Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Julia Beier: Sin as a Structural Principle of Alcimus Ecdicius Avitus' De spiritalis historiae gestis

Bishop Avitus of Vienne is one of the great authors of the biblical epic genre in Late Antiquity. His epos De spiritalis historiae gestis consists of five books. Until now, there are only unsufficient models in the science regarding the coherence between these, because most of the papers and researches are only based on philological items without focussing on the conception of the complete work and its theology. This being one of the reasons why this epos is often poorly evaluated. However, the connection between the books is provided by the alternation of 'sin stories' and 'order stories'. Thus, my working assumption is that in a very paradoxical way the elimination of order by the sin is the structural principle of the epos. In my contribution I would like to show that the epos is a poem about the good and the bad, probably in the tradition of Augustine. Therefore, just like the church father, the epic poem illustrates that the good cannot exist without the bad and, even further, that the malum has a regulatory effect within the cosmology.

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