Royal Prayer Book

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The Royal Prayer Book (London, British Library Royal MS 2.A.XX) is a collection of prayers believed to have been copied in the late eighth century or the early ninth century.[1] It was written in West Mercia, likely either in or around Worcester.[2]

It is one of four early Anglo-Saxon prayerbooks, all of which have some textual interrelationships: the Book of Cerne, the Harleian prayerbook, and the Book of Nunnaminster. The prayers are mainly in Latin but have some Old English and Greek elements.[3] Its general theme ‘would appear to be Christ as the healer of mankind’, and its concern with physical healing is sufficient to suggest that it ‘might have functioned as a devotional, and practical, tool for a physician’.[4]

Folio 45v contains what seems to be the first manuscript attestation in any Germanic language of the common noun elf.[5]

The manuscript also contains detailed Old English glosses from the tenth century in the Mercian dialect of Old English.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joseph Crowley, ‘Anglicized Word Order in Old English Continuous Interlinear Glosses in British Library, Royal 2. A. XX’, Anglo-Saxon England, 29 (2000), 123–51, at 123 n. 2; N. R. Ker, Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), pp. 317–18 [no. 248]
  2. ^ Patrick Sims-Williams, Religion and Literature in Western England 600–800, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England, 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 279–80; cf. Michelle P. Brown, ‘Female Book-Ownership and Production in Anglo-Saxon England: The Evidence of the Ninth-Century Prayerbooks’, in Lexis and Texts in Early English: Studies Presented to Jane Roberts, ed. Christian Kay and Louise M. Sylvester, Costerus New Series, 133 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001), pp. 45–67 (at 51–3).
  3. ^ A. N. Doane (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile: Volume 1, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 136 (Binghamton NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994), pp. 52–9 [no. 283].
  4. ^ Michelle P. Brown, ‘Female Book-Ownership and Production in Anglo-Saxon England: The Evidence of the Ninth-Century Prayerbooks’, in Lexis and Texts in Early English: Studies Presented to Jane Roberts, ed. Christian Kay and Louise M. Sylvester, Costerus New Series, 133 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001), pp. 45–67 (at pp. 56, 57); cf. Patrick Sims-Williams, Religion and Literature in Western England 600–800, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England, 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 275–327
  5. ^ Alaric Hall, Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity, Anglo-Saxon Studies, 8 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2007), pp. 71-72.
  6. ^ A. N. Doane (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile: Volume 1, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 136 (Binghamton NY: Medieval & Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994), p. 52 [no. 283].