«THE RECEPTION HISTORY OF 2 THESSALONIANS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, HAIMO OF AUXERRE, AND JOHN CALVIN ANDREW RHETT TALBERT, B.A., ...»
Holtz traces the history of quaestiones to the early Church, with particular reference to Jerome, as a way of dealing with difficult texts in particular, Holtz, “Introduction,” xxxi; in a later article, Holtz qualifies that Murethach’s approach was not so much a pedagogy of quaestiones as it was, more broadly, a pedagogy of questioning (“la pédagogie du questionnement”), Louis Holtz, “Murethach et l’influence de la culture Irlandais à Auxerre,” in L’école Carolingienne d’Auxerre: De Murethach à Rémi, 830-908, ed. Dominique IonaPrat, Colette Jeudy, and Guy Lobrichon (Paris: Beauchesne, n.d.), 152; Heil likewise comments on the dialogical structure of Haimo’s Pauline commentaries, though he speaks primarily in terms of Haimo’s aim rather than the source of his methodology, Heil, “Haimo’s Commentary,” 107.
Contreni, “Abbot of Sasceium,” 311–17; In a more recent article, Contreni suggests that Haimo may have left for Cessy-les-Bois in the 850s. Contreni, “By Lions,” 52–56;
Haimo followed on the heels of several excellent theological scholars, such as Bede, Alcuin, Claudius of Turin, and Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel, and he engaged with each of these scholars in some capacity. Following the exegetical standards set by these predecessors, Haimo relied heavily on the Church Fathers in his work, but particularly in his commentaries. Where he differs from these scholars and contemporaries like Rabanus Maurus, Paschasius Radbertus, and Florus of Lyon, however, is in his ability to synthesise and summarise the Fathers seamlessly, rather than simply quote them in large blocks of text on a given biblical passage.
Additionally, Haimo contributes innovative insights in his exegesis, which likely accounts for the widespread influence of his works in the generations that followed. Such distinction from his predecessors garners only a nod from Beryl Smalley, who says, “Haimo stands on the line that divides the compiler of select extracts from the author of a commentary,” yet he is still bound by tradition and lacks the sophistication of John Scottus Eriugena.11 As research on Haimo progresses, though, and more works authored by Haimo are uncovered, scholars are put in a position of having to recognise the significance and unique contributions of this now obscure monk,12 an Riccardo Quadri, “Aimone di Auxerre alla luce Dei ‘collectanea’ di Heiric di Auxerre,” Italia Medioevale e Umanistica 6 (1963): 17–18.
Smalley, Study of the Bible, 39–40.
Heil goes so far as to describe Haimo as the “Höhepunkt der karolingischen Exegese.” Johannes Heil, Kompilation oder Konstruktion? Die Juden in den Pauluskommentaren des 9.
Jahrhunderts, Forschungen Zur Geschichte Der Juden 6 (Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1998), 275; Swanson challenges Smalley’s argument by including Haimo along with John Scottus as two of the “more original scholars of the ninth-century” who move beyond simply listing sources to renewing the “tradition of scholarly comment,” Jenny Swanson, “The Glossa Ordinaria,” in The Medieval Theologians, ed. G. R. Evans (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 161; Matter locates Smalley’s failure to give Haimo higher consideration in her primary interest in the “literal sense of the biblical text.” E. Ann Matter, “Haimo’s Commentary on the Song of Songs and the Traditions of the Carolingian Schools,” in Études d’exégèse Carolingienne autour d’Haymon d’Auxerre, ed. Sumi Shimahara, Collection Haut Moyen Âge 4 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2007), 49–90.
obscurity that might be traced to the Reformation scholars’ distaste for theology after the Church Fathers.
The influence of Haimo extends in the immediate generations following him to scholars such as Heiric of Auxerre (his student), Remigius of Auxerre (student of Heiric), Ælfric of Eynsham, Adso of Montier-en-Der, and, later, on Peter Lombard. In the case of the former three, Haimo’s importance is reflected primarily in his appearance beside the Church Fathers in their homilaries.13 Similarly, the incorporation of Haimo in the various Glossae in circulation demonstrates the influential nature of this scholar’s work.14 I. 2 Thessalonians Commentary: Provenance, Audience, and Structure As the most widely-disseminated of his works,15 Haimo’s commentary on Paul played an important role in medieval exegesis of the apostle’s letters.
The limited scope of our research focuses on Haimo’s interaction with 2 Thessalonians from this volume, but also gives occasional attention to his incorporation of 2 Thessalonians into his homilies and florilegia. All of these sources were likely composed during his time in Auxerre and disseminated by his students, who departed before his relocation.
Henri Barré, Les homéliaires Carolingiens de l’école d’Auxerre: Authenticité, inventaire, tableaux comparatifs, initia, Studi e Testi (Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1962); Hill notes that Ælfric cites Haimo only twice and uses this as evidence for the higher regard with which Ælfric holds Bede, whom he cites more frequently.
Joyce Hill, “Carolingian Perspectives on the Authority of Bede,” in Innovation and Tradition in the Writings of the Venerable Bede, ed. Scott DeGregorio (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2006), 244; In his introduction and commentary on Ælfric’s homilies, however, Godden contends that Ælfric utilises Haimo much more frequently than the two explicit references. Ælfric of Eynsham, Aelfric’s Catholic Homilies Introduction, Commentary, and Glossary, ed. Malcolm Godden (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), liv–lv.
The significance of Haimo in this regard is exemplified in the Rusch Glossa, in which Haimo, Augustine, and Jerome are the only cited authorities on 2 Thessalonians. Adolph Rusch, Biblia cum glossa ordinaria: Facsimile Reprints of the Editio Princeps Adolph Rusch of Strausburg 1480/81, vol. 4 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1992), 400–4.
Iogna-Prat has tabulated a total of 166 extant manuscripts of Haimo’s Pauline commentary dating up to the end of the fifteenth century. Dominique Iogna-Prat, “L’œuvre d’Haymon d’Auxerre: État de la question,” in L’école carolingienne d’Auxerre: De Murethach à Rémi, 830-908, ed. Dominique Iogna-Prat, Colette Jeudy, and Guy Lobrichon (Paris: Beauchesne, 1991), 161.
The great range of influence that Haimo’s work on 2 Thessalonians held in the Middle Ages as the transitional link between patristic scholarship and the High Middle Ages is the reason for its selection as an epochal moment in the history of the epistle.16 He initiated a trajectory for hearing 2 Thessalonians in a particular manner and therefore accounts for the influence of his minimally-apocalyptic reading over against, say, the work of Thietland of Einsiedeln.
Admittedly, the dimensions and quality of Haimo’s scholarship in the Pauline corpus is better represented by his Romans commentary. Yet, the 2 Thessalonians commentary provides an abridged view of his skill set and interpretive approach, while also introducing a critical turn in the history of 2 Thessalonians scholarship. As with all of his Pauline commentaries, Haimo introduces the letter with an argumentum17 and proceeds to comment on select, consecutive lemmas. Theologically, this commentary represents a strand of what Hughes terms “apocalyptic realism,” which understands Antichrist as “imminent and external” and 2 Thessalonians generally as a prophetic timeline of future events.18 Haimo tends toward a more literal reading of Paul, yet fully adopts a Tyconian-Augustinian approach toward the Apocalypse. This spiritual, or “actualising,” reading of Revelation allows the imagery of the text to be understood as correlative to the reader’s present and perennial theological issues without restricting it to a single historical person For a substantiation of this position, see Hughes, Constructing Antichrist, 126 and 146– 51.
The only exception in the Migne text is the Colossians commentary, but the absence of the argumentum might be attributed to a poor manuscript source. The Migne Colossians text, unlike 2 Thessalonians, has a number of omissions when compared with extant manuscripts of Haimo’s Pauline corpus. Ibid., 150.
or event.19 Such interpretation has its roots in the seven interpretive keys of Tyconius discussed in the previous chapter. Haimo’s Revelation commentary also differs from his 2 Thessalonians commentary by beginning with a praefatio, which introduces the setting in which John authored the book and details the nature of prophecy without describing the content or argument of Revelation.
Differing from the commentators of his time who either repeat in full the works of the Fathers or offer a selection of excerpts on the biblical book under investigation, Haimo’s commentaries recapture something of the style of the Church Fathers. As I discuss later, Haimo’s audience is likely an eclectic group of monks, scholars, and laity, with the commentary designed to faithfully bring together patristic material, offer new insights, and provide content for sermons.
Using the Vulgate text of 2 Thessalonians,20 Haimo opens his commentary with an argumentum, which summarises his understanding of the epistle as the Apostle’s response to the Thessalonians’ fear that they would be condemned because of a misunderstanding of the content of the First Epistle.
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul offers an eschatological timeline to reassure the Thessalonian church. Haimo follows the argumentum with commentary on all three chapters of the epistle, with attention dedicated only to selected lemmas, rather than every verse.
Kovacs and Rowland, Revelation, 9.
Comparisons with extant manuscripts have shown the Migne text of Haimo’s 2 Thessalonians commentary (PL 117:777-84) to be reliable. It serves as my base text. Steven R. Cartwright and Kevin L. Hughes, eds., Second Thessalonians: Two Early Medieval Apocalyptic Commentaries, TEAMS (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2001), 10.
Haimo comments entirely in Latin. Though he occasionally makes reference to Greek and Hebrew terms in other commentaries, this is likely because of a patristic source than actual knowledge of the languages on the part of Haimo. We have no indication that he actually knew these biblical languages. See Haimo of Auxerre, In epistolam ad Galatas (PL 117:669).
On the first five verses of the book, he discusses the growth of faith and the providential nature of tribulation and judgment. Of the remaining verses of 2 Thess 1, Haimo (like Chrysostom) emphasises the causal force of si tamen, the physical nature of Christ’s judgment with fire, the mutual “giving” of eternal punishment by the reprobate, and the reception of the gospel by the Thessalonians.
The bulk of his commentary concentrates on the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians. Haimo believes it to be a description of Christ’s secondcoming and the apocalyptic events that must precede it. The “apostasy” (2:3) he recognises as the desertion of all kingdoms from Roman rule, which has already taken place. Rome was “what restrains” (quid detineat; 2:6) the arrival of Antichrist, but is no longer in place. Therefore, his arrival is only now restricted by the providence of God. The “man of sin” (i.e. Antichrist; 2:3), who is the imitative son of Satan, indwelt by the fullness of iniquity, and inverse image of Christ, is yet to come and may either install himself in the Jerusalem Temple, or in the Church. The “mystery of iniquity already at work” (2:7) is the persecution of the Church from Nero to Diocletian, and then again with Julian. These are the members of Antichrist as the faithful are members of Christ. It follows in this paradigm that “he who now holds” (ut qui tenet nunc; 2:7) is the Roman emperor, as the specific manifestation of the kingdom’s power. When the kingdom falls, Antichrist will arrive by the work of Satan, establishing his throne on the Mount of Olives and performing false miracles akin to those of Simon Magus, deceiving the reprobate under the permission of God (2:9-11). Either Christ or Michael will destroy Antichrist (2:8). Therefore, the readers are to be consoled through the past gift of Christ’s life in divine love and the expectation of the future kingdom (2:16-17).
Haimo offers the least material on the final chapter of the epistle, amounting to less that half a column in the Migne text. Of note is his exegesis of the variant readings patientia Christi (3:5), as patience in persecution, and exspectatione Christi, as awaiting the arrival of Christ, without suggesting which variant is correct. Interestingly, Haimo virtually omits any discussion of Church discipline for the “busybodies,” which is the section of chapter three that has received the most attention historically. He adds only that people must labour for their food, or else they should be brought to “our” (nos) attention for the purpose of rebuking. The openness of nos may be Haimo speaking in the first person in behalf of Paul, or his claiming of this ongoing responsibility for Church leadership as the legacy of the apostle. He concludes by appropriating the closing grace (3:18) of the letter as his own for his reader by offering only the Vulgate text without comment.
II. Influential Impulses for Interpreting 2 Thessalonians As mentioned above, the most salient element that shaped medieval exegesis was patristic material on a given passage. Viewed as an intertwined authority with the Scriptures, Haimo continued the legacy of incorporating patristic readings into his exegesis, though with a decidedly unique approach.
Due to the central role of the Fathers in the hermeneutics of this period, discussion as it relates to Haimo and 2 Thessalonians takes the primary position in the exploration of receptive impulses for our Carolingian theologian.
Next, our discussion moves to the influence of Murethach on Haimo’s methodology, with particular attention dedicated to grammatical and lexical inquiries, quaestiones, and his lemma-by-lemma approach to the text.
A third consideration examines the influence of the contemporary context on Haimo’s incorporation of heresies and ancient heretics in his exegesis.
The fourth section describes the nature of Haimo’s publications for the purpose of sermon preparation. This topic will incorporate material from a homilary by the monk as well as examine the simplistic Latin that he employs.