expressed.5 The typological approach of Theodore of Mopsuestia was taken up in the Syriac tradition by the school of Edessa, and out of this the school of Nisibis emerged in the late fifth century. Under the leadership of the Syriac theologian Narsai, the school of Nisibis flourished until the early seventh century, becoming known even today as 'one of the great institutions of learning of the Middle Ages'.6 In the sixth century it produced Junillus Africanus, who studied the Nisibean style of interpretation at Constantinople under Paul the Persian, a lecturer at Nisibis.7 Junillus wrote the influential pamphlet Instituta regularia divinae legis, a primer for students of exegesis based on Antiochene approaches. The text was introduced to the Latin West during the 'Three Chapters' controversy in the 540s. Cassiodorus (c. 485-580) was responsible for its great popularity in Western monasteries in the early medieval period.8

The Roman senator Cassiodorus, after a successful career in the Ostrogothic court at Ravenna, was inspired by the school of Nisibis to set up his own centre of Christian scholarship and teaching at the monastery at Vivarium, on the coast of the Ionian Sea. In Constantinople Cassiodorus had made contact with Junillus, Justinian's quaestor, and there learned ofthe experiment at Nisibis. His major works after his conversion (Institutiones, Auctores historiae ecclesiasticae -an abbreviation of previous Christian histories - and Expositio Psalmorum) were a deliberate contribution to building Roman Christian culture at a time when the secular schools were being replaced by monastic centres of learning. Indeed, his early attempt to establish, with the help of Pope Agapetus, a Christian school in Rome in the 530s came to fruition only with the founding of the Vivarium monastery some twenty years later.9

The importance of schools in the transmission of the new Christian culture cannot be overestimated, although the practical details remain elusive.10 Theological education seems to have been in the hand of clerics or monks,

5 Edward G. Mathews, 'Excursus on the schools of Antioch and Nisibis', 97.

7 Junillus, Instituta regularia divinae legis, praef. 1 in Michael Maas, ed., Exegesis and empire.

8 Mathews, 'Excursus on the schools of Antioch and Nisibis', 102 and 111.

9 James J. O'Donnell, Cassiodorus, 179 writes: 'Indeed, the strongest direct evidence for the survival of rhetorical schools in the ancient tradition is Cassiodorus' own opening remark in the Institutiones . . .: "When I saw secular studies being pursued with great fervor, so much so that a great mass ofmen believed such studies would bring them the wisdom ofthis world, I confess I was seriously perturbed that there should be no public professors of Holy Scripture, when worldly texts were the beneficiaries of a distinguished educational tradition" (Inst., praef. 1). The clear import of this passage seems to be that there really were secular schools flourishing into Cassiodorus' own middle age.' On the attempt to found a Christian school at Rome, see further O'Donnell, Cassiodorus, 108 and 182.

10 P. Lemerle, Le premier humanisme byzantin, and its revised English edition, Byzantine humanism, 43-79, are a valuable source on education in the early Byzantine period.

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