12 9 -13 3 : “Ex huius igitur libris omnibus lustratis, quod sparsim annotare licuit in narrationis ordinem redegimus, n’hil admentientes, quod arbitremur abunde magnum esse miraculum, ipsum Hieronymum tot egregi is voluminum monumentis sese nobis exprimentem.” 104Rice, Saint Jerome m die Renaissance (n. 4 above), 13 1 n. 62, assembles key passages of Erasmus’ invective against this impostor, which is carried on throughout the 1516 edition. With the characterization from the Life quoted below, see also Erasmus’ preface to Part 3 of Volume 2 (CWE 61:83-97, esp. 87-90) where the same theatrical language abounds. The translators observe that “Erasmus* attribution of these spurious works to one man is puzzling” (246). I suggest that it was motivated by his need to present a foil for the untheatrical authorship of Jerome. In other words, the concealed singleness of the many-faced impostor caricatures (and thereby dig­ nifies) the unfeigned singleness of the true author. The position adopted by Erasmus at the be­ ginning of the Hieronymi vita is otherwise inconsistent with his conception of history as a kind of theatre, as noted by P. G. Bietenholz, History and Biography m the Work of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance 87 (Geneva: Droz, 1966), 26-28, 91-92. 105Vita, 90-96: “Quis enim illius legens naenias, ni plane truncus sit, non protinus sentiat personatum histrionem, qui Vertumnum quendam aut Proteum nobis referens, nunc Eusebius est Cremonensis, nunc Cyrillus, nunc Augustinus, nunc Ambrosius, nonnunquam si libeat Damasus, aliquoties ipse si superis placet Hieronymus? Sed quibuscunqe plumis nobis opertus prodit, vox ubique sui similem coccygem arguit. * There is probably an echo here of Jerome, Ep. 43.2 (CSEL 54:320): “Cum enim ad imaginem et similitudinem dei conditi sumus, ex vitio nostro personas


the face of such palpable mendacity, Jerome’s text (duly castigated, then re­ ordered by Erasmus) cannot fail to appear as an authentic representation of its author. Erasmus de-scribes Jerome literally. The editor’s perspicacity in restoring the very letters of the original text and the printer’s accuracy in reproducing the same are recurrent themes of the publicity surrounding the Hieronymi opera.106 Such claims are the stock-in-trade of humanistic editors and printers, but there is more involved on this occasion than humanist veneration of the text or good business sense. Or rather, both are inflected by a concern specific to Erasmus’ project of reinventing the Christian author. Erasmus’ Jerome is not merely the best text available of that church father; the edition is also meant to mark the beginning of a new epoch in Christian literary production. To that end, the issuing of the repristinated oeuvre is set within a tradition of scribal fidelity to the “letter” of which it is at once the crown and, as a printed artifact, the coup de grâce. (Earlier printed editions, including the one used by Erasmus as his base text, naturally disappear from sight in this perspective. ) Comparing the cult of saints’ relics with the general neglect of saints’ writings, Erasmus asks rhetorically what kind of offense it would be to interfere with the former in the way that a certain person, the infamous actor/author mentioned above, had interfered with the latter. He then recalls how ancient Christian authors “whenever they published a book used to entreat the scribe by all that was sa­ cred not to change anything, not to add anything, not to omit anything, but to transcribe faithfully what he had found in the original manuscript.”107 De­ spite the seeming generality of the precedent, it is clear that Erasmus has a par­ ticular injunction in mind; one used in a lost (!) work of Irenaeus, recorded by Eusebius, remarked upon and reused by Jerome.108 In a note on Jerome’s De viris illustribus, he is careful to place Irenaeus in a lower rank than Jerome, “with whom I would not dare compare any of the Greeks, excepting Origen alone,” in order to argue a fortiori for the importance of preserving Jerome’s

nobis plurimas superinducimus. Et quomodo in theatralibus scaenis unus atque idem histrio nunc Herculem robustus ostentat, nunc mollis in Venerem frangitur, nunc tremulus in Cybelen, ita et nos, si mundi non essemus, odiremur a mundo, tot habe mus personarían similitudine«, quot pec­ cata.” Cf. Vita, 926 regarding other “histriones” vainly seeking to impersonate Jerome. 106E.g. Allen 396, lines 170-77 (editor); Allen 335, lines 297-99 (printer). 107CWE 61:92. 108The injunction appeared at the end of a treatise of Irenaeus On the Ogdoad. It is quoted by Eusebius (EccL Hist. 5.20) and reused by Jerome in his adaptation of Eusebius’ Chronicle. Jerome also quotes it in his entry on Irenaeus in De viris illustribus 35 (see next note).


works uncontaminated.109 The note in question is keyed to Jerome’s citation of the Irenaean instruction to scribes, taken from Eusebius. The instruction itself also appears on the verso of the final leaf of the preliminaries of the first tome of the Hieronymi opera of 1516: Maxime conueniebat Irenaei obtestationem praefigere, quam chronicis Eusebii praemisit Hieronymus. Ea est huiusmodi. ADIVRO TE QVICVNQUE HOS DESCRIPSERIS LIBROS, PER DOMINVM NOSTRVM IESVM CHRISTVM, ET GLORIOSVM ADVENTVM E1VS, IN QVO VENIET IVDICARE VIVOS ET MORTVOS, VT CONFERAS QVOD SCRIPSERIS, ET EMENDES AD EXEMPLARIAJ,] EA DE QVIBUS SCRIPSE­ RIS DILIGENTER, ET HOC ADIVRATIONIS GENVS TRANSSCRIBAS, ET TRANSFERAS IN EVM CODICEM QVEM DESCRIPSERIS. [It seemed to us appropriate to prefix that summons of Irenaeus, which Jerome placed before Eusebius’ chronicle. It runs thus. “I adjure thee who mayest copy this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by his glorious advent when he comes to judge the quick and the dead, to compare what thou shalt write, and correct it carefully by the exemplars which thou hast fol­ lowed, and also to transcribe this adjuration, and place it in the copy which thou has written out.”]

The son of a professional copyist and himself the scribe of a complete text of Jerome’s Letters, Erasmus uses Froben’s elegant Roman capitals to solemnize ,09The digression appears on foL 139v of Volume 1 in the 1516 edition: “Quis nescit hunc Irenaeum non esse conferendum cum nostro Hieronymo, cum quo neminem ausim conferre Graecoram, praeter unum Origenem. Et vides quam sancte sit obtestatus, de servanda integritate voluminum suorum. Quid igitur supplicii dignum esse possit, impudentissimo nebulone, qui non veritus sit, omnia ferme divi Hieronymi opera, vel effingere vel contaminate?” On Erasmus’ edition of the Latin text of Irenaeus’ Adversus haereses (1526), see now the article on Irenaeus by Otto Reimherr in Catalogus Translationum et Commeruarionim: Medieval and Renaissance Latin Translotions and Commentaries, Vol. 7, ed. Virginia Brown et al. (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Uni­ versity of America Press, 1992): 13-54, at 34-37 and 50 -51.


his role as descriptor operum Hieronymi. When Jerome was alive, as we have seen, he took great care to ensure that his works were transmitted faithfully. Now that the humanist editor has made those works his own, he insists on the same fidelity (from whom?), even though Irenaeus’ plea no longer makes the same sense in an age of mechanical reproduction. If this is the charisma of print, it is also the charisma of the Christian author as pretended master of his own (scribal) text. Erasmus de-scribes Jerome silendy. The process of representation-bytranscription is not confined to those places where it is expressly declared. Out­ side the biography (which proclaims its reliance on the subject’s own texts) and the edition proper (which publishes those texts verbatim), Erasmus still persistently rewrites or transcribes Jerome. Sometimes he cites his predecessor; very often—and these are arguably the more interesting cases—he does not. Then it is up to the individual reader either to mark or to miss the Hieronymian accent. The full extent of this unadvertised textual mimesis will not be clear until someone gives the same attention to Erasmus’ Jerome as Godin has to his Origen and Béné to aspects of his Augustine.110 Brady and Olin could per­ haps have done more to help the reader here. Even in the parerga to the edition of Jerome, there are unsignalled Hieronymian passages. To take just one ex­ ample: on the first page of the editor’s dedicatory letter to Archbishop Warham we are reminded that in former times “the most powerful and prosperous monarchs thought no concern more becoming to them than to arrange for the translation of works of outstanding authors into various tongues, that more men might enjoy them.’’111 As in the instance quoted in the previous para­ graph, the precedent is deliberately generalized, but not so much that the figure of King Ptolemy Philadelphus and his legendary commissioning of the Septuagint are wholly effaced. These are already good auspices for the latest trans­ lator of the New Testament. They look even better when we recall that Jerome had chosen the same exemplum to glorify the Christian library-building zeal of Pamphilus, defender and preserver of the works of Origen.1,2 Writing to the 110Godin’s work is cited in n. 88 above. See also Charles Béni, Érasme et saint Augustin ou influence de saint Augustin sur l'humanisme d’Érasme, Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance 103 (Geneva: Droz, 1969), which includes discussion of Erasmus’ use of Jerome at several points. m CWE 61:3; Allen 396, lines 1-9 . n2jerome, Ep. 34.1 (CSEL 54:259): “Beatus Pamphilus martyr, cuius vitam Eusebius Caesariensis episcopus tribus ferme voluminibus explicavit, cum Demetrium Phalereum et Pisistratum in sacrae bibliothecae studio vellet aequare imaginesque ingeniorum, quae vera sunt et aetema monumenta, toto orbe perquireret, tunc vel maxime Origenis libros inpensius persecutus Caesariensi ecclesiae dedicavit. . . . Hie cum multa repperwet et inventorum nobis indicem derelinqueret,”

XII 97

wealthy widow Marcella in the 380s, Jerome had one eye on the libraries of the newly Christianized Roman aristocracy, which he hoped in time to see stocked with his own works. Erasmus, with bibliophiles like Duke Frederick of Saxony in mind, quietly takes another leaf out of the master’s book.113 Conclusion: The Catalogue of Christian Authors At the beginning of this article I held out the hope of representing Erasmus’ Jerome in a manner that would answer Jardine’s description of the masterly self-producer in print without displacing the more traditional figure of the Christian humanist in pursuit of a “new” ancient theology. Such an accom­ modation, I suggested, need not imply the abandonment of secular historio­ graphical principle for any supposedly “pietistic” alternative. Nor ought it to sacrifice the complexity of the cultural phenomenon under consideration sim­ ply in order to make it more amenable to a secular, modem discourse such as “the history of scholarship” or “the history of literature.” To represent Erasmus as “European man of letters . . . archetype and exemplar of the European scholar” may, on a balanced view, be no more or less misleading than to rep­ resent him as a “(Christian) humanist,” “poet,” or “theologian.” Good histor­ ical arguments can be made for applying all of these titles and for insisting on none. In practice, most writers on Erasmus are glad of the variety. In the case of Erasmus’ work on and with Jerome, however, there are special reasons for hesitating to assign a professional or vocational description to his activity. Erasmus “constructed” his public persona on the figure of Jerome: if there were ever any doubt about that, Jardine’s book has dispelled it. No less cer­ tainly, he was in part “formed” by his early contact with Jerome’s writings. He was, we might say, both passively hieronymized and an active hieronymizer. But what exactly did Jerome represent? To what class of persons did he belong? ctc. For the part played by Demetrius of Phalerum in the procuring of the Septuagint, as recounted in the fictitious “Letter of Aristeas,” see Luciano Canfora, The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World, trans. Martin Ryle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 16-36. The sixth-century Athenian tyrant Peisistratus was traditionally credited with standardizing the texts of Homer and instituting their recitation at the Panathenaic festival. On Pamphilus, Eusebius, Jerome and the works of Origen, see Pierre Nautin, Origtne: Savieetson oeuvre (Paris: Beauchesne, 1977), 225-60. Erasmus* thoughts on the “monuments” of great men, in both the letter to Warham and the opening paragraphs of the Hieronymi vita, seem to take their cue from this passage of Jerome commemorating the sacred texts of the Greeks, the Jews and the Christians. ll3Examples of this kind could easily be multiplied (see also nn. 86, 90, 105 above) but the point needs no laboring. Jerome's collaboration with Erasmus far exceeds the limits within which it has hitherto been studied.


To answer these questions for Erasmus we must first of all read Jerome, since it is unlikely that the humanist’s figure of the church father was significantly determined by any outside influence. Jerome was a Christian like Erasmus. Jer­ ome was a monk: Erasmus is careful to clarify in what sense. Finally, Jerome was an exceptional Christian writer, the first (in either Greek or Latin) to make serious claims for a specifically religious literary occupation and, of all the fathers, the one most visibly interested in the material production and dis­ semination of his own texts. Erasmus renews those claims. As he does so, tex­ tual assimilation and construction merge in collaboration. If Jardine’s “man of letters” walks straight off the printed page into eternal fame, it is no small thanks to his apprenticeship as one of Jerome’s copyists. Fame was a matter of prime concern to Jerome; without the renown that was due to its men of learning and eloquence, Christianity would inevitably suffer in comparison with pagan culture, and there would be no livings for “men of letters” of his stripe. That was one reason he undertook to catalogue the ecclesiasdci scriptores, “to do for those of our party (nostri) what Suetonius did in enumerating the famous men of pagan letters.”114 Like others of its type, Suetonius’ catalogue of “Famous Men” (which survives only in fragments) was divided into different classes of literary “professional”: poets, orators, grammar­ ians, rhetoricians, and so on. Jerome devises a single sequence of those “who left something to posterity [i.e. in writing] on the Bible.” This is the class of persons—including Seneca on the strength of his correspondence with St. Paul—in which he places himself. A study of Erasmus’ use of the De viris illustribus of Jerome would be most revealing.115 Here I shall invoke only one instance of it, and an exceptional one at that. In the 1516 edition of Jerome, the Catalogue of Famous Men appears as the final item in the first volume (i.e. after the first group of authentic letters). Immediately following it, on the recto of the last leaf, is a table of the names of Christian writers in the order in which Jerome had listed them, disposed in five equal columns of thirty lines each, ll4Vjr. ill., prol. (ed. Richardson): “Hortaris, Dexter, ut Tranquillum sequens ecclesiasticos scriptores in ordinem digeram et, quod ille in enumerandis gentilium litteranun viris fecit inlustribus, ego in nostris faciam, id est, ut a passione Christi usque ad quartum decimum Theodosii imperatoris annum omnes qui de Scripturis Sanctis memoriae aliquid prodiderunt tibi breviter exponam. . . . Discant igitur Celsus, Porphyrius, Iulianus, rabidi adversum Christum canes, discant sectatores eorum qui putant ecclesiam nullos philosophos et éloquentes, nullos habuisse doctores, quanti et quales viri earn fundaverint, struxerint, adomaverint, et desinant fidem nostram rusticae tantum simplicitatis arguere, suamque imperitiam recognoscant. ” 115Paul Antin, M‘Catalogus’ chez Jérôme et Érasme,” Revue des Études Augustmiennes 18 (1972): 19 1-9 3, makes a small start.


to make a rectangular block of type. The same table is reprinted before the catalogue in the revised edition of 1524, to which (as Jardine has shown) Erasmus devoted even greater care. Only now it has been reset. By contriving four more hyphenated line-breaks than were needed before, Froben’s compositor has produced a table consisting of four equal columns of thirty-one lines each and a fifth of thirty, one line short of the rectangle at the bottom right-hand comer: a typographical monument to Christian writing from St. Peter to St. Jerome, geometrically perfect but for one vacancy waiting to be filled. Whose name was meant to be printed—or rather written—in that providen­ tial space? Whose name shall we write? If we insert the name of Erasmus, we surely inscribe the editor’s own desire to be represented, not merely as a scholar, poet, or theologian, but (in Jerome’s words) as one of those “who founded, built up, and adorned the Church” by their writing, as a scriptor ecclesiasticus—oT even, as some unskilled emendatares were already suggesting in Augustine’s day, a Christian author.116

ll6Abovet n. 30. Jerome himself allows the term “author” in his prologue (“singulorum de quibus scripturi sumus volumina aetates auctorum suorum saepe testentur”) and the word appears re­ peatedly in Erasmus’ letter of dedication prefixed to the Hieronymi opera. It is startling how little awareness there is of such usage among students of (early) modem literary institutions. One ex­ ample: Foucault’s historical sketch of the “author-function” in “What is an Author?” (n. 48 above) is newly interrogated by Roger Chattier, The Order of Books, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 25-59; laboring to prove that the modem conception of the author is not contingent on print technology, Chartier finds several of its attributes already present in the culture of “the manuscript book at the end [sic] of its unchallenged reign” (5 1)—without taking Foucault’s hint that it was already largely elaborated in late antiquity. In similar fashion he cites the Catalogus iUuscrium virorum Germaniae (Mainz, 1495) of Johannes Trithemius as ev­ idence of the “long history” of the published bibliographic inventory before the end of the sev­ enteenth century, without alluding to the same writer’s Liber de scriptoribus ecclesiasacis (Basel, 1494) or the much longer history of medieval, patristic, and ultimately Hellenistic bibliographies which lies behind it.



Any inquiry into the origins and development of a modern scholarly disci­ pline must recognize the variety of the relations that may hold between the ca­ reers and activities of individual scholars and the institutions of academic life. Without pretending to offer a taxonomy of these relations in and across the disciplines of patristics and late antiquity as they developed in France and Germany between 1870 and 1930, I should like to begin this paper with a di­ vision of learned types or genera studiosorum, in the hope that it may serve in the manner of Jerome's mischievous distinction of the genera monachorum as the basis for discussion of a complex subject. Like Jerome, and at similar risk of over-simplification, I confine myself to three types. There are those rare individuals (a Mommsen or a Hamack) who create or transform the institutions of scientific research in their elected or newly established disciplines. There are others who, themselves content to remain within existing institutional structures, radically alter the conditions of work for their successors by cultivating new areas of research or adopting new methods of investigation. And there is a tertium genus made up of those obli­ ged by personal temperament, the special nature of their work, or some com­ bination of historical circumstances to be forever shifting their ground or - to borrow the title of a best-selling novel of contemporary academic life «changing places» in search of a setting appropriate to their needs and abilities, who never find that setting or occupy it only briefly, but who nevertheless ac­ complish work of lasting value. Since several papers in this volume are pro­ perly devoted to scholars of the first two types, I shall perhaps be excused for dwelling on the experiences of a member of the third. It will, I hope, be clear that what I am proposing is in no sense a distraction from our common project. The lives and works of these Vagantenwissenschaftler can yield valuable insights into the intellectual geography of the disciplines which they touch. By their very eccentricity they force us to consi­ der anew the activity of established centres. So it is with the scholar named in my title, whose career was as productive as it was peripatetic. That career is already the subject of an excellent monograph1. The following discussion will

1. G. GHYSENS and P.-P. VERBRAKEN, La carrière scientifique de Dom Germain Morin (1861-1946) (Steenbrugge - La Haye, 1986 : lnstrumenla Patristica 15), hereinafter La carrière


therefore concentrate mainly on evidence from a previously unexplored archi­ val source.


One morning in late June 1905, at a convocation held in the University of Oxford, the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa was conferred on a French patristicien without other academic title. The official announcement identified the honorand as «Dom Germain Morin, O.S.B., of Maredsous2». The Public Orator does not seem to have been called upon for a speech. Even in the absence of a formal citation, the candidate's qualifications would have been conspicuous. In a series of publications already extending over three de­ cades, above all in the three volumes of his Anecdota Maredsolana that had ap­ peared since 1893, he had given proof of a remarkable talent for the criticism of ancient and medieval Latin Christian texts. Of the many previously unpu­ blished or incorrectly attributed works that he had so far brought to light or restored, more or less convincingly, to their authors, probably the most cele­ brated were the sermons or Tractatus of Saint Jerome, the final fascicle of which had been jointly published by the abbey of Maredsous in Belgium and the Oxford firm of Parker in 19033. There was no doubt that Dom Morin deserved his honorary doctorate. But his merits alone would not have secured it for him, had there not been persons in Oxford willing to move his candidacy, who recognized the exceptional quality of his work and wished to associate him in solemn fashion with their own. Who were these people ? And what is the historical significance of the as­ sociation between a French Benedictine who considered himself a successor of the Maurists in Christian philology and l'érudition anglaise (or rather britan­ nique) as partly represented by the circle of his Oxford sponsors in 1905 ? Happily we do not have to rely on inferences from published material to answer these questions, since more than a hundred letters (together with a considerable number of postcards) written by Dom Morin to his Oxford fri­ ends have been preserved in the Bodleian Library. The letters form part of the extensive surviving correspondence of Cuthbert Hamilton Turner (1860-1930) and of his one-time Oxford colleague and lifelong collaborator Alexander Souter (1873-1949). They are unevenly distributed over a period of almost half a century from 1899 to 1945 (the year before Morin's death), with a par­ ticular concentration (in the file of letters to Turner) in the years 1905-10. In scientifique. The work contains a biographical narrative by Dom Ghysens and a chronological and analytical bibliography by Dom Verbraken. 2. Oxford University Gazette, 35, 1904-5, p. 711, 747. The ceremony took place on Thursday 29 June. 3. For details of these and other publications, see the bibliography in La carrière scientifique. The Tractatus S. Hieronymi were subsequently reprinted in CCL 78 (Tumhout, 1958).

XIII 167


1910 Morin visited England for the fifth and last time. Of his correspondence between that date and the outbreak of the First World War only a few scraps remain in Oxford. The two series of extant letters begin again in the early 1920s. For the purposes of the present study, the Oxford correspondence of Dom Morin may be divided into three parts : 1. Letters from 2. Letters from 3. Letters from

1899 to 1905 (year of Morin's honorary doctorate) 1906 to 1913 (correspondence interrupted) 1920 to 1930 (year of Turner's death)4

This paper will consider Dom Morin's patristic scholarship in the light of his Oxford letters. After briefly sketching his career down to 1899, I shall present each of the phases of his correspondence in turn, together with a mi­ nimum of information on the British scholars concerned, Turner and Souter. The order and general tenor of the epistolary conversation thus established, I shall attempt to determine the significance of Morin's links with the «Oxfordmen», as he called them, both for his own (real and imaginary) life and for the institutional history of early Christian philology.

II. We may begin by retracing the initial stages of the scholar's career, as de­ scribed by his biographer5. Bom at Caen in Normandy in 1861, Leopold (in religion Dom Germain) Morin made his monastic profession at the Benedictine monastery of Maredsous (Namur) in 1882. His aptitude for textual scholarship, especially the study of Christian Latin authors, manifested itself early and was strongly encouraged by his superiors. Already in 1885 he could be found at the Royal Library in Brussels, disputing a Carolingian manuscript with the young Ludwig Traube6. The next year he embarked on the task that would oc­ cupy him for the rest of his life : a critical edition of the works of Caesarius,

4. Letters to C. H. Turner : Bodleian MS Eng. lett. c. 617, fol. 168-236 (G. MORIN) ; fol. 267-307 (A. SOUTER). Letters to A. Souter : Bodleian MS Eng. lett. c. 611, fol. 87-164 (G. MORIN) ; MS Eng. lett. c. 615, fol. 63-245 (C. H. TURNER). In addition to Morin's cor­ respondence with Souter and Turner, the Bodleian also holds a letter from MORIN to W. Sanday of 1912 (MS Eng. misc. d. 124/2, fol. 464-5), and two series of letters from MORIN to T. F. Fenwick (MS Phillipps-Robinson d. 315, fol. 166-82; e. 493, fol. 108-10). References to letters from these collections will be by name of sender and addressee, and date. Corre­ spondents' names will be abbreviated M(orin), T(umer), S(outer). Thus «M to T, 14. xi. 99» refers to a letter of Morin to Turner dated 14 November 1899. 5. La carrière scienlifique, p. 9ff. 6. G. MORIN, Le dernier livre du maitre, RBén, 25, 1908, p. 238.

XIII 168 the great sixth-century preacher and bishop of Aries. This project required the inspection of a vast number of manuscripts, and at the beginning of 1887, fol­ lowing in the footsteps of his predecessors the Maurists, Morin set off on the first of a series of voyages littéraires that would take him in the course of the next three decades to almost all the great libraries of Europe. On the eve of his departure from the monastery his abbot took him aside and exhorted him not to make manuscripts the sole object of his search, «mais de rechercher aussi avec soin le commerce des hommes experimentés, dont les sages avis sup­ pléeraient à ce qui manquait à [sa] formation7.»

In Paris, Morin consulted Léopold Delisle and Louis Duchesne. Otherwise he seems not to have been impressed by the competence of French scholars in the disciplines which interested him : «En Allemagne,» he wrote to his abbot, «je trouverai, s'il plaît à Dieu, de maîtres habiles8.» There indeed, years later, would he find a convenient place to work and the company of a few men of le­ arning like his own. But first his path lay elsewhere. «A peine rentré de France,» he later recalled, «je pris la route d'Angleterre, et là encore je passai sept longs mois, surtout à Londres, Oxford, et Cambridge. C'est alors peutêtre que, pour la première fois, j'eus la sensation très vive de l'intérêt intense qu'on témoigne pour l'ancienne littérature chrétienne, dans ces puissantes uni­ versités où domine l'influence anglo-saxonne : intérêt si différent de la froi­ deur et de l'apathie qui accueillent généralement, dans d'autres contrées, toute publication rentrant dans le domaine de l'érudition ecclésiastique9.» This flat­ tering opinion of English patristic philology was expressed in a lecture given at the University of Louvain in February 1900, in which Morin sought to in­ spire his young Belgian audience with enthusiasm for an ideal which he him­ self had conceived through his early study of the works of the Bollandists, the Maurists, and other great Christian scholars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, «l'idéal si pur et si relevé du savant chrétien10.»

III. Between 1890 and 1907 Morin typically spent several months of each year away from his monastery visiting libraries. In 1892 he went to Munich for the first time and reported joyfully to his abbot : «Vraiment c'est ici un endroit unique pour Ie travail. On a tout sous la main11.» In 1895 he was in England again, spending a month in Cambridge to copy a manuscript of Jerome. Lon­

7. G. MORIN, Les expériences d'un travailleur dans le domaine de la littérature chrétienne, RHE, 1, 1900, p. 6. 8. La carrière scientifique, p. 18. 9. G. MORIN, Les expériences d'un travailleur..., p. 7. 10. Ibid., p. 19. 11. La carrière scientifique, p. 32.



ger trips to Italy and France followed in the next three years. After returning to Maredsous from Paris in 1898, be set about publishing his latest discoveries in the Revue Bénédictine and elsewhere, while planning the next phase of his work on Caesarius. No major excursion is recorded for 1899. Towards the end of that year he received the first issues of the newly launched Journal of Theological Studies, edited in Oxford by Cuthbert Hamilton Turner. From its inception this journal gave a special place to patristics. The first volume con­ tained a «Chronicle of Patrística» by the editor in which Turner gave favou­ rable notice of several of Morin's recent articles for the Revue Bénédictine, and of another, on the Ambrosiaster, published in the Revue d'Histoire et de Littérature Religieuses12. Commenting on the last of these, he noted the Frenchman's keen interest in the affairs of the Church of England. In his first extant letter to Turner, written from Maredsous on November 14, 1899, Mo­ rin thanks him for the notices, then continues : «Quant à ce que vous dites de l'intérêt que je porte aux choses anglicanes, vous ne vous trompez pas. Natif de cette Normandie qui pendant des siècles n'a fait qu'un avec votre pays, j'ai toujours éprouvé un attrait extraordinaire pour les beaux siècles de votre hi­ stoire religieuse ; & actuellement encore je ne saurais vous dire quelle impres­ sion font sur moi ces deux centres, uniques au monde, d'Oxford et de Cam­ bridge. En dehors du monastère, je ne connais pas d'endroit où ma pensée me transporte plus souvent & plus volontiers. Vous avez su conserver, malgré tout, tant de grandes & belles choses13 !» Even when allowance has been made for the conventions of epistolary courtesy and the writer's undoubted flair for sentimental turns of phrase, the tone and language of this passage are striking. It is the first of many passages in Morin's Bodleian correspondence in which the ancient English university (Oxford/Cambridge) is evoked as a locus amoenus of Christian scholarly life, an ideal form of religious and scientific so­ ciety to be compared, «malgré tout», with the Benedictine monastery. Morin's new correspondent was almost exactly his contemporary14. Bom in London in 1860, Cuthbert Hamilton Turner had been educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, where he had taken degrees in classics and theo­ logy. A fellow of Magdalen College from 1889, he subsequently held univer­ sity lectureships in biblical studies (1906-10) and in early Christian history and literature (1914-20), and a chair in scriptural exegesis (1920-30). His contri­ bution to the Journal of Theological Studies is comparable with Morin's to the Revue Bénédictine ; after resigning the editorship in 1902 he continued to publish several articles each year on a variety of subjects, mainly patristic. The 12 JThS, 1, 1900, p. 154-5. 13. M to T, 14. xi. 99. Emphasis added. 14. See the memoir by H. N. BATE prefixed to Turner's collected papers. Catholic and Apostolic (London, 1933), p. 1-65. The same notice appears abbreviated in the Dictionary of National Biography, 1922-1930 (London, 1937), p. 861-4. There are useful short biographies of the most important English patristic scholars of the period 1870-1930 in The Oxford Dic­ tionary of the Christian Church, 2nd ed. (revised) by F.L. CROSS and E.A. LIVINGSTONE (Oxford, 1983).

XIII 170 great labour of his life, begun in 1891 and still incomplete at the time of his death in 1930, was an edition of the oldest texts of Western canon law, the Ecclesiae Occidentals Monumenta Iuris Antiquissima (EOMIA). In 1899 the first fascicle of the Monumenta had just appeared ; in the letter already quoted Mo­ rin promises to announce the work in a coming issue of the Revue. The surviving part of Morin's correspondence with Turner does not indicate how and when the they first came to know each other. What is certain is that from this time forth they felt a strong mutual sympathy. The congruence of their research interests hardly needs to be pointed out. Both were engaged on long-term projects demanding a minute and comprehensive knowledge of me­ dieval Latin manuscripts and early Christian Latin, as well as a mastery of pa­ tristic theology and early Church history. Both were renewing a tradition of Christian textual scholarship whose greatest glories lay in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century France ; the age of Sirmond, Valesius, Mabillon and Montfaucon. Both combined genuine respect for the best contemporary Ger­ man scholarship with an inbred (and, in Morin's case, chauvinistic) distrust of the German academic cast of mind15. The resemblances do not end there. Both men had committed themselves to a style of life in which the solitariness of philological work was compensated, if it was compensated at all, by the com­ pany of their fellow «professionals», religious or academic. Turner never married. Like Morin, he was devoted to his mother. Both scholars constantly sought, and Turner usually enjoyed, the companionship of younger men who shared their intellectual interests. In short, despite important differences in their institutional situations, the two were much alike. Even so, their epistolary commerce seems to have been slow to develop and was never so easy or fami­ liar as that between Morin and the Scotsman Alexander Souter. A postcard from Morin to Souter written in the summer of 1901 informs us that the latter was planning a trip to the Continent and hoped to visit Maredsous16. Once again the manner of «entrée en relations» of the two corre­

15. In his tribute to Traube (n. 6 above) MORIN recalled how «C. H. Turner, d'Oxford... se plaisait à me redire, avec son humour habituel, qu'il n'y avait dans toute l'Allemagne que trois érudits au jugement desquels il ajoutait confiance : Traube venait en première ligne, les deux autres heureusement sont encore en vie.» When Turner reproached him for this indiscretion, he replied : «Vous avez bien raison de me chercher querelle... H y'a toutefois ici cette circonstance atténuante, que je présente votre dit comme une boutade qu'on ne doit point prendre à la lettre. Et puis, comme je connais les Allemands, tout savant parmi eux qui lira ces lignes sera pour sûr convaincu qu'il est l'un des survivants au jugement desquels vous avez confiance» (M to T, 24. v. 08). In the same letter he states his reservations concerning a certain Italian scholar, recently deceased, then adds: «Mais, comme moi, il était anglophile & antiteuton : sur ce terrain du moins nous nous entendions.» For a tendentious comparison of the vices of French and Ger­ man philological scholarship, see his article De la besogne pour les jeunes. Sujets de travaux sur la littérature latine du Moyen Age, RHE, 6, 1905, p. 344-5. 16. S to M, 12. viii. 01. The visit apparently did not take place.



spondents is obscure. (It is unlikely that they were introduced by Turner17.) In 1901 Souter was 28 years old18. Trained in classics at the University of Aber­ deen under W. M. Ramsay and then at Cambridge where he was a disciple of the great J. E. B. Mayor, he had dedicated himself early to the the study of later Latin literature, for which he was to be one of the first (and, to this day, one of very few) British apologists19. At the time of his first attested corre­

17. A likelier candidate for this role is J. Armitage Robinson of Christ’s College, Cam­ bridge. The latter introduced Souter to F. C. Burkitt in 1901 (JThS, 36, 1935, p. 229) and would have been in a position to recommend him to Morin, whom he had known since 1895 (La carrière scientifique, p. 35). 18. R.J. GETTY, Alexander Souter 1873-1949, Proceedings of the British Academy, 38, 1952, p. 255-68. 19. See TURNER'S testimonial for Souter, written in 1911 when the latter was a candidate for the Chair of Humanity (Latin) at the University of Aberdeen : «[Mr. Souter] has chosen as the special field for his research the Latin writers - so often neglected, especially by English scholars - of the centuries after Christ, from the second to the fourth and fifth. On this field he has few rivals at home ; and with the single exception of Prof. Robinson Ellis [Corpus Christi Professor of Latin at Oxford, 1893-1913], he is, I fancy, the only insular contributor to the great Vienna corpus of Latin Christian writers. I am inclined to believe that Scotland recognizes less grudgingly than we in England do, that Latin did not cease to be a living and a literary lan­ guage with the close of the Augustan age : and in Scotland at any rate it will not be thought un­ natural or undesirable to show simultaneous interest in both classical and Christian writers, for no one in Europe is so brilliant an example of the combination as the outgoing holder of the Aberdeen chair [W. M. Ramsay]» (among TURNER'S letters to Souter, foL 114-5). Two years eailier, SOUTER wrote of himself : «I never had any theological training, and am no theologian except in the sense that every Scot is. My work is purely linguistic, textual and historical. I am purely a classical man devoting myself to research in later authors because there it is most nee­ ded» (T to S, 2. vi. 09). In an introduction to the English translation of DE L a b r i o l l e 's Hi­ stoire de la littérature latine chrétienne (London, 1924 ; reissued 1968), p. vi, Cardinal GASQUET cites Souter's continuation of J.E.B. MAYOR'S work on Tertullian in support of his sta­ tement that «[a]t the present time in England, there is... a distinct tendency to recognize the im­ portance of the study of the Latin writers of the Early Christian ages.» Mayor's chief interest in Christian Latin literature was linguistic, especially lexicographical. As his successor in the Kennedy Chair of Latin at Cambridge, A.E HOUSMAN, was to remark (specifically regarding MAYOR'S edition of Juvenal), «his main concern [was] not with what the author wrote or meant, but with the words he used and the things he mentioned. These he carried in his mind through the whole width of his incomparable reading, and brought back from the limits of the literature all the parallels and imitations and echoes which it contained» (Inaugural Lecture at Cambridge, 9 May 1911, quoted from the Times Literary Supplement, 9 May 1968, p. 476). Among the fruits of Souter's lexicographical studies are to his contributions to the Novum Testamentum S. Irenaei (see n. 72 below), to L am p e's Patristic Greek Lexicon (for which he was charged with Greek words appearing in Latin texts), and to the Oxford Latin Dictionary, and his own Glossary of Later Latin ( 1948). In the preface to the Glossary, p. iii, he writes : «The present work was in effect begun half a century ago [while the editor was a research fel­ low at Aberdeen] when, in imitation of my dear master Mayor, I began to add words and ex-

XIII 172 spondence with Germain Morin he held a research post at Aberdeen. On his appointment to a lectureship in medieval palaeography in the same university two years later he delivered an inaugural lecture on «Palaeography and its Uses» which contains an elaborate defence of the study of the Christian authors of late antiquity, including an appeal to the example of «the Benedictine monks, who did all they could to restore Augustine, Ambrose, and others to their original form», and a summons to «British and American Universities» to emulate the Academies of Vienna and Bedin in the procurement of patristic editions. As evidence of the utility of such work, the speaker instances his own research on the pseudo-Augustinian Quaestiones Veteris et Novi Testamenti CXXVII, of which he was shortly to publish an edition in the Vienna coipus20. As it turned out, Souter’s initial tenure of the Aberdeen lectureship was re­ latively brief. For some time he had been waiting for a chance to move to Ox­ ford, where he would be able to take advantage of the Bodleian collections and the presence of other scholars interested in early Christian literature. The op­ portunity arrived in the form of a chair of New Testament Greek and exegesis at Mansfield College, which he held from 1903 until 1911. Throughout this period he was in close contact with C. H. Turner, who more than once attemp­ ted to secure a position for him at his own college. These, then, were the two British scholars with whom Germain Morin was to maintain a correspondence for as long as he and they lived. He had other friends and acquaintances at Oxford whose names occur frequently in the Bodleian correspondence and to whom he refers collectively as the «Oxfordmen21» but his letters to them, if they survive, are for the most part to be sought in other repositories. In 1902 the Bodleian Library marked its tercentenary and Morin was among those invited to the celebrations. For him, as he explained to his abbot, the event would be a chance to renew friendships with «les savants anglais, avec amples to a copy of Lewis and Short.* SOUTER's Hints on the Study of Latin (A.D. 125-75) (London, 1920 : Helps for Students of History 21) was reprinted as recently as 1969 ; though long out of date it is still unsuperseded in English. 20. The lecture was printed in JThS, 4, 1903, p. 506-16. The passage concerning the study of early Christian authors falls at p. 512-4, and concludes : «The great scholars of the past few centuries, who have made the most valuable contributions to scholarship, have been equally at home in both classical and sacred philology. This is true of Erasmus, Bentley, Porson, Lachmann, Haupt, Lightfoot, Hort, Field, the brothers Mayor, and others. 1 do not say that their greatness is entirely owing to their breadth of view, but I maintain that breadth of view and width of reading are the necessary preludes to good and sane work in a scholar's career... .» SOUTER's edition of the Quaestiones is in CSEL 50 (1908). 21. Among them W. Sanday (1843-1920), F. E. Brightman (1856-1932), H. J. White (1859-1934), C. C. J. Webb (1865-1954), H. A. Wilson (1854-1927). Brightman and Webb were fellows erf Magdalen College like Turner. Wilson succeeded Turner as editor of the Jour­ nal of Theological Studies. For a letter of Morin to Sanday, see n. 4 above : the letter, dated 1 April 1912, acknowledges a copy of Sanday's tribute to Bishop John Wordsworth ( 18431911).



lesquels je suis en relations étroites, et que je n'ai plus revus depuis une dizaine d'années [i.e. since 1888/95]22.» In the event, be was unable to travel to Eng­ land that year. He came instead in 1903 and spent most of his time, as on the previous visit, in Cambridge. As we have already seen, Morin made another journey, his fourth, to Eng­ land in 190523. He went first to Cheltenham, where he collated several ma­ nuscripts for Isidore Hilberg, the editor of Jerome's letters for the CSE124, and then to Oxford where he stayed with the Souters. At the end of a month he moved on to Cambridge, and it was while he was there that he received the news of the honorary doctorate which his Oxford friends and admirers had ar­ ranged for him. «Je croyais avoir quitté Oxford pour longtemps, sinon pour toujours,» he wrote to Turner towards the end of June : «Voici que j'y suis rappelé, vous savez pourquoi : je vous soupçonne même d'avoir été pour beau­ coup dans cette résolution à laquelle j'étais loin de m'attendre. Certes, je ne vous aime que davantage : car ce nouveau lien consacrera les relations d'estime & d'attachement qui m'unissaient déjà à Oxford. Ce sera une des plus douces choses de ma vie*5.» Another letter to Turner, written in Oxford after the de­ gree ceremony, is in the same vein : «Impossible de vous dire à quel point j'ai été sensible aux marques de sympathie & de confraternel intérêt dont j’ai été l'objet ces jours-ci. J'ignore si jamais d'autres distinctions du même genre m'écherront dans la vie ; mais aucune ne me sera plus chère & plus précieuse que celle que je viens de recevoir. Le premier amour est toujours le plus bel : je sens que je suis & resterai un vrai fils d'Oxford26.» Other men, or those who already had a university degree, might regard the conferral of an honorary doctorate as a mere token of esteem. For Morin the ceremony retained its full social and quasi-religious importance. He had been received into a society, a brotherhood, a family of scholars. No other moment of association, with the single exception of his entry into the monastery, would ever count for as much with him as the day on which the «Oxfordmen» clo­ thed him in their academic garb, pronounced their solemn formulas, and ad­ mitted him to their ranks.

22. La carrière scientifique, p. 50. 23. Above, p. 166. Cf. La carrière scientifique, p. 58-61. 24. A letter from HILBERG to Morin, written in Latin and dated 1 February 1905, is preser­ ved among Morin's letters to Souter, fol. 98-9. The arrangements for Morin's visit to the Phillipps collection at Thirlestaine House, near Cheltenham, are recorded in his correspondence with T. F. Fenwick (see n. 4 above). 25. M to T, 23. vi. 05. For a suggestion that the prime mover of Morin's doctorate was H. J. White, see n. 56 below. 26. M to T, 1. vii. 05. The letter is written on Magdalen College notepaper. MORIN adds in a post-script : «Je vais me reposer quelques jours à Downside [Abbey] près de Dom Butler...» E Cuthbert Butler ( 1858-1934) had recently returned to Downside (where he would be abbot from 1907 to 1923) after eight years at the Benedictine house of studies in Cambridge.

XIII 174


The letters which Morin sent to Turner in 1906 and the first part of 1907 deal with a wide range of critical problems : the writings of Niceta of Remesiana (recently edited in the Cambridge series of Texts and Studies by A. E. Bum, a friend of both Turner and Morin) ; the authorship of the so-called Tractatus Origenis (on which Morin refers Turner to the researches of his fellow Benedictine, Dom André Wilmart) ; manuscripts of the Conflictus Arnobii et Serapionis ; the De dogmatibus ecclesiasticis attributed to Gennadius of Marseille, of which Turner had just published a critical text in the Journal o f Theological Studies. A letter of June 1907 records the death of a German philologist equally venerated by Turner and his correspondent : «Quelle perte que celle de ce pauvre Dr. L. Traube ! A Paris, c'était une consternation géné­ rale parmi les érudits. Il s'était montré constamment à mon égard comme un frère. Et j'avais tant espéré aller près de lui, un jour, mettre la dernière main à mon Césaire.» The same French scholars («L. Delisle, H. Omont, etc.») had, we learn, recently expressed their admiration for Turner's work. The letter ends on an allusion to the collegial bonds that now united the two men : «Croyez à mes sentiments de profond & reconnaissant attachement, surtout à l'approche de l'anniversaire de ma réception dans notre vieille & glorieuse Université27.» Up until now almost all Morin's letters to his Oxford friends had been sent from the monastery at Maredsous. An important development is announced in a postcard from Einsiedeln (Switzerland) in November 1907 : «Mon cher Monsieur Turner, Je vous envoie, un peu tardivement, le tiré à part de ma petite note sur Gennade ; la faute en est à la paresse des imprimeurs & à mes déplacements. Je cherche toujours un endroit où travailler au mieux. Oxford m'aurait tant plu : mais je ne suis pas assez riche ! Je vais essayer à Strassburg à partir du 1er décembre. Toujours bien vôtre, etc.28» Je cherche toujours un endroit où travailler au mieux. This statement, so clearly at odds with the Benedictine ideal of stabilitas, could henceforth serve as the writer's motto. His biographer observes : «A partir du début d'octobre

27. M to T, 14. vi. 07. Emphasis in the original. 28. M to T, 21. xi. 07. Morin's article on the Gennadian De dogmatibus ecclesiasticis appea­ red in RB^rt, 24, 1907, p. 445-55. Turner's edition of the text is in JThS, 7, 1906, p. 78-99 ; see also ibid., 8, 1907, p. 103-14.



[1907], Dom Morin commence une série de trois expériences autorisées par son Abbé : afin de découvrir en quelle abbaye, ou en quel milieu pas trop éloi­ gné de Maredsous, il pourrait établir ce qu'il appelle son 'atelier d'érudition', à proximité surtout d'une bonne bibliothèque.^9» After unsuccessful trials at Einsiedeln and Strasbourg, he finally settled at the monastery of Sankt Boni faz in Munich, where he would reside for most of each year until 1916. So much we are told by the documents preserved in the archives at Mared­ sous. But it is not the whole story. The Bodleian correspondence reveals that Morin considered at least one other possible place of abode. From Munich, in December 1907, he wrote to Turner : «Ici... je suis sûr de trouver ce que je cherche : un loisir studieux, & livres & MSS. à souhait... J'avoue toutefois qu'il m'en coûte de m'enfoncer ainsi au Coeur de la Germanie : j'eusse tant préféré l'Angleterre & Oxford. Je ne dis pas encore adieu à cette dernière per­ spective, surtout si, comme vous me le faites entrevoir si délicatement, il y avait moyen de résoudre la question de dépense : car je ne saurais espérer grand-chose actuellement de mes Confrères. Voyez-vous quelque solution qui me permette de trouver le nécessaire là-bas, en fait de logement & de nourri­ ture, si modeste que ce soit ? Je me confie à vous 30.» The idea of moving to Oxford was evidently one that Morin had meditated before November 1907. The terms of this letter and of the previous postcard presuppose at least a pre­ liminary consultation with Turner. The latter, as is clear from his correspon­ dence with Souter and others, was an expert in the complex system of fellow­ ships, funds and bequests operative in Oxford. If anyone could find a place there for a wandering Benedictine, he could ! In concert with Morin’s other friends, Turner now applied to the University's main agency for the funding of lectureships, the Common University Fund (CUF), and, it seems, persuaded its committee to offer the Frenchman a salaried position. Morin's reply to the committee survives among his letters to Turner. In its essentials it repeats what he says in a covering letter to his friend, dated 11 March 1908 : «Je vous suis extrêmement reconnaissant, à vous & aux mem­ bres du Comité, de votre bon vouloir & de votre générosité à mon égard. Mais il faut que je vous dise franchement que la situation n'est plus la même que je vous décrivais en novembre passé : l’essai que j'ai fait ici a réussi au-delà de mon attente, et, après ce que j'en ai écrit à mon Abbaye, on ne comprendrait pas que je quitte ma récente installation d'ici pour tenter de nouvelles aven­ tures outre mer. J'ignore toutefois si, un jour ou l'autre, les au­ torités ne me contraindront pas à quitter cet endroit-ci où je me trouve si bien : vous savez qu'un vent désastreux souffle actuelle­ ment de Rome sur tout ce qui pense et travaille en pays catholique. Il n'est pas impossible que je doive faire de nouveau appel, dans l’avenir, à votre généreuse amitié.»

29. La carrière scientifique, p. 66. 30. M to T, 4. xii. 07. Emphasis in the original.

XIII 176 He goes on to make the following interesting proposal : «Voici, du reste, une pensée qui m'est venue. Peut-être la trouverez-vous originale : elle est neuve, en tout cas. Le but de cette concession de fonds, de la part du Comité, est double : pro­ mouvoir l'achèvement de mes travaux entrepris, & en même temps contribuer, dans une certaine mesure, aux intérêts de l'Université en faisant bénéficier, si peu que ce soit, celle-ci de mon activité. Or, n'obtiendrait-on pas les mêmes résultats en m'imposant les deux conditions suivantes : 1° de me mettre ici au service des travailleurs d'Oxford qui auraient besoin (dans certai­ nes limites, évidemment) de renseignements relatifs au trésors lit­ téraires de cette région, comme inspection de manuscrits, rapports sur l'âge, le contenu, etc, bref de jouer ici le rôle d'une sorte de «Consul littéraire» pour votre Université ; 2° de faire chaque an­ née un court séjour à Oxford, afin de rester en communication personelle avec les Membres de l'Université, &, en même temps, de réaliser vos bienveillantes intentions à mon égard ? Inutile de vous dire combien aussi cela assurerait ma situation ici, & sauve garderait mon indépendance vis à vis des mesures toujours possi­ bles d'autorités absolues & prévenues contre moi31». The conditions proposed in these letters were certainly new. They could even be thought extravagant. As usual, Turner’s response was both positive and practical. The CUF was not in the business of establishing palaeographic missions in foreign lands, but it could help foster international relations bet­ ween scholars. Since Morin wished to stay in touch with his British friends while living in Munich, would he not consent to give an annual series of lectu­ res in Oxford, for which he would be paid ? This compromise was duly agreed upon. In April 1908 Morin wrote that he was saving for Oxford «ce qu'il y aura de plus intéressant en fait de découver­ tes au cours de mes travaux^2.» A date for the first series of lectures was fixed for May 1909, then postponed when the lecturer confessed himself «incapable de trouver... une matière que ne me détournât point trop de mes travaux du moment33.» Finally, in February 1910, he announced that he had found a sub­ ject «digne d'intéresser même un auditoire d'Oxford» : a solution to the ageold problem of the origins of the «Athanasian Creed» or Quicumque. Years later Morin would discover new evidence to connect this famous formula with Caesarius of Arles, but in 1910 he was inclined to seek its origins in sixthcentury Spain. «En tout cas,» he wrote to Turner, «je pourrais, à ce sujet, dire 31. M to T, 11. iii. 08. Emphasis in the original. In the accompanying letter to the delegates of the CUF the phrase «Consul littéraire» is replaced by «Chargé d'affaires littéraires». 32. M toT ,4. iv. 08. 33. M to T, 22. xii. 08.



bien des choses, notamment sur la manière de s'exercer en semblables ma­ tières34.» His talk would thus provide a kind of «discours sur la méthode» for young students of ancient Christian texts, in the spirit of his earlier lectures at Louvain. It would be of particular interest to Turner who, unknown to his correspondent, had just published a critical edition of the Quicumque in the Journal of Theological Studies35. In a postcard written two weeks later, Morin asks his friend to send him two copies of the article, which had been brought to his attention by Paul Lehmann, the disciple and successor of Traube who was one of Morin's few close associates in Munich36. Morin's four lectures on «Les Origines du soi-disant Symbole d'Athanase» were given in French in the Examination Schools in Oxfoid towards the end of October 1910, and subsequently published in the Journal o f Theological Stu­ dies 37. It would be interesting to know how they were received by his Oxford audience, and what kind of an audience it was38. Morin himself recalls these days in rapturous terms in a letter to Turner of the following Christmas, in which an idealized vision of Oxford is rudely contrasted with the reality of his life in Munich : «C'est à vous principalement que je suis redevable d'avoir pu revivre quelques-uns de ces beaux jours d'Oxford. Vous ne sauriez croire combien cela m'a fait de bien. J’en suis revenu tout renouvelé, pour supporter l'isolement où je vis parmi les Germains. Car ici, vraiment, toute relation me fait défaut, sauf avec Lehmann, qui habite fort loin. Il se passe des jours où je n'ai pas l'occasion d'ouvrir la bouche une seule fois! Quand il y en a eu trop, & je me sens déprimé, je vais voir le Marionettentheater, distraction fort innocente, & qui me force à rire comme un enfant.» The Bodleian correspondence also contains a letter of recommendation written by Morin for Turner, in view of the latter's re-election to his Magadalen fellowship39. The sequel of the letter just quoted alludes to that event : «Vous aurez pour sûr été

34. M toT , 26. ii. 10. 35. JThS, 11, 1910, p. 401-11. 36. M to T, 1. iii. 10. Cf. M to T, 17. iii. 08 : «J'ai fait ces jours-ci la connaissance du Dr. P. Lehmann, & ça a été pour moi une vraie joie. Il a fallu un Traube pour faire un philologue & paléographe déjà si éminent d'un tout jeune homme de vingt-quatre ans. Quel dommage que l'argent ait manqué pour fonder ici un 'Institut Traube' qui eut bénéficié des ses précieuses collections !» 37. JThS, 12, 1911, p. 161-90, 337-61. The lectures were announced in the Oxford Uni­ versity Gazette, 41, 1910-11, p. 37, and took place at 5 p. m. on 20, 22, 25 and 27 October. 3 8 .1 have not been able to discover any information on either point. E BISHOP, Litúrgica Histórica (Oxford, 1918), p. 196f., refers to the lectures, but seems not to have heard them. 39. Fol. 21-13 in MORIN'S correspondence with Turner, dated 29 October 1910 : «Monsieur le Président, A la question que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'adresser je crois pouvoir ré­ pondre ainsi, en conscience : Mr. Turner est considéré, dans tous les milieux scientifiques du Continent, comme un des tout premiers représentants de l'érudition contemporaine, et comme l'un des hommes qui font le plus d'honneur à l'Université d'Oxford. Personellement, j'ai le plus haute estime pour son vaste savoir, son exactitude & son jugement Agréez, etc.»

XIII 178 réélu Fellow. Quel choix d'hommes distingués et charmants à Magdalen, & quelle fête ce me sera chaque fois de les revoir40.» The dream of a future enlivened by regular trips to Oxford was never to be realized. Without knowing it, Morin had already made his last visit to his ad­ optive alma mater. After this date we hear no more of the annual lecture-series, whether because the idea was quietly dropped or because the relevant let­ ters are missing. There is a gap in the Bodleian correspondence between the end of 1910 and late 1913. Three isolated letters from 1913-14 show that exchanges between Munich, Oxford and Aberdeen (where Souter was Profes­ sor of Humanity from 1911) continued until the War made such contact im­ possible41.

V. Germain Morin left Munich on the last day of 1916 after eight extremely productive years there. As Ghysens records, this departure marked for him the beginning of «une instabilité d'une dizaine d'années à travers l'Europe cen­ trale, à la recherche d'un gîte approprié à ses travaux d'érudition42.» At the outbreak of war or soon afterwards Turner invited him to come to England. This we learn from a letter of Morin to Turner written from Zurich in Janu­ ary 1920, in which the writer recounts his recent travels and considers possible future courses of action : «On m'invite de divers côtés en Allemagne : mais accepter se­ rait augmenter l’embarras de mes Confrères de Belgique, menacés à cause de l'origine allemande de notre abbaye (sortie de Beuron). De sorte que tout l'univers me semble actuellement fermé... Quant à mes travaux, tout est ruiné... Je suis résigné à ne plus rien faire : je ne cherche q'un coin de terre pour y passer dans l'obscurité et la paix ce qui me reste de vivre. Mais j'ai voulu encore vous écrire ces quelques lignes en manière d'adieu, afin que si vous, ou 40. M to T, 18. xii. 10. 41. Of these, two letters to Turner deserve notice. M to T, 29. xii. 13 : «Croiriez-vous que ce brave Souter m'a prétendu, cet été, que, si je me portais généralement mieux que vous, c'est parce que je menais une vie plus ascétique, moins confortable que la vôtre ! Avis...» M to T, 22. v. 14 : «Dr. Loew est à Würzburg jusqu'à Dimanche encore. J'envie son bonheur de vivre près de vous, dans Oxford.» E. A. Loew (Lowe) was an American who had gone to study at Halle with G. Wissowa but quickly became a student of Traube in Munich. From 1913 he held a post in Oxford. An autobiographical note appended to his Palaeographical Papers, 19071965, ed. L. BlELER (Oxford, 1972), II, p. 591-3, begins : «Unlike poets, palaeographers are made, not bom. It was by mere accident that I became a great-great-grandson of Jean Mabillon. The accident was meeting Traube...» Cf. ibid., p. 577. 42. La carrière scientifique, p. 102.



quelqu'un de mes amis d'Angleterre (James, Burkitt, White, Bum, etc), vous entrevoyez quelque solution à ma situation sans issue, je puisse encore tenter éventuellement une dernière chance. Au com­ mencement des événements, vous m'aviez invité avec tant de bonté à passer en Angleterre ; je ne le pouvais pas alors, et cela n'était pas nécessaire : maintenant, ce serait peut-être le seul moyen de me permettre de travailler encore utilement pour la science... Excusez la pleine confiance avec laquelle je m'adresse à vous: parmi les hommes de métier, vous êtes celui avec lequel je me suis toujours senti plus étroitement lié par la fraternité scientifique. Et enfin c'est vers vous que je me tourne de préférence, dans ces pénibles circonstances4^». The appeal did not go unheeded. Once again Turner encouraged his friend to move to Oxford and held out hopes of employment for him there. Souter invited him to Aberdeen44. Nothing came of these initiatives. Faced with the prospect of living permanently among the British scholars he so admired, Morin drew back. In a letter of May of the same year he claimed to lack the courage to begin a new life in the midst of strangers, adding : «Une seule chose me tenterait encore, ce serait de m'unir à quelque savant ami, de parta­ ger ses travaux, de lui communiquer tout ce que j'ai acquis, en fait de maté­ riaux et de connaissances45.» Probably it was the fear of being a financial bur­ den on his British friends that finally deterred him from accepting their invi­ tations. Certainly he was not afraid of living among strangers, as subsequent letters from Montserrat (Spain) and Zagreb (Yugoslavia) attest46. In the late summer of 1925, after a long series of upheavals and disappoint­ ments, Morin returned briefly to Maredsous. The visit was not a success and it was immediately clear to him that he would not be able to resume living there47. Where should he go now ? One of several letters that he may be assu­ med to have written at this moment of crisis was addressed to Turner : «Je me verrai peut-être obligé d'accepter l'offre qui m'a été faite en pays germanique et à Prague. Mais vous comprenez que ce serait pour moi, actuellement, un pis aller. Vous vous étiez offert, il y a quelque temps, à faciliter mon installation à 43. M toT, 19. i. 20. 44. M to T, 7. v. 20. 45. Ibid. 46. M to T, 18. xii. 20 (from Montserrat) : «Je n'ai pas cru devoir donner suite à votre pro­ position, quoique si obligeante, de me transférer à Oxford. Certes, c'eût été pour moi un idéal. Mais qui eût voulu fournir à mes dépenses, si modiques qu'elles soient ?» M to T, 4. ii. 21 (from Zagreb) : «Le Compte-rendu des Tractatus Augustini [La carrière scientifique, p. 188, no. 615] par Prof. Souter a-t-il déjà paru ? J'apprends avec plaisir que vous collaborez avec cet excellent travailleur. Quelle bonne besogne j'aurais pu faire encore, si j'avais réussi à trouver un asile auprès de deux hommes de votre valeur !» For Turner's «collaboration» with Souter on the Novum Testamentum S. Irenaei, to which Morin probably refers, see p. 188 below. 47. La carrière scientifique, p. 111.

XIII 180 Oxford. Verriez-vous quelque combinaison pratique pour réaliser ce projet ? Ce serait assurément ce qu'il y aurait encore de mieux. Personnellement, j'apprécierais au-dessus tout l'immense avantage de vivre dans votre voisinage, et, peut-être, à l'occasion, de pouvoir vous être de quelque utilité pour vos propres travaux. Puis-je espérer que vous voudrez bien considérer la chose, et me dire là-dessus votre pensée 48?» Whatever Turner's response may have been, it apparently had no effect on Morin's plans. After an unhappy year at the Ambrosiana in Milan, he finally returned to Munich in September 1926 to begin a second stay in that city that would last until 193949. The correspondence with Turner picks up again in a letter of July 1928 : «Oui, je suis revenu à Munich, après Bâle et Milan, comme à l'endroit ou, en somme, je trouve plus de temps et de liberté d'esprit pour me consacrer entiè­ rement au travail.» This letter exhales a new spirit of optimism. Morin has enjoyed seeing Souter in Munich. He looks forward to receiving the Journal o f Theological Studies again, especially for the articles in it by his British friends. With the financial support of the Notgemeinschaft der deutschen Wissenschaft and other benevolent foundations he has been able to recommence his scholarly work. He is already busy preparing an edition of previously uncollected and unpublished sermons of Augustine for the centenary of the saint's death in 1930. His travels, he believes, are at an end : «Je ne voyagerai plus guère désormais. Tout dérangement est fatal pour mes travaux, et j'ai déjà amassé plus de matériaux que je n'en saurais utiliser» His doctors predict (accurately) that he will live another twenty years. Turner's prospects, he cheerfully sug­ gests, must be even better 5°! In fact, Turner's health was poor again in the winter of 1928. In his Christ­ mas letter Morin sympathizes with his ailing friend : «Pour moi, je sens que ce climat de Munich m'assassine, en hiver surtout : mais que faire ? C'est le seul endroit au monde où je puisse encore travailler utcumque, & travailler en paix.» The letter ends with a reminiscence of their first meeting. It is the last in the series preserved in the Bodleian, quite possibly the last in this corre­ spondence51. C. H. Turner died suddenly in October 1930. A month later Morin wrote to Souter, acknowledging his review of the Sancti Augustini ser­ mones post Maurinos reperti, and continuing : «J'ai eu le plaisir de voir ici dernièrement Dr. Lowe : combien aussi j'aimerais à vivre dans son voisinage ! J'espère du moins qu'il ne donnera pas suite à son project de quitter Oxford pour l'Amérique. De Turner, je n'ai plus rien entendu depuis longtemps52.» When Souter visited Morin in the following summer the two men talked toge­ ther of their dear departed friend. «[V]otre visite,» Morin wrote afterwards,

48. M to T, 9. ix. 25. 49. La carrière scientifique, p. 114-26. 50. M toT, 11. vi. 28. 51. M to T, 20. xii. 28. 52. M to S, 14. xi. 30.



«a été une joie pour moi, dans les tristesses du moment53.» On his return home, the Aberdeen professor arranged for four copies of the latest fascicle of the EOMIA, the last seen through the press by its author, to be sent to Munich. Turner’s death in 1930 closes a chapter in Germain Morin's relations with his British counterparts. This account of his Bodleian correspondence would not, however, be complete without some evocation of the «nostalgie d'Oxford» - part of a more general «nostalgie de la Grande-Bretagne» - that pervades his later letters to Alexander Souter. Already in 1931 Morin could regret that neither Turner nor Bum had lived to share the excitement of his discovery of new evidence for the authorship of the Quicumque 54. A year later a memory of Montague Rhodes James prompted him to declare : «Décidément les relati­ ons les plus agréables de ma vie auront été avec les érudits de la G^ Breta­ gne55.» A postcard of September 1934 laments the death of H. J. White : «Voilà donc que tous mes vieux savants amis de la Grande-Bretagne s'en vont l'un après l'autre. Il n'en reste plus que trois : vous, Dr. M. R. James, et Prof. Burkitt56.» In 1937 Souter announced that he was retiring from his chair at Aberdeen and returning to live in Oxford. Morin reflects dolefully : «Malheureusement, tous mes amis d'Oxford sont morts, sauf Dr. Lowe^7.» Later, acknowledging a proof-copy of his friend's review of the first volume of the Sancti Caesarii Arelatensis Opera omnia, he writes : «Je profite de l'occasion pour vous exprimer mes meilleurs souhaits au sujet de votre établissment définitif dans l'incomparable centre d'études qu'est Oxford. Si j'avais pu, moi aussi 58 !» In 1937, at the age of seventy-five, Morin was elected an honorary member of the Accademia d'archeologia cristiana in Rome : «C’est très bel et bien, mais cela vient plus de trente-deux ans après Oxford 59!» There is another break in the correspondence during the war years 1939-44. The last letter to Souter, dispatched from Orselina on the banks of Lake Garda just three months before the writer's death in February 1946, confirms the special place held by Oxford and its scholars in the affections of Germain Mo­ rin : «[QJuand l'inflammation des yeux ne m'en empêche pas, je travaille à mes 'Rétractations' ; j'en suis arrivé, dans l'ordre alphabétique, à Gennade, à pro­ pos de ma réponse à notre cher Tumer sur le 'Liber dogmatum'... Je pense qu'il n'y a plus, à Oxford, beaucoup de survivants de ceux qui prirent part à la fête du 29 juin 1905 ; me voilà devenu le senior des bénédictins de Belgique, et

53. M t o S ,2 9 . vii. 3 1.

54. M to S ,5 . x. 31. 55. M to S, 24. vi. 32. 56. M to S, 23. ix. 34. Cf. M to S, 10. vii. 35 : «Merci bien pour 1' 'ln Memoriam’ de notre cher H. J. White. C'est lui, je crois, qui prit l'initiative pour mon Doctorat d'Oxford.» 57. M to S, 7. viii. 37. 58. M to S, 30. ix. 37. 59. M to S, 10. i. 38.

XIII 182 il n'y a plus que 3 survivants de la glorieuse époque de notre RBén. Mes saluts au Dr. Lowe, s'il est encore parmi vous. Vale, vir carissime et doctissime60.»

VII. It is always dangerous to generalize from one man's experience, especially dangerous when that man is as remarkable as Dorn Morin and the experience accessible to us mainly through the medium of his own familiar writings. A scholar whose favourite diversion on dreary days in Munich was the puppet show, and who devoted his best energies to the works of such consummate showmen as Jerome, Augustine and Caesarius, could be expected to offer a somewhat theatrical view of his own life and times, at once exaggerated and simplified. And so he does. To turn to Morin's letters from the others that fill up the dossiers of correspondence left by C. H. Turner and Alexander Souter is to be transported from the fiat and charmless landscape which scholars natu­ rally inhabit to a romantic world of grand designs and surprising adventures, full of violent attractions and antipathies, desperate hopes and dire accidents, sudden consolations, and glorious success. Told by a man whose day-to-day existence, as he frequently reminds us, consisted of solitary vigils in a library, it is a wonderfully colourful tale. There is no doubting Dom Morin's integrity, or his talents as an epistolographer. What is in question is the evidentiary status of all but his most matterof-fact statements. The issue is an important one for our study of his relations with Oxford and the «Oxfordmen», since it is clear that the distance separating Munich from Oxford in these letters is more than simply geographical. The «Oxford» of Morin's correspondence is remote and unattainable partly because it represents an ideal of Christian scholarly life which the writer no longer ex­ pects to realize, but which he nonetheless wishes to keep permanently in sight. That is to say, his highly favourable vision of the English university as a haven of early Christian literary studies is open to interpretation as a species of uto­ pian fiction. Like Thomas More's imaginary island of Nusquama, Germain Morin's «Oxford» (standing for an entire insular or «Anglo-Saxon» academic culture apart from the Continent) is meant to be inaccessible. It is a place to dream of, to visit perhaps, but never to reside in - and, for all its strangeness, reassuringly like a Benedictine monastery61. 60. M to S, 2. ix. 45. For Morin's «Rétractations», see La carrière scientifique, p. 80-8, 136-7. 61. Cf. M to S, 17. iii. 34 : «La nuit, durant mes insomnia prolongées, je lis actuellement avec profit et enthousiasme la Vie et les Oeuvres du fameux Chancelier Thomas More : entre tous les personnages révérés dans la 'Catholica', il n'en est pas, je crois, qui ait uni à un aussi haut degré, avec la piété chrétienne la plus sincère, un tel bon sens et 'humour' anglais, une telle culture littéraire et artistique. De ses filles mêmes il avait réussi à faire l'omament de la Gde Bretagne et l'admiration de l'Europe, à commencer par Erasme !» Students of Utopia have



It is easy to see why the writer of these letters should make such a heavy imaginative and emotional investment in a quasi-monastic institution whose origins lay in a time before the Reformation, whose endowments had been swollen by the wealth of the English monasteries, and whose personnel inclu­ ded Christian scholars of the calibre of C. H. Turner and Alexander Souter ; men who lived and worked together as «fellows» of small collegiate commu­ nities, engaged in long-term philological projects, and who were able to draw on the resources of a library like the Bodleian. Mention has been made at seve­ ral points in the preceding narrative of Morin’s reverence for the Benedictine scholars of the congregation of St Maur, specifically those associated with the great Paris atelier of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The Maurist congregation had been dissolved in 1818, but the example of its scholarly organization and achievements remained powerfully attractive to Christian philologists and hi­ storians of the nineteenth century62. To a scholar like Morin in search of a contemporary but traditional setting for Christian philological studium, it could appear that the Reformation in England had spared at least some of what the Revolution in France had destroyed. As he says in his first letter to Tur­ ner : «Vous avez su conserver, malgré tout, tant de grandes & belles choses !» To eyes such as his, Oxford in 1899 could even seem the image of Paris two hundred years earlier. As Ghysens remarks, «Morin s’est toujours considéré comme un héritier de ses savants confrères et prédécesseurs mauristes de l'ancienne France. A leur exemple il souhaitait notamment une organisation fortement poussée des travaux d’érudition textuelle et d'histoire63.» The idea of establishing a «petit Saint-Germain» at Maredsous appears already in letters written by the young monk to his abbot in 1890. By the end of that decade he had evidently given up all hope of seeing such a scheme implemented in his own monastery. In 1900 he wrote to the general of the Benedictine congregation of Beuron to propose a similar plan for the mother house, again without success64. In the same year, long recognized the monastic character of many of the institutions of More's island common­ wealth. 62. See now Y. CHAUSSY, Les Bénédictins de Saint-Maur, I. Aperçu historique sur la Con­ grégation (Paris, 1989). D. KNOWLES, «The Maurists», Great Historical Enterprises (London, 1963), p. 33-63, is still the best short introduction to Maurist scholarship, all the more inter­ esting as the work of an English Benedictine who himself had to make a difficult accommoda­ tion between the monastic and academic callings : see now C. [N. L.] BROOKE and others, David Knowles Remembered (Cambridge, 1991), and N. F. CANTOR, Inventing the Middle Ages. The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century (New York, 1991), p. 287-326. Also relevant, in view of its date and the author's personal acquain­ tance with Dom Morin (see n. 25 above and M to T, 7. viii. 20), is [E.J C. BUTLER, Benedic­ tine Monachism. Studies in Benedictine Life and Rule (2nd ed., Cambridge, 1924), p. 332-52 : «Benedictine Studies». 63. La carrière scientifique, p. 28, n. 11. Morin's letter of 1890 to his abbot is cited on the same page. 64. Ibid., p. 45.

XIII 184 as we have seen, he used the opportunity of a lecture at Louvain to set the Maurist model before an audience of university students, urging them to rent w a tradition of Christian scholarship too long neglected by its natural heirs. It was in that context that he pointed to England and those «puissantes universités où domine l'influence anglo-saxonne» as a unique asylum for the kind of work he had in mind65. The Louvain lecture gives a somewhat misleading impression of the state of early Christian philology in the year 1900. Besides betraying the speaker's in­ veterate bias against German scholarship, it conceals the important work being done by members of his own order. Morin was not the only Benedictine erf his generation to aspire to the title of «Mauriste de nos jours66». The idea of a re­ newal of the Maurist scholarly tradition was in the air at the time, both in England and on the Continent. In a few places, including Maredsous, signifi­ cant progress had already been made towards the ideal of «confraternité scien­ tifique». Though Morin's own monastery might not yet rate description as a «petit Saint-Germain», successive issues of the Revue Bénédictine bore witness to a concentration of talent and expertise among members of the community that was rapidly making it a major centre of scientific research and training6'. Morin's exceptional abilities would seem to have fitted him for a leading role in this local society of Christian scholars. Instead he left Maredsous for good in 1908, to pursue a life of scholarship more solitary than coenobitic68. The­ reafter, any ideal of scientific and spiritual community that he was able to maintain would of necessity be largely independent of his daily activities. As a latter-day Maurist he worked on for thirty lonely years in the libraries of Eu­ rope. Throughout that time, and until the moment of his death, the dream of a perfect «confraternité scientifique» found a local habitation and a name in Ox­ ford. On one level, then, Morin's Oxford correspondence may be read as the story of the writer's lifelong attempt to reconcile a genuinely monastic piety with the highest ideals of Christian scholarship, in an age when (as other pa­ pers in this volume amply demonstrate) the main centres for such scholarly 65. Above, p. 168. 66. The phrase is used erf Dom André Wilmart by D. KNOWLES, The Monastic Order in

England (2nd ed., Cambridge, 1963), p. xx. For the currency of Maurist ideals at Downside before the turn of the century, see Knowles' memoir of E C. Butler, reprinted in The Historian and Character and Other Essays (Cambridge, 1963), p. 264-362, esp. 342 : «[I]t was possible, under the inspiration of [Edmund] Bishop, for the most gifted of the young monks to suppose that the chief work of Downside for the Church in England - apart from the mission - might well be in the realm of letters, thus reviving some of the Maurist glories.» 67. P.[-P.] VERBRAKEN and D. MISONNE, Cent années d'érudition ecclésiastique. La Re­ vue Bénédictine 1884-1984, RBén, 94, 1984, p. 1Iff. 68. M toT, 25. ii. 08 (from Munich) : «Il y a bien longtemps qu'on n'entend plus rien de vous, cher Turner : comment allez-vous ? Pour moi, je suis installé ici dans les meilleurs con­ ditions pour travailler en ermite, aussi longtemps que mon estomac s'accommodera de la cuisine allemande !»



activity were located outside the monastery. Albeit more graphically rendered than others', Morin's experience of a conflict between monastic and scholarly vocation is not exceptional in this period. Nor was it wholly unpredictable. The principles of the studia monastica expounded by Mabillon and exemplified by the company of Saint-Germain-des-Pr6s presupposed conditions of work which the institutes of Benedictine monasticism by themselves could only ever guarantee in part, and which in part they positively discouraged. The monastic organization provided for a convenient division of labour, and for the training of young scholars as disciples and assistants to their elders, both vitally neces­ sary for any sustained programme of research and publication69. But to these «internal» assets others had to be added - material, social, and intellectual. It has been justly observed that the success of the Maurist enterprise «was due to a number of coincident advantages,» not least «the acquisition of headquarters [in Paris] at a moment when [the city] became, for the second time in her long history, the intellectual centre of Europe70.» It also depended on the possibility of regular contacts between monastic and lay scholars for the exchange of in­ formation, and on a slackening of St Benedict's rule of stabilitas to allow rese­ arch trips by monks to libraries outside the capital. This combination of ame­ nities and permissions, once lost, was not easily recovered. Consequently, while the heritage of the Maurists could be widely regarded in the late nine­ teenth century as a precious possession, those Benedictine monks who set out to follow post Maurinos often discovered that their posterity entailed serious practical disadvantages. Even when the discipline of their monasteries encou­ raged them to concentrate on literary and historical activity, they would typi­ cally lack either the bibliographic resources or the personal freedoms necessa­ ry for effective work, sometimes both. The Benedictine monk who performs scholarly marvels outside the monastery is a common enough figure in this period to merit further study. The case of Germain Morin, who divided his 69. Cf. the fine remarks with which F.L CROSS prefaces his appreciation of the work of Montfaucon, in his 1944 lecture on The Study of St. Athanasius (Oxford, 1945), p. 3 : «Those who responded to the call of religion might be expected to possess that integrity of aim which is the first prerequisite of the scholar, and the relative absence of distractions in the monastic life left opportunities enough for the undisturbed pursuit of that immense range of erudition which the age demanded of its men of learning. Other assets were the willing acceptance of an obedience which could assign to each member his appropriate task ; the measure of continuity that came from the assurance that great enterprises were largely independent of the fortunes of the individual worker ; the existence of those with lesser talents in the large family, who could undertake such time-devouring tasks as hunting for references and transcribing from manu­ scripts, and thereby enable the giants to devote themselves the more completely to other la­ bours ; the possession, before the days of the railway and the camera, of houses all over Eu­ rope, where colleagues could help with collating and other work in distant libraries ; and, not least important, the whole context in which the life was lived, wherein the daily recurrence of tasks of another kind maintained the proportion of life and constantly reminded the scholar of the greatness and littleness of his pursuits.» It was Cross, in collaboration with E. SCHWARTZ, who saw the posthumous fascicles of Turner's EOMIA through the press. 70. K n o w l e s , The Maurists, p. 37.

XIII 186 life after 1907 between a real Munich and an imaginary Oxford, and who from 1912 lived in a state of virtual exclaustration, illustrates an important feature of the historical sociology of the modern sciences of Christian antiqui­ ty.

VII. It was not only monks who claimed the inheritance of Mabillon and his con­ frères. We have seen how Morin (at Louvain in 1900) and Souter (at Aberdeen in 1903) held up the example of the Maurists to a university audience. Both were looking for new recruits to early Christian philology, and used an ob­ vious method of conscription. Ever since their publication in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the great folio volumes of the Maurist editions of ancient and medieval Christian had been the common property of learned insti­ tutions throughout Europe, and a silent reproach to less productive scholars. Thus Gibbon could use the rule of St Maur as a stick with which to beat the fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, while making a serious point about the organization of academic research : «Our colleges are supposed to be schools of science, as well as of education ; nor is it unreasonable to expect that a body of liter­ ary men, devoted to a life of celibacy, exempt from the care of their own subsistence, and amply provided with books, should de­ vote their leisure to the prosecution of study, and that some effects of their studies should be manifested to the world. The shelves of their library groan under the weight of the Benedictine folios, of the editions of the Fathers, and the collections of the middle ages, which have issued from the single abbey of St. Germain de Préz at Paris. A composition of genius must be the offspring of one mind; but such works of industry, as may be divided among many hands, and must be continued during many years, are the peculiar province of a laborious community. If I inquire into the manufactures of the monks of Magdalen, if I extend the inquiry to the other colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, a silent blush or a scornful frown will be the only reply71». It is a pleasant irony that C. H. Turner was a fellow of Gibbon's old college. The author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was writing of the situation in the mid-eighteenth century. A hundred years later, he would have been heartened to see a considerable increase in the activity of English scholars, especially in the areas of late Roman and early medieval history and of early Christian philology. His slighting reference to «the manufactures of 71. E. GIBBON, Autobiography, ed. Lord SHEFFIELD, with an introduction by J. B. BURY, (London, 1907), p. 39. Partly cited by BUTLER, Benedictine Monachism, p. 381.



the monks (s/c| of Magdalen» nevertheless raises an important question of the transferability of monastic models of scholarly activity. How like a monastery ought a modem academic society to be ? It was one thing for Souter to invoke the Maurists as an inspiration to British scholars, or for Morin to compare the conversation in the Magdalen Senior Common Room with the weekly reunions of connoisseurs at Saint-Germain ; it would have been quite another to suppose, let alone propose, that the British univer­ sity should go about the task of editing patristic texts in the communal manner adopted by the Maurists. Yet, as Gibbon saw, certain «works of industry» were naturally «the province of a laborious community», and if collaborative arrangements were not made such works might never be brought to comple­ tion. Turner may have been a better «monk» than many of his predecessors at Magdalen, but his EOMIA was planned from the outset as the work of an in­ dividual, and remained unfinished at his death. Read in this context, Morin's Oxford correspondence acquires additional significance. By seeming to mi­ stake the «Oxfordmen» for a company of laborious monks, he invites us to consider what the real nature of their association was, and how it may have influenced the forms of their scholarship. To answer these questions properly would require a more thorough review of the institutional conditions of biblical, patristic, classical, and historical scholarship in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain than is pos­ sible here. We should also have to assess the influence on British practice of new models of scholarly cooperation offered by the various enterprises of the German and Austrian academies. An important index of insular developments is provided by the appearance of new periodicals or series. Already in mid­ century the short-lived Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology (1854-59) marked a creative conjunction of interests among such Cambridge men as J. B. Lightfoot, B. F. Westcott, F. J. A. Hort, H. A. J. Munro and J. E. B. Mayor, all of whom were fully conversant with the best German scholarship of the day. A generation later in Cambridge a protégé of Lightfoot’s, J. Armitage Robinson, launched Text and Studies (1891-) in imitation of the series of Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur edited since 1882 in Berlin by A. Hamack and O. von Gebhardt. It was as a guest of Armi­ tage Robinson, and in the company of the scholars gathered round him at Christ's College, that Morin spent much of his time in Cambridge between 1895 and 1905. On a cursory view, the evidence of collaboration between classicists, theologians and others interested in early Christianity at Oxford in this period is less impressive, at least until 1900 when the appearance of the Journal of Theological Studies inaugurated an editorial compact between the two ancient English universities which has endured to this day, to the great be­ nefit of patristic studies. The existence of periodicals and occasional series of this kind denotes a si­ gnificant level of academic cooperation within a discipline, without however implying «laborious community» of the type envisaged (and avoided) by Gib­ bon. As we should expect, the «Maurist» or monastic model of literary pro­ duction turns out to be no more generally applicable to the activity of British patristic scholars of Morin's generation than it is to Morin himself. The ma-

XIII 188 jority of those scholars, even if they lived together as «fellows» in colleges, worked independently ; the collegiate system in Oxford and Cambridge was designed primarily for teaching purposes, not to promote collaborative rese­ arch and publication. Men like Turner and Souter would exchange information and reviews, help each other with proofs, take turns in transcribing and colla­ ting manuscripts, see a friend's last book through the press if the need arose. But they would rarely, if ever, plan an editorial or other literary project as a joint undertaking. An exception which proves this rule is the edition of the Novum Testamentum Sancti Irenaei finally published by Turner and Souter in 1923, with the assistance of a number of other scholars, on the basis of work done over many years for a seminar directed by William Sanday72. Valuable as it is, the edition with its multiple supplements displays all the defects of a collaborative enterprise carried out without benefit of monastic rule. Only Turner's strong sense of loyalty to Sanday, who died in 1919, could have seen it to completion73. The frequency with which Oxford scholars of this period acted as literary executors for their colleagues draws attention to another important difference between monastic and academic modes of production. As well as facilitating cooperation between scholars of the same generation, the «Maurist» model guaranteed a measure of continuity between one generation and the next. Ha­ ving moved outside the monastic community, Germain Morin more than once expressed a desire to find some young person to whom he could transmit both his expertise and those parts of his work-in-progress which he no longer ex­ pected to be able to complete himself. His several, generally unsuccessful in­ itiatives in «university extension74», including the offer to act as a personal guide to the manuscripts of Bavaria for any student from Oxford, may be 72. Novum Testamentum Sancti Irenaei Episcopi Lugdunensis... edited from the MSS, with introductions, apparatus, notes and appendices by the late William Sanday... and Cuthbert Hamilton Turner..., assisted by many other scholars and especially by Alexander Souter (Oxford, 1923 : Old Latin Biblical Texts, 7). Another, significant exception is the work of Tumer, Souter and others on what was to become the Patristic Greek Lexicon. 73. See the conclusion of Turner's preface, p. xxiv : «It is a curious feeling to part with a companion of more than thirty years. If I had nothing to do with the genesis of this volume, I have for half my life been concerned with its growth, its progress, often so slow as to seem little more than stagnation, and finally its completed achievement It bears only too manifestly the signs of multiple authorship. It has raised more problems than it has settled. Nevertheless it can be said with truth that, neither on the part of those who have written nor on the part of those who have printed and published it, has there been any stint of time and toil. Dr. Sanday taught his disciples and coadjutors to work in patience, and to be content so to labour that other men may enter into our labours.» 74. The phrase is used by Morin in his second Louvain lecture, published as De la besogne pour les jeunes. Sujets de travaux sur la littérature latine du Moyen Age, RHE, 6, 1905, p. 327-45, at p. 329. The title of this lecture and its introductory paragraphs are perhaps the aut­ hor's most eloquent public statement of the problem which afflicted him throughout his scholarly life.



construed in part as attempts to supply the want of monastic disciples. As uni­ versity teachers, men like Turner and Souter would have found it easier to di­ rect or encourage young scholars in paths close to their own. And yet in the absence of large- or even small-scale institutional support for this kind of work, even their success would be limited. There is no evidence to suggest that Souter*s rousing summons to his Aberdeen audience of 1903 provoked any sudden rush of students eager to prepare editions of the Fathers for the Vienna corpus. And to judge from Turner’s correspondence, the situation in Oxford was no more favourable. From time to time we hear of a promising student with an interest in early Christian philology. At least one young man went on Turner's recommendation to visit Morin in Munich75 ; others could be coop­ ted to do odd tasks for Professor Sanday's seminar76. But the recruitment and training of new researchers in the field of early Christian and late antique stu­ dies was still, and would long remain, a largely informal and somewhat hapha­ zard process. A letter from Turner to Souter written in September 1928 pro­ vides a fine instance of the unpredictability of the scholarly succession in a post-monastic community : «My undergraduate friends did splendidly in Greats [Turner writes], five of them getting Firsts. There is one of them, and a junior fellow of Balliol, whom I must make you acquainted with when you next come to Oxford. The latter is Roger Mynors, whose research work is on the Carolingian revival, and he is editing Cassiodorus de inst. div. lift, and saec. litt. He has been three months in Paris this vac. The other is C. E. Stevens of New Coll., just elected to a two-year research studentship at Oriel, who knows Ammianus Marcellinus almost by heart. Both are scholars after your mind and mine77.»

75. M to T, 22. xii. 08, concerning a certain Mr. Sprent. Cf. M to T, 26. ii. 10 : «Ici, les matériaux inédits surgissent chaque jour autour de moi, & je ne sais où donner la t£te. Si donc j'avais quelques aides un peu jeunes & actifs !» 76. Novum Testamentum Sancti Irenaei, p. x : the commissioning of «Mr. H. N. Bate of Trinity College (afterwards of Magdalen College) Oxford, then studying at Erlangen» to collate a manuscript in Berlin in 1894. 77. T to S, 5. ix. 28. C. E. Stevens' Oxford B.Litt. thesis on Sidonius Apollinaris and His Age (Oxford, 1933) is dedicated to C. H. Turner. Later in life Stevens would defer to one whose knowledge of Ammianus exceeded even his own : J. MATTHEWS, Western Aristocra­ cies and Imperial Court A.D. 364-425 (Oxford, 1975), p. xii ; The Roman Empire o f Am­ mianus (London, 1989). The preface to R. A. B. Mynors' edition of Cassiodorus' Institutiones (Oxford, 1937) contains a passing acknowledgement of Turner's help. Turner himself tal­ ked of editing this work as early as 1909 (S to T, 6. vii. 09 ; T to S, 26. ix. 10) and had Souter collate a manuscript for him in 1913 (T to S, 22. ii. 13). When Mynors' edition was published, Morin asked Souter to obtain a copy for him (M to S, 10. v. 37). Sir Roger Mynors also edited the Panegyrici Latini (Oxford, 1964) and Bede's Ecclesiastical History (Oxford, 1969). The volume produced in his honour, Texts and Transmission. A Survey of the Latin Classics, ed. L. D. REYNOLDS (Oxford, 1983), excludes Christian authors.


It is said that H.-I. Marrou used to refer to a class of Augustine's sermons as the sermones post Morinum repertP8 In this bon mot of one of the greatest scholars of late antiquity of the generation after 1930 are summarized the two salient features of his predecessor's philological work : its singularity (Morinum for Maurinos) and its pre-posterousness (Morinus post Maurinos, but also Morinus quasi Maurinus). For an individual to attempt to emulate the achievements of an extinct monastic corporation was not just heroic, it was also slightly absurd. Looking back on Morin's scholarly oeuvre half a century after his death, one cannot help marvelling at the perversity, as well as the persistence, of a man who could carry out a series of tasks so ill accommoda­ ted to the conditions of his own times. And yet no twentieth-century scholar has contributed more to the kind of Latin Christian philology at which the an­ cient Maurists excelled, and on which modem students of late antiquity including those wholly incapable of it themselves - still depend. It is this para­ dox that makes Morin's career so instructive for the disciplinary historiogra­ phy of «patristics and late antiquity». As we have seen, his Oxford correspon­ dence is testimony both to a personal dilemma, worked out over a period of years by various practical and imaginative devices, and to a set of institutional problems, many of which were to remain unsolved long after the deaths of the correspondents. Behind these twin challenges lies the complex history of rela­ tions between monastic and academic modes of textual study and production in * western culture, a history that begins in late antiquity with the efforts of men like Jerome and Benedict to identify particular forms of literary activity with particular types of Christian life - and that is not over yet. For whatever our personal scholarly orientation and ambitions may be, as students of late ancient Christian texts we are all, in an important sense, exponents of «la condition post-mauriste».

78. J. FONTAINE, review of La carrière scientijique, REL, 66, 1986, p. 405.

ADDENDA AND CORRIGENDA With one or two exceptions (notably in the case of Study X, where discussion has moved on decisively), the remarks below are confined to self­ correction and cross-reference to related work of mine outside this volume.

I. The Epistula R u stid ad Eucheriunr. from the library of imperial classics to the library of the fathers pp. 278-86 and n.30: late antique traditions of the author-portrait See now ‘From Cursus to Ductus-. Figures of Writing in Western Late Antiquity (Augustine, Jerome, Cassiodorus, Bede)/ in Patrick Cheney and Frederick A. de Armas, eds., European Literary Careers: The Author from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Toronto: University o f Toronto Press, 2002), 47-103, esp. 59-64. p. 290: ‘Opuscula conscribta... Eucherii episcopi.’ Since the verb conscribere is regularly used in late antique and early medieval Latin texts to refer to the process of copying more than one work into a single manuscript, I should now translate: ‘Collected Works of bishop Eucherius...’ (I owe this suggestion to Paul Meyvaert.)

III. Literacy and titteratura, A.D. 200-800 p. 152: Augustine and the promotion of ‘religious literacy.’ See now, with special reference to Augustine’s epistolary exchanges with women, ‘Women o f Letters? (Response to Catherine Conybeare),’ in Linda Olson and Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, eds., Voices in Dialogue: Reading Women in the Middle Ages (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), 73— 96. pp. 156—7: biobibliographical catalogues and ‘the organization of written knowledge.’ See now my introduction to James W. Halpom’s translation of Cassiodorus: Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning’ and ‘On the Soul’, Translated Texts for Historians 42 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004), 1-101. pp. 159-60: E. R. Curtius on canon-formation: studium, imperium, sacerdotium. I return to this subject in the article cited in first place under Study X below, at 353.



V. Conference and confession: literacy pragmatics in Augustine’s ‘Apologia contra Hicronym urrf An abbreviated version of this article was published as The Great Conference: Augustine and His Fellow Readers,’ in Pamela Bright, ed., Augustine and the Bible (Notre Dame: University o f Notre Dame Press, 1999), 52-73. p. 177: ‘I hope to show that Possidius’ simplified and systematized account of the principles of Augustinian doctrina can serve as a basis for theorizing Christian literary activity in late antiquity.’ I still do. But it may no longer be necessary, given the spate o f recent and forthcoming work on the VitaAugustini. p. 211: *... with the biblical text as the centre o f the conference and the City of God as its declared goal.’ On this trajectory, see further The City and the Book’ in the Introduction to History, Apocalypse, and the Secular Imagination: New Essays on Augustine’s ‘City of God’, Proceedings o f a colloquium held at Green College, University o f British Columbia, 18—20 September 1997, ed. Mark Vessey, Karla Pollmann and Allan D. Fitzgerald (Bowling Green, Ohio: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1999) [also published in Augustinian Studies 30.2 (1999)], 5-16.

VI. The Augustinian reader For new perspectives on the subject-matter o f this review, see Augustine and the Disciplines: Cassiciacum to ‘Confessions’, ed. Karla Pollmann and Mark Vessey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

VII. Opus imperfcctiwr. Augustine and his readers, 426-435 A.D. p. 285: ‘No heroes, they were content to make a world —and work —for themselves within the expanding textual universe of Latin Christianity. They did so, in the first place, by assigning limits to the opus Augustinianum.’ But for limits of space, this article would have appeared in The Limits of Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R A . Markus, ed. William E. Klingshim and Mark Vessey (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999). For the historiographical context, see the introduction to Part 4 of that volume, ‘From Augustine to Bede’ (209—14).



VIII. The forging of orthodoxy in Latín Christian literature: a case study p. 511: ‘... a new kind of Christian poetry-as-art-of-scripture, an ars tractandarum scripturarum carefully constructed on the model of the Horatian ars poética...' A fuller treatment of ‘Jerome’s Art o f Scripture,’ derived from a paper with that title presented at the Twelfth International Conference on Patristic Studies (Oxford, 1995), was stalled for years by a publication that never saw the light of day. A revised version is in preparation. Meanwhile, a thumbnail sketch appears in ch. 20 o f The Cambridge History ofEarly Christian Literature, ed. Frances Young, Lewis Ayres and Andrew Louth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 318-27 (‘Jerome and Rufinus’).

IX. Peregrinus against the heretics: classicism, provinciality, and the place of the alien writer in late Roman Gaul p. 558: ‘Vincent’s account of the Council o f Ephesus raises many problems of interpretation, some of which I shall address in a separate article.’ Another hostage to fortune. What I once thought I had to say on this subject is in my 1988 Oxford D.Phil. thesis, ‘Ideas o f Christian Writing in Late Roman Gaul,’ 323-37.

X. The origins of the Collectio Sirmondiansc, a new look at the evidence p. 178: ‘... the formation of more than one kind of literary canon.’ For an attempt to link the /^/-canonical concerns o f the present study more closely to the other ‘textualities’ of this section, see now ‘Sacred Letters o f the Law: The Emperor’s Hand in Late Roman (Literary) History,’ Antiquité Tardive 11 (2003): 345-58. p. 198 n.58: *1116 fourteenth Sirmondian Constitution, mistakenly numbered 43 (XLIII for XIIII) is independently attested in an early seventh-century addition to the important Corbie MS of canon law, now Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale lat. 12097.’ Rede thirteenth Sirmondian Constitution (xliii for xiii), as pointed out by John F. Matthews, Laying Doom the Law: A Study of the Theodosian Code (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 122 n.5 in a chapter that takes this whole discussion into a new era. For further sequels see Olivier Huck, ‘Encore à propos des Sirmondiennes,’Antiquité Tardive 11 (2003): 181—96.



XI. The demise of the Christian writer and the remaking of ‘late antiquity’: from H.-I. Marrou’s Saint Augustine (1938) to Peter Brown’s holy man (1983) I regret not having taken account o f the important article by Franco Bolgiani, “‘Decadenza di Roma o Tardo Antico?” Alcune riflessioni sull’ultimo libro di Henri-Irénée Marrou,’ in La storiografia ecclesiastica nella Tarda Antichità: A tti del convegno tenuto in Enee (3—8 X II 1978) (Messina: Centro di Studi Umanistici, 1980), 535-87. p. 386: ‘... Marrou’s book [Saint Augustin et lafin de la culture antique] was too absolute and paradoxical to satisfy all his critics. Nor did it long please its author.’ The questions raised by Marrou’s ‘double take’ on Augustine’s place and role in the developing intellectual culture of late antiquity and the Christian Middle Ages formed part o f the agenda for a conference on ‘Augustine and the Disciplines’ held at Villanova University in November 2000, proceedings of which have since appeared (see above under Study VI). Also relevant to the matter of the present study are the remarks made on that occasion by Peter Brown, R. A. Markus and James J. O’Donnell, published in Augistinian Studies 32.2 (2001): 177—206 (The Study of Augustine, 1950-2000: Evolving Disciplinary Contexts’). See too the following note, p. 391: ‘(How, as a matter of fact, were the texts and prescriptions o f a ruined Theopolis interpreted in the new monastic milieux?)’ This parenthesis is currently being opened in several directions by different scholars. I have tried to give an answer for the milieu of Cassiodorus in my introduction to the Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning cited above under Study III, which also contains a survey o f the scholarly discussion for the decades before and since Marrou (79-97). p. 393 n.39: The Latin phrase [tempora Christiana] is Augustine’s ...’ But he may not have coined it. See now Robert A. Markus, “‘Tempora christiand’ Revisited,’ in Robert Dodaro and George Lawless, eds., Augustine and His Critics: Essays in Honour of Gerald Bonner (London: Routledge, 2000), 201— 13. p. 397: Augustine and ‘religious literacy.’ See the first note on Study III above. p. 408 n.78: genealogy of the ‘author’-portrait between classical antiquity and the Renaissance. Investigated in ‘From Cursus to Ductus,’ as cited above under Study I.



XII. Erasmus* Jerome: the publishing of a Christian author For further discussion of Erasmus’ ‘Jerome’ in the context of the humanist author’s publishing programme, see The Tongue and the Book: Erasmus’ Paraphrases on the New Testament and the Arts of Scripture,’ in Hilmar M. Pabel and Mark Vessey, eds., Holy Scripture Speaks: The Production and Reception of Erasmus’ Paraphrases on the New Testament (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), 29—58, and “Erasmus’ Lucubrations and the Renaissance Life of Texts,’ Erasmus ofRotterdam Society Yearbook 24 (2004): 23-51. p. 71: Jerome and Augustine as models of ‘Christian literary “profession”’ in early modem Europe. For a vernacular instance, see my ‘John Donne (1572-1631) in the Company of Augustine: Patristic Culture and Literary Profession in the English Renaissance,’ Revue des Études Augustiniennes 39 (1993): 173-201. p. 73: .. transcribe for me as qui