As a Lérinan monk it was Vincentius’ intention to be a reliable author, who laid down in writing the issues he had received from the trustworthy Fathers. He presented his most well-known work Commonitorium as a ‘memory-support’ in order to prevent from forgetfulness. In this book he described the way to protect the church against heresies: with the help of the Bible and citations of the Fathers. Very interesting is his use and exegesis of 1 Tim. 6,20: depositum custodi, devitans profanas vocum novitates; the depositum fidei which is explained here as an old and reliable pledge preserved from the Fathers, against the novelties of the heretics. His other work Excerpta is a collation of citations of Augustine. And maybe there are other unknown works left. Most likely he is also the writer, or at least an influential source of the so-called Quicunque (in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands incorrectly called ‘Geloofsbelijdenis van Athanasius’, i.e. Confession of Athanasius).
The purpose of my research is to contribute to a clearer insight into the rhetorical forms and skills being used in the fifth-century patristic debate. Vincentius’ life and work seemed to us as one great moving circle: his rhetorical definition about the church is also his promotion-weapon for his own work. Unification as standard demands a pastoral, unifying document for all believers, everywhere and always. Therefore the beginning of the Commonitorium has a very strong rhetorical relevance: interroga patres – ask your fathers! But there’s more: Vincent is best known for his vision on catholicity, but is often misunderstood in my opinion. The distinguishing feature of my thesis is that it offers a new perception of Vincent’s oeuvre. The reason is that sources from the New Testament cited by him are never before taken into serious account. In my dissertation I will demonstrate that Vincent's writings can be read very well within the Greco-Roman context. I do that by placing his work against the Roman, rhetorical and philological background of his time. That will show a similar language use and idiom fitting within the Early Church. In this way he plays an interesting role as a "bridge builder" between the New Testament and the Early Church.
Contact Corrie Hoogerland
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