Christianity's Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul by Lisa Bailey
Lisa Kaaren Bailey's Christianity's Quiet Success: The Eusebius Gallicanus Sermon Collection and the Power of the Church in Late Antique Gaul is the first major study of the Eusebius Gallicanus collection of anonymous, multi-authored sermons from fifth- and sixth-century Gaul. Bailey sheds new light on these sermons, which were strikingly popular and influential from late antiquity to the High Middle Ages, as the large number of surviving manuscripts attests. They were used for centuries by clergy as a preaching guide and by monks and pious lay people as devotional reading.Bailey's analysis demonstrates the extent to which these stylistically simple and straightforward sermons emphasize consensus, harmony, and mutuality as the central values of a congregation. Preachers encouraged tolerance among their congregants and promoted a model of leadership that placed themselves at the center of the community rather than above it. These sermons make clear the delicate balancing act required of late antique and early medieval pastors as they attempted to explain the Christian faith and also maintain the clerical control considered necessary for a universal church. The Eusebius Gallicanus collection gives us fresh insight into the process by which the Catholic Church influenced the lives of Western Europeans.
Christianity's Quiet Success makes an original contribution to the field that significantly improves our understanding of the complexity of Christian belief and practice in late antique Gaul. The book brings a little-known collection of texts to the forefront and offers a series of important insights into their composition and function, which dispel previous scholarly confusion about them. --George Demacopoulos, Fordham University
This is a model study. With a deft survey of the evidence and an eye for telling detail, Lisa Bailey has substantially added to our understanding of preaching, modes of persuasion, and everyday religious practice in late antique Gaul. Sins and sinners, problems of faith, the troubling facts of injustice, the shared work of salvation--all are illuminated in this penetrating analysis. --William E. Klingshirn, The Catholic University of America
A thorough study of the Eusebius Gallicanus collection was long due, in particular a study that is not focused only on the question of authorship. Lisa Bailey convincingly shows that the collection was made for the average Gallic preacher and that it can therefore provide a picture of late antique Christianity that significantly differs from the one we get through the sermons of figures like Augustine or Caesarius of Arles. --Eric Rebillard, Cornell University