Venantius Fortunatus and Gallic Christianity

Theology in the Writings of an Italian Émigré in Merovingian Gaul


A wandering “Orpheus among the barbarians,” a lively flatterer of the powerful and an appreciator of good food and pleasant company: the sixth-century poet Venantius Fortunatus is known to us today for being all these things. Yet in the Middle Ages people knew and loved “Fortunatus the priest:” a man of the Church and a teacher of Christian dogma.

This book for the first time looks at this other side of Fortunatus’ character through the lens of what he wrote when he was bishop of Poitiers at the end of his life: two sermons and a hymn to the Virgin Mary. Here you will encounter something unexpected: Bishop Fortunatus the stern yet skillful preacher of Augustinian grace and Chalcedonian orthodoxy.

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Benjamin Wheaton, Ph.D. (2018), University of Toronto, specializes in theology and society in Late Antiquity. He has published articles on Gregory of Tours, Nicetius of Trier and Venantius Fortunatus.
List of Abbreviations

 1 The Religious Writings of Venantius Fortunatus
 2 The Composition of the Final Two Books of the Carmina
 3 The Purpose of the Sermons in the Carmina
 4 Outline of the Book

1 The Expositio Symboli: Religious and Literary Context
 1.0 Introduction to the Expositio symboli
 1.1 The Symbol in Italy and Gaul
 1.2 Symbol Sermons in Italy and Gaul
 1.3 Rufinus and His Summarizers
 1.4 Conclusion

2 The Expositio symboli of Rufinus of Aquileia and the Expositio symboli of Venantius Fortunatus
 2.0 Introduction
 2.1 Venantius Fortunatus and Rufinus of Aquileia Compared
 2.2 The Medieval Reception of the Expositio symboli
 2.3 Conclusion

3 Background to the Expositio orationis dominicae
 3.0 Introduction
 3.1 The Sources of the Expositio orationis dominicae
 3.2 The Content of the Expositio orationis dominicae
 3.3 The Authenticity of the Expositio orationis dominicae
 3.4 Conclusion

4 The Expositio orationis dominicae of Venantius Fortunatus and the Semi-Pelagian Controversy
 4.0 Introduction
 4.1 The Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian Controversies in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries
 4.2 The Semi-Pelagian Controversy in Sixth-Century Gaul
 4.3 The Freedom of the Will in the Expositio orationis dominicae
 4.4 The Augustinianism of Venantius Fortunatus, Compared with Gregory of Tours
 4.5 Conclusion

5 Venantius Fortunatus and the Three Chapters Controversy
 5.0 Introduction
 5.1 The Second Council of Constantinople (553) and the Three Chapters Controversy
 5.2 Venantius Fortunatus and the Three Chapters Schism
 5.3 The Christology of the Carmina
 5.4 The Panegyric Ad Iustinum iuniorem imperatorem et Sophiam Augustos and the Three Chapters Controversy
 5.5 Conclusion

6 Vision of A Chalcedonian Christendom: The In laudem sanctae Mariae of Venantius Fortunatus
 6.0 Introduction
 6.1 The Authenticity of the In laudem sanctae Mariae
 6.2 Content and Structure of the In laudem sanctae Mariae
 6.3 The Sources of the In laudem sanctae Mariae
 6.4 The Vision of the In laudem sanctae Mariae: A United Chalcedonian Christendom
 6.5 Conclusion

Appendix: In laudem sanctae Mariae: Text, Translation and Sources
Index of Biblical Citations
General Index
University libraries and libraries of confessional institutions such as seminaries, scholars of ancient and medieval Church history, of Late Antique and early medieval literature and social and religious history.
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