Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 6068
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Häcker , Martina.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Original Length of the OE "Judith": More Doubt(s) on the "Missing Text" [Thirtieth International Congress on Medieval Studies, the Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, May 4-7, 1995. Thirtieth Symposium on the Sources of Anglo- Saxon Culture, co- sponsered by the Institute and CEMERS, Binghamton University. Session 247.]
  • Source: Old English Newsletter 28, 3 (Spring 1995):
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Editing Texts Judith, Old English Poem Literature- Verse
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 10
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  • Abstract: The original length of the Old English poem "Judith" has been the object of much scholarly dispute. The poem's opening is lost, but opinions as to how much is missing vary from two-thirds of the poem (Forster and Dobbie) to virtually nothing (Woolf). These divergent views are based on manuscript evidence and a comparison with the biblical source of the Old English poem. A major problem with calculations such as Forster's is that they are based on assumptions which cannot be verified. This paper argues that the internal structure of the poem might provide a more conclusive method to establish how much of the poem may be missing. A significant factor in this respect is the distribution of terms expressing the concepts "doubt", "faith" and "mercy": "Faith" and "doubt" occur in lines 1-6, "doubt" and "faith" in lines 85-97 (Judith's prayer), and all three concepts in lines 344-49, the closing lines of the poem. It seems that doubt in particular is a key theme in the poem, as its occurrence at the end of the poem constitutes a contrast to the biblical source: While the biblical Judith praises God for freeing her people of the enemy, the Old English Judith praises God for freeing her of her doubts. This suggests that the same concepts may be deliberately positioned at the poem's opening, implying that only a minimal amount of text may be lost [Reproduced by permission of Robert Schicler, the “Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies” editor, and the editors of the “Old English Newsletter.”].
  • Author's Affiliation: Universität Basel
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1995.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00301973
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