Early medieval catechetic collections containing material from the Etymologiae and the place of Isidore of Seville in Carolingian correctio

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

In the last decades, we have seen a growing interest in manuscripts produced for the instruction and use of Carolingian priests. Such manuscripts were identified principally based on their content, as they include expositions of the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the mass, baptismal instructions, descriptions of clerical grades, and canons relevant to priests. In this paper, I show that material from books VI-VIII of the Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville, in particular De officiis (Etym. VI 19) and De clericis (Etym. VII 12), is another class of material appearing in Carolingian manuscripts for priests. I identify four Carolingian catechetic collections assembled from excerpts from the Etymologiae and other works of Isidore to serve as instructional manuals for priests. These collections originated in northern France in the last decades of the eighth or the first decades of the ninth centuries and can be connected, like other similar texts, with Carolingian correctio. The two most widely attested of the collections, each surviving in more than ten manuscripts, seem to have been produced in the environs of the Carolingian court. The paper also identifies other Isidorean catechetic collections that survive in a single manuscript and in collections whose intended use by priests cannot be fully substantiated. These compilations of excerpts from the Etymologiae attest to an important shift in the perception of this text under the influence of the reforms, namely its reinvention as a didactic resource, despite the fact that it was not intended for such use by Isidore.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrafting Knowledge in the early medieval book
Subtitle of host publicationPractices of collecting and concealing in the Latin West
EditorsSinead O'Sullivan, Ciaran Arthur
Place of PublicationTurnhout
PublisherBrepols Publishers
Pages315-356
ISBN (Electronic)9782503602486
ISBN (Print)9782503602479
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePublications of the Journal of Medieval Latin
PublisherBrepols
Volume16

Keywords

  • manuscript studies
  • medieval manuscripts
  • manuscript transmission
  • Isidore of Seville
  • Carolingian culture
  • Carolingian manuscripts
  • early Middle Ages
  • intellectual history

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