Biblical Epics in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England: Divina in Laude Voluntas

Biblical Epics in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England: Divina in Laude Voluntas

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By Patrick McBrine
Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
400 Pages
ISBN 9780802098535
Published Jun 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $85.00    $63.75
ebook (PDF format)
ISBN 9781487514280
Published Jun 2017
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $85.00
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781487514297
Published Jun 2017
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $85.00

Biblical poetry, written between the fourth and eleventh centuries, is an eclectic body of literature that disseminated popular knowledge of the Bible across Europe. Composed mainly in Latin and subsequently in Old English, biblical versification has much to tell us about the interpretations, genre preferences, reading habits, and pedagogical aims of medieval Christian readers.

Biblical Epics in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England provides an accessible introduction to biblical epic poetry. Patrick McBrine’s erudite analysis of the writings of Juvencus, Cyprianus, Arator, Bede, Alcuin, and more reveals the development of a hybridized genre of writing that informed and delighted its Christian audiences to such an extent it was copied and promoted for the better part of a millennium. The volume contains many first-time readings and discussions of poems and passages which have long lain dormant and offers new evidence for the reception of the Bible in late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Patrick McBrine is a professor in the English department at Bishop’s University.


Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Juvencus’ Euangeliorum libri quattuor (c. 330 CE)

Chapter 3 Cyprianus’ Heptateuch (c. 400–425 CE)

Chapter 4 Sedulius’ Carmen paschale (c. 425–450 CE)

Chapter 5 Avitus’ Historia spiritalis (c. 500 CE)

Chapter 6 Arator’s Historia apostolica (c. 544 CE)

Chapter 7 Reading Biblical Epics in Early England: Aldhelm, Bede, Alcuin

Chapter 8 Old English Biblical Verse: Genesis A, Genesis B, Exodus

Chapter 9 Conclusion



"This ground-breaking study draws long-overdue attention to a magnificent body of Latin epics from late antiquity, including Sedulius’s Carmen Paschale and Arator’s Historia Apostolica. McBrine traces the promulgation of these poems in Anglo-Saxon England, where scholars like Aldhelm and Bede treasured the depth of learning and pleasure in them, and their influence extends even to vernacular epics like the Old English Genesis and Exodus. Biblical Epics in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England does more than fill a gap; it fundamentally reconfigures our understanding of literary production in Anglo-Saxon England."

Daniel Donoghue, John P. Marquand Professor of English, Harvard University

"Biblical Epics in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England is a very accessible introduction to the Latin biblical poets and the major poetic features of their biblical epics. This book is a major contribution to Anglo-Saxon studies and provides new context for the development and reception of Anglo-Latin poetry."

Miranda Wilcox, Department of English, Brigham Young University

"This elegantly written and meticulously researched book may well prove a milestone in Anglo-Saxon studies, combining as it does a magisterial overview of some of the most important Latin texts taught in Anglo-Saxon schools with an intricate and intriguing assessment of their impact on Old English texts that evidently echoed in the vernacular their range and purpose. Brilliant close readings sit alongside sweeping vistas, in a book that should both surprise and stimulate all serious scholars and students of Anglo-Saxon England."

Andy Orchard, FBA FRSC , Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford