Teaching and preaching in late Anglo-Saxon England, 991-1020
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
This study focuses on the development of Christian education in the late Anglo-Saxon period, 991-1020. It examines Abbot AElfric's and Archbishop Wulfstan's three methods of communication among Christian educators: vernacular language, pastoral letters, and homilies. Evidence suggests that they used each method with a critical regard for their source material. Further, by developing the skills involved, they made two contributions to Christian education, providing a large body of educational material in the vernacular and adapting much of this material into sermons heard by a lay congregation. Thus most of the pastoral letters, homilies, legal codes, and Old Testament narratives now appeared in a vernacular version, a response to Latin illiteracy among clergy and laity. In lieu of the study of Latin, the pastoral letters concentrated on explanations of the Creed and Lord's Prayer, simple exegesis of the Gospel readings, and basic advice on proper Christian behaviour. Particularly remarkable is the parallel between the pastoral letter and the Rule of St. Benedict, regarding guidance for daily living among monks. In the secular church, the pastoral letter was used similarly to discipline the clergy and to provide guidance for novice clerics. AElfric's attempt to reform and reorganize older Anglo-Saxon homiliaries gave the homily itself new impetus. Pastoral letters indicate that homilies were to form a major part of the priests' bodunge or preaching activity, which would instruct his congregation. Thus efforts by church leaders to educate the priesthood paralleled their concern for the layman, many of whom reminded the abbot and archbishop, through patronage, of the cleric's duty to meet the basic devotional needs of the Anglo-Saxon Christian.
Thesis, MLitt Master of Letters
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.