By KAREN LOUISE JOLLY A unique set of ritual prayers from tenth-century Northumbria offered the means to protect fields and crops from birds, vermin, and other demoni- cally inspired threats to the agricultural community. They were part of a series of additions made to the Durham Collector or Ritual (Durham, Cathedral Library A. IV. 19) around 970 by the Chester-le-Street scriptorium of St. Cuthbert's community, under the direction of Aldred, the eccentric glossator of the Lindisfarne Gospels. These five Latin prayers glossed in Old English use exorcistic and benedictional formulas, invoke the assistance of an Arch- angel Panchiel, and contain atypical references to the Book of Tobit, among other unusual characteristics. This seemingly heterodox material has received scant attention from scholars assessing the Durham Ritual manu- script and the work of Aldred.1 These prayers, however, may reflect the particular interests of the cult of St. Cuthbert, as well as Irish influences in Northumbrian religious practice. Also, a comparable example of one prayer appears in a contemporary Mainz text related to the early development of the Romano-Germanic Pontifical, suggesting that these prayers were part of a larger process, often invisible, of liturgical experimentation during a period of reform and
Traditio – Fordham University Press
Published: Oct 3, 2006
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