Episcopal Culture in Late Anglo-Saxon England

Episcopal Culture in Late Anglo-Saxon England

Mary Frances Giandrea


Boydell Press



A radical new interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon episcopate, bringing to light previously unused evidence.
This first full-length study of the Anglo-Saxon episcopate explores the activities of the bishops in a variety of arenas, from the pastoral and liturgical to the political, social, legal and economic, so tracing the development of a particularly English episcopal identity over the course of the tenth and eleventh centuries. It makes detailed use of the contemporary evidence, previously unexploited as diffuse, difficult and largely non-narrative, rather than that from after the Norman Conquest; because this avoids the prevailing monastic bias, it shows instead that differences in order (between secular and monk-bishops) had almost no effect on their attitudes toward their episcopal roles. It therefore presents a much more nuanced portrait of the episcopal church on the eve of the Conquest, a church whose members constantly worked to create a well-ordered Christian polity through the stewardship of the English monarchy and the sacralization of political discourse: an episcopate deeply committed to pastoral care and in-step with current continental liturgical and theological developments, despite later ideologically-charged attempts to suggest otherwise; and an institution intricately woven, because of its tremendous economic and political power, into the very fabric of English local and regional society. MARY FRANCIS GIANDREA teaches at George Mason University


January 2007
264 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Anglo-Saxon Studies
ISBN: 9781843832836
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

(Re)Writing History
The Serviium Regis
Cathedral Culture
Pastoral Care
Episcopal Wealth
Community and Authority


This is a useful and insightful survey of the role of bishops in the late Anglo-Saxon church. It will be useful to scholars and students for years to come. SPECULUM
A useful book of immense learning and of great value to those interested in the late Anglo-Saxon church. CHURCH HISTORY JOURNAL

an ambitious well-crafted, and deeply informative monograph. CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW

There is much to be grateful for here.
(The author) provides an accessible synthesis of material not easily available and provides the first systematic, wider conclusions from those studies.(.) ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
A work of lasting value. NORTHERN HISTORY
A fine book. (...) Well constructed, well argued, well referenced, and with a detailed appendix surveying episcopal holdings, this is a sound and welcome study. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

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