28 September 2017

21 September 2017

  • What are the features of Brown’s style?
  • What is his relationship to his evidence?
  • How does he use the pictures? How important (or not) are they to the argument he’s making?
  • Who do you think his audience is? What do they know already, and what is he trying to get across to them that’s new?
  •  What are his goals for that audience?
  •  What genre is this?
  •  How is this like (or unlike) something you’d hand in as a paper at USD?

Example of a personal profile in Brown:

Sidonius became bishop of Clermont in 471. For, to lead one’s local community in the conditions of the late fifth century, one had to become its bishop: only the solidarity of the Catholic community linked the local nobleman with his dependents; and the prestige of new-built basilicas and shrines of martyrs maintained the morale of the little towns of southern Gaul.

Paradoxically, the spread of the monastic movement eased the delicate transition from senator to bishop. The monastic communities at Lerins, Marseilles and elsewhere were filled by noble refugees from the war-torn Rhineland. These communities provided the clergy of southern Gaul with men of high class and culture. A touching belief that the holy man interceded for the average sinner had enabled Sidonius to live at ease with his failings while he was a Catholic layman, and the idea of the monastic vocation, far from involving him in a total denial of the world, had merely instilled in Sidonius and his circle the sober sense that for all things there was a time and a season, and that with old age a man had to shoulder spiritual responsibilities. Having sowed their wild oats, having founded their families, Sidonius and his friends passed into the austere gerontocracy of the Catholic Church. They took with them frank memories of good dinners, of martyrs’ vigils that had ended, in the cool of the morning, with a fete champetre, of spacious private libraries stocked with the classics, where the Fathers of the Church were tucked away discreetly at the women’s end.

Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity, 130.