Seventh Annual ASSC Graduate Student Conference – “Crisis of Categorization”

SESSION 1: Transhistorical Anglo-Saxon England

“Vernacular Authority in a Materialized God: Reading the Text of Christ’s Body in Old and Middle English”

Camin Melton (Fordham University)

This brief paper was a work in progress and focused on Anglo-Saxon piety, mysticism & devotional literature. Anglo-Saxon piety, and devotion in texts existed long before the 11th century. There was a movement from ‘fear-based’ devotion to ‘love-devotion’ of material Christ. Melton examined the well known poem, The Wanderer. The humanised Christ of later medieval spirituality is not the one of The Wanderer; it has a unique depiction of God. Writing in the vernacular was easier and less daunting to meditate on. Anglo-Saxons proselytized in the vernacular. The materialization of God in the vernacular symbolised that Christ was the bridge that spans between the material and the spiritual.

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