Blickling homilies

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The Blickling Homilies is the name given to a collection of anonymous homilies from Anglo-Saxon England. They are written in Old English, and were written down at some point before the end of the tenth century, making them one of the oldest collections of sermons to survive from medieval England. Their name derives from Blickling Hall in Norfolk, which once housed them; the manuscript is now Princeton, Scheide Library, MS 71.

The Homilies[edit]

Little is known about the homilies or the origin of their compiler. The homilies in the collection deal primarily with Lent, with items for Passion Sunday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week, as well as homilies dealing with Rogation Days, Ascension Day and Pentecost. The rest of the homilies in the collection are saints’ feast days.

  1. Incarnation of the Lord (In Natali Domini)
  2. Quinquagesima/Shrove Sunday (Dominica Prima in Quinquagesima)
  3. The First Sunday in Lent (Dominica Prima in Quadragesima)
  4. The Third Sunday in Lent (Dominica Tertia in Quadragesima)
  5. The Fifth Sunday in Lent (Dominica V in Quadragesima)
  6. Palm Sunday (Dominica VI in Quadragesima)
  7. Easter Day (Dominica Pascha)
  8. Rogation Monday (To Þam Forman Gangdæge), called "Soul's Need" by Morrris
  9. Rogation Tuesday (To Þam Oþerum Gangdæge), called "Christ the Golden-Blossom" by Morris
  10. Rogation Wednesday (To Þam Þriddan Gangdæge), called "The End of This World is Near" by Morris
  11. Ascension Thursday (On Þa Halgan Þunres Dei)
  12. Pentecost Sunday (Pentecostent - Spiritus Domini)
  13. Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Sancta Maria Mater Domini Nostri Iesu Cristi)
  14. The Birth of John the Baptist (Sancte Iohannes Baptista Spel)
  15. The Story of SS Peter and Paul (Spel Be Petrus ond Paulus). Compare Passio sanctorum Petri et Pauli.
  16. A Fragment
  17. The Feast of St Michael the Archangel (To Sancte Michaheles Mæssan), called "Dedication of St Michael's Church" by Morris
  18. The Feast of St Martin (To Sancte Martines Mæssan)
  19. St Andrew (S. Andreas); lacks beginning and ending.


The Blickling homilies were first edited and translated in the nineteenth century by Richard Morris, and were republished again in a more recent volume by Richard J. Kelly, although several scholars have since pointed to the many serious deficiencies with the latter.[1][2][3] Samantha Zacher has indicated that a new edition is underway at the University of Toronto.[4]

Editions and translations
  • Morris, R. (ed. and tr.), The Blickling Homilies of the Tenth Century. Early English Texts Society, o.s. 58, 63, and 73 (Oxford University Press: London, 1874–80; rptd as one volume in 1967) Available from Google Books.
  • Willard, Rudolph (ed.), The Blickling Homilies: The John H. Scheide Library, Titusville, Pennsylvania, Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile 10 (Rosenkilde and Bagger: Copenhagen, 1960) [Facsimile edition]
  • Kelly, Richard J. (ed. and tr.), The Blickling Homilies, 2 vols. (Continuum: London and New York: 2003-9)
Secondary literature
  • Gatch, Milton McC., "The unknowable audience of the Blickling Homilies", Anglo-Saxon England 18 (1989), 99-115
  • Jeffrey, J. Elizabeth. Blicking Spirituality and the Old English Vernacular Homily: A Textual Analysis (Mellen: Lewiston, 1989)
  • Lapidge, Michael (ed.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England (Blackwell: Oxford, 1999), pp. 241-2
  • Scragg, D.G., "The homilies of the Blickling Manuscript" in Learning and Literature in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Michael Lapidge and Helmut Gneuss (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1985), pp. 299-316


External links[edit]