Archive for the ‘Homiletics’ Category

Caesarius of Arles and the 10-no-12-no-13 Sermons

I’m on to something interesting here…

I’ve got in front of me five different ninth-century manuscripts that have a certain block of texts that are exactly the same—ten “homilies”, two sermons on the same topic, and a final sermon. The first 12 items are identified with Caesarius of Arles, the last is unspecified. What’s interesting is that these items are identified as being from Caesarius when they circulate together. Apart from one another they’re attributed to all sorts of other folks.

Very interesting.

Two of these manuscripts have this collection with the same two other sets of documents–a set of early monastic lives and Martin of Braga’s De Correctione. The ordering is different which makes me think that one was not copied directly from the other.

Right now, I’m not interested in who wrote these ten to thirteen sermons; instead, I’m chewing on why it seems important to the various copiests that they be associated with Caesarius. The answer that I’m leaning towards is that this sermon packet and especially the collection above may be seen as a set of primary source materials for a form of early non-Benedictine western monasticism…


Homilies and Homiliaries in the St Gall Collection

Perhaps the single best manuscript collection on the web in terms of breadth of material containing early medieval ecclesiastical stuff is the e-codices virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland. I took a crawl through it to find what sort of homilies and homiliaries it had hiding in it. Here’s what I came up with… (Note: my list follows search order, not shelf-mark order. I’ll try to rearrange it later.)

  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 558
    • This manuscript is from around 800 or sometime in the first part of the 9th century.  The 5 hands are early 9th cent. Carolingian.
    • Contents are varied but largely monastic in nature. That is, it begins with a collection of foundational lives, then moves to homilies of Caesarius of Arles and Ps-Caesarius entitled in the description as “Sermo ad Monachos”. The remaining material is fascinating but less explicitly monastic: Martin of Braga’s “De correctione rusticorum” which is substantially an overview of the Christian faith for catechetical and missionary purposes, then a  materials relating to St Michael, then a fragment of Ps-Chrysostom’s “Sermo de poenitentia.” It woulkd be very easy to envision this kind of collection as a book apportioned out during Lent to those who need either instruction or a refresher on the monastic vocation.
    • Jerome, Life of Paul the Hermit
    • Athanasius, Life of St Antony
    • Jerome, Life of Bl. Hilarion
    • Jerome, Life of St Malchus
    • Caesarius of Arles/Eusebius Gallicanus, 12 Sermons
    • Caesarius/Ps-Caesarius (2 sermons), On the 10 Virgins
    • Caesarius/Ps-Caesarius, Sermo ad Monachos
    • Martin of Braga, On the Correction of the Rustics
    • Verses on St Michael
    • Sermon on the Dedication of the Basilica of St Michael
    • Ps-Chrysostom, Sermon on Penitence
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 241
    • From the 9th century
    • This volume contains three books and a few extras. Written by two scribes of St Gall
    • Paterius, Book of Testimonies on the Old Testament (largely drawn from Gregory)
    • Jerome, Letters of Jerome and Damasus
    • Augustine, Homilies on John (Tractates?); 18 of the 124:  1-17, 20
    • The Athanasian Creed with explanations
    • The Lord’s Prayer with explanations
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 87
    • 9th century
    • Homilies of Origen on Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 423
    • 10 century
    • Homiliary. Defective at the beginning and end, and starts with what appears to be Maximus on the Assumption of the BCM, then goes to Holy Saturday; pg. 14 is titled “Night Readings begin from Easter to Advent”.
    • Needs investigation
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 579
    • 9th century
    • Written in a 9th century St Gall Carolingian
    • Contents are very similar to Cod. Sang. 558; monastically inclined. Note Caesarian sermon on 10 Virgins (Matt 25) again. What does he say in these two sermons?
    • Jerome, Life of Paul the Hermit
    • Athanasius, Life of St Antony
    • Jerome, Life of Bl. Hilarion
    • Jerome, Life of St Malchus
    • Martin of Braga, On the Correction of the Rustics
    • Caesarius of Arles/Eusebius Gallicanus, 12 Sermons
    • Caesarius/Ps-Caesarius (2 sermons), On the 10 Virgins
    • Caesarius/Ps-Caesarius, Sermo ad Monachos
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 99
    • 9th century
    • Ambrose, Homilies on Luke in 10 books
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 614
    • 9th-12th centuries
    • This is a complicated book with quite a number of different items. It begins with sermons, and moves to other maters from there, particularly the Ordines Romani
    • 12 sermons by Augustne/Caesarius of Arles/Remegius/Ps-Chrysostom
    • Hymn Fabrica Mundi
    • Christmas Sequence
    • Two Ps-Bede sermons for All Saints (Legimus is the first)
    • Abbots of St Gall
    • Ratpert: Various matters on St Gall
    • Excerpt of Canons of Ps-Remegius (liturgically inclined?)
    • Ordines Romani (I, II, XXIV, XXVI, III, XXVIII, XXII, XXVIII (more) XII, XXXVI, on papal vestments)
    • Ps-Amalarius, Ecgology on the Ordines Romani
    • Excerpts from Isidore (on liturgical topics)
    • Bernold of Constanz, Excerpts from the Micrologus
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 188
    • 7th century
    • Italian hand in Uncial
    • This is a compilation with two main parts:
    • 106 sermons by Maximus of Turin
    • Ambrose, On the Sacraments (defective)
    • 3 anonymous sermons
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 431
    • 3rd quarter of the 9th century
    • written in Carolingian minuscule by one hand
    • This is a homiliary that covers the second half of the winter season. The capitulary lists 42 homilies from Septuagesima through the Wednesday of Holy Week; according to the description, the manuscript includes 60 and goes through Good Friday
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 430
    • 3rd quarter of the 9th century
    • written in Carolingian minuscule by one hand
    • This is a homiliary that covers the first half of the winter season. The description states that there are 105 sermons that run from Advent through the Annunciation.
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 211
    • 3rd quarter of the 9th century
    • written in Carolingian minuscule
    • Gregory the Great, Homilies on Ezekiel, 1-22
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 103
    • 9th century
    • by various hands
    • John Chrysostom (Ps-?), book of homilies
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 194
    • Middle of 8th century
    • pre-Caroline minuscule written probably at St Gall
    • Palimpsest with sermons written over top the Books of Solomon and a sacramentary. Upper text has sermons of Caesarius and excerpts from Isidore
    • Caesarius of Arles, homilies
    • Isidore, Excerpts from Entym. Book II
  • Schaffhausen, Ministerialbibliothek, Min. 45
    • 11th century
    • Carolingian minuscule written in various hands
    • Palimpsest with homilies by Gregory over top a Gospel-book in Insular majuscule and minuscule
    • Gregory the Great, Homilies on Ezekiel 1-12
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 454
    • 2nd half of 9th/1st half of 10th century
    • classic St Gall Caroline writing
    • A martyrology with extras
    • Ado of Vienna, Martyrology
    • Cyprian, 2 Epistles
    • Passions of the Saints
    • Letter of Ps-Ignatius
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 425
    • 10th century
    • written in various hands
    • Homiliary containing 32 sermons for the time from Christmas through the 2nd Sunday in Lent. Named authors are Ambrosius 1, Augustinus 1, Beda 11, Eusebius 1, Fulgentius 1, Gregory 5, Leo  2, Maximus 2, Origenes 3, and 5 without names
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1394
    • various
    • various
    • This manuscript is a collection of a whole lot of little bits of manuscripts. The only homily in it (for Palm Sunday) is at the very end–but it’s glossed in Old German from the 11th century
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 432
    • 2nd half of the 9th century
    • small Carolingian minuscule by various hands
    • Homiliary for Summer containing 146 sermons from Easter to the beginning of Advent. Also includes Commons for Saint, Martyrs, and Church Dedications. There’s a further odd collection for various liturgical occasions both in and outside of this period at the end
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 433
    • 3rd quarter of the 9th century
    • Carolingian minuscule by several hands
    • Homiliary for saints’ days, both common and proper
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibiothek , Cod. Sang. 553
    • 9th or 10th century
    • written by 8 hands in St Gall Carolingian
    • Lives of the saints of St Gall and a sermon
    • Jonas, Life of St Columbanus
    • 2 hymns to St Columbanus
    • Jonas, Life of Athala
    • Jonas, Life of Bertholf
    • Jonas, On the Monks of Bobbio
    • Homily for reading on festivals of St Gall (adapted from Bede’s sermon on St Benedict)
    • Genealogies of the venerable Gall, Brigida, and Patrick
    • Wettus, Life of St Gall
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 561
    • 9th/10th and 11th centuries
    • various hands
    • This is a three-part manuscript; the first section has passions of the apostles and some early martyrs as well as an exaltation of the cross. The second has sermons on the Blessed Virgin Mary  from Ps-Ambrose and Bede. Too there is a sermon from (Ps-)Bede on All Saints and responsories for All Saints ostensibly by Bede. The third part has fragments of a breviary from Christmas
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 571
    • 9th and 11th/12th centuries
    • St Gall Carolingian
    • Lives of early Church and Frankish saints. Includes a sermon for the feast of St Remaclus by John Chrysostom
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 204
    • First quarter of the 11th century
    • Carolingian minuscule written by two hands
    • Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 434
    • Third quarter of the 9th century
    • carolingian minuscule by one hand
    • Homiliary covering from the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost through the 26th Sunday after Pentecost
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 125
    • between 770-780
    • small German minuscule with glosses by several hands
    • A collection of mostly patristic materials
    • Jerome, On the Four Gospels
    • Jerome, Homily on Matthew
    • Jerome, Homily on St Joseph
    • Gregory the Great, Excerpts from the homilies
    • Isidore, Excerpts
    • Excerpts from selected Fathers
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsarchiv, Handschriften der Abtei Pfäfers, Cod. Fab. II
    • 11th century
    • Carolingian minuscule in various hands
    • The homilies of Gregory book-ended by selections from Eusebeus and interrupted by the blessing of the paschal lamb
    • Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies

After a Long Silence…

The dissertation is now wrapping up and, perhaps more importantly for this site, I’ve just received notice that I’ll be presenting at October’s PMR conference at Villanova.

I’ll be doing an in-depth look at structural units in Gregory’s homilies in a presentation entitled: “A Compositional Taxonomy for Gregory the Great’s Forty Gospel Homilies.” Now, does that sound exciting or what!

(Yes, I know, “…or what”)

In any case, I hope to be doing some of my research in public here in order both to engage in some dialogue (I hope) and to raise awareness about the place and importance of these homilies for the whole of the Western homiletical tradition.

Aelfric on Lent 1 and Exeter’s Vainglory

The more I consider Aelfric’s sermon on Lent 1 (CH I.11), the more I’m struck by its similarities to Vainglory from the Exeter Book.

  • We have two characters in both that are identified as sons of the Devil and God. (Well, ok, the devil isn’t his own son so that doesn’t quite work…)
  • The Devil is confused as to Jesus’ identity precisely because he is not a gluttony, drunkard, nor luster.
  • The boasting behavior of the drunkard in Vainglory is highlighted just as boasting is a major feature of the second temptation in Aelfric’s homily.
  • The boaster, due to his ofermod is explicitly connected with the Devil and his army who tried to overthrow God in a fit of ofermod.
  • The chief attribute of the opposing character in Vainglory is his humility for which he gains the title of God’s own son; likewise, humility (as the preeminent monastic virtue) is Christ’s chief characteristic for Aelfric.

I’m not positing dependence, of course, (and I need to read the intro to the Rule of Chrodegang…) it’s just fascinating how the connections come together.

I must remember to do a lit search to see what others have written on this connection…

Gregory the Great’s Forty Gospel Homilies: A Brief Introduction

Gregory the Great (540-604) is only one of two popes to ever receive the epithet “Great” (I’ll deal with Leo later) and he earned it through a vast amount of labor as well as godliness. Some of that labor is in written form and it has been found sufficient to the point that Gregory is one of the four original Doctors of the Latin Church (along with Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine). Perhaps best known in Anglo-Saxonist circles for his Cura Pastoralis which earned a place in Alfred’s translation project, he also left behind a multitude of letters and exegetical works, especially his works on Job, Ezekiel, and the Song of Songs. His Forty Gospel Homilies were probably preached in the early years of his pontificate at public masses (Hurst suggests 591-2).

As Evans notes in her entry on Gregory in the Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation (DBI, vol 1. p. 465) Gregory’s exegesis is not especially original, rather he was a talented synthesist of earlier material, especially Augustine. Gregory, of course, would be horrified at the suggestion that he either was or ought to be original. Instead, the whole point was to pass on the teachings faithful as they had been received. Many’s the time that I’ve read through a passage in the writings of Leo or John Cassian only to stop and think, “Waitaminute…I thought Gregory said that…” only to find upon checking that he had. Indeed, given the state of Augustine’s sermons, we should be quite thankful that Gregory took the time to untangle the line of reasoning amongst all the side-references and hare chases that Augustine so effortlessly tosses out. As a synthesist, Gregory falls fully within the monastic tradition as one concerned to transmit the tradition clearly.

He’s also fully monastic in the purpose of his exegesis. Gregory can talk doctrine and is comfortable doing so, but that’s neither his strength nor his passion. Rather, he is interested in the spiritual life which, in his time and place, went hand in hand with the moral life. His sermons are very hortatory, constantly calling for amendment of life and behavior. In doing so, he also often “descends” from pure exegesis to relate a colorful story about a local figure who presents an example of some sort—either positive or negative. Furthermore, these tend to come right towards the end as he’s moving towards a final paranetic statement.

Gregory is probably best known exegetically for his use of allegory. It’s frequent and can be quite fanciful at times. Especially for those taught in modernist settings that eschew the allegorical as a departure from the “plain sense of the text”, it can get hard to swallow at times. Remember, though, that Gregory is here at play and, following the Augustinian dictum, finds nothing in allegory that is not plainly stated elsewhere in the Scriptural text. Furthermore, he’s taking 2 Tim 3:16 quite literally and is trying to find nuggets of instruction anywhere and everywhere in the text—and he’s not a bit afraid to dig for them, either.

Gregory’s sermons were well received by the tradition and were further aided by the fact that the heart of the Roman Gospel lectionary of the late 6th century was to become normative for the next thirteen or so centuries in the West. Paul the Deacon’s original homiliary contains 33 selections from Gregory. One is an excerpt from the Dialogues (Dial. 4.60), the other 32 are from the Gospel Homilies. Only 8 were excluded (4, 17, 22, 28, 33, 38, 39, 40 [which makes you wonder if PD had a defective copy lacking its end…]). Ælfric used 32 of Gregory’s homilies in his Catholic Homilies according to Godden’s commentary. Of those, Ælfric based his sermons on Gregory’s for 19 of them. (Unlike PD, he uses Gregory’s Hom 38-40)

Despite its success in the medieval period, this work has not been well received in the modern. No critical edition currently exists; we must still rely on Migne for a Latin text. Clemens points us to a critical edition I hadn’t known about: Gregorivs Magnvs, Homiliae in Evangelia cura et studio Raymond Étaix. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers 1999 (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 141). As far as English goes, there’s a translation by Dom Hurst in the Cistercian Studies series (CS 123). Hurst notes that in preparation of the English, he noted that the first 20 homilies appear to be out of liturgical order in the earliest manuscript (and Migne) whereas the last 20 follow it scrupulously. Thus, he rearranged them to a more logical sequence. Be aware of this, as it means that there are two quite different numbering systems for the lower 20; Godden refers to the PL’s numbers. I’ll have to see what the Étaix edition does with these homilies…

[Hopefully as we move through July, I’ll be posting some pieces on a few representative sermons from this collection and aim to give a further wrap-up on the whole thing towards its end. I’ll also be moving out of state them, so we’ll see how much of this happens…]

A Resolution

I haven’t been writing much over here. That’s primarily due to several major work projects which have given me no time to work on the dissertation. As these pressures are easing, I’m hoping to do something constructive with this space.

I was trying to figure out what I could do that would be helpful for me, interesting for readers, and that would add to the volume of useful material freely and easily accessible. After giving it a little thought, I’ve decided to try looking at the sermon collections of patristic and later thinkers who tended to be anthologized in the Western homiliary tradition.

My plan, therefore, is each month to take a collection—like Gregory’s 40 Gospel Homilies or Leo’s sermons—to give an overview and sketch the bounds of the collection and its later use at the head of the month. Then, I’ll try and look at a representative sermon fro it each week and then, at the end of the month, make some reflections on exegetical technique and practice and anything else that’s caught my eye while reading through them.

I’m hoping this will give me a vehicle for disciplined reflection on the corpus of patristic and early medieval preaching and an opportunity to give folks a sense of who the preachers were, a sense of their personality beyond just a name in a source list.