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Poetry did not hesitate with Marius Victorinus born ca. 300, Hilary of Poitiers ca. 315 368, Ambrose ca. 340 397, Prudentius born 348, Paulinus of Nola ca. 359 431 to take as its model the language, imagery and meters of the classical tradition, enlisted to express a new conception of life. Durham Map Classical culture left visible traces in Ambrose, in certain veins of Neoplatonist philosophy and above all in his effort to imbue with a Christian spirit his presentation of a morality owing a large debt to the dictates of ancient wisdom, integrated with and elevated to the teaching of the Bible. Jerome ca. 347 420, while dedicating his whole work as a writer to the service of the Christian cause, shows the imprint of the culture he had deeply assimilated and then consciously renounced, in his references to the classics and especially in his mastery of literary form. The speculative elaboration of revealed data reached its apex in Augustine 354 430, finding nourishment in the study of philosophical problems, which had earlier helped him in the difficult journey toward Christian faith. The history of the pagan world, primarily the Roman, offered him the subjects for meditation, in the light of faith, in the City of God. Not forgetting the art of the word, in which he had been trained so well and which he had taught, he recognized the importance of this discipline for one who proclaims the Christian message, though he bent his style to the demands of his thought. Still later, the fascination of classical culture made itself felt in writers more concerned with formal elaboration, especially the poets. Three authors deserve mention for their conscious activity in this field. Boethius ca. 480 524 was the most distinguished continuator of the classical tradition cultivated in a Christian spirit, in translations, commentaries and original works of various kinds. Classical erudition and study of the Bible and Christian tradition engaged the activity of Cassiodorus ca. 485 ca. 580. Isidore of Seville ca. 560 636 is considered as marking the end of the patristic age and opening a new page of cultural history.

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Durham Map


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