Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 9333
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Thompson , Pauline.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: AElfric's Portrayal of the Saint as Catechist in His "Life of St. Cecilia"
  • Source: Old English Newsletter 34, 3 (Spring 2001): Appendix A: Abstracts of Papers in Anglo-Saxon Studies. Conference Paper presented at the Tenth Biennial Meeting of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, University of Helsinki, August 6-11, 2001, "Anglo-Saxons and the North
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Ælfric, Abbot of Eynsham- Lives of the Saints- Life of Cecilia Hagiography Sources Translation Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 10
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  • Abstract: This paper examines a key passage in the Old English Life of Cecilia, a passage chosen to reflect the patristic and creedal influence behind it, to demonstrate ,Elfric's handling of his sources, and to deduce from what Whatley has called +Ifric's "act of authorial self-assertion" something about his own theological and pedagogical values. The original anonymous Latin passio of Cecilia, which dates from the sixth century, has a strong Augustinian flavor: much of the story-line revolves around the theme of believing in order to see. Lines 140-82 of the Old English Life of Cecilia give /Elfric's drastically abbreviated version of the instruc-tional part of the believing process; here we see his account of Cecilia's defense of Christianity in response to questions by Tiburtius, the brother of her husband, Valerian. The analysis of this catechetical episode involves a close comparison of' the passage with its purported Latin source, the version of the Passio in CCCC 9, this source itself compared with printed versions, and with versions in Hereford P. 7.vi and in Paris, BN, lat. 10861 (a ninth-century manuscript proba-bly from Canterbury and not part of the Cotton-Corpus Legendary). From this comparison, we can watch +lfric manipulating his sources, noting what he keeps, what he omits, and what he paraphrases. The passage under discussion essentially reflects the spiritual and theolog-ical concerns of its sources, but also reveals +lfric's control of his material, as he eliminates apocryphal accounts and corrects garbled Augustinian orthodoxy. [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: University of Toronto
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2001.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00301973
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