Professor Gatch opens with three essays providing an overview of the themes of this book: eschatology and the basic education of the laity. Despite an undoubted acceptance of immortality and an active afterlife, Gatch believes that medieval eschatology remained strikingly oriented to the New Testament picture of the apocalypse and the resurrection of the dead. This is explored in studies on spirituality and perceptions of eternity in the Anglo-Saxon church, and a long essay surveys the teachings in the anonymous Old English homilies. The following studies look at what can be learned of the audience of such homilies in pre-Conquest England, and at their wider European context. The final pieces consider reflections of piety in treatments of the Noah story and in a little text about the piety of a late-Saxon nobleman.
Milton McC. Gatch, Union Theological Seminary, New York, USA
Contents: Introduction; Some theological reflections on death from the Early Church through the Reformation; Basic Christian education from the decline of catechesis to the rise of the catechisms; The Harrowing of Hell: a liberation motif in medieval theology and devotional literature; The Anglo-Saxon tradition; Perceptions of eternity; Two uses of apocrypha in Old English homilies; Eschatology in the anonymous Old English homilies; The unknowable audience of the Blickling Homilies; The achievement of Alfric and his colleagues in European perspective; The Office in late Anglo-Saxon monasticism; Noah's raven in Genesis A and the illustrated Old English hexateuch; Miracles in architectural settings: Christ Church Canterbury, and St Clement's, Sandwich in the Old English Vision of Leofric; Piety and liturgy in the Old English Vision of Leofric; Index.