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"Water aeddre asprang": H o w Cuthbert's Miracle Pours Cold Water on Source Study 1 Introduction Cuthbert, the saint particularly associated with Lindisfame, died there on 20 March, 687 - 1300 years ago. H e was a real historical personage, whose remains now lie in Durham Cathedral, while some artefacts such as his carved coffin and the cross said to have been his are also preserved there. During the Anglo-Saxon period, five versions of his Life were written, the so-called Anonymous Life in Latin,1 three Latin versions by Bede (a metrical one,2 a prose one,3 and a section of the Historia Ecclesiastical) and one by jElfric in his Catholic Homilies.5 These five texts and their relationships to one another can be approached from many different standpoints: for instance, they may be treated as source material for historical or social or cultural investigations; or in connection with source study in a more literary sense when they m a y be considered in terms of how the later versions involve the rehandling of earlier sources; or they may even be used in connection with material artefacts, in support of archeological investigations. It is taken for granted that a multiplicity of stances in relation to a text or a series of texts is an integral part of Anglo-Saxon studies, and that such a (group of) text(s) provides a range of information that can be selectively integrated into different disciplines and different arguments advanced from different points of view. Selection of some kind is inevitable, as being the only way to avoid presenting thetextagain in its entirety, but the implications and ramifications of such selectivity are not always recognised and explored. In arguing his o w n particular thesis, the scholar w h o is dealing with the text works from certain presuppositions and assumptions (often not overtly articulated), and so J The text used here is that edited by Bertram Colgrave in Two Lives of Saint Cuthbert, Cambridge, 1940; hereafter referred to as Anon. 2 The text used here is that edited by Werner Jaager in Bedas metrische Vita sancti Cuthberti, Palaestra 198, Leipzig, 1935; hereafter referred to as B Met. 3 The text used here is that edited by Bertram Colgrave in Two Lives of Saint Cuthbert, Cambridge, 1940; hereafter referred to as B Pro. Also relevant to this paper are Colgrave's other studies of Bede, notably his Memorial Lecture, The Earliest Saints' Lives Written in England, Proceedings of the British Academy, 44, 1959, 43-60, hereafter noted as Colgrave PBA; and Bede's Miracle Stories, in Bede: His Life, Times and Writings, ed. A. Hamilton Thompson, Oxford, 1935, 201-229, hereafter noted as Colgrave LTW. 4 The text used here is that edited by Bertram Colgrave and R.A.B. Mynors in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Oxford, 1969; hereafter referred to as HE. 5 The text used here is that edited by Malcolm Godden in JElfric's Catholic Homilies: the Second Series, EETS SS 5, 1979; hereafter referred to as CH. 2 R. Waterhouse foregrounds some features at the expense of others; since the text itself foregrounds some aspects, often by means of various rhetorical devices, and plays down others, it seems natural that scholars dealing with it will follow suit though for differing reasons; one has only to look back along the diachronic timescale of Anglo-Saxon studies to perceive how types of approach fashionable in earlier periods have been replaced by other approaches which focus upon features previously ignored. Such changes of stance reflect a different point of view, and often a different kind of terminology, which initially may seem a tiresome use of new jargon, merely a new way of saying old things; but the very change in vocabulary implies a change also in stance, and a different level of consciousness of what is being foregrounded, which may lead on to a different synthesis of elements in the text. Of course the new approaches, like the old, are selective, but atextwhich can be exhausted by a couple of selective analyses is probably not worth bothering too much about, or exploring further. M y own interest...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 1-27
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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