Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK ; Rochester, NY : D.S. Brewer, 2011.
Book — xi, 293 p. ; 25 cm.
Medieval prognostic texts - a survival from the classical world - are the ancestors of modern almanacs; a means of predicting future events, they offer guidance on matters of everyday life, such as illness, childbirth, weather, agriculture, and the interpretation of dreams. They give fascinating insights into monastic life, medicine, pastoral care, the transformations of classical learning in the middle ages, and the complex interconnections between orthodox religion, popular belief, science and magic. This volume provides the first full critical edition, with a facing-page translation, of a diverse and peculiar group of prognostic guides and calendars, in Latin and Old English, found in an eleventh-century manuscript from Christ Church, Canterbury; they are collated with related versions in both Anglo-Saxon and continental manuscripts. A lengthy introduction and commentary examine the transmission and translation of these texts, and shed light on their origins and uses in late Anglo-Saxon monastic culture. Roy Liuzza is Professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (source: Nielsen Book Data)
Since its inception in the nineteenth century, the genre of Anglo-Saxon charms has drawn the attention of many scholars and appealed to enthusiasts of magic, paganism, and popular religion. Their Christian nature has been widely acknowledged in recent years, but their position within mainstream liturgical traditions has not yet been fully recognised. In this book, Ciaran Arthur undertakes a wide-ranging investigation of the genre to better understand how early English ecclesiastics perceived these rituals and why they included them in manuscripts were written in high-status minsters. Evidence from the entire corpus of Old English, various surviving manuscript sources, and rich Christian theological traditions suggests that contemporary scribes and compilers did not perceive "charms" as anything other than Christian rituals that belonged to diverse, mainstream liturgical practices. The book thus challenges the notion that there was any such thing as an Anglo-Saxon "charm", and offers alternative interpretations of these texts as creative para-liturgical rituals or liturgical rites, which testify to the diversity of early medieval English Christianity. When considered in their contemporary ecclesiastical and philosophical contexts, even the most enigmatic rituals, previously dismissed as mere "gibberish", begin to emerge as secret, deliberately obscured texts with hidden spiritual meaning. Ciaran Arthur is a Research Fellow at Queen's University Belfast. (source: Nielsen Book Data)