THE OLD ENGLISH VERSION OF THE ENLARGED RULE OF CHRODEGANG

JOSEPH JOHN COCCHIARELLI, Fordham University

Abstract

The Old English Version of the Enlarged Rule of Chrodegang is a rule for canons who served in the cathedrals of England prior to the Gregorian Reform in the 11th century. The work is translated here for the first time as a tool for scholars of Old English.^ Toward the close of the 8th century, Chrodegang, Bishop of Metz, composed a rule to help his cathedral clergy observe a regular life. His rule, the Decretulum, consisted of 34 chapters, with a structure based upon that of Benedict's Regula. Chrodegang also drew upon Augustine's "Rule," and other writings for spiritual inspiration. Augustine's "Rule," like Benedict's Regula, was originally intended for monks, but it had long since come to be associated with the governance of cathedral clergy by the time Chrodegang wrote his rule. Scholars, however, have virtually ignored Chrodegang's debt to Augustine of Hippo by emphasizing the structural resemblance of his text to that of Benedict's Regula. In 816, when Chrodegang's Decrectulum, was expanded into 86 chapters at the Council of Aachen, the council fathers drew even more extensively upon Augustine's writings to compile the Regula Acquisgranensis, the Latin version of the Enlarged Rule.^ Two Anglo-Saxon manuscripts document the use of the Aachen rule in England; one is in Latin, the other in Old English. Both date from the early part of the 11th century.^ I have provided a translation of the Enlarged Rule of Chrodegang in Old English. The thesis which isolates and identifies the Augustinian influence throughout the historical development of the text is contained in the Introduction to the translation. The commentary contains comparisons of specific passages in the text to Augustinian and Benedictine sources.^ As a result, the Augustinian influence present in the text now appears as an indisputable source of the spiritual thrust of the work. In terms of the historical development of the concept of the canonical clergy, therefore, the canonical institute that developed from the model established by Chrodegang must be regarded as a significant early stage which eventually was perfected in the order of Augustinian Canons that originated with the Gregorian Reforms. Additionally, the distinction between cathedral canons and secular priests was also shown to be identifiable long before such distinctions were mandated by the Gregorian Reform. ^

Subject Area

Literature, Medieval|Literature, English

Recommended Citation

JOSEPH JOHN COCCHIARELLI, "THE OLD ENGLISH VERSION OF THE ENLARGED RULE OF CHRODEGANG" (January 1, 1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8615710.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615710

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