The Old English Translation of Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum in Its Historical and Cultural Context
Andreas Lemke
The Old English Translation of Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum in Its Historical and Cultural Context

Did King Alfred the Great commission the Old English translation of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, probably the masterpiece of medieval Anglo-Latin Literature, as part of his famous program of translation to educate the Anglo-Saxons? Was the Old English Historia, by any chance, a political and religious manifesto for the emerging ‘Kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons’? Do we deal with the literary cornerstone of a nascent English identity at a time when the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were threatened by a common enemy: the Vikings? Andreas Lemke seeks to answer these questions – among others – in his recent publication. He presents us with a unique compendium of interdisciplinary approaches to the subject and sheds new light on the Old English translation of the Historia in a way that will fascinate scholars of Literature, Language, Philology and History.

Entstand die altenglische Übersetzung der Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum des Beda Venerabilis, des wohl bedeutendsten anglo-lateinischen Werkes des Mittelalters, auf Bestreben König Alfreds ‚des Großen‘ als Teil seines Übersetzungs- und Bildungsprogrammes? War die altenglische Historia vielleicht ein Gründungsmanifest des Königreichs der Angelsachsen? Dieses Königreich formierte sich schließlich in einer Zeit, als England sich eines äußeren Feindes zu erwehren hatte, der die politische Ordnung der angelsächsischen Königreiche bedrohte: der Wikinger. Um diese Frage zu beantworten, präsentiert Andreas Lemke ein in dieser Form einzigartiges Kompendium interdisziplinärer Ansätze und wirft ein neues Licht auf die altenglische Beda-Übersetzung, das Literatur- und Sprachwissenschaftler, Philologen und Historiker gleichermaßen anspricht.

Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
I. Introduction and Methodology
Why Translate Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum?
‘Hwilum word be worde, hwilum andgite of angite’: Anglo-Saxon Translation in Theory and Practice
A Brief History of Translation
Translating the OEHE: Theoretical Considerations
The HE and the OEHE: Text-theoretical Considerations
The Social Logic of the Text
Structure of the Thesis
II. The OEHE: The Material Evidence
The Manuscripts of the OEHE
Textual Criticism and the Problem of the Table of Contents
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Tanner, 10
London, British Library, MS Cotton Domitian A.IX, fol. 11r
The Reception of the Manuscripts
III. The Intellectual and Political Landscape of Ninth-Century England
IV. Author and Authority
King Alfred and the Authorship of the OEHE
Defining the Medieval Author
From Author to Authority
Author and Authority in the OEHE
The Metrical Envoi in CCCC MS 41
The Authority of the OEHE as Source Text
V. Translating the Historia Ecclesiastica
Translation Techniques in the OEHE
The Audience
VI. The Scratched Glosses in British Library,MS Cotton Tiberius C.II
Origin and Date
Glossing Techniques
The Scratched Glosses and the OEHE
The Ink Glosses in British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius C.II
VII. The Two Bedes: Differences and Similarities between the OEHE and its Latin Source
Mission and Conversion
The Role of the Britons
Re-inventing the gens Anglorum? Identity and the Angelcynn
VIII. Conclusion – (Re-)Assessing the OEHE
IX. Bibliography
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