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Rædan, areccan smeagan: how the Anglo-Saxons read

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

M. B. Parkes
Keble College, Oxford


The Middle Ages inherited from antiquity a tradition of reading which embraced the four functions of grammatical studies (grammaticae officia): lectio, emendatio, enarratio and iudicium. Lectio was the process whereby a reader had to identify elements of the text — letters, syllables, words and sentences (discretio) — in order to read it aloud according to the accentuation required by the sense (pronuntiatio). Emendatio, a process entailed by the realities of manuscript transmission, required a reader (or his teacher) to correct the text in his copy, and sometimes tempted him to ‘improve’ it. Enarratio was the process of examining features of vocabulary, rhetorical and literary form, and above all of interpreting the subject matter of the text (explanatio). ludicium was the process of exercising judgement of the aesthetic qualities or the moral and philosophical value of the text (bene dictorum conprobatio).

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

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1 ‘Grammaticae officia sunt iiiior; Lectio; enarratio; emenda<tio>; iudicium. Lectio est secundum accentus ad sens(u)um necessitatem pron<un>tiatio propria; Enarratio est secundum poetae uoluntatern uniusq<uius>que discretionis explanatio; Emendatio errorum apud poetas et figmentorum reprehensio; Iudicium <esl> bene dictorum conprobatio.’ Addition (made at Winchester, s. xin) to a copy of Bede (University of Missouri – Kansas City, Fragmenta manuscripta 2); cf. Ars Victorini (Grammatici Latini, ed. Keil, H., 7 vols. (Leipzig, 18571880) VI, 188).Google Scholar An expanded version of the text (from the preface to the treatise known as the Anonymus ad Cuimnanum in St Paul in Lavanttal, Stiftsbibliothek, 26.2.16 (S. England, s. vii/viii), 23r), together with a brief account of the tradition, is printed by Irvine, M., ‘Bede the Grammarian, and the Scope of Grammatical Studies in Eighth-Century Northumbria’, ASE 15 (1986), 1544.Google Scholar See also Marrou, H. I., Histoire de l'education dans Fantiquité, 6th ed. (Paris, 1965), pp. 406–10Google Scholar, and Irvine, M., TheMakingof Textual Culture (Cambridge, 1994).Google Scholar

2 Occasionally a reader collated the text with other copies: for example, in Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 3363, IIIr, where St Dunstan records a reading of Boethius's De consolatione Philosophiae which ‘quidam codices habent’; see Parkes, M. B., Scribes, Scripts and Readers: Studies in the Communication, Presentation and Dissemination of Medieval Texts (London, 1991), pp. 259–62Google Scholar; cf. Petitmengin, P., ‘Que signifie le souscription “contuli”?’, Les lettres de Saint Augustin dicouvertes par Johannes Divjak (Paris, 1983), pp. 365–74. For the most part a reading was preferred eclectically on the subjective basis of its intrinsic interest without regard to other witnesses or textual tradition.Google Scholar

3 Quintilian, Institutio oratorio, I.i.25–7 (ed. Radermacher, L., 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1965) I, 1112)Google Scholar; Remi of Auxerre, Tractatus de dedications ecclesie: ‘Sicut enim parvulorum erudirioni congruit primum litterarum elementa cognoscere, deinde ac syllabas, ac post verba paulatdm ad sententiarum cognitionem pervenire’ (PL 131, col. 851); Bonaventura, In hexaëmeron collatio XIX: ‘Sicut pueri primo addiscunt a, b, c, d, etc., et postea syllabicate et postea legere et postea quid significat pars’ (Opera omnia, Quaracchi edition, 10 vols. (Quaracchi, 1883–1902) V, 421).

4 The narrowness of this approach to language was preserved for a long time by the belief that man should concern himself with the language of the Word of God, and by the tendency to accept the existence of different language systems as an inevitable consequence of the Tower of Babel. The author of the Auraicept na n-Éces, a seventh-century grammar of the Irish language, justified his work on the grounds that it had been made necessary by the Tower of Babel: see Ahlqvist, A., The Early Irish Linguist, Commentationes humanarum litterarum 73 (Helsinki, 1982), 47Google Scholar; and Borst, A., Der Turmbau von Babel, 4 vols. (Stuttgart, 19571963).Google Scholar

5 The standard collection of texts is Grammatid Latini, ed. Keil. See especially Holtz, L., Donat et la tradition de l'enseignement grammaticale: Étude sur l'Ars Donati et sa diffusion (IVe–IXe siecle) (Paris, 1981)Google Scholar, and references; Lambot, C., ‘La Grammaire latine selon les grammairiens latins du IVe et du Ve siècle‘, Revue bourguignont publiée par l'Université de Dijon 18 (1908).Google Scholar Supplements to this tradition available to assist the process of discretio in the ninth century are also discussed by Law, V., The Insular Latin Grammarians (Woodbridge, 1982).Google Scholar

6 Parkes, , Scribes, Scripts and Readers, pp. 118Google Scholar; idem, Pause and Effect, an Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West (Aldershot, 1992), p. 411 and pls.Google Scholar

7 See, for example, Page, R. I., ‘The Study of Latin Texts in Late Anglo-Saxon England: 2. The Evidence of English Glosses’, Latin and the Vernacular Languages in Early Medieval Britain, ed. Brooks, N. P. (Leicester, 1982), pp. 141–65Google Scholar

8 Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus, ed. Stokes, W. and Strachan, J., 2 vols. (London, 19011903) I, 399 (no. 118a15); II, 117 (no. 64a18)Google Scholar; Meritt, H. D., Old English Glosses (a Collection) (New York, 1945), p. 35 (nos. 28 and 334).Google Scholar

9 Meritt, , Old English Glosses, p. 33 (no. 256).Google Scholar

10 Thesaurus, ed. Stokes, and Strachan, 1,248 (no. 73a9–10) and 416 (no. 123b2).Google Scholar

11 Die althochdeutschen Classen, ed. Steinmeyer, E. and Sievers, E., 5 vols. (Berlin, 18791922) II, 38 (no. 11); 76 (nos. 66 and 54); 164 (no. 31); 71 (no. 53); and 77(no. 3).Google Scholar On the syntactical glosses of Anglo-Saxon scribes, see Wieland, G. R., The Latin Glosses on Arator and Prudentius in Cambridge University Library MS Gg.5.35 (Toronto, 1983).Google Scholar

12 Meritt, , Old English Glosses, p. 40 (nos. 30, 49 and 52).Google Scholar

13 Notably Würzburg, Universitätsbibliothek, M. p. th. f. 12; Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, C. 301 inf.; Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F. 4. 32; cf. Lindsay, W. M., Early Welsh Script (Oxford, 1912), p. 10.Google Scholar

14 The most recent account is by Korhammer, M., ‘Mittelalterliche Konstrukdonshilfen und ae. Wortstellung’, Scriptorium 37 (1980), 1858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

15 See, for example, die facsimile edition of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. F. 4. 32, Saint Dunstan's Classbook from Glastonbury, ed. Hunt, R. W., Umbrae codicum occidentalium 4 (Amsterdam, 1961), 37r, lines 4, 5, 13, 14 and 16Google Scholar; see also Parkes, , Pause and Effect, pi. 71, line 26.Google Scholar

16 See Robinson, F. C., ‘Syntactical Glosses in Latin Manuscripts of Anglo-Saxon Provenance’, Speculum 48 (1973), 443–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar

17 The theory of the circumstantiae rerum or periochae has been traced back to Hermagoras (Fragmenta, ed. Matthes, D. (Leipzig, 1962), pp. 1314);Google Scholar and in Fortunatianus. Ars rhetoricae, II. 1; Victorinus, In rhetorica Ciceronis; the late-eighth-century collection known as the Anecdotum Parisinum (in Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, lat. 7530); and in the eighth or ninth century, Alcuin and the pseudo-Augustine De rhetorica, c. vii: all ptd Rhetores latini minores, ed. Halm, C. (Leipzig, 1863), pp. 103, 226, 586, 537 and 141.Google Scholar A ninth-century writer reports that the questions (see below) were apparently used by John, Scottus Eriugena in his teaching (Vttae Vergilianae, ed. Brummer, J. (Leipzig, 1912), p. 62).Google Scholar On the use of the circumstantiae in the accessus literature, see the summary account by Minnis, A. J., The Medieval Theory of Authorship (London, 1984), pp. 1519 with references.Google Scholar

18 From a text ‘Quomodo vii circumstantiae rerum in legendo ordinande sint’, ptd Die Schriften Notken undseine Schule, ed. Piper, P., 2 vols. (Freiburg, 1882) 1, xv–xviGoogle Scholar (a tenth-century copy is in Zurich, Zentralbibliothek, C. 98, 38v); a comparable example is quoted by Hagen, H., Anecdota Helvetica (Leipzig, 1870), p. xliiiGoogle Scholar, from a ninth-century copy of an anonymous commentary on Donatus in Bern, Burgerbibliothek, 432.

19 For example by Ekkehart IV of St Gallen in glosses to the text of Orosius and elsewhere; see Dümmler, E., ‘Ekkehart IV von St. Gallen’, ZDA 14 (1869), 173, at 23Google Scholar; Der Liber benedictionum Ekkeharts IV, ed. Egli, J. (St Gallen, 1901), p. xlviii, n.2.Google Scholar

20 De arte metrica el De schematics et tropis, ed. Kendall, C. B. in Beda: Opera didascalica I, CCSL 123A (Turnhout, 1975), 141. Alcuin's list of figures (PL 101, col. 857) puts even more emphasis on those which affect word order.Google Scholar

21 See Parkes, , Scribes, Scripts and Readers, pp. 118.Google Scholar

22 Especially the scribes of Wearmouth-Jarrow: see Parkes, ibid. pp. 104–5 and 110. The term litterae absolutae was used by Boniface, Ep. lxiii, in S. Bonifatii et Lullii Epistolae, ed. Tangl, M., MGH, Epist. select. 1 (Berlin, 1916), 131.Google Scholar

23 Donatus, , Ars maior II.2 (ed. Holtz, L., Donat, p. 605)Google Scholar: ‘Littera est pars minima uocis articulata’; Priscian, Institutiones grammaticae 1.3: ‘litera est vox quae scribi potest individua’; also I. 6–8 (both in Grammatici Latini, ed. Keil, II, 58).Google Scholar Cf. Ganz, D., ‘The Preconditions for Caroline Minuscule’, Viator 18 (1987), 2344. An anonymous Insular treatise in St Paul in Lavanttal 25.2.16, in a gloss on this passage from Donatus emphasizes the perception of letters as a written phenomenon: ‘Vocis duae sunt partes: articulata et confusa. Articulata est que scribi potest, quae subest arriculis, id est digitis qui scribent, uel quod artem habeat et exprimat. Confusa est quae scribi non potest’ (54v).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

24 Cf. above, n. 3.

25 See, for example, Bede's De orthographia, ed. Jones, C. W., Beda: Opera didascalica I, CCSL 123A, 157Google Scholar; Alcuin's, Orthographia, ed. Marsili, A. (Pisa, 1952)Google Scholar; cf. Dionisotti, A. C., ‘On Bede, Grammars and Greek’, RB 92 (1982), 111–40.Google Scholar

26 See, for example, Parkes, , Pause and Effect, pl. 11.Google Scholar

27 Marrou, , Histoire de l'education; S. F. Bonner, Education in Ancient Rome (London, 1977), pp. 210–12.Google Scholar

28 See Quintilian, , Institutio oratorio I.viii (ed. Radermacher, , I, 52–5).Google Scholar

29 Isidore of Seville, De ecclesiasticis officiis II.xi.2: ‘Qui autem ad hujusmodi provehitur gradum, iste erit doctrina et libris imbutus, sensuumque ac verborum scientia perornatus, ita ut in distinctionibus sententiarum intelligat ubi finiatur junctura, ubi adhuc pendet orario, ubi sententia extrema claudatur. Sicque expeditus vim pronuntiationis tenebit, ut ad intellectual omnium mentes sensusque promoveat, discernendo genera pronuntiadonum, atque exprimendo sentenriarum proprios affectus, modo indicantis voce, modo dolentis, modo increpantis, modo exhortanris, sive his similia secundum genera propriae pronuntiationis’ (PL 83, col. 791). See Banniard, M., ‘Le Lecteur en Espagne wisigothique d'après Isidore de Seville: de ses fonctions a l'etat de la langue’, Revue des etudes augustiniennes 21 (1975), 112–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Hildemar, a monk of Corbie in the ninth century, discussed this passage from Isidore in his commentary on the Rule: see Expositio Regulae ab Hildemaro tradita, [ed. Mittermüller, R.] (Regensburg and New York, 1880), pp. 427–8Google Scholar

30 See, for example, Robinson, P. R., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 737–1600 in Cambridge Libraries (Cambridge, 1988), pls. 21 and 22 (gospelbooks in the vernacular)Google Scholar; Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), pi. V (Latin pericope)Google Scholar; Watson, A. G., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 700–1600 in the Department of Manuscripts, the British Library (London, 1979), pl. 30 (Latin psalter).Google Scholar

31 Ker, , Catalogue, pl. II (Rule of St Benedict in the vernacular); cf. p. xxxv.Google ScholarSee also the facsimile edition of The Stickling Homilies, ed. Willard, R., EEMF 10 (Copenhagen, 1960)Google Scholar; and Watson, , Dated Manuscripts British Library, pl. 34 (benedictional).Google Scholar

32 Ker, , Catalogue, nos. 21, 29, 38 and 217.Google Scholar

33 Parkes, , Pause and Effect, p. 111Google Scholar; Scragg, D. G., ‘Accent Marks in the Old English Vercelli Book’, NM 72 (1971), 699710Google Scholar; for facsimile editions, see The Caedmon Manuscript of Anglo-Saxon Biblical Poetry, ed. Gollancz, I. (Oxford, 1927)Google Scholar; The Vercelli Book A Late Tenth Century Manuscript containing Verse and Prose, ed. Sisam, C., EEMF 19 (Copenhagen, 1976).Google Scholar

34 Asset's Life of King Alfred, ed. Stevenson, W. H. (Oxford, 1959), c. 23: ‘Tune ille statim tollens de manu sua, magistrum adiit et legit. Quo lecto matri retulit et recitavit.’Google Scholar

35 Riché, P., ‘Le Psautier, livre de lecture élémentaire’, Études merovingiennes, Actes des journées de Poitiers 1952 (Paris, 1953), pp. 253–6Google Scholar; Petructi, A., ‘Scritrura e libro nell'Italia altomedievale’, SM 10 (1969), 157207, esp. 164–5Google Scholar; Lorcin, A., ‘La Vie scolaire dans les monastères d'Irlande au ve“ndash”viie“siecl”, Revue du moyen âge latin 1 (1995), 221–36.Google Scholar On the use of the psalter in Anglo-Saxon England, see, for example, Brown, G. H., ‘The Dynamics of Literacy in Anglo-Saxon England’, Bull. of the John Rylands Library 77 (1995), 104–42, esp. 122–38Google Scholar; O'Neill, P., ‘Syntactical Glosses in the Lambeth Psalter, and the Reading of Old English Interlinear Glosses as SentencesScriptorium (1992), 250–6Google Scholar

36 See Daly, L. W., Contributions to a History of Alphabetization in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Collectio Latomus 90 (Brussels, 1967)Google Scholar; cf. remarks by Parkes, M. B., ‘Folia librorum quaerere’, Fabula in tabula, ed. Leonardi, C., Morelli, M. and Santi, F., Quaderni di cultura mediolatina 13 (Spoleto, 1995), 2341, esp. 39.Google Scholar

37 Fifteen copies of Terence survive from the ninth to the eleventh centuries: see Texts and Transmission: A Survey of the Latin Classics, ed. Reynolds, L. D. (Oxford, 1983), p. 418.Google Scholar On die suitability of reading Terence to improve a student's eloquence, see Quintilian, Institutio oratorio I.xi.12.

38 See Lapidge, M., ‘Surviving Booklists from Anglo-Saxon England’, Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies presented to Peter Clemoes, ed. Lapidge, M. and Gneuss, H. (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 3389, esp. 70 (no. 9).Google Scholar

39 In the tenth century on the Continent Hrotsvit of Gandersheim wrote plays for her fellow nuns to redress the balance of Terence's representation of women, and to emphasize the chastity of Christian virgins: see Hrothswitha of Gandersheim, ed. Haight, A. L. (New York, 1965).Google Scholar

40 On the monastic lectio and meditatio, see Cassian, , Conlationes, ed. Petschenig, M., CSEL 13 (Vienna, 1886), 410 (XTV.10)Google Scholar; Leclercq, J., The Love of Learning and the Desire for God (New York, 1961), pp. 1822Google Scholar; Riche, P., Éducation et culture dans l'occident barbare 6e-8esiecle (Paris, 1962), pp. 161–2Google Scholar; Carruthers, M. J., The Book of Memory (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 162–73Google Scholar

41 See Aulus, Gellius, Noctes Attitae XIII.xxxi.5 (ed. Marshall, P. K., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1990) II, 423).Google Scholar Silent reading is implied by the existence of documents and the development of systems of abbreviation such as notae iuris and Tironian notes, which indicate that writing was regarded as a medium of record for administrative purposes: see the various contributions in Tironiscbe Noten, ed. Ganz, P., WolfenbüttelerMittelalter-Studien 1 (Wiesbaden, 1990), 3551Google Scholar

42 La Règie de Saint Benoit, ed. De Vogue, A. and Neufville, J. (Paris, 1971–2), c. xlviii.Google ScholarThis injunction is repeated in later customaries: for example in the ‘Constitutions’ of Lanfranc, ed. Knowles, M. D., Corpus consuetudinum monasticarum 3 (Siegburg, 1967), 5.Google Scholar

43 See Fontaine, J., ‘Fins et moyens de l'enseignement ecclésiastique dans l'Espagne wisigothique’, SettSpol 19 (1972), 145202, esp. 180–1 and 187–90.Google Scholar

44 Isidore, , Libri sententiarum, III.xiv.9 and 8 (PL 83, col. 689).Google Scholar

45 Gregory the Great, Moralia she expositio in lob, ed. Adriaen, M., CCSL 143 (Turnhout, 1979), 158 (IV, praefatio)Google Scholar: ‘Sicut enim ignotorum hominum fades cernimus, et corda nescimus, sed si familiari eis locutione coniungimur, usu colloquii eorum etiam cogitationes indagamus: ita cum in sacro eloquio sola historia aspicitur, nihil aliud quam facies videtur; sed si huic assiduo usu coniungimur, eius nimirum mentem, quasi ex collocutionis familiaritate penetramus.’

46 Vatican City, BAY, Vat. lat. 3363; see Parkes, , Scribes, Scripts and Readers, pp. 259–62.Google Scholar

47 Line numbers here refer to the extracts from the text with glosses printed below in the Appendix.

48 See Campbell, J., Bede's Riges et Principes, Jarrow Lecture (1979).Google Scholar

49 Cf. Job. XII.21; Ps. LXXV.13 and CV1.40; Lam. XLIX.38.

50 Meritt, H. D., The Old English Prudentius Classes at Boulogne-stir-Mer, Stanford Stud, in Lang, and Lit. 16 (Stanford, CA, 1959), nos. 21, 911, 14 and 283, respectively.Google Scholar

51 Spangenberg, Pfarrbibliothek, s.n.: Lowe, E. A., Codices Latini Antiquiores, Suppl. (Oxford, 1971), no. 1806Google Scholar; Parkes, , Scribes, Scripts and Readers, pp. 122–5Google Scholar

52 Cassian, , Conlationes XIV.viii.1–2 (ed. Petschenig, , p. 404).Google Scholar

53 Gregory, , Moralia IV praef. (ed. Adriaen, , p. 158)Google Scholar: ‘Qui textum considerat, et sensum sacrae locutionis ignorat, non tam se eruditione instruit, quam ambiguitate confundit: quia nonnumquam sibi litterae uerba contradicunt; sed dum a semetipsis per contrarietatem dissidunt, lectorem ad intelligentiam ueritaris mittunt.’

54 Cassian, , De institutis coenobiorum, ed. Petschenig, M., CSEL 17 (Vienna, 1888), 107 (V.34)Google Scholar: ‘nobis non, ut essent incognita uel obscura, spiritus sanctd gratia promulgata sint, sed nostro uitio uelamine peccatorum cordis oculos obnubente reddantur obscura’.

55 Cassian, , Conlationes XTV.viii (ed. Petschenig, , pp. 404–5)Google Scholar: ‘spiritalis autem scientiae genera sunttria, tropoiogia, allegoria, anagoge,… historia praeteritarum ac uisibilium agnitionem conplectur rerum,… ad allegoriam autem pertinent quae sequuntur, quia ea quae in ueritate gesta sunt alterius sacramenti formam praefigurasse dicuntur … anagoge uero de spiritalibus mysteriis ad sublimiora quaedam et sacratiora caelorum secreta conscendens … tropoiogia est moralis explanatio ad emundationem uitae et instructionem pertinens actualem, … ut una atque eadem Hierusalem quadrifarie possit intellegi: secundum historiam ciuitas Iudaeorum, secundum allegoriam ecclesia Christi, secundum anaogogen ciuitas dei ilia caelestis, quae est mater omnium nostrum, secundum tropologiam anima hominis, quae frequenter hoc nomine aut increpatur aut laudatur a domino.’

56 Gorman, M. M., ‘The Diffusion of the Manuscripts of Saint Augustine's “De Doctrina Christiana” in the Early Middle Ages’, RB 95 (1985), 1124Google Scholar, records no English copies before the end of the eleventh century. The earliest surviving English copy was produced at Salisbury after the Conquest in the earliest known attempt to adopt the texts in Cassiodorus's Institutiones, bk I, itself unknown in England before the second half of the eleventh century. See Webber, T., Scribes and Scholars at Salisbury Cathedral c. 1075–1128 (Oxford, 1992), pp. 35–6 and n. 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

57 De scbematibus ettropis, II.ii (xii), ed. Kendall, , Beda: Opera didascalica, pp. 161–9.Google Scholar

58 Boniface, , Ep. xxxiv, ed. Tangl, , S. Bonifatii et Lullii Epistolae, p. 59.Google Scholar

59 Aldhelm, , De laudibus virginitatis, ed. Ehwald, R., MGH Auct. Antiq. 15 (Berlin, 1919), 232 (c. iv)Google Scholar: ‘ac quadriformis ecclesiasticae tradidonis normulis secundum historiam, allegoriam, tropologiam, anagogen digesta solerter indagando’.

60 ‘Spiritus sanctus infinites in ea constituit intellectus ideoque nullius expositoris sensus sensum alterius aufert’: John, Scottus Eriugena, De divisione naturae (PL 122, cols. 690 and 696)Google Scholar; cf. Smaragdus, de Saint-Mihiel, Diadema monachorum, c. iii (PL 102, col. 598).Google Scholar For a survey of the exegesis of this period, see Spicq, C., Esquisse d'une histoire de l'exégèse latine au moyen âge (Paris, 1944), pp. 1060Google Scholar

61 Aldhelm, , De laudibus virginitatis, c. iv: ‘misticis catholicorum patrum, commentarüs exposita et ad medullam usque spiritaliter enucleata’ (ed. Ehwald, , p. 232).Google Scholar

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63 Ælfric's Prefaces, ed. Wilcox, J., Durham Med. Texts 9 (Durham, 1994), 116–19, esp. 118.Google Scholar

64 Augustine, , De Genesi ad litteram, ed. Zycha, J., CSEL 28 (Vienna, 1894), 85 (III.19): ‘“dixit deus: faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostram”, ad insinuandam scilicet, ut ita dicam, pluralitatem personarum propter patrem et filium et spiritum sanctum, quam tamen deitads unitatem intellegendam statim admonet dicens “et fecit deus hominem ad imaginem dei”, non quasi pater ad imaginem filii aut filius ad imaginem patris – alioquin non uere dictum est “ad imaginem nostram”, si ad patris solius aut ad filii solius imaginem factus est homo … “ad imaginem nostram” significatur, quod non id agat illa pluralitas personarum, ut plures deos uel dicamus uel credamus uel intellegamus, sed patrem et filium et spiritum sanctum – propter quam trinitatem dictum est “ad imaginem nostram”…’Google Scholar

65 Exodus 523–6.Google Scholar

66 Cassian, , De institutis V.34 (ed. Petschenig, , p. 107)Google Scholar: ‘omnem mentis industriam et intentionem cordis erga emundationem uitiorum carnalium detinere, quibus expulsis confestim cordis oculi sublato uelamine passionum sacramenta scripturarum naturaliter contemplarentur’.

67 See, for example, those copies recorded in Lapidge, ‘Surviving Booklists’.

68 Gregory, , Moralia XVIII. 21 (ed. Adriaen, , p. 899).Google Scholar

69 Cassian, , Conlatio XTV. x.2 (ed. Petschenig, , p. 410): ‘donee continua tneditatio inbuat mentem tuam et quasi in similitudinem sui formet’.Google Scholar

70 Ibid. XTV.xiii.3 (p. 415): ‘ut sensibus tuis inuiscerata quodammodo et perspecta atque palpata condatur, illud omni obseruanda custodire te conuenit’.

71 HE IV.3, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, ed. Colgrave, B. and Mynors, R. A. B. (Oxford, 1969), p. 338.Google Scholar

72 Isidore of Seville, Sentential III.xiv.8 (PL 83, col. 689): ‘Saepe prolixa lectio longitudinis causa memoriam legends obtergit. Quod si brevis sit, submotoque libro sentenria retractetur in animo, tune sine labore legitur, et ea quae sunt recolendo a memoria minime excidunt.’

73 Gregory, , Moralia II.i.1 (ed. Adriaen, p. 59)Google Scholar: ‘Scriptura sacra mentis oculis quasi quoddam specu lum opponitur, ut interna nostra facies in ipsa videatur. Ibi etenim foeda, ibi pulchra nostra cognoscimus. Ibi sendmus, quantum proficimus, ibi a prouectu quam longe distamus.’

74 Augustine, , Enarrationes in Psalmos, ed. Dekkers, E. and Fraipont, J., CCSL 40 (Turnhout, 1956), 1476 on Ps. CIII, sermo 1Google Scholar: ‘Speculum in hac lectione propositum est: uide si hoc es, quod dixit; si nondum es, geme ut sis … Hoc tibi ostendit nitor ille quod es: uide quod es:… Quoniam displicet tibi foeditas tua, incipis ei in confessione: sicut alibi dicitur, Incipite Domino in confessione. Primo accusa foeditatem tuam: … Accusando foeditatem tuam incipe confiteri, a confessione incipis decorari: quo decorante, nisi specioso forma prae filiis hominum?’

75 Bede, , De templo Salamonis, ed. Hurst, D., CCSL 119A (Turnhout, 1969), 143 (prol.).Google Scholar

76 Line numbers here refer to the extracts from the text with glosses printed in the Appendix, below, pp. 21–2Google Scholar

77 Cassian, , Conlatio, XIV.viii.6 (ed. Petschenig, , p. 406)Google Scholar: ‘tropologia est, qua uniuersa quae ad dis-cretionem pertinent actualem utrum utilia uel honesta sint prudenti examinatione discernimus’.

78 Salomon and Saturn 238–44 (ASPR 6, 3940).Google Scholar

79 Isidore of Seville, Libri etymologiarum, ed. Lindsay, W M. (Oxford, 1911) I.xxxix.9Google Scholar; VII.ii.98; cf. Fontaine, J., Isidore de Seville et la culture classique dans l' Espagne arisigothique, 2 vols. (Paris, 1959) I, 166, n.Google Scholar; Kaske, R. E.. ‘Sapientia et Fortitude as the Controlling Theme in Beowulf’, SP 55 (1958), 423–56Google Scholar

80 Augustine, , De civitate Dei, ed. Dombart, B. and Kalb, A., 2 vols., CCSL 47 (Turnhout, 1955), 295 (X.21).Google Scholar

81 Gregory, , Moralia II.i.1 (ed. Adriaen, , p. 59)Google Scholar: ‘Dumque illorum uictricia facta commemorat, contra uitiorum proelia, debilia nostra confirmat: fitque uerbis illius, ut eo mens minus inter certamina trepidet, quo ante se positos tot uirorum fortium triumphos uidet. Nonnumquam vero non solum nobis eorum uirtutes assent, sed etiam casus innotescit: ut et in uictoria fortium, quod imitando arripere, et rursus uideamus in lapsibus, quod timere.’

82 Mayr-Harting, H., The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (London, 1972), pp. 220–39Google Scholar

83 Beoawlf 24–5, 2600–1 and 2708–9Google Scholar: ‘Among peoples everywhere a man shall prosper through deeds that attract praise’… ‘for a man who means well nothing can supersede kinship’… ‘So a man ought to be, a thegn in need.’ (Cf. Beowulf 572–3, 1384–9, 1534–6, 1724–84 (Hrothgar's speech), 2541, 2858–9, 3055 and 3077–8Google Scholar; also 703, 930–1, 1002–9, 1059–62 and 1246–50) Presence of such exegesis may indicate a youthful audience for such Anglo-Saxon poetry (cf. Asser's Life of Alfred, ch. 23, but ch. 75 suggests a larger one).

84 The Battle of Maldan 312–13Google Scholar: ‘Resolution must be the firmer, heart the bolder, spirit the greater as our physical strength diminishes.’

85 The Wanderer 108–10Google Scholar: ‘Here property is but on loan, here friend is but on loan, here man himself is but on loan, here kinsman is but on loan; the entire structure of this earth will become empty.’ (Cf. Is. XXTV).

86 London, British Library, Harley 208, 88r (illustrated in Catalogue of Ancient MSS in British Museum II (London, 1884), pl. 51Google Scholar); see also Ker, Catalogue, no. 229. The manuscript was produced in Saint-Denis (s. ix), and was subsequently at York. The letter is no. 249 in Alcuin, , Epistolae, ed. Duemmler, E., MGH Epist. IV (Berlin, 1895), 403.Google Scholar

87 Oxford, Bodleian Library, Tanner 3,189v (added leaf, s. xi2); ed. Lapidge, , ‘Surviving Booklists’, pp. 6973 (no. XI).Google Scholar

88 For a sketch of these later developments, see Parkes, M. B., ‘Le pratiche di lettura’, Lo spavin letterario del medioevo I. II medioevo latino, ed. Cavallo, G., Leonardi, C. and Menesto, E., 5 vols. in 6 (Rome, 1992–; in progress) II [La circolayione del testa], 465–86, with further references.Google Scholar

This present article is an expanded version of the first James L. Rosier Memorial Lecture given at the University of Pennsylvania, March 1995. I am grateful to the Department of English of the University of Pennsylvania for the invitation to give the original lecture. I am also grateful to Prof. D. Ganz, Dr A. Grotans, Prof. M. Lapidge, Dr P. Saenger, Dr G. Tunbridge and Dr R. Zim for helpful observations and valuable suggestions. I remain solely responsible for any errors, and for the opinions expressed.

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