Sources of Spirituality in the Writings of Archbishop Hincmar of Reims

Sources of Spirituality in the Writings of Archbishop Hincmar of Reims

LePree, James Francis (Department of History, The City College of New York )

The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe, Vol.13 (2010)


This article will focus on the literature and letters of Archbishop Hincmar of Reims. Although past scholarship has underscored the juridical nature of Hincmar’s sources, the influence of some, such as the 829 Council of Paris, has gone almost virtually undetected. Concurrently, past studies have portrayed Hincmar as a mere verbatim copyist, his writings a mere reflection of his sources, as his treatment of the Council of Paris seems to confirm. However, as Celia Chazelle has demonstrated, many of Hincmar’s writings still exist in older editions such as the Patrologia Latina and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, while the originality of Hincmar’s exegetical methodology, in his treatment of scriptural, monastic, and patristic sources has not been adequately explored nor assessed in recent scholarship (Chazelle 2003, 7, 179). Nevertheless, Hincmar’s original adaption of sources such as the Regula s. Benedicti (Rule of Saint Benedict) and Ambrosiaster’s late fourth century Commentarius in epistulas Paulinas (Commentary on the Letters of Saint Paul) illustrates the need for more recent critical editions of Hincmar’s writings and for further studies which will enable us to assess more precisely the full extent of his literary and epistolary exegesis.


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