Biblical Commentaries from the Canterbury School of Theodore by Bernhard Bischoff, Michael Lapidge

By Bernhard Bischoff, Michael Lapidge

This quantity comprises the 1st variation of a formerly unknown textual content that throws new gentle at the highbrow background of early medieval Europe. The Biblical commentaries characterize the educating of 2 talented Greek students who got here to England from the Byzantine East: Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury and his colleague Hadrian. They taught the Bible to a gaggle of Anglo-Saxon students, who recorded their educating. The ensuing commentaries represent the excessive aspect of Biblical scholarship among past due antiquity and the Renaissance. The variation is brought by means of enormous chapters at the highbrow historical past of the texts and their manuscript assets. The Latin texts themselves are observed through dealing with English translations and vast notes.

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Example text

96 By birth Malalas was a speaker of Syriac,97 but it is clear that he achieved enough proficiency in Greek to compose his chronicle in a colloquial dialect of that language, and to demonstrate some familiarity with (and also some ignorance of) Greek literature and mythology. The work contains much information concerning Antioch, and was fairly clearly compiled there. 98 At approximately the same time the ecclesiastical historian Evagrius Scholasticus (d. c. -M. Voste, 'De versione syriaca operum Theodori Mopsuesteni', Orientalia Christiana Periodica 8 ( 1 9 4 2 ) , 4 7 7 - 8 1 .

306; but after Nisibis passed under Persian control in 363, Ephrem moved to Edessa where he taught for some years. Later report has it that he travelled in a vast circular route to Alexandria in Egypt, then to Caesarea in Cappadocia (where he visited St Basil), then finally back to Edessa; but the report is open to suspicion. He remained a deacon all his life, and once turned down the offer of a bishopric. , pp. 6 1 - 7 ; and A. Palmer and L. Rodley, 'The Inauguration A n t h e m of Hagia Sophia in Edessa: a N e w Edition and Translation with Historical and Architectural N o t e s and a Comparison with a Contemporary Constantinopolitan Kontakion', Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 12 (1988), 1 1 7 - 6 9 .

We may return at this point to our Theodore, the future archbishop of Canterbury, and ask what relevance Edessa might have to our investigation of his early career. There are in fact several features of the Canterbury biblical commentaries which can best be explained on the assumption that their author had some personal knowledge of Syria in general and Edessa in particular. For example, in discussion of the biblical text of Num. 5 concerning 'cucumbers and melons', we are told that 'cucumbers are called pepones when they grow large, and often one pepon will weigh thirty pounds.

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