CE27 - Culture, créations, patrimoine

Augustine in the Paris University libraries – AUBUPAR

Submission summary

AUBUPAR project explores an unknown aspect of the medieval dissemination of Augustin's work (354-430) : that which takes place within the medieval university. The dissemination of this Church Father whose reflection contributed to the specification of European thought and society and whose works nourished the religious, social and political frameworks of the medieval West, was only explored until 'in the 12th century. It has also been studied for humanist and reformist circles of the modern era. The 13th-15th centuries, on the other hand, constitute a large part of shadow in its history. The birth and organization of the new teaching system, the University, has an impact on the development, forms, circulation and content of knowledge. How to measure, on Augustine's immense work (120 treatises, 300 letters, 500 sermons), the consequences of his academic appropriation and the way in which the mechanisms of scholastic learning are exerted on this work?
Born at the beginning of the 13th century, Paris is one of the oldest universities. It is distinguished by the disciplines taught, in different faculties: liberal arts, then philosophy during the 13th century, canon law, medicine, and, above all, theology. The university of Paris has a monopoly on theological education, only questioned in the middle of the 14th century, its influence covers the whole of the medieval West. The Parisian framework is therefore relevant for anyone wishing to study the scholastic dissemination of Augustine.
The field of investigation concerns the libraries frequented by Parisian masters and students. Four libraries are favored because of a two-step scientific approach: first, based on ancient library sources (inventories, loan registers), it is then based on the careful analysis of the remaining volumes. The latter, for France, have never been the subject of a systematic review. However, the books bear witness to the use that their readers make of it: the texts are combined to constitute a collection, annotated, accompanied by working instruments (index, tables), commented, translated and even imitated. All these procedures shed very concrete light on the complex use and the vast movement of intellectual appropriation of Augustine’s work at the end of the Middle Ages.
From the corpus analysis, AUBUPAR first offers a global assessment of the scale of the circulation and the form of Augustine's works received at the University. He then explores the circulation of works within a library, their consultation methods. AUBUPAR is finally interested in the methods of appropriation of the content of the works revealed by the annotations, the working instruments developed by the masters in their manuscripts which sheds light on the reading strategies of which the volumes were the object, on the part of those who constitute the social, political, religious and intellectual elite of the West of the late Middle Ages.
This investigation goes beyond the strict field of intellectual history: taking an interest in intellectuals and their books, it explores all the strata of Augustine's scholastic dissemination, by methodically examining the texts, their circulation, their uses to highlight , through these concrete elements, the foundations of the complex notion of "Augustinianism", to define it as closely as possible and better define it and thus understand its weight in other historical fields, that of political history or institutions .

Project coordination

Claire ANGOTTI (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche en HIstoire Culturelle)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


URCA-CERHIC Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche en HIstoire Culturelle

Help of the ANR 209,736 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 42 Months

Useful links

Explorez notre base de projets financés



ANR makes available its datasets on funded projects, click here to find more.

Sign up for the latest news:
Subscribe to our newsletter