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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26294

Title: Literary Developments of the Table of Nations and the Tower of Babel in Anglo-Saxon England
Authors: Major, Tristan Gary
Advisor: Orchard, Andy
Department: Medieval Studies
Keywords: Table of Nations
Babel
Old English
Aldhelm
Aldhelm
Bede
Aelfric
King Alfred
seventy-two
ethnicity
Genesis
Biblical interpretation
Issue Date: 18-Feb-2011
Abstract: This dissertation examines the various ways Anglo-Saxon authors interpreted and adapted Genesis 10–11: the Table of Nations and the Tower of Babel narrative. Although Genesis 10–11 offered Christians of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages a scripturally authorized understanding of the origins of ethnic and linguistic diversity of the world, its nature as an ancient Jewish text that deals with matters more suitable to its original audience than to its late antique and medieval readers allowed these later readers to transform the meaning of the text in order to give it a significance more fitting to their own times. In the first section of my dissertation, I treat the topos of the number 72, which becomes prominent when authors of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages read it into the Table of Nations as the number of descendants of Noah’s three sons. My first chapter deals with the initial development of this topos in Christian and Jewish writings of Late Antiquity; my second chapter with the topos in the Latin writings of early Anglo-Saxons, from the biblical commentaries from the School of Canterbury to Alcuin; and my third chapter with the topos in the writings of later Anglo-Saxons, from King Alfred to the Old English texts of the eleventh century. In the second section of my dissertation, I treat the interpretations of the Tower of Babel as they form and are informed in Late Antiquity and Anglo-Saxon England. As in the first section, three chapters are presented: the first on the initial developments in Late Antiquity; the second on the continual development into the Latin authors of early Anglo-Saxon England; and the third on the mainly Old English authors of the later Anglo-Saxon period.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26294
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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