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The King’s Three Images: The representation of St. Edward the Confessor in historiography, hagiography and liturgy

Edward the Confessor - Bayeux TapestryThe King’s Three Images: The representation of St. Edward the Confessor in historiography, hagiography and liturgy

Steffen Birkeland Hope

Norwegian Unisversity of Science and Technology: Master’s thesis in history, The Department of History and Classical Studies, Trondheim, fall (2012)

Abstract

Preface This is a study about the representation of St. Edward the Confessor in historiography, hagiography – and especially: liturgy. Both the historiographical and the hagiographical characterisation of St. Edward are, not the least due to the importance of the king in English history, already comparatively well known. Our knowledge about the liturgical side of this representation is however much more limited. This has also to do with the scarceness of the preserved liturgical material in honour of the Confessor. At the centre of this study ranges therefore the only larger collection of liturgical material in honour of St. Edward still extant. It is today housed at Westminster, Cathedral Library MS. 34, and was to be performed during the celebration of a Divine Office in honour of the Confessor. The following study is an analysis of this material, which will be compared with the historiographical and hagiographical images of St. Edward. It is the intention of this study to complete and to improve our understanding of the representation of the Confessor with the help of this comparison.

In order to give the reader a quick orientation about sometimes rather implicate matters this study has to deal with it seems convenient to start with a summary about the contents and date of the central source (MS. Rawlinson liturg. g. 10). The material for the celebration of the Divine Office it contains, superscribed with the rubric “in commemoratione Sancti Edwardi”, is not a full festal office, but an abbreviated one, as its structure correlates to that of an ordinary monastic ferial office. A short office of this kind could be celebrated at various occasions throughout the church year. The “moveable” character of the liturgical celebration transmitted here is further underlined through the way the office material is presented in this manuscript. We find all in all three sets of chants, lessons and prayer texts. I will call these sets henceforth tabula 1, 2 and 3.

Click here to read this thesis from the Norwegian Unisversity of Science and Technology

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