Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2020
Chapter Three studies ‘the word’ by merging two fields of association: first, the agglomeration of human labours, social practices, cultural values, and codified grammatical systems that made possible and supported the acquisition of Latin; second, the inhuman order of the ‘verbum Dei’. Each of these fields of association has, as its ultimate aim, the transformation of individual lives. It is under the rubric of this shared objective that I bring them together here. The first half of the chapter explores aspects of the medieval Latin grammatical tradition and its early modern afterlives. My goal is to make some seventh-century wranglings on the subject of the Latin case system serve as a point of entry into later fashions of prose style, and into the pedagogical disciplines of systematic imitation that were developed to teach Ciceronian Latin to schoolboys. The second half of the chapter explores a range of texts associated with St Paul, St Augustine, and Martin Luther in order to characterize the linguistic and spiritual stakes of medieval and early modern Britain’s absorption into Rome.