Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England

Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England

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By Brandon W. Hawk
Toronto Anglo-Saxon Series
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2018
World Rights
272 Pages
ISBN 9781487503055
Available Jun 2018

Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England is the first in-depth study of Christian apocrypha focusing specifically on the use of extra-biblical narratives in Old English sermons. The work contributes to our understanding of both the prevalence and importance of apocrypha in vernacular preaching, by assessing various preaching texts from Continental and Anglo-Saxon Latin homiliaries, as well as vernacular collections like the Vercelli Book, the Blickling Book, Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies and other manuscripts from the tenth through twelfth centuries.

Vernacular sermons were part of a media ecology that included Old English poetry, legal documents, liturgical materials, and visual arts. Situating Old English preaching within this network establishes the range of contexts, purposes, and uses of apocrypha for diverse groups in Anglo-Saxon society: cloistered religious, secular clergy, and laity, including both men and women. Apocryphal narratives did not merely survive on the margins of culture, but thrived at the heart of mainstream Anglo-Saxon Christianity.

Brandon W. Hawk is an assistant professor of English at Rhode Island College.

Introduction: Seeking Out Gold in the Mud

Chapter 1: Homiliaries, Apocrypha, and Preaching Networks
Chapter 2: Apostles, Trinity, and Reform in Blickling 15
Chapter 3: Ælfric and Correct Doctrine
Chapter 4: Translating Jesus in Text and Image
Chapter 5: A Network Microcosm in Bodley 343

Conclusion: Mediating Tradition
Excursus on Terminology