The Letter of the Law: Carolingian Exegetes and the Old Testament

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The favored authorities of Carolingian intellectuals-Augustine, Gregory, Jerome, Ambrose-left no works dedicated specifically to detailed exegesis of Leviticus. Hrabanus Maurus relied on Hesychius and Origen, the latter the only author mentioned by Cassiodorus as an interpreter of Leviticus in the description of his cabinets of biblical commentaries. Not only was Leviticus addressed only intermittently by most patristic writers, but few exegetes chose to explore it systematically after Claudius and Hrabanus. While it might appear that Hrabanus and Claudius were simply victims of social obligations and a highly systematized, programmatic approach to biblical studies in which commentators marched through the books of the Old Testament in sequence, their commentaries on Leviticus could have been composed in the context of a volatile cultural milieu. These commentaries may well mark an important stage in the development of Christians' perception of Jews as Other, in terms not only of doctrine, but also of culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWith Reverence for the Word
Subtitle of host publicationMedieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
ISBN (Electronic)9780199849482
StatePublished - Oct 3 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved.


  • Biblical commentaries
  • Christians
  • Claudius
  • Culture
  • Exegesis
  • Hrabanus maurus
  • Jews
  • Leviticus
  • Old testament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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