The Palaeography of Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 19
By Francisco Jose Alvarez Lopez
The Proceedings of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies Postgraduate Conference (2005)
Introduction: From the time of King Alfred to the death of Bishop Oswald in 992, England lived through one of the most important stages in the history of religion. The revival of the Benedictine tradition brought with it a renewed interest in arts, and even economic stability to the realm. The principal figures of this period were the three monks who ruled the three most important sees of the time: Canterbury, Winchester and Worcester. Dunstan, Æthelwold and Oswald, with the valuable support of King Edgar, changed the situation from ‘a complete collapse of monasticism’ into a process of foundation and reformation of ‘substantial numbers of monasteries’ throughout the country.
The synod at Winchester in c. 973 approved the Regularis Concordia as the code which would establish a uniform observance for all monks and nuns throughout the country. However, although this text was important, its purpose was to be an English complement to the key Benedictine text, the Regula Sancti Benedicti.
The Rule was translated into Old English, possibly by Æthelwold, and several copies distributed throughout the Benedictine houses of England. Today only nine of copies containing the vernacular text survive. Oxford, Corpus Christi College, 197 is the oldest of them and it has the same disposition as all the others, with the exception of Durham Cathedral Library, B.IV, 24, where the whole vernacular text follows the Latin instead of doing so chapter by chapter.