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Ælfric's Preface to Genesis: genre, rhetoric and the origins of the ars dictaminis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Mark Griffith
New College, Oxford


The preface by Ælfric occurs in complete form in two manuscripts and in part in a third. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Laud Miscellany 509 (s. xi2) contains the preface (fols. 1–3, headed with the words Incipit prefatio genesis anglice), together with the Old English Hexateuch (fols. 3–107) and Ælfric's selections from Judges (fols. 108–15). Cambridge, University Library, Ii. 1. 33 (s. xii2) has the preface, without tide, followed by Ælfric's partial translation of Genesis (fols. 2–24). London, British Library, Cotton Claudius B. iv (St Augustine's, Canterbury, s. xi1), having lost its first leaf, now preserves only the second half of the preface followed by an illustrated text of the Old English Hexateuch, but a sixteenth-century transcript by Robert Talbot, Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 379, preserves some of its missing text, along with the same tide as Laud 509. Both Laud 509 and Claudius B. iv give slightly different compilations of the translations by Ælfric with the more extensive work of the anonymous scriptural translator (or translators). The differing rubrics and contents of the manuscripts affect the way we read the preface that they share: the Cambridge manuscript presents it as a preface to half of Genesis only, Laud 509 and the transcript label it a preface at least to the whole of Genesis. If, however, the incipit is scribal, it could be taken as a prologue to the Hexateuch. Was the preface, then, intended by Ælfric to introduce just the first half of Genesis, or a larger work? Sisam is of the first view: ‘no preface to the Pentateuch (or Hexateuch) survives, and evidendy the compiler of the extant Old English version did not know of one, since he used Ælfric's inappropriate English preface to the first part of Genesis.’

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2000

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1 On this transcript, see Graham, T., ‘The Beginnings of Old English Studies: Evidence from the Manuscripts of Matthew Parker’, Back to the Manuscripts, ed. Sato, S., The Centre for Medieval English Studies, Tokyo, Occasional Papers 1 (1997), 2950, at 30–1.Google Scholar Its few substantive variants from the text of Laud 509 are given by Cassidy, F. G. and Ringler, R. N., Bright's Old English Grammar and Reader, 3rd ed. (New York, 1971), p. 384 and discussed at pp. 250–1.Google ScholarÆlfric's Prefaces, ed. Wilcox, J., Durham Medieval Texts 9 (Durham, 1994), does not mention the transcript in the textual introduction to this preface.Google Scholar

2 Sisam, K., Studies in the History of Old English Literature (Oxford, 1953), p. 300 (Note E).Google Scholar

3 See, for example, the prayer at the end of the second series of the Catholic Homilies and for discussion, Sisam, Studies, p. 167 and n. 1.

4 The Old English Illustrated Hexateuch, BM Cotton Claudius B. iv, ed. Dodwell, C. R. and Clemoes, P., EEMF 18 (Copenhagen, 1974), 46 and 48.Google Scholar

5 Line references to the text and quotations from it are from Prefaces, ed. Wilcox, , pp. 116–19.Google Scholar

6 Ælfric: a New Study of his Life and Writings, Yale Stud, in Eng. 2 (New York, 1898), 148.

7 The evidence for this being the insertion of non-Ælfrician material into the translation of the first half of Genesis in place of Ælfric's own version, a revision unlikely to have been acceptable to Ælfric. See Illustrated Hexateuch, ed. Dodwell, and Clemoes, , p. 47.Google Scholar

8 Ælfric's Prefaces: Rhetoric and Genre’, ES 49 (1968), 215–23, at 222–3.Google Scholar See also Stanton, R., ‘Rhetoric and Translation in ÆLlfric's Prefaces’, Translation and Literature 6 (1997), 135–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

9 Marsden, R., The Text of the Old Testament in Anglo-Saxon England, CSASE 15 (Cambridge, 1995), 36.Google Scholar These prefaces are edited by de Bruyne, D., Préfaces de la Bible latine (Namur, 1920). The only ‘complete’ late Anglo-Saxon Bible, London, British Library, Royal 1 E. VII, in fact commences at Gen. XXIX.35, so Marsden's statement as it pertains to the opening prefaces cannot be confirmed by Anglo-Saxon manuscripts.Google Scholar

10 Quoted from Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem, ed. Weber, R. (Stuttgart, 1975), p. 365.Google ScholarFremantle, W H., St. Jerome: Letters and Select Works, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church 6 (Oxford, 1893), 490, offers the following translation: ‘For the service of the tabernacle of God each one offers what he can; some gold and silver and precious stones, others linen and blue and purple and scarlet; we shall do well if we offer skins and goats’ hair. And yet the Apostle [St Paul] pronounces our more contemptible parts more necessary than others. Accordingly, the beauty of the tabernacle as a whole and in its several kinds (and the ornaments of the Church present and future) was covered with skins and goats'-hair cloths, and the heat of the sun and the injurious rain were warded off by those things which are of less account.Google Scholar

11 Biblia sacra, ed. Weber, , p. 3.Google ScholarFremantle, W. H., ‘Jerome’s Apology against Rufinus’, Theodoret, Jerome, Gennadius, Rufinus: Historical Writings, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church 3 (Oxford, 1892), 403568, at 515Google Scholar, translates as follows:‘… whereas I have again and again declared that I dutifully offer in the Tabernacle of God what I can, and have pointed out that the great gifts which one man brings are not marred by the inferior gifts of another’.

12 Curtius, E. R., European literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. Trask, W. R. (London, 1953), p. 86.Google Scholar

13 De tabernaculo, CCSL 119A, 42. ‘The tabernacle that Moses made for the Lord in the wilderness … designates the state of the Holy Church universal.’ The translation is from Holder, A. G., Bede: on the Tabernacle, Translated Texts for Historians 18 (Liverpool, 1994), 45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

14 See De tabernaculo, CCSL 119A, 11: ‘Cui uidelicet aurum offerimus cum claritate uerae sapientiae quae est in fide recta resplendemus, argentum cum et oris nostri confessio fit in salutem… pilos caprarum cum habitum paenitentiae ac luctus induimus … lapides onichinos et gemmas ad ornandum ephod ac rationale cum miracula sanctorum quibus cogitationes Deo deuotas et opera uirtutum ornauere digna laude praedicamus.’ [‘We offer gold to him when we shine brightly with the splendour of the true wisdom which is in right faith; silver when with our mouth we make confession unto salvation … goats’ hair when we put on the habit of penitence and lamentation … We offer onyx stones and precious stones to adorn the ephod and rational when with the praise that is due we extol the miracles which adorn both the thoughts that the saints have devoted to God and their virtuous works’ trans. Holder, p. 9].

15 Reinsma, L. M., ‘Rhetoric in England: the Age of Æfric, 970–1020’, Communication Monographs 44 (1977), 390403, at 402–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

16 Clemoes, P., ‘Ælfric’ssssss, Continuations and Beginnings: Studies in Old English Literature, ed. Stanley, E. G. (London, 1966), pp. 176209, at p. 193.Google Scholar

17 Knappe, G., ‘Classical Rhetoric in Anglo-Saxon England’, ASE 27 (1998), 129, at 28.Google Scholar It has been suggested, however, that Ælfric arranged his material in some of his homilies according to the divisions of the Ciceronian oration. See Best, L. G., ‘Classical partitiones orationis in the Homilies of Ælfric: an Overview’ (unpubl. PhD dissertation, University of Connecticut, 1977)Google Scholar and Campbell, J. J., ‘Adaptation of Classical Rhetoric in Old English Literature’, Medieval Eloquence: Studies in the Theory and Practice of Medieval Rhetoric, ed. Murphy, J. J. (Berkeley, CA, 1978), pp. 173–97.Google Scholar

18 See Fremantle, , St. Jerome: Letters, p. 101.Google Scholar

19 ‘quia indignum uehementer existimo, ut uerba caelestis oraculi restringam sub regulis Donati’, CCSL 143, 7. Similar remarks, which are probably the source of Gregory's, are made by Cassiodorus in ch. 15 of his Institutiones, but it is not known whether Ælfric knew this work. The Moralia, however, was well-known in Anglo-Saxon England. Note also the allusion in the English preface to the Grammar to Alfred's preface to his version of Gregory's Regula pastoralis. see Prefaces, ed. Wilcox, , pp. 115–16 and 153.Google Scholar

20 The Latin praefatio to both series of Catholic Homilies and to the Grammar, the English praefatio to Genesis, the Latin prologus to Vita Æthelwoldi and to Letters for Wulfstan, the Latin epistola to Letter for Wulfsige, the unheaded English preface to Lives of the Saints and the unheaded Latin preface to Letter to the Monks of Eynsham.

21 See The Chronicle of Æthelweard, ed. Campbell, A. (London, 1962), pp. 12.Google Scholar See further below, n. 48.

22 Dunn, K., Pretexts of Authority: the Rhetoric of Authorship in the Renaissance Preface (Stanford, CA, 1994), p. 7.Google Scholar

23 See Janson, T., Latin Prose Prefaces: Studies in Literary Conventions, Studia Latina Stockholmiensia 13 (Stockholm, 1964), esp. part 2, ‘Loci communes in Later Prefaces: Requests and Dedications’.Google Scholar

24 Quoted from Butler, H. E., The ‘Institutio Oratoria’ of Quintilian, 4 vols. (London, 19211922)( IV. 11).Google Scholar

25 Janson, , Latin Prose Prefaces, p. 124, ‘This manner of minimizing one's own importance remained popular throughout the Middle Ages’.Google Scholar

26 Type A, mediated to the later Middle Ages via Remigius of Auxerre, derives from the series of questions in classical rhetoric, the answers to which summarized a subject for discussion. Prefatorial answers to these question headings (who?, what?, why?, in what manner?, where?, when?, whence?) give the name of the author, the title of the work, the author's purpose, the style of the composition, the place and date of the composition and the subject matter. Type B is quite closely related but derived by Hunt from Servius's commentary on the Aeneid. Themes in Type B are organized under seven headings: the life of the writer, the title of the work, its quality, the author's intention, the number of its books, their order, and an exposition of the text. Type C comes from Boethius's commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge and has six headings: the title, the subject matter, the intention of the work, its usefulness, its order, and the part of the subject to which it pertained. See Hunt, R. W., ‘The Introductions to the Artes in the Twelfth Century’, Studia medievalia in bonorem R. M. Martin, O.P. (Bruges, 1948), pp. 85112Google Scholar, Minnis, A. J., Medieval Theory of Authorship: Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the later Middle Ages, 2nd ed. (Aldershot, 1988), pp. 1528Google Scholar and Medieval Literary Theory and Criticism c. 1100–c. 1375: the Commentary-Tradition, ed. Minnis, A. J. and Scott, A. B. (Oxford, 1988), pp. 1236.Google Scholar

27 See Regularis Concordia, ed. Symons, T. (London, 1953), Procemium, c. 2Google Scholar; Wulfstan of Winchester: the Life of St. Æthelwold, ed. Lapidge, M. and Winterbottom, M. (Oxford, 1991), c. 19, pp. 34–5Google Scholar; the tenth-century Winchester charters of the Codex Wintoniensis in Cartularium Saxonicurn: a Collection of Charters retating to Anglo-Saxon History, ed. de, W., Birch, G. (London, 1893) III, 397415Google Scholar; the pre-amble to the Oswaldslow charter, ibid. p. 378; Chronicon Abbatiæ Rameseiensis, ed. Macray, W. D., RS 83 (London, 1886), 1920 and 27Google Scholar; Æthelred at Eanham in Die Gestze der Angelsachsen ed. Liebermann, F., 3 vols. (Halle, 19031916) I, 248.Google Scholar For Ælfric's account of life and vices of the clerks of the Old Minster, see Vita Ethelwoldi, auctore Aelfrico, ed. Stevenson, J, Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon, 2 vols. RS 2 (London, 1858) II, 260.Google Scholar

28 ‘We will also say in advance that the book is very difficult to understand in the spiritual sense, and (yet) we are wriring?/will write? no more than the bare text’.

29 Mitchell, B. and Robinson, F. C., A Guide to Old English, 5th ed. (Oxford, 1992), p. 321.Google Scholar

30 The contradiction is discussed by classical rhetoricians: see Ad Herennium, ed. and trans. Caplan, H. (Cambridge, MA, 1989), pp. 235–6.Google Scholar

31 ‘and we dare not write any more in English than there is in the Latin’. B. Mitchell is cautious about the existence in Old English of the ‘plural of authorship’ (see his Old English Syntax, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1985Google Scholar), § 251) but this seems the best explanation here. In the first example, we secgað, no other person apart from the author alone can possibly be speaking; in the third, where he says ‘we dare not write more in Latin than the English has’, it is conceivable that he could be including the other translator of Genesis known to him, but the anonymous phrasing sum oðer man at the beginning should lead us to conclude that this person was not known to Ælfric. The second use (we ne writað na mare buton pa nacedan gerecednisse) could be ‘authorial’ ‘we’ or could refer generally to those who copy the text.

32 This distinction is lost in Raffel's translation: ‘And now I ask you, in God's name, that if anyone wishes to copy this book …’, as if the last sentence were also addressed to Æthelweard. See Poems and Prose from the Old English, ed. Olsen, A. H. and Raffel, B. and trans. Raffel, B. (New Haven, CT, 1998), p. 176.Google Scholar

33 ‘… so that they might act properly as guides for the people to God's faith and set an example appropriately towards the doing of good deeds’.

34 Homilies of Ælfric: a Supplementary Collection, ed. Pope, J. C., 2 vols. EETS os 259–60 (London, 19671968) I, 132–3, lists examples of such word-play in Ælfric and regards this example as a favourite of the author.Google Scholar

35 ‘We ought to turn our will to his commandments, and we cannot bend his commandments to our wishes’.

36 There are, however, co-ordinate clauses of identical structure except for the fact that they do not begin sentences (e.g. line 3 and pu cwæde pa pæt) and one sentence opening is similar but begins with a third person pronoun and lacks a following) pæt clause (lines 28–9 Hi cwepap eac oft be Petre).

37 Quoted from Diplomatarium Anglicum Ævi Saxonici: a Collection of English Charters from the Reign of Æthelberht of Kent… to that of William the Conqueror, ed. Thorpe, B. (London, 1865), pp. 321–4.Google Scholar

38 Kluge, F., ‘Fragment eines angelsächsischen Briefes (Cod. Jun. 23 fol. 60b)’, Englische Studien 8 (1885), 62–3.Google Scholar

39 See Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), p. 179 (no. 142).Google Scholar

40 Strokes rather than spaces separate ðæt ðu/me ðæs, ðe ic beo/ðe and ðe/sysol;milde, and ecnysse is squeezed in at the end of the line: see Illustrated Hexateuch, ed. Dodwell, and Clemoes, , facsimile of 1v.Google Scholar

41 Mid pam pe in lines 64–5.

42 Camargo, M., Ars Dictaminis, Ars Dictandi, Typologie des sources du moyen âge Occidental 60 (Turnhout, 1991), 22.Google Scholar

43 Murphy, J. J., Rhetoric in the Middle Ages: a History of Rhetorical Theory from St. Augustine to the Renaissance (Berkeley, CA, 1974), ch. V.Google ScholarThe largest published collection of manuals is Briefsteller und Formelbücher des eilften bis vierzehnten Jabrhunderts, ed. Rockinger, L., Quellen und Erörterungen zur bayerischen und deutschen Geschichte 9 (Munich 1863), repr. in two vols. (New York, 1961).Google Scholar Modern editions of individual treatises are listed by Camargo, Ars Dictaminis, ch. V. A bibliography of works on the ars dictaminis is given by Reinsma, L., ‘The Middle Ages’, Historical Rhetoric: an Annotated Bibliography of Selected Sources in English, ed. Homer, W B. (Boston, MA, 1980), pp. 43108Google Scholar and may be supplemented after that date by Camargo, , Ars Dictaminis, pp. 916.Google Scholar

44 Murphy, , Rhetoric, pp. 203–7, at 207 and 203Google Scholar, respectively. He is not the first to espouse this view, a brief history of which is given by Patt, W. D., ‘The Early Ars Dictaminis as Response to a Changing Society’, Viator 9 (1978), 133–55, at 136–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Similar to Murphy's view are those of G. Constable who states that the rules of the ars dictaminis were ‘first formulated in Italy in the second half of the eleventh century’ (The Letters of Peter the Venerable, ed. Constable, G. (Cambridge, MA, 1967) II, 29)Google Scholar and E. R. Curtius who begins his discussion of the ars dictaminis with the remark that ‘We encounter no new developments [after the sixth century] until the eleventh century’ (European Literature, p. 75). For Alberic's work, see Alberici Casinensis Flores rhetorici, ed. Inguanez, D. M. and Willard, H. M., Miscellanea Cassinese 14 (Montecassino, 1938)Google Scholar, with emendations and corrections by Hagendahl, H., ‘Le Manuel de rhétorique d'albericus Casinensis’, Classica et Medievalia 17 (1956), 6370.Google Scholar

45 The epistolary sections of this work are to be found in Rockinger, Briefsteller I, 9–28.

46 Quoted from Renaissance Thought and its Sources: Paul Oskar Kristeller, ed. Mooney, M. (New York, 1979), p. 233Google Scholar, which expands on a view Kristeller expressed earlier in Renaissance Philosophy and the Medieval Tradition, Wimmer Lecture 15 (Latrobe, PA, 1966), 89, n.19.Google Scholar It may be that theoretical treatises on the five-part letter existed before Rationes dictandi: C.H. Haskins notes that a treatise on dictamen, in a manuscript possibly of eleventh-century date, Munich Clm. 23496, records the five epistolary divisions at fol. 11.; see his Studies in Mediaeval Culture (Oxford, 1929), ch. IXGoogle Scholar ‘The Early Artes Dictandi in Italy’, pp. 170–92, at 171, n. 2. Some evidence of the use of letters in this period to train students in the art of epistolary composition is provided by the letters of Alcuin; see Two Alcuin Letter Books, ed. Chase, C., Toronto Med. Latin Texts 5 (Toronto, 1975), 3Google Scholar: ‘The tenor of the first two letters, both of which are exhortations to wayward students, suggest that the collection was intended for use in school, as an aid to training students in the proper way to compose a Latin letter.’ On letter collections assembled for teaching, see Patt, , ‘Early Ars Dictaminis’, pp. 148–9.Google Scholar

47 Patt, , ‘Early Ars Dictaminis’, p. 145.Google Scholar On the German letters, see Erdmann, C., Studien zur Briefliteratur Deutschlands im elften Jahrhundert, MGH Schriften 1 (Leipzig, 1938).Google Scholar Among Part's Italian examples are the letters of Peter Damian (d. 1072) and on these, see further Reindel, K., ‘Petrus Damiani und seine Korrespondenten’, Studi Gregoriani 10 (1975), 203–19, at 210Google Scholar, and Dressler, F., Petrus Damiani: Leben und Werk, Studia Anselmiana 34 (Rome, 1954), 190.Google Scholar

48 The Letters of St. Boniface, ed. and trans. Emerton, E. (New York, 1940), p. 19.Google Scholar Æthelweard's letter to Matilda has these four parts: see Campbell, , Chronicle of Æthelweard, pp. 12.Google Scholar Following his text (but not his paragraphing), these parts are: lines 1–5 (salutation), 5–24 (preamble), 24–46 (main part) and 48 (valediction). Campbell remarks (p. 1, n. 1) on the ornamental syntax of the greeting: ‘In the first sentence salutem is supplied from the second sentence, in the second optat from the first.’

49 See Formulae Merowingici et Karolini aevi, ed. Zeumer, K., MGH Leges 5 (Hanover, 1886)Google Scholar, and, for discussion, Murphy, , Rhetoric, pp. 199200Google Scholar and Lanham, C. D., ‘Salutatio’ Formulas in Latin Letters to 1200: Syntax, Style and Theory, Münchener Beiträge zur Mediävistik und Renaissance Forschung 22 (Munich, 1975), 8994.Google Scholar

50 See Lanham, who also points out that a fragment of epistolary theory, a paragraph entitled de epistolis, which corroborates Julius Victor's rules, survives in an eighth-century manuscript from Monte Cassino (ibid. pp. 89–90). Victor's work is found in Rhetores Latini minores, ed. Halm, C. (Leipzig, 1863), pp. 371448.Google Scholar

51 See Prefaces, ed. Wilcox, , pp. 107–8 for the text of this preface; its five parts (using Wilcox's linea-tion) are lines 1–2 (salutation), 2–17 (the reason for the translation), 18–35 (the number and organisation of the homilies), 36–40 (the petition) and 41 (valediction).Google Scholar

52 Patt, , ‘Early Ars Dictaminis’, pp. 145–7, at 147.Google Scholar

53 On these, see Murphy, , Rhetoric, pp. 216–25.Google Scholar

54 For details, see Lanham, ‘Salutatio’ Formulas.

55 Ibid. p. 96.

56 On this, see Faulhaber, C. B., ‘The Summa dictaminis of Guido Faba’, Medieval Eloquence, ed. Murphy, , pp. 85111, at 95.Google Scholar

57 ‘Ælfric humbly greets Ealdorman Æthelweard, and I say to you, sir, that…’.

58 ‘King Alfred sends warm and friendly greetings to Bishop Wærferth.’

59 ‘Bishop Æthelric greets Æthelmær warmly.’ The text of ‘The Letter of Æthelric’ is to be found in Texte und Untersuchungen zur altenglischen Literatur und Kircbengeschichte, ed. Brotanek, R. (Halle, 1913), p. 29.Google Scholar

60 Similar openings are found in royal writs: see Anglo-Saxon Writs, ed. Harmer, F. E. (Manchester, 1952), pp. 61–3.Google Scholar The chief stylistic characteristic of Latin letters, as of medieval Latin prose in general, is the use of cursus, or rhythmically ordered clause endings. On this style, see Murphy, , Rhetoric, pp. 248–53Google Scholar; on English use of it, see Denholm-Young, N., ‘The cursus in England’ Oxford Essays in Medieval History presented to Herbert Edward Salter (Oxford, 1934), pp. 68103.Google ScholarGerould, G. H., ‘Abbot Ælfric's Rhythmic Prose’, MP 22 (1925), 353–66Google Scholar, argues for cursus as the princi-pal source for Ælfric's rhythmical prose, but Bethurum, D., ‘The Form of Ælfric's Lives of Saints’, SP 29 (1932), 515–33Google Scholar and Pope, , Homilies of Ælfric I, pp. 108–9, show that it was, at most, a general inspiration for his development of that style. He does not use either cursus or his rhythmical prose in the preface to Genesis.Google Scholar

61 Caplan, , Ad Herennium, p. 13Google Scholar and compare Butler, , Quintilian, IV. 9.Google Scholar

62 Lanham, , ‘Salutatio’ Formulas, p. 93.Google Scholar

63 See Faulhaber, , ‘Summa of Faba’, p. 97.Google Scholar

64 The technical term for an epistolary exordium in the first person is arenga: see ibid. p. 98.

65 On this sense, see OED, now, II 10, used ‘to introduce an important or noteworthy point in an argument or proof, or in a series of statements’. It has this meaning in the sentence beginning Nu gedafnode him.

66 A similar difficulty in relation to the modesty topos is raised by Ælfric's apology for his rusticitas in the preface to Vita S. Æthelwoldi; see Jones, C. A., ‘Meatim sed et rustica: Ælfric of Eynsham as a Medieval Latin Author’, Jnl of Med. Latin 8 (1998), 157, at 13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

67 Quoted from King Alfred's West-Saxon Version of Gregory's Pastoral Care, ed. Sweet, H., 2 vols., EETS os 45, 50 (London, 18711872) 1, 7.Google Scholar

68 A similar sort of a shift from a first part which opens a conversation with the audience to a second which introduces the work is observed in the prologues to MHG courtly epics by Brinkmann, H., ‘Der Prolog im Mittelalter als literarische Erscheinung: Bau und Aussage’, Wirkendes Wort 14 (1964), 121Google Scholar, although his interpretation of the sources of this structure is severely criticised by Jaffe, S., ‘Gottfried von Strassburg and the Rhetoric of History’, Medieval Eloquence, ed. Murphy, , pp. 288318.Google Scholar

69 On this, see Curtius, , European Literature, Excursus XIII, ‘Brevity as an Ideal of Style’, pp. 487–94.Google Scholar

70 On Ælfric's use of this style, see Nichols, A. E., ‘Æfric and the Brief Style’, JEGP 70 (1971), 112.Google Scholar

71 See Alcuin's questions XXVI, XXIX, XXXVII and LXXXVII together with their answers and Ælfric's paraphrases in Alcuini Interrogations Sigeuulfi Presbyteri in Genesin, ed. MacLean, G. E. (Halle, 1883), pp. 72–5 and 88–9.Google Scholar

72 ‘How did the voice of Abel's blood cry out to God? It cried out with the result that Cain's guilt was made manifest in the sight of God and the deeds of each man cry out to God and accuse him or mediate for him when God sees them, whether good or evil.’

73 Lines 69–70 of the preface: ‘How did Abel's blood cry out to God if not as each man's misdeeds silently accuse him to God.’ Alcuin's text here reads: ‘Inter. 87. Quomodo vox sanguinis Abel clamat ad Dominum? Resp. Homicidii illius reatus in conspectu judicis apparebat.’

74 But note Camargo, , Ars Dictaminis, p. 23: ‘It is not unusual for the petitio and conclusio to be treated as a single part or as very closely related.’Google Scholar

75 I find myself in entire agreement, however, with Patt's conclusion, ‘Early Ars Dictaminis’, p. 153: ‘the ars dictaminis is no longer seen as the gift of a Promethean genius, but as a cultural development emerging out of a long gradual process of change through adaptation to changing needs’.

76 Prefaces, ed. Wilcox, , p. 67.Google Scholar

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