By Virginia Blanton
Indicators of Devotion is the 1st longitudinal learn of an Anglo-Saxon cult from its inception within the overdue 7th century in the course of the Reformation. It examines the creation and reception of texts--both written and visual--that supported the cult of Ã†thelthryth, an East Anglian princess who had resisted the conjugal calls for of 2 political marriages to keep up her virginity. Ã†thelthryth forfeited her place as Queen of Northumbria to turn into a nun and based a monastery at Ely, the place she governed as abbess prior to loss of life in 679 of a neck tumor, which was once interpreted as divine retribution for her younger vainness in donning necklaces. The cult used to be initiated whilst, 16 years after her loss of life, Ã†thelthryth's corpse used to be exhumed, the physique discovered incorrupt, and the tumor proven to were healed posthumously. indicators of Devotion unearths how Ã†thelthryth, who turned the preferred local girl saint, offers a crucial aspect of research one of the cultic practices of a number of disparate teams over time-religious and lay, aristocratic and customary, female and male, literate and nonliterate. This learn illustrates that the physique of Ã†thelthryth turned a malleable, versatile picture which may be without difficulty followed. Hagiographical narratives, monastic charters, liturgical texts, miracle tales, property litigation, shrine bills, and visible representations jointly testify that the tale of Ã†thelthryth was once an important a part of the cultural panorama in early and past due medieval England. extra very important, those representations display the actual devotional practices of these invested in Ã†thelthryth's cult. by way of centering the dialogue on problems with textual creation and reception, Blanton offers a special learn of English hagiography, cultural trust, and devotional perform. indicators of Devotion provides, furthermore, to the present dialog on virginity and hagiography by way of encouraging students to bridge the divide among stories of Anglo-Saxon and past due medieval England and tough them to undertake methodological suggestions that might foster extra multidisciplinary paintings within the box of hagiographical scholarship.
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Additional resources for Signs of Devotion: The Cult of St. AEthelthryth in Medieval England, 695-1615
Davis notes that the presence of roughly 160 known manuscripts denotes the relative popularity of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History. In “Bede After Bede,” Studies in Medieval History Presented to R. Allen Brown, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill et al. : Boydell Press, 1989), 103 –16 at 104 –5. One immediate recipient, Bede claims, was King Ceolwulf, who had read the history and wanted it disseminated, 2 –3. 14. Bede, EH, 2 –3. 15. Bede, EH, 6 –7. See also Thomas W. Mackay, “Bede’s Hagiographical Method: His Knowledge and Use of Paulinus of Nola,” in Famulus Christi, ed.
Alan Thacker notes that incorruption as a sign of sanctity was an eastern tradition, in “The Making of a Local Saint,” in Local Saints and Local Churches, ed. Thacker and Sharpe, 45 –73 at 49. 41. Bede, EH, 390 –93. 01 36 1/31/07 9:54 AM Page 36 signs of devotion who had observed monastic practice in East Anglia before joining Wearmouth. Ceolfrith is one source by which Bede learned about the East Anglian church and its politics, and perhaps he was the first to alert Bede to the miraculous story of Æthelthryth’s virginity.
G. F. Browne records one of Bede’s sermons on virginity that ranked virginity and widowhood over conjugal chastity. In The Venerable Bede: His Life and Writings (London: SPCK, 1919), 252. 27. Bede, EH, 406 –7. 28 Bede’s admission of Hild’s prudence as a leader suggests his admiration, but the story of this important monastic leader does not compete with his account of Æthelthryth’s virginity. And while Æthelthryth might have performed nobly as abbess at Ely, these actions are passed over in favor of a detailed account of the saint’s purity and asceticism.