Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England
Published: June 2018© 2018
296 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in
Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England is the first in-depth study of Christian apocrypha focusing specifically on the use of extra-biblical narratives in Old English sermons. The work contributes to our understanding of both the prevalence and importance of apocrypha in vernacular preaching, by assessing various preaching texts from Continental and Anglo-Saxon Latin homiliaries, as well as vernacular collections like the Vercelli Book, the Blickling Book, Ælfric’s Catholic Homilies, and other manuscripts from the tenth through twelfth centuries.
Vernacular sermons were part of a media ecology that included Old English poetry, legal documents, liturgical materials, and visual arts. Situating Old English preaching within this network establishes the range of contexts, purposes, and uses of apocrypha for diverse groups in Anglo-Saxon society: cloistered religious, secular clergy, and laity, including both men and women. Apocryphal narratives did not merely survive on the margins of culture, but thrived at the heart of mainstream Anglo-Saxon Christianity.
Introduction: Seeking Out Gold in the Mud
Chapter 1: Homiliaries, Apocrypha, and Preaching Networks
Chapter 2: Apostles, Trinity, and Reform in Blickling 15
Chapter 3: Ælfric and Correct Doctrine
Chapter 4: Translating Jesus in Text and Image
Chapter 5: A Network Microcosm in Bodley 343
Conclusion: Mediating Tradition
Excursus on Terminology
"Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England is elegantly written, well researched, and on point with the most up-to-date scholarship on early English homiletics, vernacular preaching, and studies in early medieval religious and lay piety. Brandon W. Hawk’s claim that homilies comprised one of the earliest forms of "mass media" allows him to situate his study within a fascinating theoretical framework of media studies, with appropriate emphasis on networks and media archaeology. This book will serve as an important resource for students and scholars interested in the history of preaching, and especially early forms of vernacular devotion."Samantha Zacher, Department of English, Cornell University
"Brandon W. Hawk builds on recent work demonstrating the prevalence of apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England, and takes the scholarly conversation a significant step further. Notably, Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England situates apocryphal narratives at the heart of Anglo-Saxon sermon literature and makes very judicious use of media studies theory to show how these texts were used. Advancing our understanding, Hawk challenges any simplistic categorizations of apocrypha."Mary Clayton, School of English, Drama, and Film, University College Dublin
"Brandon W. Hawk's Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England is an exemplary study of the integral role that Christian apocrypha plays in the religious media of the period. The book combines the best of traditional methods with contemporary theory, namely network theory and media studies, and tools, such as data visualization. In so doing, it profitably uses contemporary theoretical approaches and detailed readings of Latin and Old English to provoke and elucidate connections between and among a disparate temporal and generic range of material."Aidan Conti, Department of Linguistics, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen