contributor.author: Christopher A. Jones

title.none: Chazelle and Van Name Edwards, eds., The Study of the Bible (Christopher A. Jones)

identifier.other: baj9928.0411.014 04.11.14

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Christopher A. Jones, Notre Dame, jones.256@nd.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2004

identifier.citation: Chazelle, Celia and Burton Van Name Edwards, eds. The Study of the Bible in the Carolingian Era. Series: Medieval Church Studies, vol. 3. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003. Pp. xi, 258. $67.00 2-503-51404-9. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 04.11.14

Chazelle, Celia and Burton Van Name Edwards, eds. The Study of the Bible in the Carolingian Era. Series: Medieval Church Studies, vol. 3. Turnhout: Brepols, 2003. Pp. xi, 258. $67.00 2-503-51404-9. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Christopher A. Jones
Notre Dame
jones.256@nd.edu

Western biblical exegesis in the period from Bede's death to the late eleventh century has long seemed a field of too much harvest and too few laborers. The present collection, consisting of twelve essays plus a general introduction, aims to bring representative current studies of Carolingian biblical scholarship before a wider audience, and to refute the charge that the materials at issue are too unoriginal to trouble over. As Chazelle and Edwards remind us in their introduction, the Carolingians' sheer investment of effort and materials in producing such work demands the historian's respect and even more so the codicologist's, since exegetical material bulks so large in surviving manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries. While acknowledging that much fundamental work remains to be done in the identification, attribution, editing, and source-analysis of the primary materials, the editors hope that the present book will "encourage a broader reassessment of the varied facets of the Carolingian exegetical experience" and redress a previous "absence of synthetic discussion" (16). The volume has two general divisions. The first, "Studies in Biblical Commentaries," offers five focused papers, some delving deep into codicology and source study. Part two, "Exegesis in Carolingian Culture," contains seven essays on various applications of exegesis in Carolingian political thought, theological controversy, hagiography, law, and liturgy. Clearly the second part of the book may appeal to a wider readership than the first, but the editors' decision to place the micro- ahead of the macroscopic studies is a principled reminder that progress in the latter still depends on someone's willingness to undertake the former.

The first essay in part one, John J. Contreni's "Glossing the Bible in the Early Middle Ages: Theodore and Hadrian of Canterbury and John Scottus (Eriugena)," reflects on a particular type of early-medieval biblical glossing. The subjects of comparison would seem to be two quite different texts (or rather text-groups): the complex corpus of seventh-century "Canterbury" glosses partially edited by Michael Lapidge and Bernhard Bischoff, and the corpus of Eriugena's biblical glosses published just a few years later by Contreni himself and Patrick Ó Néill. As one might expect, given the chronological, cultural, and (most likely) generic and transmissional differences between the two corpora, any single points of similarity are difficult to interpret. So Contreni takes a wider view, emphasizing relative continuities in glossing practice between the seventh and ninth centuries. To speak of such continuity is certainly possible, at least where the largely non-allegorical corpus of Eriugena's glosses is concerned; a different choice of ninth-century comparandum could obviously yield quite a different conclusion. Another arresting similarity noted is the early appearance of the vernacular in both sets of glosses (Old Irish in Eriugena's corpus, Old English in the "Canterbury" one--although the latter may have been added by Theodore's and Hadrian's students, not the masters themselves). Contreni closes his discussion by reflecting on the causes of an apparent decline of widely-sourced literal, philological glossing of scripture in the ninth century, coincident with the revival of more ambitious, usually allegorical, styles of commentary. The essay concludes with nine full pages of examples that match the text of Eriugena against a corresponding "Canterbury" gloss. At the level of specific content, one is struck as often by difference as similarity, but the larger point--about the longevity of a certain type of approach to the biblical text--is well taken.

The next essay, by Michael Fox, treats an author more typical of those considered by this volume as a whole. In "Alcuin the Exegete: The Evidence of the Quaestiones in Genesim," Fox displays a confident command both of Alcuin's works and of the large secondary bibliography about them. The essay begins by placing Alcuin's exegesis in the context of a wider Carolingian revival of biblical and patristic studies, one early product of which was Wigbod's Liber quaestionum on the octateuch. Alcuin's approach to Genesis, Fox reminds us, differs from Wigbod's with respect both to its sources and its aims. The preface to the Quaestiones (printed as Dümmler's Epistola 80) clarifies that Alcuin intended his to be a work of basic, compact instruction compiled from questions that had been raised by his student Sigewulf (to whom the Quaestiones are dedicated). The work was remarkably popular. Fox counts fifty-two manuscripts (offering minor corrections to the recent Clavis scriptorum latinorum medii aevi, Auctores Galliae, 735-987, vol. 2), and of these a striking number date to the ninth century. The survivals actually hint that Alcuin's Quaestiones enjoyed more currency than any of the competing commentaries on Genesis (by Bede, Wigbod, Claudius of Turin, Angelomus of Luxeuil, Hrabanus, Haimo, and Remigius). Again, Fox attributes the popularity of the work to its suitability for beginning students. That medieval readers perceived it thus is confirmed by the fact that several early manuscripts transmit the Quaestiones alongside a collection of "very basic treatises [by Alcuin] on numbers, baptism, and visions" (44). Fox then turns to a detailed analysis of sources, revealing that "Alcuin demonstrates quite a wide range of reading, though there are significant differences between the introductory, hexameral, and concluding portions of the commentary" (45; see also 50 for a summary list of sources). More surprising, in view of Alcuin's reputation for unoriginality, is Fox's admission that some portions of the work do not appear to be drawing directly on any known source (48-9). The essay concludes with a survey and description of the seventeen (!) ninth-century copies of the work. Over all, this is an authoritative textual and codicological study that will take its place alongside similar contributions on Alcuiniana by Bullough, Cavadini, and others.

A quite different text is the object of Carol Scheppard's "Prophetic History: Tales of Righteousness and Calls to Action in the Eclogae Tractatorum in Psalterium." The work under scrutiny, a commentary on the whole psalter supposedly written c. 800, was listed as item 6A in Bischoff's famous essay "Wendepunkte in der Geschichte der lateinischen Exegese," the cornerstone of so much subsequent analysis of Irish and Irish-influenced biblical commentary from the early Middle Ages. Readers of this review will be only too aware of the furious assault on "Wendepunkte" a few years ago (Chazelle and Edwards refer to it and give the major references in their introduction, 14-15). No doubt the controversy explains why Scheppard begins with a summary of evidence for the "Irishness" of the Eclogae, a proposition that she accepts and finds supported by her own research into the method of the text, its sources, and its similarities to verifiably Irish works. A brief overview of the sources of the Eclogae follows, with emphasis on its use of a Latin translation of Theodore of Mopsuestia's psalm commentary and a surprising range of other authorities. Thence the essay moves on to discuss the notion of "prophetic history" that Scheppard perceives as the work's dominant concern. She first contextualizes this concept in the "double historical sense" imputed to Old Testament narratives by both the Old Irish Treatise on the Psalms and the Latin "Reference Bible" (68-9). But Scheppard also stresses how consistently the Eclogae move directly from this double historical sense to moral application, bypassing much doctrinal application. A moralizing bent and the double historical sense are undeniably present in the text, but the advantages of creating from these a single new category of "prophetic history" never quite emerge from the discussion. Instead the essay contents itself with series of assertions--for example, that the author of the commentary regarded study of Old Testament histories as "not merely a search for guidance in living a righteous life, but rather participation in a relationship with God"; or that the "historical study of the Psalter [was] itself righteous behaviour." The latter idea turns for confirmation to the uses of psalmody in Irish penitentials. The fact that recitation of psalms could constitute a work of penance corroborates, for Scheppard, the equation between psalter study and "righteous behavior" that she sees in the Eclogae. While "study" and devotional or penitential recitation of the psalms certainly could impinge upon each other, one wonders if all distinction between them should be so elided. Finally, a lack of confidence in transcription and translation of Latin throughout the essay gives some pause, since the author plans to edit the whole of this text for the Corpus Christianorum Scriptores Celtigenae (see 63, n. 9). With no way to distinguish typographic or transcription errors from medieval orthography deliberately preserved, we face "emitere" (67, n. 22), "postalamus" and "ceteram" for "cetera" (70, n. 29), and "beatitudenem" (67). Some translations tend towards cumbersome literalness, as during discussion of the assumptus homo doctrine (70 and n. 30); others are unnecessarily loose, such as that following a quotation from the Latin Theodore of Mopsuestia (67):Duo, itaque quae faciunt hominem ad beatitudenem [sic] peruenire: dogmatis recta sententia, id est ut pie de Deo et integre sentiatur, et morum emendata formatio, per quam honeste saneque uiuatur [...] ista enim ueri est intellectus perceptio, ut secundum historiae fidem tenorem expositionis aptemus...Scheppard's translation (at 67, n. 21) has the two things "prepare" rather than cause man to attain the blessed state, the moral component becomes "faultless design of character" rather than reformed or corrected behavior, the truth (fides) of history is rendered its "guarantee," and the course of the commentary (tenor expositionis) emerges as a far more subjective-sounding "tone of our interpretation." Singly these may seem trivial, but collectively they do erode the reader's confidence; so too does the discrepancy between two separate quotations of a single passage: "Si toto affectu inuestigaueris psalmos multium [sic] laborem arripies, nam etiam intellectu historico dulplici sensu latent" (69, n. 25); then three pages later, "Si toto effectu inuestigaueris psalmos, multum laborem arripies; nam etiam intellectu historico duplices sensus latent uel habent ..." (72, n. 33). In both instances, the quotation is immediately followed by the same reference to "St. Gall, Stiftsbibl., 261, fols. 159-60," and references to the partial editions of the text by McNamara and Verkest, but with no clear explanation of the differences. Perhaps one is drawn from the second manuscript of the Eclogae, Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 14715? I cannot tell. (A third shelfmark given at 64, n. 9 "St. Gall, Stiftsbibl. 156" appears to be an error, since no such manuscript is cited anywhere else in the article or in Lapidge and Sharpe's Bibliography of Celtic Latin Literature, sub no. 783.) Scheppard's translations following each quotation likewise do not agree with each other.

Johannes Heil adds to the large literature on early medieval perceptions of the Jews in his essay "Labourers in the Lord's Quarry: Carolingian Exegetes, Patristic Authority, and Theological Innovation, a Case Study in the Representation of Jews in Commentaries on Paul" (in part a synthesis of his monograph, Kompilation oder Konstruktion: Die Juden in den Pauluskommentaren des 9. Jahrhunderts (1998)). As the title of the essay indicates, the focus is a range of commentaries on a single part of scripture. An added benefit of defining the topic this way is that Heil's chapter provides a handy overview of the corpus of Carolingian Pauline commentaries, of which no fewer than eleven were composed between 800 and 860 (75-6). The narrower intent of the essay--and one that might have made it a better fit for the second half of the volume, devoted to topical applications of exegesis--is to examine how a selective citation of patristic authors could create "original" biblical teaching about the Jews, both their present status and future destiny. "In general," Heil writes, "Carolingian authors expected the coming redemption of the Jews" (78), even though such optimism certainly could and did coexist with varying degrees of present hostility by authorities such as Smaragdus, Claudius of Turin, and Hrabanus. More surprisingly, some commentators (Alcuin and the Pseudo-Bede) appear to have had little interest in Jews as such. Whatever the particular views of an exegete, Heil ultimately affirms that in nearly all cases we are confronted with "the Jew" as a largely theological construct--the "hermeneutic" or "pneumatic Jew," as scholarship has labeled the phenomenon (92-3). While not entirely surprising, this conclusion merits particular notice in the cases of exegetes--such as Florus of Lyon--who were perhaps well-placed to encounter real Jews yet rejected such first-hand experience in favor of the "hermeneutic Jew" of tradition. Indeed, among the exegetes surveyed, Florus is one of the more strongly anti-Jewish, outpaced only (Heil asserts) by Haimo of Auxerre. Haimo's extremity would prove fateful, since his commentary on Paul's letters was one of the most popular ever produced, surviving in as many as 180 manuscripts (85). Several examples of Haimo's negative views are cited, sufficient to sustain Heil's overall view of this work. But what is perhaps the crucial statement is less negative than Heil suggests when he quotes and translates the comment (to Romans 11:25-6) in slightly abbreviated form. Here is the complete sentence as printed and punctuated at PL 117: 464D (brackets enclose words replaced by ellipsis in Heil's quotation):Quis hoc mysterium valet penetrare? [cur Deus multitudinem gentium spreverit pene ab exordio mundi, a tempore scilicet quo confusum est labium universae terrae;] et Judaeos tantum sibi peculiares fecerit, qui per lineam Heber descenderunt; iterumque gentes in suo adventu collegerit, et Judaeos in fine mundi recipiendos abjecerit?Heil renders this: "Who is able to understand this mystery? [...] and he will make his own only the Jews who descended by the lineage of Heber; and again he will have collected the people at his advent and he will have rejected the Jews as being the accepted [people] at the end of the time [/world]" (87, n. 52). The grammar of the original is much clearer than this; Heil's ellipsis of "cur Deus..." etc. obscures the fact that "et Judaeos..." and all that follows continues a long indirect question. Hence the verbs "fecerit... collegerit... abjecerit..." are perfect subjunctives, not future perfect indicatives. I therefore see nothing ambiguous about the sentence's affirmation that the Jews will ultimately be redeemed: "Who can penetrate this mystery? Why is it that from nearly the beginning of the world... God scorned the multitude of the nations? Why did he make only the Jews his own particular people...? And again, why at his coming did he gather the nations and reject the Jews, who are to be received back at the end of the world?" Similarly, later in the article another cited passage in Haimo's commentary ends, "Corruerunt itaque Judaei ut surgerent gentes," which Heil renders "And thus the Jews fall down as the peoples rise" (94). Pedantic as the correction may seem, the first verb is perfect ("the Jews fell / have fallen"), and the sentence in itself does not seem to imply anything about the permanence of that fallenness or the unlikelihood of its reversal at the end of days.

Burton Van Name Edwards offers an engaging example of scholarly detective work as he seeks to restore to Haimo of Auxerre authorship of an unprinted commentary on Deuteronomy extant in sixteen manuscripts ("Deuteronomy in the Ninth Century: The Unpublished Commentaries of Walahfrid Strabo and Haimo of Auxerre"). Edwards has tackled similar problems in his earlier work on Genesis commentaries from the school of Auxerre, from which he produced an edition of Remigius's commentary on Genesis (CCCM 136). The present article arises from his work preparatory to an editio princeps of the Deuteronomy commentary under discussion. On their face, however, Edwards's arguments for the attribution of this work to Haimo present difficulties. The earliest manuscript is of the eleventh century (Avranches, Bibliothèque Municipale 68), and neither it nor any of the other fifteen witnesses names Haimo as author, though several do assign the work to Remigius. Internal evidence that would link the commentary to Haimo is also less forthcoming than might be hoped: the text appears to depend very closely on a previous source, Walahfrid's "abbreviation" of Hrabanus's work on Deuteronomy (chronologically this is not impossible, but it does require that Walahfrid's text reached Haimo fairly directly). The Deuteronomy commentary in question does not even show many close parallels of content with works known to be by Haimo, and it offers (in Edwards's own words) no more than a "very general" resemblance to the overall "style of [Haimo's] commentary" (106). Edwards is admirably honest about such weak points while emphasizing other evidence that does, in his view, support the case, namely: (a) the transmission of the Deuteronomy item alongside Haimo's Genesis commentary in all but one of the sixteen manuscripts; (b) an attribution of the commentary to Haimo in one medieval table of contents, two quotations by Ivo of Chartres, and an early-modern reference to such a work by Haimo in the writings of the Maurist Jean Martianay. Pending the appearance of Edwards's full edition of the text and apparatus fontium, few readers will be able completely to embrace or reject the argument as it stands; many, I suspect, will share the interim verdict non liquet. As a final observation, it must be said that one hopes the editing--in particular the punctuation--of the text in the promised CCCM volume will rise above the standard demonstrated in this essay. In quotations from the forthcoming edition, commas and periods have occasionally been so misplaced or withheld as to suggest incomprehension of what the Latin is saying. An extreme example is:Quia noluerunt uobis occurrrere in uia cum pane et aqua, quando egrediebamini de Aegypto Tradunt Hebraei quod haec gentes quae propinquae erant Iudaeorum et affines illis egredientibus de Aegypto occurrerint, cum pane tantum arte maligna, aquam nolentes deferre. Cum scirent eos in deserto maxime siti laborare et ideo huic maledictioni subiecti sunt. Mystice designant hereticos ... etc. (104, infra, right-hand column)Surely readers would be better guided by emendation of haec, placement of the lemma in italics (Deut. 23:4), and repunctuation, perhaps along the lines:Quia noluerunt uobis occurrrere in uia cum pane et aqua, quando egrediebamini de Aegypto. Tradunt Hebraei quod [hae] gentes, quae propinquae erant Iudaeorum et affines, illis egredientibus de Aegypto occurrerint cum pane tantum, arte maligna aquam nolentes deferre, cum scirent eos in deserto maxime siti laborare; et ideo huic maledictioni subiecti sunt. Mystice designant hereticos... etc.There is similar trouble in the other long quotation on the same page (104, supra, right-hand column). Likewise, periods seem wrongly to break up two of Haimo's comments edited in Appendix I (109, at lines 9-10 and 17-19), and Walahfrid's phrases in Appendix II look suspiciously ungrammatical at lines 16 and 26. Elsewhere problems of translation rouse much the same concern: at 102, "Praefert autem typum Euangelii..." is not "he has prefixed a type of the Gospel" but rather "it [scil. Deuteronomy] presents a type..." or simply "it foreshadows..." In the etymology quoted at 105-6,Anathema. Alienatio. Tractus sermo a Graeco apo tou anatytone, id est a sursum ponendo uel suspendendo, sicut uestes uel cetera suspendebantur in templis; et ab eis, qui ea tradebant alienabantur.the punctuation (semi-colon after "templis") is questionable but not ruinous. It is the appended translation that baffles (106, n. 28): "Alienation: a word taken from the Greek 'apo tou anatutone' [actually 'apo tou avo tithevai'--from that placed in high], that is by placing or hanging at a height, just as cloths or other things are hung in temples; and by those, who hand over such things, they are alienated." Ignoring the confusion of Greek nu with Roman v (which, if a scribal habit, merits at least a "[sic]"), one might better make of this: "The word anathema, meaning alienatio [separation], is drawn from the Greek apo tou ano tithenai, that is 'putting up' or hanging up,' just as garments or other things used to be hung up in the temples and so were 'separated' from those who handed them over."

In the second major division of the volume, "Exegesis and Carolingian Culture," discussion moves to broader connections between exegetical writings and their historical moment. As the first offering in this section, Mary Alberi's essay returns to Alcuin as both exegete and political theorist ("'The Sword Which You Hold in Your Hand': Alcuin's Exegesis of the Two Swords and the Lay Miles Christi"). The focus of the article is a short epistolary treatise (Dummler's Epistola 136) on the apparent contradiction between Christ's words at Luke 22:36 ("...and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one") and Matthew 26:52 ("...all who draw the sword will die by the sword"). Alcuin's letter has been often cited in histories of the "two swords" as favored medieval emblems for spiritual and temporal powers. Alberi is less interested in Alcuin's contribution on that score than in the fact that the arguments of Epistola 136 were prompted by the question of an unnamed layman at Charlemagne's court. Alberi's lucid essay considers the letter as a rare glimpse of the far reach of Carolingian biblical studies beyond a clerical elite to circles of laymen who possessed, in some instances, a surprising degree of theological sophistication. In the present case Alcuin responded with an "experiment in creating allegories which describe the exercise of authority within Christian society by Charlemagne and his lay nobles" (129). Of course, one would very much like to know how far even a well-schooled layman could take in all the kaleidoscopic allegorizing of biblical "swords" that Alberi traces through Alcuin's letter. Even as the text moves towards articulating an ideal of militia "for" the laity, it does so in a tone and with a self-conscious cleverness that seem unmistakably bent on putting an uppity layman back in his place.

John C. Cavadini's "A Carolingian Hilary" offers a short demonstration of the ways that exegetical teachings by Hilary of Poitiers were marshaled for opposing sides in the adoptionist controversy in the late eighth century, then by only one side in the predestinarian debates of the mid-ninth century. Here, as in many other essays in the volume, the argument intends to counter older perceptions of the Carolingians as robotic transmitters rather than lively engagers of the patristic texts they amassed in such stores. The particular case of Hilary, Cavadini argues, is instructive because his orthodoxy was considered impeccable even though he was not one of the more popular fathers and his doctrinal views "were not as clearly defined as those of later writers." In a memorable phrase, Cavadini calls Hilary "a kind of wild card" that we can see writers of the period, whatever their purposes, attempting to "play" (134). Examples of such play are then considered in detail, first in works of Elipandus and Alcuin, then in the work of Hincmar against Gottschalk. It comes as no great surprise that all users of Hilary quoted and arranged his words selectively to serve the argument at hand.

William J. Diebold claims that art historians of this period, when they have turned to exegetical sources at all, have looked more often to Old Testament commentaries than to New; he sets out to restore a balance in his stimulating essay "The New Testament and the Visual Arts in the Carolingian Era, with special reference to the sapiens architectus (I Cor. 3. 10)." After an interesting survey of the commentary tradition on a few New Testament passages relevant to the subject of images and architecture (142-5), Diebold narrows his focus to a detailed examination of commentary on what he considers the most productive passage, I Corinthians 3:10, in which Paul compares the Corinthian church to "God's building" and his own role to that of a "wise architect." The Vulgate verse clearly accounts for Diebold's finding that, in Carolingian writings, sapiens occurs with some frequency in collocation with architectus but not with "artist" words artifex, operarius, faber and the like (146). Previous scholarship on the sapiens architectus topos has inferred that the Carolingians passively accepted a distinction between the theoretical mastery required of the architect and the practical know-how of the artisan. Diebold rightly notes, however, that actual discussions credit the figure of the architect with knowledge both practical and theoretical. Conversely, scripture offered in the figure of Beseleel a clear precedent for elevating an artisan's attributes to the level of "wisdom" and theory. Theory, moreover, did not always imply invention: Haimo of Auxerre equates Paul's "wise architect" with a faithful imitator of traditional forms, not a drafter of new designs. Another telling example of contemporary attitudes Diebold finds in an early-tenth-century life of Boniface by Radbod of Utrecht, who contrasts the saint's "wise" building--by orthodox instruction and moral example--with the shoddy work of "many architects of our day who...build weak and ruinous structures" (148). Of course, this and many of the passages under discussion so reify and moralize the image of the architect that their relevance to actual builders and buildings can only be admitted with caution. But Diebold is cautious and sensible, and his discussion of two further examples of architectural metaphor (from Hucbald of Saint-Amand and Amalarius of Metz) reveals the potential of his investigations: to recover not mere facts about building practices but also the little-studied conceptual dimension called the "iconography of materials and techniques" (151). The final example, of Abbot Ratger's building campaign at Fulda in the early ninth-century, draws attention to instances where a patron or commissioner merits the title sapiens architectus. The essay closes with a salutary reminder that the celebrity of the so-called Libri Carolini has tempted modern scholars to limit their discussion of Carolingian artistic theory to images alone. Recovery of these architectural references offers a helpful corrective, as they pertain to a non-representational "art" to which commentators could unreservedly ascribe spiritual value, thanks to the New Testament traditions that Diebold discusses here.

E. Ann Matter's title, "The Bible in Early Medieval Saints' Lives," might better suit a multi-volume reference work than a brief essay. The topic is forbidding, both by the potential volume of material and by its resistance to any single methodology. Matter's essay begins with the latter difficulty: is it possible to arrive at any valid general observation about the functions of the bible in hagiography? Her solution is the concept of scripture as "the most important medieval 'co-text,' that is, the building block of literary meaning that must be understood" constantly in all kinds of medieval writing, including hagiography (155). There follows a brief survey of how scripture functions this way in one representative life, that of Benedict in the Dialogues attributed to Gregory the Great (156). Matter suggests that the appeals to scripture, explicit or implicit, are notably asymmetrical with respect to the gender of the biblical models. Female saints are just as likely as male ones to be compared with holy men from scripture, not holy women (156-8), even when obvious parallels must have suggested themselves to the hagiographer. The essay then takes up the uses of the bible in hagiography written by one of the most accomplished exegetes of the era, Pascasius Radbertus. Matter first surveys Pascasius's purely exegetical and theological writings (commentaries on Matthew and Lamentations, and the eucharistic treatise De corpore and sanguine Domini). Her plausible view is that these should provide a useful lens through which to read Pascasius's hagiographical compositions: the Passio of Saints Rufinus and Valerius, the Vita of St. Adalhard of Corbie, and the notorious hybrid of genres, the Epitaphium Arsenii (or Vita of Wala, who, though not culted as a saint, was a figure of venerated status at Corbie). In the earliest work, the life of Adalhard, Pascasius favors quotation from the Song of Songs, and Matter suggests that it was here that he began working out correspondences between that book and eschatological prophecies (these correspondences would later feature importantly in his commentary on Lamentations). The gospel of Matthew is the runner-up for most cited biblical book in the Adalhard vita (again presaging Pascasius's later work on that book), followed by a profusion of references to all other parts of scripture, interwoven with patristic and classical literary citations (163). A comparable mix can be found in the life of Wala, though there the proportion of non-biblical to biblical references is significantly greater than in the life of Adalhard (164). The data in themselves are not terribly surprising, but they at least confirm that, among Carolingian monastic authors, "commentary on the Bible is interwoven with other types of literature and there is a great deal of resonance between genres" (165). More interesting and deserving of further investigation is the prospect that "the interpretation of some parts of the Bible seem to have been developed first in hagiographical literature and then refined in the context of formal commentaries" (165).

Celia Chazelle's "Exegesis in the Ninth-Century Eucharistic Controversy" extends her discussion of the same debate (among others) in her recent book The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era (2001). In the present chapter, as in the monograph, Chazelle regards the ninth-century eucharistic debates as chronologically more compressed and intellectually closer-knit than some previous scholars have allowed. In particular, she argues that Ratramnus's eucharistic treatise should be redated to the 850s, in order to be seen as a direct participant in the crisis that elicited treatises on the topic from Gottschalk, Adrevald of Fleury, Eriugena, Hrabanus, and Hincmar in the same decade (168). While immediate causes of the crisis (other than reactions to Pascasius's earlier De corpore et sanguine Domini) remain unclear, Chazelle suggests plausibly that the eucharistic debate began as a footnote to that over predestination; if so, the subsidiary issue quickly "took on a life of its own" (169). A further connection is that the eucharistic and predestinarian discussions resemble each other in being "centred on issues of exegesis" to a degree not seen in an earlier generation of disputes by court theologians (over adoptionism, the filioque, and iconodoulism). The latter, Chazelle argues, had tended to subsume conflicts over scriptural interpretation into larger categories of heresy and orthodoxy. The monastically trained scholars who argued over predestination and the eucharist were apparently disinclined to reduce those topics to such labels; moreover, as debaters they spoke the same theological language, thanks to the successful promotion of liturgical and biblical studies during the first half of the ninth century. The remainder of Chazelle's essay is a close description of the eucharistic theology of the four theologians whose views are best preserved. Pascasius, Gottschalk, Hincmar, and Ratramnus are all discussed in turn, the comparison made easier by the fact that all, at one time or another, discuss much the same group of biblical proof-texts. The results of this part of the essay cannot be reduced to summary, but the exercise certainly supports the author's point: "fidelity to the single source of the Bible and even to the same selection of verses from it by no means guaranteed doctrinal consensus" (185).

From theological controversy, the volume next turns to scripture in canon law. Abigail Firey's learned and elegantly written "Lawyers and Wisdom: The Use of the Bible in the Pseudo-Isidorian Forged Decretals" starts by acknowledging the difficulty of drawing conclusions about the corpus of forged decretals as a whole, given the piecemeal origins of the collection and the inadequacy of the editions by Merlin (1524) and Hinschius (1863). With these caveats in place, Firey proceeds to make two interesting arguments. First, she examines a cluster of twelve biblical verses (listed at 194-5) important in one of the forgers' shared designs, which was, Firey argues, "to fill lacunae in the existing formulations of Roman, Germanic, and canon law," particularly with respect to "concepts of social and legal ranking of persons, of equity, and of the right to be tried fairly under a law that is one's own" (202-3). Seen in this light, the forgers' appeals to Zach. 2:8, Tob. 4:16, Matt. 5:10 and the other verses noted are not only about protecting the episcopate and other high clergy; the current of the forgers' arguments from scripture is ultimately nothing less than a momentous shift towards a new definition of the legal status of persons as Christians rather than (or in addition to) members of a particular ethnic group or caste. The implications of this argument are rich, and it stands as perhaps the best demonstration in the entire book of how scrutiny of Carolingian exegetical practice may open afresh a larger, important historical question. Where the first half of the essay examines the forgers' topical selection and synthesis of verses drawn from the whole of the Old and New Testaments, the second half takes up a complementary question: why are particular books of scripture favored by the forgers? The specific point of departure is Firey's observation that a "substantial quantity of passages from Ecclesiasticus is one of the more striking features" of the collection, and that this biblical book is cited not only frequently but at great length (204). In the absence of explicit cues from the forgers, the exegetical intent of such quotations is not always easy to discern. Firey suggests that the forgers perceived a correspondence between their own principles of justice and those advanced by the Wisdom books generally and Ecclesiasticus in particular. Thus the book served them less often as a source of appeal on specific questions of legal practice than as a general "expression of ethical principles" touching "the essence of jurisprudence" (204). Among the citations of Ecclesiasticus, Firey detects a few important themes that may have resonated with the forgers' larger ideals of justice. The first is the seriousness of dishonest speech, a topic of clear concern to jurists who were "sensitive to the hazards of scandal, perjury, false testimony, false witnesses, and perverse judgements," and who generally discouraged litigiousness (205-6). Other major emphases taken from Ecclesiasticus are the importance of moral purity in the judges themselves, and the necessity of their possessing that wisdom which comes only from a proper fear of God.

The last and longest essay in the volume is Dominique Iogna-Prat's "Lieu de culte et exegese a l'epoque carolingienne." The wider target of this study is the evolving medieval concept of "the church" as both a spiritual and material reality. The relation of the topic to that of the present volume as a whole is indirect but important. As is well known, methods developed for the exposition of texts came to enjoy ever broader application to objects, places, persons, gestures, and rituals. The Carolingians greatly advanced the application of exegesis to the liturgy and its associated objects. The resulting treatises, with their specific mentions of the church as both a place and an idea, are the focus of Iogna-Prat's essay, although he begins by locating his project within a larger set of questions and sources relevant to the topic of Carolingian ecclesiology (218-24). These pages read very much like the introduction to a monograph that I sincerely hope the author plans to devote to this topic. (In that event, his list of sources might profitably expand to make more of early linguistic evidence for "church" in the vernaculars, especially the Germanic dialects.) The trawl for discussions of "church" finally nets four important sources: Hrabanus's De institutione clericorum, the anonymous Quid significent duodecim candelae, Amalarius's Liber officialis, and Walahfrid's Libellus de exordiis et incrementis quarundam in ecclesiasticis observationibus rerum. Iogna-Prat considers each in turn, devoting particular attention to a comparison between the exposition of church-dedication rituals given in Hrabanus's handbook and what is known (from other sources) of the ordo followed for such a ceremony at Fulda in 819. Amalarius's work, well-known and easily accessible, receives relatively less attention, while the anonymous Quid significant (long misattributed to Remigius of Auxerre) merits a little more. The latter text is a detailed commentary on a church-dedication ordo similar to Andrieu's Ordo Romanus XLIII, whose rituals the commentator filters through complex allegories in order to establish their proximity to the ceremonies of baptism. The most important and perhaps surprising result of Iogna-Prat's sifting of such texts is the observation that they show so little sustained interest in the church as a place or physical structure. All three tend to adhere to the biblical and patristic concept of the church as the community of Christians, the "living stones" of an essentially spiritual structure. Even Amalarius, who is interested in virtually every aspect of the liturgy, shows surprisingly little interest in the church building itself, although he does open the way for such reflection by incorporating discussion of the church-as-community into his exegesis the Mass. This point is subtle but Iogna-Prat insists on its importance: Amalarius's placement of the topic allows an identification between the abstract "church" (as spiritual community) and a more concrete object, a congregation assembled in a particular space (the church building) for a particular occasion (the eucharistic celebration). It is only with the final work examined, however, that Iogna-Prat detects a significant reorientation of "church" towards physical / spatial and functional determinants. Walahfrid's Libellus de exordiis, which differs in many respects from the other three under discussion, does not completely carry through a transformation of the term ecclesia, but its author does take an important step. The point merits quotation at length:...Walahfrid rompt avec le traitement purement figure, inspire d'Augustin, du rapport contenant / contenu... Pour lui [Walahfrid], la question du contenant ne releve pas simplement de l'architecture interieure de chaque fidele. Aux yeux de Walahfrid, l'emploi de la metonymie n'est pas abusif; il est, au contraire, fondateur de la 'realite' de l'Église. (241)The importance of association between the building and its principal function--to house celebrations of the eucharist--remains undefined in the Libellus and would see little further significant development until the late eleventh century, when Carolingian liturgical commentaries began to enjoy a new vogue. Iogna-Prat ends this rich study with two revealing examples of how Carolingian discussions of the "church" were modified for eleventh- and twelfth-century audiences.

By the current standard of such multi-authored collections, The Study of the Bible in the Carolingian Era acquits itself well. The papers represent fairly the range of ongoing work around the topic, with the contributions of Fox, Diebold, Firey, and Iogna-Prat standing out as distinguished realizations of the volume's professed aims. But all the essays bear witness to progress in the field in one way or another. As the editors allow in their introduction, many basic questions remain to be answered. Perhaps the major one nowhere confronted in the book concerns the very inadequacy of the place-holding term "biblical studies" as applied to the materials here under review. The nature of the evidence affords insights mainly into the composition and copying of biblical commentaries. The former effort, at least, presupposes reading and "study" of similar texts by a select few. But how widely or coherently were advanced "biblical studies" ever pursued, at what curricular stage, by whom, and to what ends--beyond bragging rights or a reflexive perpetuation of the genre? Between the necessarily tidied glimpses that modern scholarship provides of the history of single texts or authors on one hand, and the history of larger themes on the other, lies the appallingly messy reality of the manuscripts. Anyone who does not know it already can get some idea of the farrago by skimming Fox's inventory of the ninth century Alcuin manuscripts (52-60) or, better yet, Halm's old catalogue of the Munich fonts, or Bischoff's Die sudostdeutschen Schreibschulen, or other works that plunge into the raw materials as they are. Not all is disorder, but enough is chaos to raise basic questions about the coherence of "biblical studies" conducted from or towards such materials. To blame the mess on practices of monastic lectio or compilatio is simply to defer the issue by appeal to still other place-holding terms.

The volume ends with a selective bibliography of primary sources and a rather fuller one of secondary publications, with emphasis on works appearing since 1989. (There are no indices of any kind--an unfortunate lack, and strange in a book that aspires to serve a wide readership.) The final bibliography in itself warrants two remarks. First, even though all but one of the papers are in English and the pitch of the volume's introduction appears mainly to an anglophone readership, the vital contributions of continental scholars to this subject are strongly manifest both in the concluding bibliography and in the footnotes throughout the chapters. The second thing that perusal of the bibliography makes hard to ignore is Michael Gorman's leading contribution to this field in recent decades. While the editors' bibliography makes no claims to exhaustiveness, the ratios here do not likely mislead: Gorman weighs in at twenty-three entries, more than double the total of the nearest runner-up. There are passing references in the introduction (14-15) and in one of the essays (Scheppard) to Gorman's more recent notoriety in conflicts over the legacy of Bischoff. Depending on one's views of that dispute, the editors and authors of the present book will be seen as either wise or timid in resisting too deep an ad rem involvement in those arguments (arguments which, it bears repeating, had implications potentially far beyond the works identified as Irish by "Wendepunkte"). Even so, Gorman's ubiquity throughout the present volume is a sad reminder of how much effort that feud diverted from the main tasks that lie ahead for scholars in this field. It is too soon to tell what long-term effects, if any, the rift may have for the study of early medieval biblical commentary at large. Whatever the final verdict, serious students of the topic will certainly want to have, in addition to the present volume, Gorman's collected papers published just one year earlier by the Societo Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino as Biblical Commentaries from the Early Middle Ages (2002).