Poetry and Exegesis in Premodern Latin Christianity
This volume investigates various exegetical possibilities in Christian Latin poetry during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the Latin West poetry was mainly associated with the powerful pagan tradition of writers like Vergil and Ovid, and by many poetry was considered to tell lies and provide mere entertainment potentially corrupting the soul. Therefore, Christians initially had reservations about this genre and believed it to be incompatible with Christian worship, literacy and intellectual activity. In practice, however, forms of specifically Christian poetry developed from the end of the third century onwards; theoretical reconciliations were developed around 400 A.D. This collection examines specimens of Christian poetry from Juvencus (the first biblical epicist shortly after 300) up to the thirteenth century. Its particular usefulness lies in the combination of literary theory and hermeneutics, close readings of the texts and new readings on a sound philological basis.