Aelfric's Letter to the Monks of Eynsham by Christopher A. Jones

By Christopher A. Jones

Notwithstanding top identified this present day for his previous English homilies, the Anglo-Saxon pupil Ælfric additionally composed, in a "letter" to his fellow priests, a suite of Latin liturgical directions that supply an extraordinary glimpse of what traditional clergymen have been anticipated to understand and do. This ebook features a re-creation of the Latin textual content with a serious equipment, and the single whole English translation. statement and vast introductory chapters identify the letter's unparalleled significance for our figuring out of overdue Anglo-Saxon monasticism and liturgy.

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Cotton Faustina B. 3 (1984), 69±147. The most recent edition from Cotton Tiberius A. iii (= RC (Ti)), with its Old English gloss, is RC (Kornexl), pp. 1±149. Earlier editions based on RC (Ti) are RC (Symons) of 1953 (Latin only, with partial collations with RC (Fa)), and Logeman, `De Consuetudine Monachorum' (Latin and Old English gloss). To list only the most signi®cant: the order of the various sections of the proem is hopelessly confused in (Fa); instead of the list of chapter headings found in (Ti), (Fa) contains only the instructions, probably copied from an exemplar, `hic inserenda sunt capitula'; (Ti) includes the rubric `Explicuit liber' shortly before the actual end of the customary; in both (Ti) and (Fa) the presence of ch.

The importance of these additions is beyond dispute, but the LME contains many quieter modi®cations of the source which also repay careful study. The identi®cation of differences, no matter how slight, recalls that agreement between álfric and the Concordia cannot be taken for granted. And even where substantial differences are not at stake, álfric's decisions about what his audience does and does not need to be told shed light on his expectations and theirs. Additions to the source Many additions seemingly prompted by a lack of detail in the source do not indicate exceptional practices at Eynsham.

B. Bryan, Ethelwold and Medieval Music-Drama at Winchester: The Easter Play, its Author, and its Milieu, European University Studies, Series 30: Theatre, Film and Television 10 (Bern, 1981). Trans. RC (Symons) 47, p. 46 (= RC 76: `si tanta fuerit cohors societatis ut sabbati crastini ad hoc non suf®ciat dies'). Cf. RC 28: `signorum ®delem aduocantes plebem missam inchoent'; see also RC 68. For example, his remarks on infant baptisms at the Easter Vigil (LME 46). 98 Another equivocal silence concerns the of®cer known as the circa, whose duties are the subject of an entire chapter in the Concordia (RC 86±7), but of whom álfric says nothing.

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