An Interesting Carolingian Reading List

Many of the readers here will know the name of Notker Balbus (the Stammer). He is the monk of St Gall who is famous for his chant sequences. Upon reading through de Lubac, I’ve learned that he’s also the author of an interesting little treatise called On the Interpreters of the Holy Scriptures. The scan from the PL may be found here. Fascinating stuff—it goes a quick glimpse into how these folks went about the study of Scripture, who they turned to first and how they categorized who they read. Here’s a quick paraphrase of his section on the Gospels:

…For Matthew, Jerome[‘s Commentary] should be sufficient for you. As Mark is the abbreviator of Matthew, so Bede is the abbreviator of Jerome [referring to Bede’s commentary on Mark]. So the unique Luke by the broadminded Bede so much so that everything one discovers in the Gospel is touched upon in his one volume. The cloud-soaring Augustine (among* others) pursues the heaven-seeking John [Tractates on John]. After these is the book of Augustine On the Sermon of the Lord on the Mount according to Matthew. Also his Questions on the whole Gospel. Furthermore also the Collection of Eugippus. Furthermore the homilies of John Chrysostom, Origen, Augustine, Gregory, Maximus [of Turin], Leo, Bede, and the responses of Jerome to the questions of Algasia and Denobia.

* I wonder if this should be “above” or “without equal”…

(The high-flying rhetoric around John is a trope of Augustine’s explanation of John’s symbol of the eagle at the start of Augustine’s De Consensu which, interestingly, doesn’t get a mention…)

Clearly, I’m interested in the list of recommended homilies. Does the line-up sound familiar to anyone? It’s practically the table of contents of Paul the Deacon. Also interesting is the fact that Paul doesn’t get a mention—nor does Smaragdus’s collection on the Gospels and Epistles.  Bede is the only author who could enough roughly be considered a contemporary (and even that’s a stretch).

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