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Pride Goes Before A Fall: Aldhelm's Practical Application Of Gregorian And Cassianic Conceptions Of Superbia And The Eight Principal Vices

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Chapter Summary

The Anglo-Latin author, Aldhelm, occupies an important place in the history of the reception and transmission of the Cassianic and Gregorian schemes of the principal vices. The eight principal vices were first recorded by Evagrius in his writings on the practice of solitary asceticism that had developed during the fourth century. The Aldhelm's writings provide a clear witness to prodigious learning, earning him a reputation as the most widely learned man produced in Anglo-Saxon England. He diagnoses the fundamental problem as arising from Pride, and this diagnosis provides a specific context for his comments on the principal vices. The prose and metrical versions of De uirginitate thus illustrate the way in which one early Anglo-Saxon abbot applied Cassian's precepts concerning the eight principal vices, especially Cassian's teachings on pride.

Keywords: Aldhelm's writings; Cassianic schemes; De uirginitate; eight principal vices; Gregorian schemes; pride



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