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Title: Ideas of Christian writing in late Roman Gaul
Author: Vessey, J. Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3546 7530
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1988
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The Christianization of the educated élite of Roman society in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. entailed a number of important changes in attitudes towards the written word. In particular, ideas concerning literary authorship and the use of texts developed at that time were to exercise a profound influence on subsequent European culture. This thesis is a survey of three major areas of emergent Christian literary ideology, based on close analysis of Gallic sources for the period c.350-500. Chapter One: The Christian writer as student of the Bible. The idea of a necessary relation between Christian 'sermo' and biblical 'lectio' is pursued through the works of Hilary of Poitiers and the Priscillianists, the Gallic correspondence of Jerome, and the ascetic propaganda associated with the monastic milieux of Lérins, Aries and Marseille. Chapter Two: The Christian writer as 'editor' of the Fathers. The idea that the primary duty of the Christian intellectual was to ensure safe transmission of the doctrinal (and literary) legacy of his most esteemed predecessors is explored with reference to the writings of Prosper of Aquitaine, Cassian of Marseille and Vincent of Lérins. Chapter Three: The Christian writer as creed-maker. The idea that Christian literary activity might culminate in the perfection of a text composed 'in modum symboli' is traced from the time of Hilary to that of Gennadius of Marseille. In each of these areas (it is argued) may be discerned a progressive realisation of written resources, involving the establishment of clear principles for a Christian use of texts. In Gaul, this process was closely related to the development of monastic ideas and institutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History