Old English Homilies and Latin Sources

Charles D Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The quarter-century that has passed since Paul Szarmach’s and Bernard Huppé’s groundbreaking The Old English Homily and its Backgrounds (1978) has seen staggering changes in the field of Anglo-Saxon homiletics. Primary materials have become accessible to scholars in unprecedented levels, whether digitally or through new critical editions, and these have generated in turn a flood of secondary scholarship. The articles in this volume showcase and build on these developments. The first five essays consider various contexts of and infuences on Anglo-Saxon homilies: patristic and early medieval Latin sources, continental homiliaries and preaching practices, traditions of Old Testament interpretation and adaptation, and the liturgical setting of preaching texts. Six studies then turn to the sermons themselves, examining style and rhetoric in the Vercelli homilies, the codicology of the Blickling Book, sanctorale and temporale in the works of Ælfric, and the challenges posed by Wulfstan’s self-referential corpus. Finally, the last entries take us past the Conquest to discuss the re-use of homiletic material in England and its environs from the eleventh to eighteenth century. Together these articles offer medieval scholars a new Old English Homily, one that serves both as an introduction to key figures and issues in the field and as a model of studies for the next quarter-century.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Old English Homily
Subtitle of host publicationPrecedent, Practice, and Appropriation
EditorsAaron J Kleist
Place of PublicationTurnhout
Number of pages52
ISBN (Print)9782503517926
StatePublished - 2007

Publication series

NameStudies in the early Middle Ages


  • Theology
  • Preaching
  • English prose literature
  • England
  • Sermons, Medieval
  • Sermons, English (Old)


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