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La moral del latín. Observaciones sobre la "latinitas" cristiana de Agustín a la Baja Edad Media


Cardelle de Hartmann, Carmen (2017). La moral del latín. Observaciones sobre la "latinitas" cristiana de Agustín a la Baja Edad Media. In: Mesa Sanz, Juan Francisco. Latinidad medieval hispánica. Firenze: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, 3-24.

Abstract

The moral dimensions of Latin. Notes on Christian Latinitas from Augustine to the Late Middle Ages
This article explores the influence of Christian morality, i.e. the pursuit of virtue and the avoidance of sin, in stylistic choices of Medieval Latin authors. It is well known that some Christian authors of Late Antiquity and many monastic authors of the Middle Ages feared that the contents of pagan literature might badly affect their morals. Some of them were also aware that its superior stylistic qualities could inspire contempt for the very peculiar, decidedly non-literary language of the Latin Bible. Therefore, they warn the readers of classical texts to beware of literary lust and to learn to take pleasure in the humbleness of biblical Latin.
In the Middle Ages, good command of Latin is necessary for churchmen. Canon law insists on this point, and texts in different genres show the awareness that some clerics did not fulfil these expectations. If such shortcomings stem from sloth, they are considered morally harmful. However, authors addressing a Latinate audience remind their readers that virtuous life and deep faith are more important than linguistic talents, and that they must not despise good Christians because of their bad Latin. At the same time, the expertise in Latin, while necessary, could lead to pride. Some exempla by Cistercian authors present devils as accomplished Latinists whose excellence in grammar reveals their pride, envy and wrath. This is explained by tensions in the Cistercian convents between monks who were educated and others whose Latin was as minimal as that among lay brothers.

Abstract

The moral dimensions of Latin. Notes on Christian Latinitas from Augustine to the Late Middle Ages
This article explores the influence of Christian morality, i.e. the pursuit of virtue and the avoidance of sin, in stylistic choices of Medieval Latin authors. It is well known that some Christian authors of Late Antiquity and many monastic authors of the Middle Ages feared that the contents of pagan literature might badly affect their morals. Some of them were also aware that its superior stylistic qualities could inspire contempt for the very peculiar, decidedly non-literary language of the Latin Bible. Therefore, they warn the readers of classical texts to beware of literary lust and to learn to take pleasure in the humbleness of biblical Latin.
In the Middle Ages, good command of Latin is necessary for churchmen. Canon law insists on this point, and texts in different genres show the awareness that some clerics did not fulfil these expectations. If such shortcomings stem from sloth, they are considered morally harmful. However, authors addressing a Latinate audience remind their readers that virtuous life and deep faith are more important than linguistic talents, and that they must not despise good Christians because of their bad Latin. At the same time, the expertise in Latin, while necessary, could lead to pride. Some exempla by Cistercian authors present devils as accomplished Latinists whose excellence in grammar reveals their pride, envy and wrath. This is explained by tensions in the Cistercian convents between monks who were educated and others whose Latin was as minimal as that among lay brothers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Greek and Latin Philology
Dewey Decimal Classification:470 Latin & Italic languages
480 Classical & modern Greek languages
Language:Spanish
Date:2017
Deposited On:28 Aug 2017 07:01
Last Modified:28 Aug 2017 07:01
Publisher:SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo
Series Name:mediEVI
ISBN:978-88-8450-708-2
Related URLs:http://www.sismel.it/tidetails.asp (Publisher)

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