Quasi nani super humeros gigantum? Reusing Classical and Medieval Quotations in the Hagiographic Discourse in Tenth-Century Liège
Keywords:classical quotations, hagiographic discourse, Vita II S. Remacli, Liège, rhymed prose
The paper offers a detailed investigation of select passages from the Vita II Sancti Remacli, a hagiographic text produced in the diocese of Liège in the last decades of the tenth century. The purpose of this investigation is threefold. First, to illustrate the point that the tenth-century Latin hagiographic texts produced in the diocese of Liège did not display quotations from classical and patristic authors only as petrified forms of frozen ancient wisdom with a merely decorative function, but rather as raw gems which were polished and adjusted to fit seamlessly into a new framework. Thus, they could enhance both the form and contents of texts closely connected to their age’s political and intellectual realities. Second, to show that nineteenth- and twentieth-century editions of such texts can act as distorting mirrors to modern readers and researchers, since, due to an editorial strategy that privileged classical material over its medieval context, the editors sometimes completely neglected how quotations from ancient authors were re-worked by the tenth-century hagiographer following the stylistic requirements of rhymed prose. Third, to suggest as a necessary corrective to this distorting approach a new way of reading and consequently editing these types of texts, which places classical and patristic quotations in their proper context, by paying due attention to manuscript evidence, to the stylistic requirements of their new context, and to the complex functions they play in their new textual environment.
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