Yitzhak Hen
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Alcuin, Seneca and the Brahmins of India
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This chapter explores the content of the volume sent by Alcuin to Charlemagne, in an attempt to get a better understanding of Alcuin's aims and objectives in making this gift. Alcuin chose two exceptional apocryphal texts, the so-called Collatio Alexandri and Dindimi and the correspondence between St Paul and Seneca, both of which were composed at the dawn of the patristic era. The Collatio Alexandri et Dindimi stands at the crossroads of two intellectual traditions that swept the Christian world in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. On the one hand, the Brahmins of India and their ascetic way of life fascinated numerous patristic authors from a fairly early stage. On the other hand, the history of Alexander the Great and the various legends associated with him became a prominent feature of the historiographical and intellectual culture of the Latin West.

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