Alcuin wrote his De fide sanctae Trinitatiset de Incarnatione Christi in 802, as Charlemagne was concluding his decades-long war in Saxony. Considered by many to be Alcuin’s masterpiece, the De fide was one of the most widely read and circulated works in the entire Alcuinian corpus; today it survives in 100 medieval manuscripts. Alcuin wrote specifically to provide guidelines for the catechetical instruction of pagan Saxons. His short treatise thus provides rare, direct evidence for the content of early medieval missionary preaching. Together with several companion texts, including a credal statement, a litany, and a series of questions and answers addressed to Alcuin's pupil Fredegisus, the De fide sheds light on a wide range of Carolingian-era theological preoccupations, with discussions on topics as diverse as the procession of the Holy Spirit, the Incarnation, the two natures of Christ, and the resurrection of the body.
Eric Knibbs is Assistant Professor of History at Williams College.
E. Ann Matter is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her previous editions include Paschasius Radbertus's De partu virginis (Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaeualis 56C). She has published on medieval biblical exegesis and spirituality from the fifth to the sixteenth centuries, including 'The Voice of My Beloved: The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity (Philadelphia, 1990).
"This excellent critical edition, thanks to Professors Knibbs and Matter, provides a reliable text which will allow scholars to study and evaluate the contribution of Alcuin to the theology of his day as well as his influence upon theologians into the thirteenth century and beyond." (Jerry Etzkorn, in: The Medieval Review, 13.07.12)
"This expert edition reminds us that Alcuin was the friend of Charlemagne because he could guide his master into the kingdom of heaven, and that his understanding of the more incredible Christian doctrines was more influential than any number of his letters or even his verses. It is good that Alcuin’s twenty-first-century friends know where to start." (David Ganz, in: Early Medieval Europe, 2014, 22 (2), p. 233-234)