In the mid-9th Century, Paschasius Radbertus lived and worked at Frankish royal monastery of Corbie. Among the many works to his credit is a massive commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew. I examine Paschasius’s Prologue and focus especially on his explanation of his own exegetical method, concentrating on an analogy he draws from Cicero’s De inventione on the fashioning of a statue of the famed beauty, Helen of Troy. Through his retelling of this classical tale, Paschasius presents his own ingenious method of crafting a beautiful exposition of Matthew’s Gospel. Careful attention to Paschasius’s debt to classical and early Christian sources, specifically his interaction with and alterations to these sources, demonstrate Paschasius’s intellectual prowess, testify to the riches of Corbie’s library (and the use of those riches), and shed light on broader Carolingian approaches to biblical exegesis.
The lecturer is currently preparing the first edition of a metrical paraphrase of the four books of Kings, dating back to mid-12th century France and preserved only in Cod. Paris. Lat. 14758. Several features of this poem make it seem possible that the Libri Regum were an unpractised poet’s early attempt to write a lengthy biblical poem, developing his (or her) poetic skills in parallell to the development of the text. Some consideration will also be given to the question who this would-be poet might have been.
In Historia Ecclesiastica, Orderic Vitalis includes a story told by Thierry, abbot of St Évroul, which is rendered in his speech. Thierry used the story to encourage young monks in copying and scribing, alluding to and utilising Paul’s metaphor of the armour of God. In describing Thierry’s telling of the story, Orderic quotes II Timothy 4.2 and alludes to Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana. In this session, I will show how Orderic uses these quotations to reinforce the importance of joint oral-literate activities in divine contemplation and to present Thierry as an example of the ideal Pauline and Augustinian Christian teacher.