MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Inventing History : forgery: a great British tradition (British History)
Reply to topic Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 128, 129, 130  Next
View previous topic :: View next topic  
admin
Librarian


View user's profile
Reply with quote

Our text for today comes from the Ansaxnet (for those of you in the Outer Darkness this is where the world's leading Anglo-Saxonists talk amongst themselves). It concerns something called Aelfric's Colloquy and any Applied Epistemologist worth his salt will spot there's something mighty bogus going on here.

G. N. Garmonsway's edition in the Methuen' Old English Library Series (1st ed. 1938, 2nd ed. 1947 [London], American publication by Appleton-Century-Crofts in 1966 [New York], reissue under Michael Swanton's auspices at Exeter, 1991) has been the standard edition. It is unfortunately misleading, however, as it gives priority to the partial OE gloss in one of the manuscripts and subordinates the main Latin text. Consequently, some have come to think of it as an Old English or bilingual text, when the original work is solely Latin, as interesting to us as the gloss may be.

It is linked, of course, as a textbook with the Latin Grammar (and its appended Glossary), which I am editing and have given numerous papers on. The primary (expository) language of the Grammar, is, indeed, English, but because of the great many Latin words, phrases, and sentences with Old English translations, this popular Old English work saw renewed popularity in the 16th and subsequent centuries, when it was reversed to become a textbook for Old English among scholars literate in Latin, though not actually printed until appearing as a supplement to William Somner's Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum (1659). The glossary printed there as Aelfric's, however, is the Antwerp-London Glossary, a source of considerable scholarly confusion ever since. The edition by Julius Zupitza (Berlin, 1880) is quite sound, but I have additional textual material and a lot of contextual and explanatory material as well
.


Let us sink our collective fangs into this one!
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

It is linked, of course, as a textbook with the Latin Grammar [ which ] saw renewed popularity in the 16th and subsequent centuries, when it was reversed to become a textbook for Old English among scholars literate in Latin


A surge of interest in 'Old English' just when Beowulf turned up, eh? Which is, of course, consistent with it being genuine. When did the rest of the corpus of OE literature turn up?}
Send private message
J Hailey
Guest


Reply with quote

Ah, but what does "renewed popularity" mean? Can you (and more importantly could the writer of the piece) point to any interest in Anglo-Saxon matters before the sixteenth century? And as for the (re) discovery of Beowulf causing a "surge in interest"...well, I think I am right in saying that the manuscript sat in a library for its first hundred years or so in great obscurity. Or perhaps you think there was some kind of secret Anglo-Saxonist underground at this time?

Have you worked out what language Aelfic wrote the book in yet?
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

In Latin, with an Anglo-Saxon gloss, it says.
Send private message
John Hailey


In: Birmingham
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Actually, it doesn't say that at all.

as it gives priority to the partial OE gloss in one of the manuscripts and subordinates the main Latin text


suggests (to me) that there are at least two original manuscripts, one of which has a partial OE (ie Anglo-Saxon) gloss. And presumably the other hasn't. Now this is hugely significant. It's a bit weird ol' Aelfric putting a gloss on in the first place. He's clearly writing in Latin and I find it difficult to believe that his audience would know Anglo-Saxon but not Latin (in other words it might make sense writing an Anglo-Saxon doc with a Latin gloss but not vice versa.) But of course Aelfric would hardly be soppy enough to write two versions, one with and one without...so we're definitely talking about two different people writing two different manuscripts. This is immediately confirmed by

Consequently, some have come to think of it as an Old English or bilingual text, when the original work is solely Latin, as interesting to us as the gloss may be


In other words, ol' Aelfric wrote a strictly Latin doc and someone else thought it would be a good idea to add an Anglo-Saxon gloss when copying it.

The question then arises, "Who's doing the copying/adding?" There wouldn't seem to be a need in Anglo-Saxon times (when being literate means literate in Latin) but there might be in Tudor times if it is being used as a teaching aid. However a much more obvious possibility is that in Tudor times, Latin manuscripts are ten a penny, but Anglo-Saxon ones are as rare and as valuable as hen's teeth. So a Latin one "with an Anglo-Saxon gloss" would serve very nicely. Either someone is doctoring Aelfric or (better still) someone is making up the Aelfric in the first place in order to provide a wholly spurious but authentic-seeming "Anglo-Saxon"-age antique. Now we come to something even more baffling.

It is linked, of course, as a textbook with the Latin Grammar.... The primary (expository) language of the Grammar, is, indeed, English


ie Aelfric also wrote a book wholly in Anglo-Saxon but which has a "great many Latin words, phrases, and sentences with Old English translations" which is fair enough if it's a grammar. But our own dear author claims that this is the reason for its popularity in the sixteenth century when furthermore it

was reversed to become a textbook for Old English among scholars literate in Latin


He is clearly suggesting that people were using a five hundred year old teaching aid! You would have thought that a sixteenth century scholar would have simply written a more-up-to-date textbook in Modern English for a modern audience...but no, apparently everyone is very happy laboriously copying out and then even more laboriously reversing an ancient manuscript! Confused? You wouldn't be alone because

The glossary printed [as a supplement to William Somner's Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum (1659)] as Aelfric's, however, is the Antwerp-London Glossary, a source of considerable scholarly confusion ever since


I do not pretend there is a smoking gun here (leastways I haven't found it) but one would have to admit that it sounds like an obvious case of "careful ignoral" where a lot of people are running around not completely sure what the hell they're dealing with but highly anxious not to ask too many questions. However, I am prepared to formally state that in my opinion Aelfric never existed and every single work attributed to him is a sixteenth century forgery. Let's investigate this mysterious dude further!
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Aelfric wrote the Colloquy in Latin of course, but one of his pupils, Aelfric Bata, is supposed to have translated the text into Old English. Something rather unusual caught my eye however, apparently

his Catholic Homilies survive in thirty manuscripts dating from the time of their original composition up until the thirteenth century


but what happened to these valuable texts? One copy could have been destroyed by fire, pillage, theft, etc. but not all 30. (Hard to believe Aelfric never existed, by the way, as he was Archbishop of Canterbury!)
Send private message
Jenny


In: Central Victoria, Australia.
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Sorry, Hats! This from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Also known as "the Grammarian", the author of the homilies in Anglo-Saxon, a translator of Holy Scripture, and a writer upon many miscellaneous subjects. He seems to have been born about 955, and to have died about 1020. The identity of this writer has been the subject of much controversy. Even in Freeman's "Norman Conquest" he is wrongly identified with Aelfric, Archbishop of Canterbury (1005.
Send private message
John Hailey


In: Birmingham
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Do I see a Tudor chancer skipping through the Church Lists on the lookout for a believable name? Good point about the thirty copies, though I'd like to know what "apparently" means. This is normally a signal that a trusted source (Hatty) is reporting something less trustworthy. We should be thinking in terms of the way paintings are given provenances. And why.
Send private message
Rebecca


In: USA
View user's profile
Reply with quote

It's perfectly clear why Aelfric would write a Latin text and have it glossed in Old English. The important thing to know is that he wrote it as a teaching text to instruct native speakers and readers of Anglo-Saxon in Latin. Have you ever learned a foreign language, and, when you were trying to read a text in it, wrote English words over the tops or in the margins? That's what the schoolboys did to Aelfric's colloquy. The glosses are there because it was for teaching.
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

I Googled about a bit and found the precise statement that Aelfric, Bishop of St. Albans, Canterbury and other places, who left ships and lands in his will, "died on 6 November 1005" mixed up with Aelfric the Grammarian who dies around 1010 and may or may not have been a bishop of somewhere. I dunno whether "the definitive view" is that there is uncertainty, or that some poor souls are just confused.
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, Aelfric's Homilies are the cause of "raging" controversy around the subject of transubstantiation!
Send private message
John Hailey


In: Birmingham
View user's profile
Reply with quote

This is extraordinary! As far as I am aware transubstantiation was not an issue (did it even exist?) in Anglo-Saxon times. I believe it only came into prominence (existence?) during the late medieval period. However, it was the chief arena for debate between Catholics and Protestants during the Tudor period.
Send private message
DPCrisp


In: Bedfordshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

If transubstantiation is a core Roman Catholic belief and everyone, Anglo-Saxon monks and courtiers included, is RC then who is going to make an issue of it? A quick scan of Wikipedia's article says the concept was articulated from the word 'go'.
Send private message
Rebecca


In: USA
View user's profile
Reply with quote

The distinction between transubstantiation (the bread and wine changes) and Real Presence (the bread and wine always already is the body and blood) is blurry. Certainly Matthew Parker's claim that Aelfric is against transubstantiation is based on a very selective reading, as Parker's own edition of the Homily made clear (and as his Catholic opponents such as Richard Verstegen quickly pointed out). Aelfric is kind of vague about it, as most people were.
Send private message
Ishmael


In: Toronto
View user's profile
Reply with quote

John, with all the possibilities/probabilities of Tudor fabrication, which materials do you consider genuine? Which are the historical records that conclusively show that said foreign-speaking ruling class existed at all?

If there is a core of common sense, how much of your skepticism can it claw back? Is there a stark line to be drawn between the obviously authentic and the definitely dubious?
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 128, 129, 130  Next

Jump to:  
Page 1 of 130

MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group