The Cult of the Virgin Mary in Anglo-Saxon England
The cult of the Virgin Mary is associated by most medievalists with the twelfth and succeeding centuries. This book, however, provides a wide-ranging exploration of the cult in England from c. 700 to the Conquest. Interest in and devotion to Mary flourished in the late seventh and eighth centuries and, especially, in the period of the Benedictine reform from the mid-tenth century onwards. In this latter period Mary, as patron saint of almost all of the reformed houses, was the most important saint of the monastic movement. Dr Clayton describes and illustrates the development of Marian devotion and doctrine from the early church to the Carolingians, by discussing Anglo-Saxon feasts of the Virgin, liturgical texts, prayers, monastic dedications, art and vernacular poetry and prose. This is a topic which has never before been examined in any detail but has significant bearing on the history of church liturgy and Anglo-Saxon literature. The book will appeal to Anglo-Saxonists with a special interest in literature, art history and theology.