Glossing Vergil and Pagan Learning in the Carolingian Age

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Abstract

Though a conventional diatribe against secular studies persisted in the early medieval period, avid glossing of pagan texts demonstrates that early medieval commentators had few qualms about reading them and that crucially the patristic bias against classical learning had been rendered obsolete. This paper focuses on a single ninth-century Vergil manuscript, Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F. 2. 8, and its rich scholarly apparatus as an instance of the Carolingian penchant for classical antiquity. It furnishes evidence for a strong endorsement of pagan learning and shows that it was not only Vergil’s style but also his content that engaged Christian readers. It thus challenges the older view of confrontation between pagan and Christian cultures, already undermined by Harald Hagendahl in his reassessment of Jerome’s response to the classics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-165
Number of pages34
JournalSpeculum
Volume93
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018

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