Anglo-Saxon Keywords by Allen J. Frantzen

By Allen J. Frantzen

Anglo-Saxon Keywords provides a chain of entries that exhibit the hyperlinks among sleek principles and scholarship and the crucial ideas of Anglo-Saxon literature, language, and fabric tradition.

  • Reveals vital hyperlinks among important innovations of the Anglo-Saxon interval and matters we expect approximately at the present time
  • Reveals how fabric culture—the historical past of work, medication, know-how, identification, masculinity, intercourse, nutrition, land use—is as vital because the heritage of rules
  • Offers a richly theorized strategy that intersects with many disciplines inside and out of medieval experiences


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Chastely (ferdon on clænnysse; Ælfric 1966a: vol. 1, 232, l. 206), whereas King Saul “did not want to behave according to his station” (nolde faran be his dihte; Ælfric 1979: 35, ll. 181–2). v. gangan). ” Most expressions for “behavior” describe actions that are to be regarded in a certain way, and so are morally charged: cwemman, “to please by means of correct behavior”; don, “to show honorable behavior”; dwolian, “to err, to behave incorrectly,” and so on (DOE). There is a third sense of “behavior,” which, according to Williams, is “the critical development” in its meaning: the “neutral application of the term, without any moral implications,” used to describe “observable public conduct” (1985: 43–4).

The “central phantasy of revolutionary eschatology” was that a massively oppressive evil would be struck down and the holy people held captive would be released into a new kingdom (21). Anglo-Saxons did not embrace such an eschatology but were well versed in some elements of it. In De Excidio Britanniae et Conquesta (The ruin and conquest of Britain), the sixth-century writer Gildas described a cycle in which the Chosen People fell from God’s favor and were chastised when they were conquered by foreign powers.

This moment illustrates both translation and transmission. The wise men under Abbess Hild’s jurisdiction at Whitby expounded a passage to Cædmon (exponebantque), explaining it rather than reading it to him. He repeated (reddidit) in “excellent verse” (optimo carmine) what he had been told (Bede 1969: 418–19). The careful phrasing shows that the learned men explained the meaning of doctrine and historical (biblical) events and that Cædmon rendered Bible the meaning in new form. Nothing was lost in translation because the learned expounded; they did not translate.

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