Cambridge University Library Ii. 4. 6. Temporale selected from Ælfric, "Catholic Homilies" I & II, etc.

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Rolf H. Bremmer
Kees Dekker


101. Cambridge University Library Ii. 4. 6.

Temporale selected from Ælfric,

"Catholic Homilies" I & II, etc.

[Ker 21, Gneuss 18]

HISTORY: A collection of homilies, mostly by Ælfric, copied in the middle of the 11c at New Minster in Winchester (Bishop 1971: xv). The manuscript, discussed by Pope (1967: 39-48), Godden (1979: xlv-xlvii), Clemoes (1997: 28-30), and Teresi (2007: 291-310), is known as "M" in the classification of Ælfrician manuscripts. At the beginning of the manuscript, "an indeterminable number of leaves" from more than one quire were lost (Pope 1967: 40), which suggests that several more items may once have been there. The homilies are for "Sundays and festivals, other than Saints' days, from the second Sunday after Epiphany to the first Sunday after Pentecost" (Ker, Cat., p. 31; cf. Godden 1979: xlv), and the manuscript was designed as a Temporale. Except for two homilies, for the Monday and Tuesday in Rogationtide, all contain material by Ælfric, and most belong to the two series of Catholic Homilies (Ker, Cat.: arts. 1-6, 8-10, 12-14, 16-24, 29-31, 33, 36-37; cf. Clemoes 1997: 30), ten complete homilies and several fragments from the First Series and twelve from the Second Series. The items which are not entirely by /Elfric are two composite homilies, added for the first time to the Ælfrician canon in this manuscript (Godden 1975). The collection in this manuscript is well organized and contains all the homilies from CH I and CH II relevant to the period, as well as the "Caput ieiunii" and the Prayer of Moses (Skeat 1881-1900: nos. xii and xiii) and additional homilies (Pope 1967-1968: nos. 4, 7-10, 12). Its organization and comprehensive nature make this manuscript important to the study of Ælfric's homilies. In the stemma of the First Series, this manuscript (M) forms part of the 8 line of transmission together with Cotton Faustina A. ix [192) (N) and CCCC 302 [48) (O). In the stemma of the Second Series, M belongs to an advanced stage of the first recension (Godden 1979: xlvi), sharing contamination with the earlier south-eastern MS CCCC 162 [33) (known as F), which entered both manuscripts from the immediate exemplar of M (Godden 1979: xlix). M, together with F, N, and 0, derives from a separate collection set up as "a series of homilies for occasions other than saints' days from Christmas to the Sunday after Pentecost;' to which later some other items were added, first in this manuscript (Clemoes 1997: 71-76; Godden 1979: lxiv-lxv). Whereas Clemoes and Godden believe that Ælfric himself may have been the compiler of this collection, Teresi (2007: 291-310) argues against this possibility, suggesting, instead, that it was made independent of Ælfric's direct influence. Glosses and additions coeval with the compilation of the MS, on ff. 23v-37r, as well as marginalia of the 13c/14c on ff. 132r and 146v show that the texts were studied through those times. Presumably, the manuscript stayed in Winchester, for in the 15c it belonged to the nearby Abbey of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Rumonus in Tavistock in Devonshire (Ker 1964: no. 1988; Wanley 1705: 160), whence it was taken away according to an inscription on f. lr: 'hunc codice<m> cu<m> altero co<n>simili: reperit R. Ferro' seruus comit<is> Bedfordie | in Domo quonda<m> cenobio de Tavestocke in Devinshire, a<nno> 1566:. Robert Ferrar (d. 1572) was a member of parliament for Tavistock and a servant of Francis (Russell), second Earl of Bedford (d. 1585), inscription(s) on 7v, '1566: 'F. Bedford'. In 1567, the Earl gave the manuscript to Archbishop Matthew Parker (see inscription f. 308v), even before the Privy Council authorized Parker to actively 'collect' such books in the interest of the nation (Kleist 2007: 467). In 1574, Parker gave 25 manuscripts and many more printed books to Cambridge University Library, and this book is no. 9 in the list (Page 1993: 9; Ker, Cat., p. 35), inscription on f. 9v: 'Matthreus Cantuar: dedit. 1574'.

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