Prolegomena to a critical edition of the letters of Pope Leo the Great: a study of the manuscripts
Hoskin, Matthew James Joseph
This dissertation explores the transmission of the letters of Pope Leo the Great (pope, 440-461). In Chapter 1, I set out the contours of Leo’s papacy from external sources and from the letters, showing the significance of these letters for understanding his papacy and its context: our vision of the mid-fifth century would be much scantier without them. After discussing the letters in context and as sources, I conclude this chapter by examining the varied editions of his letters from Giovanni Bussi in 1470, through the only full edition, that of the Ballerini brothers in the 1750s, to the partial editions of Eduard Schwartz and Carlos Silva-Tarouca in the 1930s, a tribute to Leo’s enduring importance. Chapter 2 deals in detail with the pre-Carolingian canonical collections of Leo’s letters, beginning with the earliest in the late 400s and early 500s. Through these collections, I trace the ongoing significance of Leo for canon law as well as noting the links between early Italian collections, e.g. Teatina, Sanblasiana, and Quesnelliana, and postulate that one Gallic collection, Corbeiensis, was the source of another, Pithouensis. I also question the concept of a ‘renaissance gélasienne’ while still admitting the importance of this period for canonical activity. Chapter 3 deals with the letter collections gathered in relation to the Council of Chalcedon (451) – the old Latin version, Rusticus’ version, and the later Latin text, assessing their relationships and importance for our knowledge of Leo as well. Chapter 4 is an exploration of Leo’s letters through the Carolingian and post-Carolingian Middle Ages. The Carolingian explosion of manuscripts is the most important assessed, and I deal with Leo’s various collections in the period, especially Pseudo-Isidore, and demonstrate their relationships and those between them and the earlier collections. To give the reader a sample of the editorial implications of my scholarship, I include as an appendix an edition of Ep. 167 with an apparatus detailing the most significant manuscripts and a translation of my edition as a second appendix. This popular letter exists in different recensions, so it serves an important key to Leo’s text criticism. The third appendix is a conspectus of the letters.