New article published: ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’

My latest article is now available online in a special issue of English Studies!

‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’

English Studies, 98:1 (2017): 35-48

tiberius-c-vi-31r
Opening of Psalm 1 in the Tiberius Psalter. London, British Library Cotton Tiberius C. vi, fol. 31r.

This article examines the use of the Psalms in sixteen short prayer programmes, found in tenth- and eleventh-century English manuscripts, and used for a variety of different purposes, such as morning prayer, healing the sick, and defending oneself against enemies. Although the choice of psalms is not always clear, from the examples discussed it appears likely that this choice was influenced by the importance of certain psalms in the Benedictine offices, and by thematic parallels between the psalms and the purpose of prayer: for example, medical remedies for illnesses caused by the devil make use of psalms asking God’s protection from one’s enemies. However, much about Anglo-Saxon use of the Psalms, such as the meaning of the term “prayer psalms”, remains unknown and a subject for further research.

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