Saturday, 11 April 2015

Francesca Minonne: Aulus Gellius and Irenaeus of Lyons in the cultural context of the second century A.D.

In the second century A.D. the literary and exegetic textual practices became instrument of reinforcement of a varied social group, inwardly distinct on the grounds of religious trends (pagans, christians and independent religious movements) and the elitist or inclusive nature of cultural sharing. In such a context, it is possible to suggest a comparison between two leading intellectuals of the pagan and christian wings, respectively Aulus Gellius and Irenaeus of Lyons.
Even though these two scholars directed their works to different circles and audiences, they shared the interest for the philological and grammatical study of texts and the appropriate lexical choices, the concern about intentional and unintentional mistakes in copying, the reading of a passage in different ways according to the dispositio verborum and the figures of speech - such as hyperbaton or anastrophe - linked to it, the critical analysis of exordia (for orations in Gellius; for Gospels in Irenaeus) and the discussion about the validity of allegorical interpretation.
Public lectures held by intellectuals and their textual analysis and exegesis became instrument of mediation in a social context of cultural and religious debate, and led also Christians to form their own community identity against their opponents.

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