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The Use Of Ælfrics Homilies: Mss Oxford,Bodleian Library, Junius 85 And 86 In The Field

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Chapter Summary

Ælfric's homilies were adopted by Archbishop Sigeric and subsequent church leaders to fill what must have been a considerable need for uniform preaching materials at a time of developing models of pastoral care. In this chapter, the author pursues a return to manuscript evidence in order to contextualize Ælfric's preaching within the historical context of pastoral care in the community at the turn of the millennium, building on exciting recent work that has been advancing an understanding of the late Anglo-Saxon church. The chapter answers some vexingly difficult basic questions that continue to haunt Ælfric scholarship: just how was Ælfric's learning transmitted, and how widely? And how did it circulate at the most basic pastoral level? It suggests that one exceptional surviving manuscript compilation, MSS Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 85 and 86, can provide some fascinating hints about the real-world circulation of Ælfric in the field.

Keywords: Ælfric's homilies; Anglo-Saxon church; Archbishop Sigeric; Bodleian library; Junius; MSS Oxford



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