Aelfric: Catholic Homilies

(1767 words)
  • Mary Swan (University of Leeds)

The Catholic Homilies are the most widely transmitted of the works of Ælfric. They were written in their first form relatively early in his authorial career, and most probably between about 990 and 995, whilst he was at the monastery of Cerne Abbas, Dorset, and before he moved to the newly-refounded monastery of Eynsham, Oxfordshire, as its abbot.

The Catholic Homilies are the largest organised series of preaching texts surviving from Anglo-Saxon England. As is typical for early medieval preaching texts, the Catholic Homilies comprise the modern sub-genres of homily (an exposition of the section of the Gospels which has been read out beforehand) and sermon (general Christian moral guidance and …

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Swan, Mary. "Catholic Homilies". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 August 2005
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]