Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I Learned This Week

Almost all of last week, our internet was out. It amazed how dependent I've become on the 'net, not only so, but how much actual time I WASTE doing things like blogging, reading blogs, newspapers, elists and the like. So that was one thing I learned.

I also finished rereading Peter Brown's biography of Augustine, who I note produced volumes of works while he complained of being distracted by the duties of being a bishop et al. There's a lesson in there (I also remember John Wesley wrote while riding horseback between preaching engagements).

Embarrassingly, I'm finally reading Gregory the Great's Dialgoues, in translation. It never struck me before how very similar in style Bede's Historia is to the Dialogues, the difference being that between anecdotal hagiography Bede tells what we moderns might call real history. Nonetheless, the similarity to me is quite close and astounding, and I've begun to wonder how close Bede's Cuthbert is to Gregory's Benedict.

Writing a review, an overdue one, I was reminded by the editors of the volume I'm reviewing that two figures important for Anglo-Saxon and Biblical studies from the 17 century have no full treatment of their lives and work: Junius and Ussher. Junius at least has been the subject of some articles, but there's precious little on Ussher.

And something actually dissertation related, shocking as that might seem: The Letter to Sigeweard has largely been ignored in modern scholarship, and now after detailed study of it, I can almost see why. On the surface it seems so much like so much else of what Aelfric wrote. But there's gold in them thar hills, or I've wasted 4 years working on this beast.

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