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ERIC Number: ED547058
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 312
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2675-1832-3
The Old English Language of Fear
Carlson, Erik A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Minnesota
This dissertation examines the development of the Old English vocabulary for fear under the influence of the Latinate discourse of Christian doctrine. The first chapter arranges the Old English words for fear into etymologically organized families and describes their incidence and usage across attested corpus of Old English, using the Dictionary of Old English Electronic Corpus. With the English words having been surveyed, the second chapter examines the works of Augustine, Gregory the Great, and Isidore of Seville to identify the main doctrinal concepts of fear that were available to the Anglo-Saxons as well as to describe the lexical field of fear in patristic Latin. The third chapter investigates key Latin works of Bede and Alcuin to gauge the currency of patristic concepts of fear in Anglo-Saxon discourse; this chapter finds that, while Augustinian and Cassianic approaches to fear were used by Anglo-Saxons, the Gregorian concept of "timor Domini" as a complex experience predominates, and that the Gregorian idea of compunction expressed as a narrative of transformative emotional experience becomes a pervasive organizing principle in Anglo-Latin discussions of fear. Chapter four examines Old English homilies from the Vercelli book and Aelfric's Catholic Homilies in order to trace the movement of doctrinal meanings into vernacular texts and, more specifically, the association of Latinate, doctrinal concepts with English words. This chapter finds that the process is complex: doctrinally founded ideas of fear appear throughout the sampled homilies, but in the anonymous texts of the Vercelli book, no consistent lexical associations appear, while Aelfric uses consistent lexical associations to indicate doctrinally significant fears in the Catholic Homilies; on the other hand, the Gregorian compunction narrative is a more important schema for organizing ideas about fear and conversion in the anonymous homilies, while Aelfric deliberately minimizes it in key contexts. The fifth chapter investigates the Old English prose life of Saint Guthlac to discover how Latinate, doctrinal concepts of fear are used in the vernacular outside of preaching texts: this chapter demonstrates that both the compunction narrative and the Gregorian concept of a complex, transformative "timor Domini" were current in Anglo-Saxon vernacular narrative. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A