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This article examines the influence of Augustine of Hippo on Alcuin of York and illustrates the philological-historical method applied in my analysis of Alcuin’s surviving oeuvre. By introducing Alcuin's Epistolae and Augustine's De Civitate Dei, I demonstrate the ways in which we can trace connections to Augustine at various levels of Alcuin's texts. This approach will expose the different purposes of Alcuin's direct and indirect use of Augustine. While Augustine will emerge as heavily represented (explicitly and implicitly) in the content and language of the sources, a distinction will be revealed in the aims of direct quotation and indirect reference. On the surface, Alcuin avails himself of Augustine as an authority and binding guideline in matters relating to Christian doctrine. However, a deeper reading that views Alcuin's texts as a political discourse, defined by content and language, shows a more complex scheme on the author's part.

Keywords: Alcuin of York; Augustine of Hippo; Carolingian Empire; City of God; Latin West; early medieval; legitimation of secular power; philological-historical approach; political advice; political thought; state and church

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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