Schemata sunt ornamenta eloquii: From Dancing to Scripture




Schemata, Alcuin of York, Grammatica, Bible


The article analyses the concept of schema in its broadest sense encompassing gesture and the form of letters of the alphabet. After reconstructing the influence that the Greek term had on the formulation of the Christian concept of dance, it considers the ways in which it was used in the Carolingian graphic reform. Alcuin of York uses schemata as a yardstick for perfect graphic signifiers and defines them in his Grammatica as ornaments of eloquence and the habitus for ‘dressing’ sentences. These schemata should not be interpreted in a merely abstract sense but as concrete gestures, which also produce writing. Indeed, Alcuin conceived these teachings to produce Scripture par excellence; the biblical text provides the grounds to insert the concept of schema within the earliest Christology, inasmuch as schema/habitus indicates the human nature in which God is incarnate. 





TECA Dossier