Although in the wake of Jerome and Augustine, Isidore of Seville (c. 560-636) posited the importance of knowing Greek and Hebrew in function of Biblical exegesis, his own linguistic competences remained limited to the Latin language. Nevertheless, drawing on Jerome and on ‘l’héritage scolaire indirect’ (J. Fontaine), Isidore in his works (especially his Etymologiae) frequently integrated words from languages other than Latin, including Greek, the indigenous languages of Gaul, Spain, Italy and the African continent, and what we know as ‘Semitic’ and ‘Oriental’ languages. In my presentation, I will discuss how Isidore conceives of, and deals with these lexical units from foreign languages.
There are several theological disputes described in Gregory of Tours’ Histories that seem to consist of competing threads of biblical quotations. This approach has led many scholars to dismiss Gregory as a simplistic theologian, capable only of rolling out Scriptural proof-texts by way of arguing for complicated doctrines. However, I believe that we should place these discussions in the broader context of the widely circulated handbooks against heresy such as the anonymous 6th-century work Contra Varimadum. Such a comparison will illuminate not only Gregory’s apologetic method but also his wider purpose in including these vignettes in his Histories. My paper will argue that Gregory included them not only to teach his audience how to argue with heretics but also to chasten their expectations about such discussions. The failure of all but the last of his efforts in this direction shows an Augustinian pessimism about the efficacy of human action.
Augustine’s On Christian Teaching (De doctrina christiana, c. 427) became in late antiquity and the Early Middle Ages a widely read and influential guide to biblical interpretation and the skills required for it. In addition to an influential introduction to the study of the liberal arts for the purposes of biblical exegesis and preaching, it also exercised its readers with a sophisticated metaphysics of signs. This paper discusses the marginal annotations found in the pre-10th-century manuscripts of the work, and what they indicate of how the work was read and prepared to be read by others before and during the Carolingian reforms of education.