The first clue that AElfric
may be treating his subject delicately comes, as I suggested at the outset, from his positioning of the Abgar legend at the end of the passio of Abdon and Sennes.
The book is divided chronologically, the first chapter covering Aethelthryth's lifetime up to Bede's Ecclesiastical History, the second chapter considering the times of Aethelwold and Aelfric
, the third chapter examining the early Norman period, the fourth chapter spanning the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, and the final chapter considering lay texts and material goods of the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries.
By way of contrast, Wells draws on the Old English homiletic corpus of AElfric
of Eynsham, which has been organized by 'a single tidy mind' (p.
This 'Wulfstanian' version of the Passio is considerably shorter than either Blickling 15 or AElfric
I, 26, being a highly condensed narration of the confrontation between the apostles and Simon Magus, up to and including Simon's attempt to fly.
shows a similar awareness when he claims that he translates the Book of Judith into English "eow mannum to bysne paet ge eowerne eard mid waemnum bewerian wid onwinnende here" [as an example to you men, so that you will defend your country with weapons against the raiding army].
She attests to this process by considering the relationship between Aelfric
the hagiographer, his account of the ninth-century monk St Swithun, and the Benedictine reform movement of the tenth century.
Anglo-Saxon monk Aelfric
(950-1010) used the lives of saints to disseminate biblical narratives and religious treaties with a strong focus on Anglo-Saxon Christians.
What this means is prose over verse, extending even beyond prose authors such as AElfric
and Wulfstan to scientific and legal texts and other relatively neglected forms.
How far AElfric
is heir to the classical rhetorical tradition is debated.
Malcolm Godden's 'Apocalypse and Invasion in Late Anglo-Saxon England' is concerned with the best known preachers of the period, AElfric
and Wulfstan, tracing their changing attitudes to viking invasion, and providing in some sense a complementary piece to J.
The writers who either lived during or followed in the wake of the tenth-century reforms all insisted on the importance of the computus; for Wulfstan and Aelfric
, rimcraeft was a nonnegotiable necessity for a well-rounded priest, and in his Enchiridion, Byrhtferth waxes poetic about the profundity and glory of the computistical art.
Kathy Lavazzo discusses what she calls (more often than one might wish) AElfric
's 'fantasy' of a national identity in his discussion of Gregory's famous comparison of Angles to angels, a discussion whose method denies to AElfric
the possibility that he might actually have understood what he was saying.