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Christian of Stablo


Benedictine monk and exegete, one of the foremost among the lesser figures of the carolingian renaissance; b. Burgundy, or Aquitania, first half of 9th century; d. Stablo (Stavelot), lower Lorraine (now in Belgium) after 880. He was one of the few scholars of his day who had a practiced knowledge of Greek. His only substantial work known today, however, is a commentary on St. Matthew (c. 865). Although addressed to beginners, it is interesting because of its careful explanation of the grammatical Biblical sense and its attempts to illustrate the text by topical allusions. A study of the commentary illumines the 9th century's methods of compiling scriptural expositions and of monastic teaching (see exegesis, biblical, 6). Christian set forth the historical or literal meaning, rather than the allegorical, because he held that history was the foundation of the understanding of Scripture. The explanations of difficult passages are indicative of Christian's excellence as a teacher, independent spirit, and deep knowledge of the Bible. Very little has been written about Christian, and a critical edition of his commentary is needed to take the place of Migne's (Patrologia Latina, 106:12591520) inaccurate edition. J. Lebon has located some of Christian's MSS, which should help to make a critical edition easier to prepare.

Bibliography: j. lebon, Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique 9 (1908) 491496. m. l. w. laistner, "A Ninth-Century Commentator on the Gospel of Matthew," Harvard Theological Review 20 (1927) 129149. c. spicq, Esquisse d'une histoire de l'exégese latine au moyen âge (Paris 1944) 4951. m. manititus, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters (Munich 191131) 1:431433. e. dummler, Sitzungsberichte der Deutschen (Preussichen to 1948 ) Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 2 (1890) 935952. f. dressler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 2:1124.

[j. j. mahoney]

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