Eric Knibbs

Associate Scholar

20092010 Forum on Connections

Eric Knibbs

SAS Postdoctoral Fellow

The Manuscript Tradition of Paul the Deacon's "Homiliary"

My work concerns the Carolingian Renaissance, the period of cultural resurgence associated with Charlemagne’s reign around the turn of the ninth century, in particular the widespread ecclesiastical and intellectual reforms accomplished in part by the royal promotion of official texts. The manuscript tradition of one such standard, officially commissioned work is the homily collection compiled by Paul the Deacon at the end of eighth century. Paul was a monk at Montecassino and a teacher at Charlemagne’s palace school, best known for his Historia Langobardorum. Together with Alcuin and Theodulf of Orléans, he was one of the major figures of the Carolingian Renaissance. Commissioned by Charlemagne as part of his effort to standardize liturgical practice, Paul’s homiliary supplied readings for the night office and came to be used throughout Europe and the British Isles, and was variously reworked and expanded throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Studying the manuscript tradition of this homiliary should yield larger conclusions about liturgical variation in Charlemagne’s empire as well as the development of the office in the Carolingian period.