Magnus Felix Ennodius

A Gentleman of the Church
S. A. H. Kennell
The first comprehensive study of Magnus Felix Ennodius as both Latin literary figure and historical personality


Magnus Felix Ennodius (474-521), deacon of Milan and bishop of Pavia in the turbulent years after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, was a prolific writer of letters, poetry, speeches, and pamphlets on the controversies that beset the church in his day. In the Middle Ages, he was read as a model of style and source of canon law. More recently, however, Ennodius' writings have been denigrated as the vapid product of a frivolous mind more concerned with form than content. Magnus Felix Ennodius: A Gentleman of the Church sets the record straight by restoring Ennodius to his social and literary context. Ennodius stands revealed as a man on the cusp of the ancient and medieval worlds, his thought still shaped according to classical norms, but his writings informed with a sensibility that prefigures that of the Christian Middle Ages. As the only book-length study of Ennodius, here the author explores all aspects of Ennodius' life and literary production to augment the collective understanding of him on two major fronts, rhetoric and meaning, so that he can take his place as an important author and historical figure. Deeply insightful, and refreshingly original, the author breaks new ground in studying this period of history, so often overshadowed by the classical and middle ages that immediately precede and succeed it.

S. A. H. Kennell is Adjunct Professor of Classics, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Praise / Awards

  • "Stephanie Kennell has done late antiquity a great service. . . . In her book she applies tried and true methods of the trade in a remarkable blend of literary, historical, and rhetorical criticism. . . . This book is unique in its scope and approach to Ennodius, and it will be the major sounding-board for further work on its subject. . . . This book will go a long way to clearing away some of the prejudice and bringing Ennodius into the literary mainstream."
    —Michael Klaassen, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, October 2001
  • "Ennodius is one of the writers whose writing reflects their active participation in public life, their wide involvement across all sectors of society from slaves to the highest aristocracy, their daily life as well as their intellectual preoccupations. As such, Kennell has performed a valuable service in providing such a scholarly and sympathetic portrait, and a way into the intellectual and cultural life of the times. . . . [This] is a valuable addition to the scholarship of the period, as well as an enjoyable and lively book."
    —Judith George, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (October 2002)

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 272pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-10917-3

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  • $89.95 U.S.