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A ninth-century Old English homily from Northumbria

  • Donald Scragg

Abstract

A careful consideration of a ‘scribble’ in English in the margin of a page of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 63, a ninth-century Latin manuscript, yields a number of important conclusions: that the English material is homiletic, that it was written before the Latin, that the manuscript is certainly of Northumbrian origin and the English shows traces of Northumbrian dialect, and that therefore at least one vernacular homily in Old English was available for copying in Northumbria in the ninth century. It also adds to the evidence that a group of homilies in the Vercelli Book were drawn from an early and a non-West Saxon source-book.

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