Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Christianity's Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Christianity's Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul

Article excerpt

Christianity's Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul. By Lisa Kaaren Bailey. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. 2010. Pp. x, 278. $34.00 paperback. ISBN 978-0-268-02224-2).

The Eusebius Gallicanus collection consists of seventy-six sermons, originally composed in late-antique Gaul (text in CCSL 101-101B). Some are for holy days; some commemorate saints such as Genesius of Aries, Honoratus of Aries, and Maximus of Riez; others deal with moral issues or questions of doctrine. Most of the sermons appear to have been addressed to lay congregations, but a significant minority was addressed to monks.

The collection gained its name from its attribution in some manuscripts to an (apparently fictional) Eusebius, and until now almost all scholarship on the collection has been concerned with trying to establish its authorship. Lisa Kaaren Bailey's monograph, Christianity's Quiet Success, is the first fulllength study of the collection and for most of the sermons the first scholarly work to examine them except in relation to the authorship question. Bailey's opening chapter discusses the function of preaching within the increasingly Christianized society of fifth-century Gaul, and the way in which sermon collections provided material for preachers less able to produce their own. The second chapter discusses the question of authorship, concluding that the sermons (originally the work of several authors from mid- to late-fifth-century Gaul) were assembled and edited by a compiler to provide just such a collection of model sermons to be used or adapted by preachers.

The next three chapters examine the ways in which the sermons address lay congregations, dealing with the attempts of preachers to promote unity within their congregations and civic communities, with their strategies for explaining the Bible and Christian doctrine, and with the ways in which they attempted to counteract sin. Bailey argues that in all these areas a major concern was to create and maintain a sense of community, with the preachers emphasizing consensus, and stressing the unity between themselves and their congregations, rather than claiming a position of leadership (pp. …

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