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Durham University

Department of History


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Publication details

2015 Foxhall Forbes, Helen 'Affective piety and the practice of penance in late-eleventh-century Worcester: the address to the penitent in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 121', Anglo-Saxon England 44, pp. 309-345

Author(s) from Durham


Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 121, a manuscript written in Worcester in the early years of the episcopate of St Wulfstan (1062–95), contains a unique, untitled, anonymous text which has previously been interpreted as a Lenten homily. This article argues that this text is not a homily, but must be understood in the context of the penitential material surrounding it in Junius 121, for which it was probably specifically composed. The text has not attracted much attention, but it is an important early and vernacular witness to the developing tradition of affective writing which became prominent during the latter part of the eleventh century. In addition, the text itself and its placing in its manuscript context reveal the careful, deliberate decisions which Junius 121's compiler made about his material: by reusing earlier texts alongside newly composed English material, he provided practical pastoral and penitential materials for use in late-eleventh-century Worcester.

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