“O quam tu pulchra es!” Constructing the Holy Land in Anglo-Saxon England.
The Impact of Diasporas project investigates the identities of British people, present and past. This paper explores the way that consideration and contemplation of distant places shapes the way that people perceive their own local spaces and places, through a particular focus on Bede's Commentary on the Song of Songs, a comparatively understudied text. Bede's figurative interpretation brings the beauty of the heavenly Jerusalem closer to earth, but his exegesis also significantly shapes the way he perceives the earthly Jerusalem and the physical world, whose attributes he considered essential for understanding even such a mystical book as the Song of Songs.
Helen Foxhall Forbes studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge, and Theology at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg-im-Breisgau. She held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Leicester, and is completing a book resulting from this research, entitled Heaven and Earth in Anglo-Saxon England: theology and society in an age of faith. She is now a Research Associate on the major Leverhulme-funded project, The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain, at the University of Leicester.
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