Aelfric: Letter to Sigeweard

(1159 words)
  • Hugh Magennis (Queen's University Belfast)

The Letter to Sigeweard, also referred to as the Treatise on the Old and New Testament,is a work of biblical teaching by the Anglo-Saxon monk and leading churchman Ælfric of Eynsham (c. 955-c. 1010). Running to 1274 lines of Old English prose in its standard modern edition (in an Early English Text Society volume), it is the earliest extended discussion of the Bible, considered as a whole, in a western vernacular language and is one of the major discussions of the Bible in medieval English. The writer of the Letter is celebrated as the most prolific Old English writer, producing homilies, biblical translations and adaptations, saints' lives, letters, and other works, all forming part of a concerted project on …

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Magennis, Hugh. "Letter to Sigeweard". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 April 2005
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]