The Old English Translation of the Homiliary of Angers

The Evidence of the Lexicon

In: Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik
Elena Afros Department of English, St. Jerome’s University Waterloo Kanada

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Over the past decade, steady progress has been made in identifying the Latin witnesses to the Homiliary of Angers; however, no new copies of its Old English rendition have surfaced. The singular source of information about the vernacular adaptation and dissemination of this important preaching resource in Anglo-Saxon England remains the Taunton Fragment (Taunton, Somerset County Record Office, DD/SAS C/1193/77), two bifolia of unknown origin and uncertain date. The previous discussions, which centered around orthography, morphology, and morphosyntax, determined that the Taunton Fragment is a copy produced towards the end of the Old English period, probably deriving from an Anglian archetype. To complement these findings, the present study focuses on lexis. A close examination of the two layers of the Taunton Fragment’s vocabulary—the lexemes which primarily occur in texts of Anglian origin or exhibiting the influence of Anglian works and the lexemes which typically replace obsolescent lexis in late copies of Old English material—supports the hypothesis that the Old English translation preserved in the Taunton Fragment is a copy descending from an Anglian archetype produced in a scriptorium dominated by the late West-Saxon writing tradition in the second half of the eleventh century.

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