Thursday, 2 April 2015

Nicolas De Maeyer: Bede as a compiler. The Collectio ex opusculis sancti Augustini in epistulas Pauli apostoli and the Venerable Bede’s presentation of Augustine’s Pauline exegesis.

During the Middle Ages many compilations, extracting fragments from the works of Augustine of Hippo, played a major role in the diffusion of the exegesis of the Church Father. One of the oldest preserved examples of such a compilation is Bede’s Collectio ex opusculis sancti Augustini in epistulas Pauli apostoli, an exegetical commentary on Paul’s Epistles, which consists of 457 fragments taken from Augustine’s works. Despite the importance of Bede’s Collectio for the diffusion of Augustine’s Pauline exegesis in the Early Middle Ages and for the study of the transmission of Augustine’s works in Anglo-Saxon England, the commentary has never attracted wide attention and even lacks a critical edition, thus making it the last of Bede’s works without a critical text. In this paper, I intend to give an overview of the textual transmission of Bede’sCollectio, focussing on both direct and indirect witnesses of the text, the latter of which include some well-known Carolingian scholars, such as Florus of Lyon. Furthermore, I will analyse the way in which Bede constructs his commentary, to gain insight in his method of extracting fragments from Augustine’s oeuvre and rearranging them into his own commentary. As the art of compiling is highly personal, Bede constructs in a way his own ‘Augustine’, by selecting or ignoring certain Augustinian passages, thus stressing or eclipsing specific parts of Augustine’s Pauline exegesis. To illustrate Bede’s role as a compiler, I will present a case study, which will shed light on Bede’s adaptation of Augustine’s Pauline exegesis.

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