The article is concerned with the self-image, strategies and goals of the Benedictine reformers in 10th-century England. The range of assignments of meaning and thus the range of associations for the argumentative use of the ,parable of the bees‘ in the ,Regularis Concordia‘, a key text of the Benedictine reform in England written around 970, is analyzed. According to the central thesis of the article, this area of association is larger than the area of meaning that has been outlined within other recent case studies focused on the use of the ,parable of the bees‘ in classical antiquity, since the 12th century and in the Renaissance. The ,parable of the bees‘ in the prologue of the ,Regularis Concordia‘ was supposed to rather be evoking a patristic horizon of interpretation, not only legitimizing the adaptation of foreign knowledge, but also to giving the authors the necessary authority to introduce these innovations for the English Church. In the ,Regularis Concordia‘, the ,parable of the bees‘ used in the biblical exegesis was re-contextualized in the genre of monastic habits. These references make it clear that the imitation is not only applied on the level of the reported subject matter, i.e. the diegetic level, but also articulates a claim of the authors equating the Christian interpretation elite. With this staging of authorship, which culminates in a gesture of authority, the ,Regularis Concordia‘ was supposed to be established and the authors were to be placed in succession of the church fathers – through imitation.
Imitation und Mimesis sind epochenübergreifende Kulturphänomene. Doch wie erkennt, analysiert oder bewertet man das Imitieren im Mittelalter? Der Band präsentiert unterschiedliche fachdisziplinäre Methoden und Ansätze und erläutert diese an einschlägigen Beispielen. Imitieren kann für das Mittelalter als bislang unterschätzte, höchst komplexe Kulturtechnik angesehen werden, deren Potential nicht nur darin lag, Traditionen zu konservieren, sondern durchaus Innovationen hervorzubringen.