Friday, July 08, 2011

Kuypers, The Book of Cerne

Edited by Dom. A.B. Kuypers in 1902 the so-called Book of Cerne (Cambridge, UL Ll. 1.10) is one of a small number of surviving Anglo-Saxon ninth-century prayer books. Produced in Mercia (818 x 830?), perhaps at Lichfield. An acrostic poem spells out Aedeluald episcopus on fol. 21r, probably a reference to Æthelwald, Archbishop of of Lichfield, whose PASE entry can be read here, though other possible candidates have been suggested. The Book comprises private prayers of various types (though with a strong Irish element, as many have noted), several hymns, passion narratives, an abridged psalter and an early 'Harrowing of Hell'. The link to Cerne Abbas is, incidentally, later than the ninth-century material. Kuypers was the main editor, but Edmund Bishop was the author of the substantial liturgical commentary at the volume's end. A further appendix presents material from B.L. Royal 2.A.xx, the so-called Royal Prayer Book. Michelle Brown's Book of Cerne. Prayer, Patronage, and Power in Ninth-century England (London, 1996) is the indispensible guide, and discusses this edition and Bishop and Kuypers' analyses at p. 20. B. Raw, `Alfredian Piety: the Book of. Nunnaminster', in J.L. Nelson, J. Roberts, M. Godden,eds, Alfred the Wise. Studies in Honour of Janet Bately on her Sixty-fifth Birthday (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 145-53. 

A.B. Kuypers, with E. Bishop, The Prayer Book of Aedeluald the Bishop (Cambridge, 1902). 

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