Two Recently-Discovered Passages of the Pseudo-Basil’s Admonition to a Spiritual Son (De admonitio ad filium spiritualem) in Smaragdus’ Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict (Expositio in regulam s. Benedicti) and the Letters (Epistolae) of Alcuin
LePree, James F.
The Heroic Age, Issue 11 (May 2008)
The pseudo-Basil’s fifth century De admonitio ad filium spiritualem played an important role in providing models of spirituality for ninth-century Carolingian authors. Yet the presence of passages from the Admonitio in the Epistolae of Alcuin of York and Abbot Smaragdus of St. Mihiel’s Expositio in regulam s. Benedicti have gone virtually undetected. This will be the primary focus of the paper.
The pseudo-Basil’s Admonition to a Spiritual Son is a short manual of spiritual edification, possibly written for a young cenobitic monk about to undertake the anchoretic life.1 Once widely thought to be a Latin translation by Rufinus, presbyter of Aquileia, of an original work of Bishop Basil of Caesarea, it is now generally believed, primarily because of Adalbert de Vogüé’s convincing study, to be an original Latin work, written about the year 500 and attributed to the hand of Abbot Porcarius of Lérins. Such an identification is based, as De Vogüé has observed, on close similarities, both in expression and structure, between Porcarius’ Monita or Counsels and the Admonitio (De Vogüé 2003, 419-420).