Preaching and Theology in Anglo-Saxon England: Ælfric and Wulfstan
In Preaching and Theology in Anglo-Saxon England, Professor Gatch deals with two aspects of the writings of Ælfric and Wulfstan that have been hitherto ignored by scholars of the period.
First, he investigates the uses for which the two homilists prepared their sermons, analysing the homiliaries of the Carolingian church and its legislation concerning preaching and teaching, and showing that one should look not to the model of patristic preaching but to the development, in the place of exegetical preaching, of a vernacular catechetical office, the Prone. He also considers the evidence from England in the time of Ælfric and Wulfstan, distinguishing a number of uses which Ælfric intended for his homiletic materials, but questioning whether users of Ælfric's work (Wulfstan perhaps among them) understood or accepted the basic homiletic practices that the abbot had in mind.
Second, Gatch investigates the eschatological teaching of the homilists as specimen of the over-all content of their sermons and as indicator of their theological method. By throwing their work into relief against the background of the anonymous Old English homilists, he gives a more accurate picture than exists in textbook stereotypes of the beliefs of Ælfric and Wulfstan, and also of the general theological scene in England at the turn of the tenth and eleventh centuries.
The first complete edition of Ælfric's Latin epitome of Julian of Toledo's Prognosticon futuri saeculi, one of the most important of Ælfric's theological sources, is appended to the text.
This interdisciplinary study is an important addition to our knowledge of Anglo-Saxon culture and medieval church history, and a major contribution to the study of Old English homilies. For the uninitiated, it is an excellent introduction to Old English preaching; for the initiated, it opens a new field for investigation.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 280 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
Author InformationMilton McC. Gatch is a professor emeritus and Director of the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, New York.
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