Poetry and Exegesis in Premodern Latin Christianity: The by Willemien Otten, Karla Pollmann

By Willemien Otten, Karla Pollmann

This quantity investigates a variety of exegetical percentages in Christian Latin poetry in the course of overdue Antiquity and the center a while. within the Latin West poetry used to be customarily linked to the strong pagan culture of writers like Vergil and Ovid, and via many poetry used to be thought of to inform lies and supply mere leisure in all likelihood corrupting the soul. as a result, Christians first and foremost had reservations approximately this style and believed it to be incompatible with Christian worship, literacy and highbrow task. In perform, in spite of the fact that, varieties of particularly Christian poetry constructed from the top of the 3rd century onwards; theoretical reconciliations have been built round four hundred A.D. This assortment examines specimens of Christian poetry from "Juvencus" (the first biblical epicist presently after three hundred) as much as the 13th century. Its specific usefulness lies within the blend of literary concept and hermeneutics, shut readings of the texts and new readings on a valid philological foundation.

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2; cf. Contra Acad. 1). 12) Augustine explicitly rejects pagan poetic practice in reference to the following lines by an unknown poet: O Father Neptune, whose hoary temples crowned resound with The noisy sea, from whose beard eternally flows The vast Ocean, and in whose hair the rivers wander… He goes on to characterize this late-antique gem as follows: “This pod shakes rattling beans inside an agreeable husk. 31 Augustine’s position is not restricted to a rejection of pagan allegorical poetry because of its content, but extends to a shared late-antique aesthetic found objectionable even in bishop Cyprian’s flowery prose (De doctr.

117–140), since the tomb may also serve as an altar for the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus he leads the community of the faithful in a prayer for salvation, like a priest. Poetry has become a means of salvation, not just for the poet, but for mankind. Against the background of the exalted status of the antique poet as vates or divinely inspired hierophant, Prudentius could also be thought to present the Christian poet as a prophet or apostle delivering salvation through his art. J. Thomson, trans.

He did so, however, without ever conceptualizing the relations between the putatively ‘non-literary’ or inartistic text of the Bible and the ‘literary’ by-products of its interpretation, and none of his immediate successors in the West made good the deficiency. The issue was therefore still open in the 380s, when Jerome came to address it on the basis of 11 Finding no connection between Jerome’s views on contemporary Christian poetry and his opinion of the poetic quality of parts of the Bible, I omit the latter topic here except where it occurs in the work of other scholars.

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