By Mechthild Gretsch
The literature of Anglo-Saxon England is exclusive between modern ecu literatures in that it includes a colossal volume of saints' lives within the vernacular. This examine analyzes an important writer Aelfric's lives of 5 vital saints within the gentle in their cults in Anglo-Saxon England, delivering the reader attention-grabbing glimpses of 'Aelfric at work'. He adapts the cults and rewrites the acquired Latin hagiography in order that every one in their lives conveys a special message to the modern political elite in addition to to a lay viewers at huge.
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Extra info for Aelfric and the Cult of Saints in Late Anglo-Saxon England
78 It will be necessary, therefore, in our search for the fontes for Ælfric’s great cycles of homilies and saints’ Lives to move beyond the written word and consider the shaping influences on these cycles of great works of art, produced in honour of God and his saints, such as the Benedictional of Æthelwold. Ælfric, who took great pride in being a Winchester alumnus, and who through all his life felt a deep veneration for his master Æthelwold, will no doubt have had an intimate acquaintance with Æthelwold’s most lavish book.
It is even less possible to ascertain whether Ælfric will have been aware by whom and when the cult of Gregory was first promoted. Ælfric and Theodore On the hypothesis that Theodore was somehow involved in the promotion of Gregory’s cult, the question of whether Ælfric will have been aware of this circumstance turns on his knowledge of the methods and achievements of the Canterbury school at large. Regrettably, on this important point our sources leave us very much in the dark. No doubt Ælfric will have been intimately acquainted with Bede’s account of Theodore and his episcopal activities in England (in book IV of the Historia ecclesiastica), and he will have been impressed by the glowing terms in which Bede described the school established by Theodore and Hadrian at Canterbury (in HE IV.
143–4; the quotation is in line 36. The translation of the poem by F. Wormald, The Benedictional of St Ethelwold (London, 1959), pp. 7–8, is repr. by Deshman, Benedictional, p. 148. The poem also provides important contemporary evidence for Æthelwold’s personal involvement in the production of the Benedictional. 19 Ælfric and the Cult of Saints Edgar was viewed with nostalgia as a bygone Golden Age,84 and as an age whose notion of kingship and successful administration of the body politic was perceived as still valid, so, probably, the Benedictional’s iconographic message will not have been lost on the great and the good of Ælfric’s generation.
Aelfric and the Cult of Saints in Late Anglo-Saxon England by Mechthild Gretsch