Why a new edition of Isidore’s ‹De Ecclesiasticis Officiis›: The ‹De Acolythis› chapter and the three versions of the treatise


  • Thomas Deswarte


The first critical edition of ‹De ecclesiasticis officiis› (DEO) published in 1989 by Christopher M. Lawson rests on certain questionable choices. Indeed, his method, atonce ‹mathematical›, quantitative, and a historical led to a stemma sometimes arbitrary and without temporal anchorage. In particular, according to him, the chapter ‹On Acolytes› is a Carolingian interpolation, because it is missing in the great majority of manuscripts except for six codices from the other side of the Pyrenees,and one Hispanic manuscript, namely El Escorial, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio,d-I-1, written in 992/994 in Navarre. Yet this manuscript seems to be the closest to the archetype and its ‹De acolythis› chapter authentic, so that we need now a revised textual history and a new edition of DEO. Indeed, the fate of this chapter makes it possible to identify three versions of DEO, each of which reflects its religious context of creation: the Hispanic version, given by Escorial d-I-1, the Frankish version without the aforesaid chapter, and a Frankish version interpolated with the ‹De acolythis›.
Keywords: Isidore of Seville, religious history, philology, Visigothic Spain, early MiddleAges, ecclesiastical grades