Exegetical Theory and Textual Communities in Late Anglo-Saxon England


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Any literate Anglo-Saxon studied biblical exegesis, a mode of reading that moves from historical analysis to the allegorical description of moral action and its consequences in the afterlife. The salvation history constructed through such exegetical theory, inherited from patristic and continental scholars, formed the absolute and universal horizon of present action. At the same time, each writer saw this horizon approaching at different rates, and no two writers perceived the shape of its curve in quite the same way. Drawing on history and literary theory, this project shows how Anglo-Saxon writers use and adapt exegetical theory to situate their audiences within the morally charged progress of salvation history, producing the Anglo-Saxon subject as a conscious actor in this history.