The Song of Songs in the Early Middle Ages


In The Song of Songs in the Early Middle Ages, Hannah W. Matis examines how the Song of Songs, the collection of Hebrew love poetry, was understood in the Latin West as an allegory of Christ and the church. This reading of the biblical text was passed down via the patristic tradition, established by the Venerable Bede, and promoted by the chief architects of the Carolingian reform. Throughout the ninth century, the Song of Songs became a text that Carolingian churchmen used to think about the nature of Christ and to conceptualize their own roles and duties within the church. This study examines the many different ways that the Song of Songs was read within its early medieval historical context.

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Hannah W. Matis, Ph.D. (2013), University of Notre Dame, is assistant professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. She specializes in Carolingian biblical interpretation, early medieval history, and the history of Christianity.
Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction: Love in a Cold Climate: the Song of Songs and the Carolingian Reform 1 The Mother of Invention: Bede’s Commentary on the Song of Songs 1.1 Late Antique Exegesis on the Song of Songs 1.2 Exegetical Authority on the Make: Bede’s Commentary on the Song of Songs 1.3 Re-writing the Plot of the Song 1.4 Diversity in Unity: a Gregorian Ecclesiology of the Church 1.5 The Doctores 1.6 The Gregorian Interpretation of the Song of Songs 2 Adoptionism and the Song of Songs: Exegesis, Controversy, and Context 2.1 The Challenge of Adoptionism 2.2 The Challenge of the forma servi 2.3 Elipandus of Toledo and Beatus of Liébana 2.4 Iustus of Urgell 2.5 Theodulf of Orléans and the Opus Caroli regis contra synodum 2.6 Alcuin and the Pseudodoctores 2.7 Paulinus of Aquileia’s Three Books against Felix 2.8 The Legacy of Controversy 3 “Fair as the Moon, Bright as the Sun”: Visions of the Church in the Song of Songs 3.1 Ambrose Autpert: the Watchmen and the Bride 3.2 Agobard of Lyons’s De modo regiminis ecclesiastici 3.3 Haimo of Auxerre: the Pressures and Labors of This Age 3.4 Ecclesia and Synagoga 4 Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The Making of the City Watch 4.1 Educating the Clergy, Defining the Church: Carolingian Baptismal Expositions 4.2 Labora in uerbo predicationis: Alcuin and the doctores 4.3 Haimo of Auxerre and the Song of Songs as Carolingian School Text 4.4 Amalarius of Metz’s On the Liturgy 5 Writing a Song for Solomon: Song Exegesis for Carolingian Kings 5.1 The King, the Prophet, and the Book of the Law 5.2 Like Dripping Honey: Alcuin and Charlemagne 5.3 Lothar, Angelomus of Luxeuil, and the Enarrationes in Cantica Canticorum 5.4 Charles the Bald, Hincmar of Rheims, and the Explanatio in Ferculum Salomonis 6 “Love’s Lament”: Paschasius Radbertus and the Song of Songs 6.1 Singing the Life of Heaven: Paschasius, the Liturgy, and the Song of Songs 6.2 Perfumes and Ointments: Paschasius’s Commentary on Matthew and the Song of Songs 6.3 Diverse Laments: Paschasius’s Commentary on Lamentations and the Song of Songs 6.4 The Absent Bridegroom: Paschasius, Adalhard, and Corbie 6.5 Lilies of the Valley: Paschasius’s Exposition on Psalm 44 (45) and the Nuns of Soissons 6.6 The Garden Enclosed: Paschasius and the Virgin Mary Conclusion Bibliography 1 Editions and Translations 2 Secondary Material Index
Academic libraries and all interested in the Venerable Bede, Charlemagne and the Carolingian reform, medieval clerical identity, early medieval Biblical studies and theology, theologians and historians of the interpretation of the Song of Songs
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