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Late Visigothic Bishops, Their Schools and the Transmission of Culture

  • Consuelo Maria Aherne (a1)

A galaxy of enlightened bishops, inheritors and transmitters of the highly developed Hispano-Roman intellectual tradition, graced the Church in seventh-century Spain. Braulio, Taio, Ildefonsus, Eugene I, Eugene II and Julian, all depend more or less directly upon the great St. Isidore of Seville (600–636). He in turn was educated by his brother, Leander, in the last quarter of the sixth century. Lynch emphasizes the uniqueness of the system by which these men were formed in what he calls a ‘bishop's school,’ an expression which underlines the very intimate relationship which incorporated the students into the bishop's familia in contrast to the more formal cathedral school, especially as it developed in Carolingian times.

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1 Lynch, C. H., Saint Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa (631–651): His Life and Writings (Washington 1938) 20.

2 Ibid.

3 Fontaine, J., Isidore de Seville et la culture classique dans l'Espagne wisigothique (Paris 1959) 8f.

4 Altamira, R., ‘Spain under the Visigoths,’ CMH 2 (1913) 192.

5 Fontaine, , op. cit. 9.

6 Lot, F., ‘A quelle époque a-t-on cessé de parler Latin?Archivum latinitatis medii aevi, Bulletin du Cange 6 (1931) 111.

7 Sister Patrick Jerome Mullins, O.P., The Spiritual Life According to Saint Isidore of Seville (Washington 1942) 10, n. 57, citing the De officiis ecclesiasticis 2.9.4.

8 Lot, loc. cit.

9 Fontaine, op. cit. 6.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid., 6f.

12 Mullins, , op. cit. 5; Fontaine, op. cit. 7 who quotes M. Díaz y Diaz's interpretation of a passage in the De monachis perfectis to support the possibility of a monastic education for Isidore. The emphasis on sacris litteris in the passage inclines me to think that this was only the traditional monastic education in scripturis not in litteraturis.

13 Lynch, , op. cit. 20f.

14 Mansi VIII.785 translated by Mullins, op. cit. 4.

15 Lynch, , loc. cit.

16 Mansi X.626 translated by Lynch, op. cit. 23; cf. Mullins, op. cit. 167.

17 Koeppler, H., ‘De viris illustribus and Isidore of Seville,’ The Journal of Theological Studies 38 (1936) 32.

18 Brehaut, E., An Encyclopedist of the Dark Ages: Isidore of Seville (New York 1912) 87.

19 Mullins, , op. cit. 12.

20 McKenna, S., C.SS.R., Paganism and Pagan Survivals in Spain up to the Fall of the Visigothic Kingdom (Washington 1938) 136; cf. 136–42 for ad iscussion of Isidore's policy concerning the pagan classics and their use.

21 Roger, M., L'Enseignement des lettres classiques d'Ausone à Alcuin (Paris 1905) 200f., but he explains that fear of keeping alive ideas and customs which Christianity wished to combat was greater in a Latin culture than in Brittany and Ireland (p. 201).

22 PL 81.16f.

23 Op. cit. p. 11.

24 Varro, Cicero, Virgil, Quintilian, Pliny the Younger, Aulus Gellius, Festus, Servus Grammaticus, Macrobius, Vegetius (A. Lawson, C. ‘The Sources of the De officiis ecclesiasticis of St. Isidore of Seville,’ Unprinted thesis in the Bodleian (Ms. Eng. Th. C 56) summarized by the author in Revue bénédictine 50 (1938) 2636.

25 Aquila, Theodotion, Symmachus and the Babylonian Talmud (ibid. 26).

26 Cyprian, Lactantius, Jerome, Augustine, Cassian, Innocent I (all quoted directly), Origen, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose, Gregory Nazianzen (in Rufinus’ translation), Leo I, Gelasius, Vigilius, Prudentius, Paulinus of Nola, Salvian, Gennadius, Pseudo-Jerome (ibid., pp. 26 and 28); Isidore refers indirectly to the works of Clement of Alexandria, Serapion, Epiphanius, the Apostolic Constitutions, Cyril of Alexandria, Victorinus, Juvencus, Sedulius, Ambrosiaster, Evagrius, Faustus of Riez, Mamertus, Fulgentius, Benedict and Paschasius the Deacon (ibid.).

27 Ibid. 32.

28 Isidore reproduces several creeds and the canons of the councils of Nicaea (325), Antioch (341), III Toledo (589) (ibid. 29).

29 Mullins, , op. cit. 11 recognizes that the use of seventy-five Greek words in the Etymologiae is inconclusive evidence.

30 Lawson, , op. cit. 35.

31 Ziegler, A. K., Church and State in Visigothic Spain (Washington 1930) 5588.

32 Martin of Braga compiled a series of eighty-four fragments including Greek, Spanish and some forged canons, for which last Martin himself was probably responsible (P. Fournier and Le, G. Bras, Histoire des collections canoniques en Occident 1 [Paris 1931] 65).

33 P. Séjourné, Le dernier père de l'Église: Saint Isidore de Séville, son rôle dans l'histoire du droit canonique (Paris 1929) 489.

34 Fournier, , op. cit. 68.

35 Lawson, , op. cit. 34. Séjourné (loc. cit.) thinks that Isidore's concern for clerical education evident in Canon 24 of IV Toledo influenced seminary education up to the Council of Trent!

36 Fournier, op. cit. 71.

37 Séjourné, loc. cit.

38 Fournier, loc. cit.

39 Ibid. 69. Fournier summarizes its contents which are derived, he says, from excellent sources, and are classified chronologically and geographically. A glance at the contents of Hispana offers convincing proof of its excellence: it comprises a preface, an index, the acts of the Greek councils, some miscellaneous documents (e.g., Epistola formata of Atticus), an account of the African councils from a source used by Hispana alone, canons of ten councils of Gaul up to I Orléans (511), fourteen Spanish councils (to IV Toledo, 633), Capitula Martini, Sententiae attributed to Agde, and 104 decretals. Addenda to the definitive form found in most manuscripts include the Definitio fidei of the sixth general council, five pontifical letters, more Gallic councils to V Orléans (549) and additional Spanish councils to XVII Toledo in 694 (ibid. 68).

40 Brehaut, , op. cit. 87; for forerunners of Isidore, the Roman encyclopedists, cf. ibid. 38–41; E. Pérez Pujol, Historia de las instituciones sociales de la España goda 3 (Valencia 1896) 501.

41 Synonyma. 2.65 (PL 86. 860).

42 Cap. cit. 32. There is a new edition of De viris illustribus: Carmen Codóner Merino, El De viris illustribus de Isidoro de Sevilla, Theses et Studia Philologica Salamanticensia 12 (Salamanca 1964).

43 Ibid. 12.

44 PL 82.65; ibid. 96.102.

45 Koeppler, , op. cit. 19; cf. Fontaine, ‘La bibliothèque profane de Seville,’ op. cit. 735–62.

46 J. de Ghellinck, S.J. ‘Diffusion, utilisation et transmission des écrits patristiques’, Gregorianum 14 (1933) 377.

47 McNally, R. E., S.J., ‘Isidoriana,’ Theological Studies 20 (1959) 432.

48 Ibid. 434.

49 Anspach, A. E. ‘Das Fortleben Isidors im VII bis IX Jahrhundert,’ Miscellanea Isidoriana (Rome 1936) 323–56. Cf. also Fontaine, J. 's valuable introduction to Isidore of Seville, Traité de la Nature (Bordeaux 1960) where he discusses the dissemination of Isidore's work throughout early medieval Europe. Bischoff, B., ‘Die europäische Verbreitung der Werke Isidors von Sevilla,’ Isidoriana (Leon 1961) 317–45 describes the diffusion of Isidore's writings in Spain, Italy, France, England and Ireland in the pre-Carolingian period and underlines his importance as a link between the patristic and early medieval biblical and theological studies, as well as between classical and medieval cultures.

50 Fontaine, , op. cit. 5.

51 McKenna, , op. cit. 142.

52 Lynch, , op. cit. 22.

53 De viris illustribus, c. 6 (PL 96.201).

54 Lynch, , op. cit. 24.

55 Ibid. 52.

56 Ibid. 163.

57 Ibid. 149.

58 Ibid. 163.

59 Ibid. 151.

60 Ibid. 151–3.

61 Ibid. 209.

62 Ibid. 210.

63 Ibid. 26. Braulio would be surprised at this appellation as he condemned the classical learning with which his works are nevertheless imbued (ibid. 160).

64 Ibid. 158.

65 Ibid. 165.

66 Cf. Fontaine, ‘La Renaissance isidorienne: sa nature et ses limites,’ op. cit. 863–88.

67 PL 80.657 (Letter 11) and 687f. (Letter 42) cited by Lynch, op. cit. 159.

68 J. de Ghellinck, S.J., Le Mouvement théologique du XIIe siècle (Brussels 1948) 33.

69 Ibid., cf. also Lynch, op. cit. 158, 164.

70 PL 80. 690 (Letter 42).

71 Sister Athanasius Braegelmann, O.S.B., The Life and Writings of Saint Ildefonsus of Toledo (Washington 1942) 51.

72 Fontaine, ‘Les Coordonnées de l'astronomie isidorienne,’ op. cit. 434–589.

73 Braegelmann, , op. cit. 51.

74 Laistner, M. L. W., Thought and Letters in Western Europe, A.D. 500 to 900 (London 1931) 130; J. Pérez de Urbel, ‘Eugen II,’ Lexikon für Theologie u. Kirche III2, 1174.

75 Braegelmann, , op. cit. 52.

76 Laistner, , loc. cit.

77 Braegelmann, , op. cit. 8.

78 Ibid. 51 citing G. von Dzialowski, Isidor u. Ildefons als Litterarhistoriker (Münster 1898) 145.

79 PL 96.43.

80 Elogium edited by F. de Laurenzana, Sanctorum patrum Toletanorumopera 1 (Madrid 1782) 94f.

81 Braegelmann, , op. cit. 32.

82 Ibid. 36.

83 Laistner, , op. cit. 135.

84 Braegelmann, , op. cit. 3641.

85 Ibid. 58.

86 Ibid. 133–5.

87 Ibid. 125.

88 Ibid 170.

89 Murphy, F. X. C.SS.R., ‘Julian of Toledo and the Fall of the Visigothic Kingdom in Spain,’ Speculum 27 (1952) 127.

90 Laistner, , op. cit. 131.

91 Engels, O., ‘Julian von Toledo,’ Lexikon für Theologie u. Kirche V2, 1200.

92 Cf. Murphy, , op. cit. 1019 for a consideration of the vexed question Wamba's deposition, Julian's attitude toward it and its legality.

93 Braegelmann, , op. cit. 422.

94 Murphy, , op. cit. 7.

95 Ibid.; cf. also Veija, A. Valencia, La doctrina escatalogica de San Julian de Toledo (Lugo 1940).

96 Ghellinck, De, Le Mouvement théologique 117.

97 Murphy, , loc. cit.

98 Ibid.

99 Laistner, , op. cit. 132.

100 Murphy, , loc. cit.; Manitius, M. Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (Munich 1911) 131f. and Beeson, C. H., ‘The Ars grammatica of Julian of Toledo,’ Miscellanea Francesco Ehrle 1 (Rome 1924) 50–70.

101 Laistner, , loc. cit.

102 Murphy, , op. cit. 10; idem, ‘Julian of Toledo and the Condemnation of Monothelitism in Spain,’ Mélanges J. de Ghellinck (Gembloux 1951) 361–77.

103 McKenna, , op. cit. 142; Lynch, op. cit. 20, thinks the Spanish level of learning and culture was superior even to that of the Irish in the same period.

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