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Visions Of Verbum Incarnatum: Augustinian Homiletics And English Christmas Sermons, 900–1700

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Chapter Summary

Augustine's exegetical theory contributed to the study of scripture and to the invention of symbols in art and literature. To Augustine, the Bible was both the source of greatest wisdom and the model of the greatest eloquence. In his sermons, a poet could find the mysteries of the Incarnation expressed with the eloquence of the grand style. In De doctrina, a poet could find a clearly articulated aesthetic mandate. In the later Middle Ages the Augustinian tradition was revived by mystical theologians like Bernard of Clairvaux. The sermons of Andrewes and Donne make a veritable catalogue of Augustinian motifs: liturgical time; Christ's dual nature, eternal generation, double Advent, and double birth; his humbled Majesty, the signs at the cradle of his suffering and death, and even his Eucharistic identity. Toleration was established and the Church knew its first peace in 150 years at the cost of "abridgement" of Augustinian faith.

Keywords: Andrewes; Augustinian Homiletics; Bernard of Clairvaux; Bible; Christ; De doctrina; Donne; Eucharistic; Verbum Incarnatum



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