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A Judith Constellation

June 25, 2013

In this post, I would like to introduce the texts that form the basis of this project. First, some comments about my methodology.

Most basically, the following texts constitute the extant evidence for learned interactions with the biblical book of Judith in Anglo-Saxon England, in both Latin and Old English. To fit into this corpus, these texts satisfy two requirements for selection: first, they all relate to the book of Judith, as biblical witnesses, translations, commentaries, glosses, quotations, allusions, citations, etc.; and second, all of these texts were written by or known to the Anglo-Saxons up to c.1200. The first requirement is not too difficult to justify, since it relies on a pretty intuitive process of identifying connections–even with an admittedly arbitrary cut-off date, though one that allows for considering the continuation of Anglo-Saxon culture past the Norman Conquest, which is often (falsely) used as a distinct boundary line, just as arbitrarily. The second requirement is mainly based on standards already established. My notion of “written by or known to the Anglo-Saxons” derives particularly from source studies, such as standards set for the long-standing projects known as Fontes Anglo-Saxonici and Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture. I also profited from the scope and contents of Helmut Gneuss’s Handlist of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts. (In a future post, I will discuss the evidence for the circulation of these texts.)

To find these texts, I used some of the standard reference tools: the index of biblical commentaries in Migne’s Patrologia Latina; the Corpus Christianorum volumes Clavis Patrum Latinorum and Clavis Patristica Pseudepigraphorum Medii Aevi; Robert E. McNally’s lists of medieval biblical commentaries in The Bible in the Early Middle Ages; Michael J. B. Allen and Daniel G. Calder, Sources and Analogues of Old English Poetry (the Old English Judith is briefly discussed at 225); Fontes Anglo-Saxonici (using “BS” as a source author); Gneuss’s Handlist (with which all texts were cross-referenced for information about manuscripts–to be discussed in a future post); the Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus (searching for words such as “Judith” and “Iudith”); Michael Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library; and a variety of scholarship about Judith (mainly focused on the Old English poem).

Surprisingly, I found some texts unidentified or only briefly noted in scholarship. I hope this is one of my contributions to future work. While I have tried to compile a comprehensive list, I would be happy to learn of other texts that also fit into the project. I am also unaware of specific visual depictions; I would welcome references, since I believe that such images also work to translate Judith in important ways.

This list of texts is arranged alphabetically by author and title, within the following categories: Biblical Judith, Early Christian Authors, Medieval Authors, and Anglo-Saxon Glosses (arranged alphabetically by author and title of work glossed or name of glossary). I have given Clavis Patrum Latinorum (CPL) references where applicable, as well as citations of editions consulted.


CCSL: Corpus Christianorum Series Latinorum

CPLClavis Patrum Latinorum

CSEL: Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum

EETS: Early English Texts Society

MGH: Monumenta Germaniae Historica

PL: J.-P. Migne, Patrologia latina

Biblical Judith

Judith (Old Latin): Bibliorum sacrorum Latinae versiones antiquae, seu Vetus Italica, ed. Pierre Sabatier, 3 vols. (Rheims: Reginald Florentain, 1743), I, 744-90.

Judith (translated by Jerome): Biblia sacra iuxta Vulgatam versionem, ed. Robert Weber, 4th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005), 691-711.

Early Christian Authors

Ambrose (c.340-397)

De officiis ministrorum III.13 (CPL 144): Sancti Ambrosii Mediolanensis, ed. Maurice Testard, CCSL 15 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), 185, lines 1-24.

De uiduis VII (CPL 146): PL 16.233-62, at cols. 245-7.


De Iudith I: PL 39.1839-40.

De Iudith II: PL 39.1840-41.

Dracontius (c.455-505)

De laudibus Dei III.480-95 (CPL 1509): De laudibus Dei, ed. Friedrich Vollmer, MGH, Auctores Antiquissimi 14 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1905), 23-113, at 105.

Isidore (c.560-636)

Allegoriae quaedam sacrae Scripturae 122 and 127 (CPL 1190): PL 83.97-130, at col. 116.

Etymologiae VI.i.9, VI.ii.33, and VII.viii.29 (CPL 1186): Isidori Hispalensis Episcopi Etymologiarum sive Originum Libri XX, ed. Wallace M. Lindsay, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1911).

De ortu et obitu patrem 58 (CPL 1191): PL 83.129-156, at col. 148.

Jerome (347-420)

Apologia aduersus libros Rufini I.18.33 (CPL 613): Sancti Hieronymi Presbyteri opera, pars III: opera polemica 1, Contra Rufinum, ed. P. Lardet, CCSL 79 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1982), 1-72, at 18, lines 30-5.

Epistolae 22 (Ad Eustochium), 21; and 79 (Ad Saluinam) 11 (CPL 620): Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Epistulae, ed. Isidore Hilberg, 3 vols., CSEL 54-6 (Vienna: F. Templsky, 1910-18), I, 483, line 22-484, line 5; and II, 100, line 23-101, line 4.

Liber interpretationis hebraicorum nominum (CPL 581): Sancti Hironymi Prespyteri opera, pars I: opera exegetica 1, CCSL 72 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1959), 67, line 18.

Praefatio in librum Iudith (CPL 591G): Biblia sacra iuxta Vulgatam versionem, ed. Robert Weber, 4th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005), 691.

Prudentius (348-c.410)

Psychomachia 58-71a (CPL 1441): ed. M. Cunningham, CCSL 126 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1966), 149-81.

Medieval Authors

Ælfric (c.955-c.1010)

Libellus de ueteri testamento et nouo: The Old English Heptateuch and Ælfric’s Libellus de veteris testamento et novo, ed. Richard Marsden, EETS 330 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008), 217, lines 463-7.

De Iudith: Angelsächsische Homilien und Heiligenleben, ed. Bruno Assmann, Bibliothek der angelsächsichen Prosa 3 (Kassel: Georg H. Wigand, 1889), 102-116; cf. Ælfric’s Homilies on Judith, Esther, and the Maccabees, ed. Stuart D. Lee, 1999.

Aldhelm (639-709)

Carmen de uirginitate 115-25 (CPL 1333): Aldhelmi opera, ed. Rudolf Ehwald, MGH, Auctores Antiquissimi 15 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1919), 457.

Prosa de uirginitate 57 (CPL 1332): Aldhelmi Malmesbiriensis, Prosa de virginitate, cum glosa latina atque Anglosaxonica, ed. Scott Gwara, 2 vols., CCSL 124-124A (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 2:729-33, a revised version of Rudolf Ehwald’s edition in MGH, Auctores Antiquissimi 15 (Berlin, 1919), 316-17.

Bede (c.673-735)

De die iudicii 82-3 (CPL 1370): Bedae Venerabilis Opera IV: Opera rhythmica, ed. J. Fraipont, CCSL 122 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1955), 439-44, lines 82-3; cf. the version edited from London, British Library, Cotton Domitian A.i, in The Old English Poem Judgement Day II, ed. Graham D. Caie, Anglo-Saxon Texts 2 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2000), 131, lines 82-3.

Commentarius in Apocalypsim III.1 (CPL 1363): Bedae Presbyteri Explanatio Apocalypseos, ed. Robert Gryson, CCSL 121A (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 265, lines 167-9.

Honorius of Autun (c.1080-1154)

Elucidarium: PL 172.1109-76, at cols. 1135 and 1148.

Old English Elucidarium: Early English Homilies from the Twelfth Century MS. Vesp. D. XIV, ed. Rubie D-N. Warner, EETS OS 152 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1917; repr. New York: Kraus, 1971), 141, lines 1-2.

Hrabanus Maurus (c.780-856)

Commentarius in Iudith: PL 109.539-92.

Milo of Saint Amand (c.809-871/2)

Carmen de sobrietate 331-93: Carmen de sobrietate, ed. Ludwig Traube, MGH, Poetae Latini aevi Carolini 3 (Berlin, 1896), 615-75, at 625-7.

Anglo-Saxon Glosses

Glosses on Aldhelm, Prosa de uirginitateAldhelmi Malmesbiriensis, Prosa de virginitate, cum glosa latina atque Anglosaxonica, ed. Scott Gwara, CCSL 124-124A (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001), 728-33.

“Interpraetatio nominum ebraicorum et grecorum”: J. H. Hessels, An Eighth-Century Latin-Anglo-Saxon Glossary (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1890), 5, line 170.

“Leiden Glossary”: John Henry Hessels, A Late Eighth-Century Latin-Anglo-Saxon Glossary (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1906), 19-20.

Glosses on Prudentius, Psychomachia, in Cambridge, University Library, Gg.5.35, fol. 150r: Gernot Rudolf Wieland, The Latin Glosses on Arator and Prudentius in Cambridge, University Library MS Gg.5.35, Studies and Texts 61 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1983), 199-271.

[Addenda: The following entries were omitted on first posting, but have since been added: Ambrose’s De uiduis (July 4, 2013); Dracontius’s De laudibus Dei (June 29, 2013); Honorius of Autun’s Elucidarium and the Old English Elucidarium (June 28, 2013). On the Old English poem Judith, see the post here; and for a further addendum on related works by Augustine, see the post here.]


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