How to Find the Right Argument

Arnoud S. Q. Visser

in Reading Augustine in the Reformation

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199765935
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895168 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

How to Find the Right Argument

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The overwhelming size of Augustine's oeuvre invited mechanisms by which readers could find and organize relevant passages. This chapter examines two prominent search instruments: bibliographies and indexes. Both products of particular scholarly reading styles themselves, these search tools regulated access to Augustine for generations of readers. Moreover, as influential starting-points for anthologizers and preachers, their impact went beyond individual editions. This chapter first explores the presentation of Augustine by three key bibliographers in the long sixteenth century, Joannes Trithemius, Conrad Gesner and Antonio Possevino. Their different descriptions of Augustine's works reflect substantial changes in the intellectual world. The second part of the chapter is devoted to the history of indexes, showing how they filtered and framed the interpretation of Augustine's works to suit particular confessional agendas.

Keywords: Augustine of Hippo; search instruments; indexes; bibliography; Reformation; Counter-Reformation; censorship; Joannes Trithemius; Conrad Gesner; Antonio Possevino

Chapter.  6018 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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