Aelfric and the Cult of Saints in Late Anglo-Saxon England

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 19, 2006 - Literary Criticism
The cult of saints was one of the most important aspects of life in the Middle Ages, and it often formed the nucleus of developing group identities in a town, a province or a country. The literature of Anglo-Saxon England is unique among contemporary European literatures in that it features a vast amount of saints' Lives in the vernacular. Of these Lives, Ælfric is the most important author, and his saints' Lives have never previously been explored in their contemporary setting. In this study, Gretsch analyses Ælfric's Lives of five important saints in the light of their cults in Anglo-Saxon England. This gives the reader fascinating glimpses of 'Ælfric at work': he adapts the cults and rewrites the received Latin hagiography of the five saints, with the result that each of their English Lives conveys a distinct message to the contemporary political elite and to a lay audience at large.

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Page 11 - A Testimonie of Antiquitie, shewing the auncient fayth in the Church of England touching the Sacrament of the body and bloude of the Lord, here publikely preached, and also receaued in the Saxons' tyme, aboue 600 yeares agoe. Imprinted at London by John Day, dwelling ouer Aldersgate beneath S.

About the author (2006)

Mechthild Gretsch is Professor in the Department of English at Gottingen University. Her previous books include The Intellectual Foundations of the English Benedictine Reform (also in the Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England series, 1999), and she has published articles in various English and German journals, including Anglo-Saxon England.

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