The Transmission of De civitate Dei from Late Antiquity until the 15th Century
My PhD research corresponds to one of five different work packages (henceforth WP) within a larger research project supervised by Jeroen De Keyser, Anthony Dupont, Gert Partoens and Andrea Aldo Robiglio, concerning a history of the reception of Augustine’s De civitate Dei (henceforth DCD). This project aims at (1) developing a comprehensive understanding of Augustine’s political thinking through an integrated study of DCD in relation with Augustine’s homiletic and epistolographic oeuvre (WP 1); (2) offering an exhaustive and systematic study of the work’s manuscript transmission (WP 2); (3) producing the first in-depth study of the reception of DCD during the years 1374-1450 (WPs 3-5). For reasons of feasibility and available expertise, this study will focus on the literature of Early Italian Renaissance. I am responsible for the second WP, that studies the transmission of DCD from Late Antiquity until the 15th Century.
In spite of the large amount of studies dedicated to DCD, research on this important work still shows some major lacunae. My research objective addresses one of them. The work’s extensive manuscript transmission, which testifies to its impact on the intellectual history of the West (more than 400 manuscripts ranging from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance and later), has never been studied in a systematic and exhaustive way, a consequence of this neglect being that our knowledge of the work’s material circulation is both limited and imprecise, and that its critical editions are based on methodologically unsound foundations.
The importance of DCD is reflected in the large number of extant manuscript witnesses that have transmitted the work entirely or in part. To these direct witnesses can be added the many quotations from DCD in anthologies and other works composed from Late Antiquity onwards. WP 2 will map the work’s circulation throughout Europe from Late Antiquity up to Early Modern times by means of a stemmatical study of (1) all manuscripts that have transmitted (substantial parts of) this extensive oeuvre and (2) all quotations until the year 1000 C.E. as well as later excerpt(s) (collections) that either have a systematic character (anthologies) or a link with the authors studied in WPs 3-5. This study will enable us to situate the material sources used by the authors studied in WPs 3-5 within the work’s global transmission. For reasons of feasibility and relevance (the authors studied in WPs 3-5 used Latin sources), vernacular translations of DCD will not be taken into account in this WP.