Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Aldhelm's opus geminatum De virginitate in its Early Anglo-Saxon context
Author: Pettit, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0000 4263 7270
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2004
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The purpose of this thesis is to examine Aldhelm's double treatise De virginitate in its early Anglo-Saxon context. The thesis is divided into two parts. Part One focuses on the historical circumstances in which this West Saxon abbot and bishop wrote his Latin prose and verse treatise on sexual and social renunciation. It investigates Aldhelm's career and postulates that the work was written to valorise and promote adult renunciation, to teach religious its meanings and rewards, and to enter wide-ranging contemporary debates surrounding monasticism and renunciation. It also examines the identities of Aldhelm's immediate monastic dedicatees, the diverse composition of his wider audience, and their difficulties forsaking the secular life. This background will be shown to have had a direct impact on Aldhelm's spiritual guidance, which is considered in Part Two. Part Two examines how Aldhelm transmitted and reworked patristic teachings on marriage, gender, virginity, chastity, and interior spirituality, in response to contemporary circumstances. It therefore explores how his nuanced treatment of marriage reflects early Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical rulings on wedlock, while at the same time emphasising the danger of sexuality to professed religious. It also proposes that Aldhelm's treatment of gender shows an attempt to unify male and female religious, whilst recognising that their outward experiences of renunciation and the religious life were different. Aldhelm will be shown to have provided his audience with contemplative guidance which, foremost, assessed their level of spiritual success according to their inner virtues. This will be related to his concern to valorise the once-married celibates in his audience, whose actions needed to be placed within established patristic traditions on virginity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available