stone pillar and almost overwhelms the pagan
cannibals of Mermedonia. Despite their differences, all the poems share
an interest in two themes, which emerge from the biblical story of the
Flood and its theological interpretation: covenant and apocalypse.
Scholars of Old English poetry
generally agree that Genesis A is an early poem, perhaps written
as early as the
The story of the Flood, inherited by the Anglo-Saxons during their conversion to Christianity, was transformed by them into a vital myth through which they interpreted the whole of history and their place in it. The dual character of the myth, with the opposition between threatened destruction and hope of renewal, presented commentators with a potent historical metaphor, which they exploited in their own changing historical circumstance. This book explores the use of this metaphor in the writings of the Anglo-Saxons. It is the integration of a well-known biblical story into the historical and cultural self-definition of a group of people converted to Christianity and its worldview. The Flood in the Bible is clearly a punishment, though the sin is not so well defined. This forms part of a historical pattern of sin and punishment extending back to Eden, and progressed to the sin and exile of Cain. For Bede the historian, the Flood was a key event in the earlier history of the world; for Bede the theologian, the Flood was an event replete with mystical significance. In Exodus and Andreas all the poems share an interest in two themes, which emerge from the biblical story of the Flood and its theological interpretation: covenant and apocalypse. Noah is the 'one father' not only of Israel, but of the whole human race, and his introduction widens the concept of 'inheritance' in the Exodus. The book concludes with a detailed discussion of the significance of the Flood myth in Beowulf.
Vacca, showing how quickly contemporary
urban life could collapse in the manner of a medieval apocalypse. 20
Tuchman comments that the fourteenth century had not been
often studied because it did not seem to fit the pattern of human
progress so beloved of much historiography, but ‘after the experience of
the terrible twentieth century, we have greater fellow-feeling for a
distraught age whose rules were
of Christian society. In this perspective, abduction appeared as a counter-model of marriage liable to bring down the social pyramid that the Carolingian kings were attempting to construct. It is this that justifies the tone of catastrophe, indeed apocalypse, which can be found in Hincmar’s treatise.
Father and emperor were two people who could not be attacked and whose legitimacy could not be brought into question (Stuart Airlie, following Janet Nelson, has insisted on the fact that the Carolingians succeeded in having themselves accepted
. Gardner, ‘The Capetian Presence in Berry as a Consequence of the First Crusade’, in Autour de la Première Croisade: Actes du colloque de la Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East (Clermont-Ferrand, 22–25 juin 1995) , ed. Michel Balard (Paris, 1996), pp. 71–81 (pp. 75–6).
82 Jay Rubenstein, Armies of Heaven: The First Crusade and the Quest for Apocalypse (New York, 2011), p. 21.
83 For conceptualization of this idea see Vincent Ryan, ‘Richard I and the Early Evolution of the Fourth Crusade’, in The
Wyclif devoted many years of his life to the intensive study of scripture, beginning formally with exegetical lectures that survive as a sequence of postils (probably written between 1371 and 1376), now collectively known as Postils on the Whole of the Bible, a unique and extensive commentary that won Wyclif considerable respect as an exegete. In these, we witness his meticulous defence of the authority of scripture, and of the literal veracity of all of its parts. This is developed further in On the Truth of Holy Scripture (1377–78), Wyclif’s definitive guide to the interpretation of the Bible. It is in the first book of this latter treatise that he argues that scripture is metaphysically the Book of Life of which we read in St John’s Apocalypse. This book and the truths inscribed within it, he suggests here, are scripture in the truest sense, unlike the material codices that are so often taken to be the scriptural text by contemporary scholars. This conception of the scripture served Wyclif well in his famous claim that no part of scripture could literally be false. It enabled him to challenge the linguistic sophistry which he felt inevitably arose when the nature of the scriptural text was narrowly equated with inscriptions on manuscript pages.
multiplicity of ways. 18
Here ends the Treatise on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
42 On the Loosing of Satan
On the Loosing of Satan.
Latin text: Polemical Works , vol. 2, pp. 391–400.
This treatise focuses on a short passage in the Book of Apocalypse in which Satan in bound and cast into an abyss for one thousand years. Wyclif argues that from the time of Christ’s ascension until the present day Satan has been loosed from the abyss in a
-Saxon invention of a fourth
son born in the ark would rest on some Christian tradition, however
unorthodox. Thomas Hill has suggested that the ark-born son has his
origin in the apocryphal fourth son of Noah found in the
Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius, a work found in Latin and
Greek versions. 58
Hill notes that the Anglo-Saxons knew the Pseudo-Methodian
Apocalypse , as it is
Apocalypse ( c .703–9), exploits this way of reading. 22 Bede’s discussion
of the Flood, as a part of his mature work, contains many extended
mystical passages. For Bede, commentary on scripture was not a form of
speculative theology, but literary criticism, and the reader was charged
with understanding the full meaning of the text by practising
Bede’s employment of biblical examples in
–78), Wyclif’s definitive guide to the interpretation of the Bible. It is in the first book of this latter treatise that he argues that scripture is metaphysically the Book of Life of which we read in St John’s Apocalypse. This book and the truths inscribed within it, he suggests here, are scripture in the truest sense ( 7i ), unlike the material codices that are so often taken to be the scriptural text by contemporary scholars. This conception of the scripture served Wyclif well in his famous claim that no part of scripture could literally be false ( 10 ). It enabled him to