Well, I started actual composition on chapter 3 this morning after months of research. I was at the point where I felt things had clarified enough to start getting thoughts down on the screen. Of course, for me that’s when the second wave of epiphanies occur so I’ll write a lot and then read back through it to figure out what I’ve figured out–then rearrange it all again.
The focus this morning was getting a handle on the major kinds of Carolingian homiliaries and how they impacted the OE homiletical process. Naturally I’m using Gatch, Clayton, Smetna, and especially Hill (for those for whom the names mean anything…).
Here’s my first big insight. (I define a big insight as one of those things that you never really seen or heard before (or you’ve seen it or heard it and it hasn’t really clicked) but once you formulate it seems horribly obvious and you kick yourself repeteadly for not seeing it earlier.) There’s a demonstrable shift away from gospel commentaries in the early medieval period; Bede’s are pretty much the last big ones. That is, they still continue to be written but they don’t seem to circulate much or have much impact–like good ol’ Godwin of Sarum and those of Theodore’s school. Instead, the clear shift is to homiliaries. In fact, commentaries are even sliced up to fit in homiliaries at the sappropriate places as happens with Bede in Paul the Deacon.
I think I now have a good theory why . . .
I haven’t seen this theory before and I’m not saying it’s not out there in the mass of secondary material somewhere but I haven’t seen it in the major stuff I’ve read recently…
The shift from the commentary to the homiliary represents a shift in the paradigmatic locus of a gospel pericope. For a commentary, the paradigmatic locus and appropriate context for a pericope is located within the biblical book from which it was taken. For a homiliary, the paradigmatic locus and appropriate context for a pericope is the liturgical round. Thus, I’m going to suggest that your standard early medieval clergy et al. thought of a scripture chunk’s natural home as in the liturgy rather than in the Bible proper.