Things have progressed to the point where I’ve been able to designate some brain cycles to dissertation work again. (I’ve had it–it *will* be finished by the end of the summer if it kills me. So far the odds are 50-50.)
Whereas before I started with more methodological stuff, I’ve dived into Æ’s sermons directly. What this has helped me see is that some of the stuff I pruned out before absolutely has to be put back into my re-formed chapters 2 and 3. Fr. Director thought that some of my work on patristic homilies was smoke-chasing; I’ve determined that it’s completely critical to the project.
Traditionally, early medieval homileticians have been accused of simple plagiarism. Indeed, Henri De Lubac’s only comment on Æ
is that he is a plagiarist of Gregory’s work. Rather, my work on the patristic material identifies not simply content but method and the purpose that derives from the method. What this let me do is to look at Æ’s sermons and to show that while, yes, he is recycling some content, he is using it in a very different way and with its own quite distinct method that throws light on what an early medieval preacher thought that he was creating.
My use of the Breviary has also been helpful. I now know I need to revisit some of my earlier liturgical work and look for some new evidence in different places.