Jill Fitzgerald
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A new praedestinati in Wulfstan’s Sermo Lupi ad Anglos?
in Rebel angels
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This chapter considers renderings of the fall of the angels narrative in the homilies of Ælfric and Archbishop Wulfstan of York. Ælfric explores the complex relationship between sovereigns and disobedient subjects, imagining the angelic fall as a crisis of individual agency. Wulfstan adopts Ælfric’s approach in the wake of the viking invasions. With Wulfstan, I work to overturn some predominant readings of his famous Sermo Lupi ad Anglos (namely, that he characterises the vikings as heralds of Antichrist). Armed with the doctrine of replacement as his rhetorical weapon, Wulfstan suggests that the English body politic has instead come to resemble the rebel order of angels, implying that the vikings could supplant them and take their place as ‘replacements,’ inbound colonisers destined for heavenly seats. Just as the originally pagan Anglo-Saxons had been replacements for the sinful Christian Britons, Wulfstan urges Anglo-Saxon Christians not to cede to the vikings their providential role in salvation history.

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Rebel angels

Space and sovereignty in Anglo-Saxon England


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