Secular Learning in Anglo-Saxon England

Exploring the Vernacular


The fruits of Anglo-Saxon learning continue to captivate Anglo-Saxonists and scholars of natural science and medicine, witness recent publications such as Martin Blake’s edition of Ælfric's De temporibus anni (2009), and the proceedings of the Storehouses of Wholesome Learning and Leornungcræft projects. In 1992, Stephanie Hollis and Michael Wright took stock of secular learning in the vernacular, in their monumental annotated bibliography Old English Prose of Secular Learning. The present volume surveys and evaluates advances in the study of Anglo-Saxon secular learning from the past two decades. It also consolidates an ongoing interest in scholarship by Anglo-Saxons by presenting nine original essays that focus on the disciplines of law, encyclopaedic notes, computus, medicine, charms, and prognostication, with a focus on learning in the vernacular, or the relationship between Latin and the vernacular. This volume is of interest for Anglo-Saxonists who work with vernacular sources of learning, and for historians of law, natural science, medicine, divination and magic.

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László Sándor Chardonnens is lecturer in medieval English and research fellow at Radboud University Nijmegen. He has published on English manuscripts, medieval prognostication, divination and charms, and he is the author of Anglo-Saxon Prognostics, 900–1100: Study and Texts (2007). He is currently preparing a monograph on the transmission of the mantic arts in medieval Europe with financial support from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Bryan Carella is assistant professor of English at Assumption College, Worcester, MA. He works primarily on early medieval insular law and is currently editing the Pauline section of the eighth-century Hiberno-Latin biblical commentary known as the Reference Bible, at the invitation of the Royal Irish Academy for the Corpus Christianorum Scriptores Celtigenae series. He is preparing a monograph provisionally entitled The Ideological Foundations of Insular Law and its Sources, c. 600–c. 900.
Abbreviations Works Cited in Abbreviated Form László Sándor Chardonnens and Bryan Carella: Introducing Old English Secular Learning Stephanie Hollis: Anglo-Saxon Secular Learning and the Vernacular: an Overview Stefan Jurasinski: Slavery, Learning and the Law of Marriage in Alfred’s Mosaic Prologue Kees Dekker: The Vernacularization of Encyclopaedic Notes in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts Sarah Harlan-Haughey: The Burning Sun: Landscape and Knowledge in Exodus Kazutomo Karasawa: The Prose and the Verse Menologium in the Tradition of Elementary Computistical Education in Late Anglo-Saxon England Anne Russcher and Rolf H. Bremmer Jr: ‘For a Broken Limb’: Fracture Treatment in Anglo-Saxon England B. R. Hutcheson: Wið dweorh: an Anglo-Saxon Remedy for Fever in its Cultural and Manuscript Setting Rosanne Hebing: The Textual Tradition of Heavenly Letter Charms in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts László Sándor Chardonnens: The Old English Alphabet Prognostic as a Prototype for Mantic Alphabets Contributors Index of Manuscripts