The Medieval Review 13.02.10

Genke, Victor and Francis X. Gumerlock. Gottschalk and a Medieval Predestination Controversy, Texts Translated from the Latin. Mediaeval Philosophical Texts in Translation, 47. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2010. Pp. 247. . . $29.00 ISBN: 978-0-87462-253-9.

Reviewed by:

David Ganz
Notre Dame, Emeritus
Ganzpalaeography@gmail.com

Our understanding of the Carolingian debates on predestination was transformed by Dom Morin's discovery of theological and grammatical works by Gottschalk of Orbais in two manuscripts in Bern, and the superb edition of those texts by Dom Cyrille Lambot in 1945. Prior to that discovery most of what we knew about Gottschalk came from the pens of his detractors, afterwards his own though became much clearer. But few scholars explored his theology, preferring to concentrate on his poetry. This excellent translation of all of his theological writings should make Gottschalk the Augustinian accessible, and so help self professed Carolingianists to answer some of the challenges which Richard Sullivan presented in a Speculum article on The Carolingian Age. Sullivan famously stated: "It is cause for concern to a community of scholars to be faced with almost incontrovertible evidence that the characteristics they once perceived to be fundamental to their delineation of a distinct historical era and the actual characteristics of that era are exact opposites. I suggest that Carolingianists are faced with just such a reversal." Gottschalk combined the careful and systematic study of grammar and of logic, and a reading of the works of Augustine and his followers on a scale which few contemporaries could equal. Yet he was condemned by those contemporaries, many of whom relied on their reading of the same texts. Gottschalk is a powerful witness to the Carolingian recovery of Augustine: to argue with him Hincmar has to commission a large scale copying of the works of Augustine for Reims.

In addition to a complete translation of Gottschalk's theological writings, including his two confessions, this volume includes translations of three letters of Hrabanus, five letters of Hincmar, and short works of Amolo and Florus of Lyons. Gumerlock only translates those passages of Hincmar's letter to the priests of his diocese which Lambot had included in his edition. The footnotes echo Lambot, who wrote before the Corpus Christianorum editions had started: the CC edition of the De Trinitate allows me to resolve the issue in note 96 on p. 95. The issue is whether Augustine wrote osculum or occulum. Dr Genke, relying on the 17th century edition in the Patrologia Latina, thought that Augustine wrote oculum. Gottschalk read osculum the kiss of doves, rather than oculum, the eye of doves. Osculum is apparently the reading of three ninth century manuscripts of Augustine, so Gottschalk was not necessarily wrong. The notes refer to Gregory the Great's Book of antiphons, an attribution of authorship no longer tenable (Clavis Patrum Latinorum, no. 1933). Lambot was more cautious, identifying the feast at which each antiphon was sung, and referring to PL 78 for a printed text. Dom Hesbert's Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex of 1935 makes the PL reference obsolete, that was a reprint of the 1705 Maurist edition of the Antiphonary of Compiègne among the works of Gregory the Great. Gottschalk's testimony about the use and the wording of antiphons is most important, and remains unstudied. Nor have Genke and Gumerlock made use of the MGH editions of those church councils, which condemned Gottschalk.

In addition to the excellent translations, Genke's 63-page introduction is especially helpful for its account of Gottschalk in Croatia even speculating that a church in Nin was built by or for Gottschalk.

Genke is to be congratulated on his knowledge of the church historians who treated the debates on predestination. How many other scholars have read Domenico Bernino's Histoira di tutte l'heresie (first published in Rome in 1705-9 and dedicated to Pope Clement XI, its author was the last of Bernini's eleven children)? Or the treatment of Gottschalk by the historian of the Pelagian controversy Gustav Friedrich Wiggers of Rostock (a work translated by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1840)? His bibliography is weaker on historical treatments. The most serious omission is Celia Chazelle, The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and Art of Christ's Passion (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 167-97 and the discussion of Gottschalk by the east German historian S. Epperlein, Herrschaft und Volk im karolingischen Imperium. Studien über soziale Konflikte und dogmatisch-politische Kontroversen im fränkischen Reich (Berlin, 1969), pp. 175-246. The acts of a Franco-German conference on Hrabanus came too late: P. Depreux, S. Lebeccq, M J-L Perrin and O. Szerwiniack, Raban Maur et son Temps (Brepols, 2010). It has contributions touching Gottschalk by P. Depreux, B. Bigott and S. Patzold. The publication of the doctoral thesis of Mathew Gillis, "Gottschalk of Orbais. A study of Meaning, Power and Spirituality in a Ninth Century Life," will complement this excellent translation. The only minor typographical error I have spotted is on p. 221 where Traube has unfortunately become Troube.