Liturgical Drama and the “School of Abelard”


David Wulstan


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The realization that the Beauvais Play of Daniel is intimately associated with the “School of Abelard”1 has clarified many matters of doubt. We now know that there must have been a prototype Play in the possession of the School, probably dating for Abelard’s days at Laon, and that this explains why the various attempts to “derive” Hilary’s Daniel play from the Beauvais version and vice versa were doomed to failure:2 there was a tertium, not so much quid as a quo upon which both relied for much of their materials. We can also guess that Berengar, pupil of, apologist for (and probably cousin to) Abelard, was the author of the skits on the Beauvais Play of Daniel found in the Carmina Burana (and probably of a few other—less than dignified—pieces therein).3 Notes

1 Hereafter, the quotation marks are removed for convenience, simply School. For more details about the Play of Daniel, see my new edition published by the Plainsong and Mediæval Music Society (Westhumble, Surrey, 2008).

2 Peter Dronke, Nine Medieval Latin Plays. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 119 argues for the priority of Hilary, as do other authors, partly on the grounds that Hilary’s drama is less accomplished than its Beauvais counterpart; Wilhelm Meyer (Fragmenta Burana, Göttingen, 1901, p.57) and Bulst (Walther Bulst and M L Bulst-Thiele, Hilarii Aureliensis, Versus et Ludi ... Leiden, 1989, pp.9–15), argued the opposite.

3 The likelihood of Berengar being Abelard’s cousin is discussed by Brenda Cook in The Poetic and Musical Legacy of Heloise and Abelard, ed. Marc Stewart and David Wulstan. PMMS, Westhumble, Surrey; and IMM, Ottawa, 2005 (henceforward PMLHA), 143–47. Wilhelm Meyer (Gesammelte Abhandlungen, (Berlin, 1905), I, 327, showed that two of the Carmina Burana drinking songs (CB 196 and 200) are parodies of items seen in The Play of Daniel, both of which (“Jubilemus regi nostro” and “Congaudentes”) quote directly from the Beauvais play and have no parallels in the Hilary drama. See PMLHA, 127–8, and David Wulstan, The Emperor’s Old Clothes (Ottawa, 2001), 206–213 (henceforth, TEOC).

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