Ælfrician Homilies and Varia
Editions, Translations, and Commentary
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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of Pages: 1074
Width: 17 cm
Height: 24 cm
First modern edition and translation of the homilies of one of the most important religious figures of his time. Ælfric of Eynsham stands supreme as a distinguished homilist, translator, and moralist - one whose writings were sought by the most powerful churchmen and landed warlords of his day. In his sermons, the dead are raised to life, innocents are betrayed, civilizations come to ruin, prophecies are finally fulfilled, and sorrow is swallowed up in salvation. He offers guidance regarding sex, financial counsel, botanical excursuses, etymological asides, lions cowed by roosters, arch-heretics disemboweled, and seemingly inconsequential figures receiving everlasting crowns. He also considers the origin of Antichrist, recounts supernatural visions of damnation and deliverance, teases out the tension between predestination and free will, explores the multifarious nature of the soul, seeks to categorize creation, and presses the boundaries of conceptual capacity in describing the divine nature. Treatises take up such subjects as the Holy Spirit, cognition, penitence, and proper comportment. Private prayers appear alongside public declarations of the Christian faith found in the Paternoster and the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds. The thirty-one texts presented here, with facing translations, span the course of his career: Old English and Latin, ordinary and alliterative prose, pithy prayers and exhaustive exegesis. Nine appear in print for the first time; others for the first time in well over 100 years. Introductions to the texts offer overviews of the content, composition, and circulation of each work, using the fruits of the latest research to envision real-world contexts for their use in specific places, among particular groups, and by certain individuals. Meanwhile, the commentary traces Ælfric's role in the history of ideas, examining his relationship to over 100 sources, 200 other Ælfrician works, and over 1,000 biblical passages; it seeks to clarify Ælfric's compositional aims and further to establish the authorship and date of these remarkable writings from early England.