By F.J.E. Raby
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Extra info for A History of Christian-Latin Poetry (Oxford University Press Academic Monograph Reprints)
The attempt was a failure, as none of Hilary's compositions achieved the popularity of those of Ambrose or found its way into the Breviaries of later times. 2 Hilary was one of the most important fathers of the fourth century. Born of heathen parents, he was converted to Christianity and became bishop of his native city of Poitiers. Pagan philosophy had been his schoolmaster to bring him to Christ, and he was above all a teacher and a theologian. The work of his life was directed to the defence of the orthodox Trinitarian doctrine against the Arians, and his zeal brought him into conflict with the Arian Emperor Constantius, who banished him to Asia Minor.
3. Augustine's Psalm and the Origins of Latin Rhythmical and Rimed Poetry. Augustine, who stands between the ancient world and the Middle Ages as the first great constructive thinker of the Western Church, and the father of medieval Catholicism, possessed to the full the mastery of those qualities which ally the rhetorician so closely to the poet. 2 Of this Psalm against the Donatists, he says, 'Volens etiam causam Donatistarum ad ipsius humillimi vulgi et omnino imperitorum atque idiotarum notitiam pervenire et eorum quantum fieri posset per nos inhaerere memoriae, psalmum qui eis cantaretur, per latinas litteras feci, sed usque ad v litteram.
16; cf. 2 Tim. ii. 11-13. 3 E. Norden, Agnostos Theos, Leipzig 1913, pp. 250 sqq. 1 The Gloria in Excelsis was at an early date a morning hymn, and in the fifth century the Te Deum was sung at Lauds on Sundays. 2 The Odes of Solomon, which were discovered by Dr. 3 The oriental cults employed elaborate hymns or psalms which were imitated by the 'Christian' Gnostics in their effort to capture the inheritance of the Church. 5 Greek hymnody never wholly escaped the influence of this mystical and sensuous poetry which finds its fitting culmination in the cadences of the Akathistos Hymn;6 but in the West the beginnings of Latin hymnody are associated with the sober sense of a Hilary and an Ambrose.
A History of Christian-Latin Poetry (Oxford University Press Academic Monograph Reprints) by F.J.E. Raby
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