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Title: Writing history, narrating fulfillment : the 'Isidore-moment' and the struggle for the 'before now' in late antique and early medieval Hispania
Author: Kelly, Michael J.
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis critically interrogates major texts and historiographies of seventh-century Hispania, produced within what the author calls the ‘Isidore-moment’. The primary purpose is to develop a new framework for interpreting the Liber Iudiciorum (LI), the law-code issued by King Recceswinth (649/653-672) in the mid-650s. The LI was not a formulaic or structurally pre-determined text of appeasement, the rapid product of immediate circumstances in the 650s, or an objective collection of laws meant for courts and confirming existing modes of authority. The LI was a manifestation of a vibrant competitive dialectics that reached back to the early 600s. This period represents the historical situation that the author refers to as the ‘Isidore-moment’. The meaning, significance and purposes of the LI, in its historical setting, are the products of the literary-political dialectics endemic to the ‘Isidore-moment’, and thus the LI must be interpreted by way of an acute awareness of its discoursive culture. This thesis, in order to chart an alternative historiography for the Liber Iudiciorum, therefore sets to task to develop the theory of the ‘Isidore-moment’. It does this through a series of four case-studies of texts and collections of texts from the ‘Isidore-moment’, read within the context of the central feature of it: the competitive dialectics between the two particular schools, or networks, of authority, which the author refers to, respectively, as Isidore-Seville and Toledo-Agali. The competitive dialectics between the schools is a defining characteristic of the ‘Isidore-moment’ that colors the entire fabric of writing in seventh-century Hispania. In addition to exposing new meaning of the LI and charting an alternative historiography for this legal text, this thesis aims, more broadly, to expose new insights about writing, especially ‘history-writing’, or, historiography, in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages in Hispania. By deconstructing the texts and historiographies of and about the period, the author will also demonstrate the urgent need for current scholars, individually and collaboratively, to comprehensively re-engage the manuscripts and forge novel historiographies. Finally, in revealing the centrality of historical thinking to cultural and literary production, and the plurality of forms of representing the ‘before now’ in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, the author hopes to encourage new philosophies of history in the present.
Supervisor: Wood, Ian N. Sponsor: School of History, University of Leeds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available