How Readers Read Their Augustines

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 Readers Read Their Augustines

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This chapter examines book ownership and reading practices of individual readers of Augustine in sixteenth-century Europe. Case studies of private libraries in England and monastic collections in Italy reveal the reality of Augustine's dissemination to be far messier than a chronological account of the printing history would suggest. Manuscript reading marks in individual copies confirm the lively variety of ways in which Augustine was read, ranging from pragmatic underlining to emotional responses. These individual reading styles enabled readers to use the same texts for different ends, as is shown in a case study of three formative English theologians, Thomas Cranmer, Peter Martyr Vermigli and William Laud. Their techniques of classifying or historicizing quotations illuminate how readers, regardless of the aims of authors and editors, often pursued their own approach to Augustine in search of confirmation of their religious perspective.

Keywords: Augustine of Hippo; book ownership; reading practices; manuscript reading marks; Erasmus of Rotterdam; Thomas Cranmer; Peter Martyr Vermigli; Gabriel Harvey; William Laud

Chapter.  8537 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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