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‘Un trésor dans le ciel'. De la pastorale de l'aumône aux trésors spirituels (IVe-IXe siècle)

Abstract : This article analyses the notion of ‘treasure in heaven' (Matthew, 6, 19-21 and 19, 21) from the homilies and Gospel commentaries of the Church Fathers in the 4th and 5th centuries to the Carolingian exegetes. According to the patristic tradition, within the framework of the pastoral ministry of almsgiving then being established, the ‘treasure in heaven' is a topographical indication. It is the place where alms and good deeds which, under ecclesiastical control, allow men and possessions to cross over to the Other World are accumulated and ‘improved'. In the 9th century, the Carolingian monastic exegetes will perform a fundamental transformation by proposing to identify the ‘treasure in heaven' with a ‘spiritual treasure' (Hrabanus Maurus, Paschasius Radbertus). This is a context in which it was crucial to establish the boundaries between the real and the symbolical. In their effort to characterise the immaterial – a discussion which also concerns the person of Christ – the authors develop ‘typologies' of treasures and of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13, 45-46). On the one hand, by renewing the old notion of ‘heavenly rewards', Sedulius Scottus associates the ‘treasure in heaven' with the ‘treasure of rewards' (thesaurus proemiorum). On the other hand, Christian de Stavelot identifies the kingdom of heaven with the present Church (praesens Ecclesia) in which the treasure that is Christ is to be found. It becomes possible thus to envisage a place to accumulate spiritual possessions different from the Other World. This place is the Church, where earthly possessions can be spiritualised.
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Eliana Magnani. ‘Un trésor dans le ciel'. De la pastorale de l'aumône aux trésors spirituels (IVe-IXe siècle). Philippe Cordez, Pierre Alain Mariaux, Yann Potin. Le Trésor au Moyen Âge. Discours, pratiques et objets, Sismel-Edizioni del Galluzzo, pp.51-68, 2010, Micrologus' Library 32. ⟨halshs-00489594⟩

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