The corpus of Augustinian Letters contains about 300 pieces written by and addressed to him, which hold considerable appeal as a field of research and provide a unique source for the culture and history of late antiquity. Scholars working on the Letters come from disciplines as varied as classics, philosophy, theology and ancient history as well as cultural studies and theory of communication.
However, scholars have often deplored the fact that there is no thorough study of the corpus as a whole with a focus on content and historical background as well as language, style and literary function. An international and interdisciplinary group of scholars endeavors to fill this gap with a project coordinated by the Zentrum für Augustinus-Forschung an der Universität Würzburg. The goal of the project is a commentary, as exhaustive and extensive as possible, on Augustine's Letters. Several smaller conferences have already proven the viability of the research program and the methodology employed.
At the workshop we want to present further components and results of the ongoing Epistulae project. We will focus on the interaction of text, subtext and context and of content, form and function of the Letters by and to Augustine. Contrary to a more traditional approach, which focused on specific aspects of interpretation, we want to show that a comprehensive view of the Letters employing diverse aspects and methodologies is not only fruitful, but indispensable. We will demonstrate our integrative approach to the commentary with examples selected from different periods of Augustine's life.