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The Space that RemainsReading of Latin Poetry in Late Antiquity$
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Aaron Pelttari

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452765

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452765.001.0001

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Text, Interpretation, and Authority

Text, Interpretation, and Authority

(p.12) Chapter 1 Text, Interpretation, and Authority
The Space that Remains

Aaron Pelttari

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the broader context of reading by looking at the practice of interpretation. It examines how questions of reception and authority were handled by both readers of the Christian scriptures and by readers of Vergil. Jerome, Augustine, and Macrobius each celebrated their role as readers of these canonical texts, and they shared an approach to their texts that went beyond their religious and political differences. They celebrated the depths of their texts and the wisdom of their authors in a way that legitimized their own work of interpretation. The chapter provides a frame through which to understand the poets who played with the canonical texts, with their own status as authors, and with their contemporary readers. Looking at how these writers viewed reading and textual authority shows that they did not necessarily expect a contemporary author to be original. Instead, creative adherence to a continually renewed tradition was the hallmark of interpretation in late antiquity.

Keywords:   reading, interpretation, Christian scripture, Vergil, Jerome, Augustine, Macrobius, readers

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