Jill Fitzgerald
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The angels’ share
in Rebel angels
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This chapter considers the fall of the angels in Old English saints’ lives, wherein holy men and women articulate the narrative as though it were a charm, a verbal defence mechanism offering spatial, geographical, and bodily protections. Just as Anglo-Saxon charms master something threatening by defining and reciting its name, properties, and origins, so too in Elene and Juliana do Cynewulf’s saintly protagonists Judas Cyriacus and Juliana master their demonic tempters by identifying them and recounting their originary sin. While in these poems the origin narrative is itself apotropaic, in Andreas the fall of the angels narrative is linked to the protective power of the baptismal seal (or sphragis) that safeguards Christians against the devil. Similarly, Guthlac A relates how Guthlac disarms his demonic tormentors by recounting the story of their fall and by expressing his faithful expectation that he will be one of their replacements in heaven.

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Rebel angels

Space and sovereignty in Anglo-Saxon England


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