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Title: The compilation of Old English homilies in MSS Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 419 and 421
Author: Wilcox, J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3568 0948
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1987
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The subject of this study is the compilation of an Old English homiliary contained in the companion volumes, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, 419 and the original portions of 421 (together designated N in this thesis), written as a hitherto unidentified centre in the first half of the eleventh century. The collection comprises twenty-three Old English homilies: seven by AElfric, six by Wulfstan, and ten of unknown authorship. It is of particular significance as a witness to the use of anonymous homilies in the eleventh century. I provide a commentary on the anonymous homilies, discuss the textual affiliations of the collection as a whole, and investigate its place of origin. A detailed examination of the two manuscripts provides information about the exemplars from which they were copied and the uses to which they were put. I demonstrate that N was a popular collection - it contains corrections and revisions by at least twenty-one different hands - and that it travelled to Exeter at a time when Old English manuscripts were still in use. Eight of the anonymous homilies in N have been edited by A. S. Napier, Wulfstan: Sammlung der ihm zugeschriebenen Homilien (Berlin, 1883), but have never been fully discussed. The ninth has not been adequately edited (it was edited from a single manuscript by A. O. Belfour, Twelfth-Century Homilies in MS Bodley 343, EETS o.s. 133 (London, 1909) as homily VI). I provide an edition from all the surviving manuscripts as an appendix. The unpublished variants of one manuscript of the tenth anonymous homily (edited by Bruno Assmann, Angelsáchsische Homilien und Heiligenleben, Bibliothek der angelsáchsischen Prosa 3 (Kassel, 1889) as homily XI) are listed in a second appendix. I describe the sources of each anonymous homily and show how the homilist has used those sources. I also establish the textual relationship of all surviving manuscripts of the homilies and show how each homily has developed in the course of transmission. The textual relations and development of the homilies by AElfric and Wulfstan are described more briefly. The language of all the homilies is discussed in a separate chapter. As a result of these investigations I demonstrate that N was compiled from eleven different exemplars, some of which had already enjoyed a considerable history by the eleventh century. The collection was compiled to provide basic Christian instruction, which is given added urgency by an insistence on the imminence of judgement. I conclude that it was assembled at a small monastery dominated by Canterbury influences - probably the unknown monastery which the manuscript Cambridge, Trinity College, B.15.34 (containing a collection of AElfric's homilies) travelled to in the Anglo-Saxon period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Anglo-Saxon homilies