Number and Measurement in Anglo-Saxon Christian Culture: Editions and Studies of Numerical Notes in Eight Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, c.800-c.1150
AbstractThis two-part thesis explores aspects of Anglo-Saxon number culture through a detailed examination of numerical encyclopaedic notes. The first part (Chapters I-III) is an edition of seventy-two notes transmitted in eight Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. These manuscripts are London, British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian B.vi, British Library, MS Royal 2.B.v, British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius A.iii, British Library, MS Harley 3271, British Library, MS Cotton Julius A.ii; Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 183 and Corpus Christi College, MS 320; Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS, lat.2825. The edition in Chapter III is preceded by the manuscript descriptions and discussions in Chapter II where the notes are placed in their manuscript contexts in order to explore questions about the codicological context and the cultural standing of these texts. The second part consists of three chapters, Chapters IV to VI. Chapter IV is an extensive commentary divided into four parts corresponding to the subject matter of the notes, which is chronological, spatial, enumerating and miscellaneous. Chapter V provides a series of case studies on metrology and the value of money in Anglo-Saxon monastic and lay culture. In Chapter VI, the computistical notes in British Library, MS Harley 3271 are discussed in the wider context of the study of computus. The two parts of the thesis demonstrate the rich culture of number symbolism these encyclopaedic notes are witnesses to and provide further evidence to the medieval belief of divine order based on Wisdom 11.21: ‘but thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight’. It further reveals how inextricably connected the spiritual and practical uses of number were, thereby pointing to an all-encompassing number culture which governed early medieval Christianity.
Walbers, Birte (2012) Number and Measurement in Anglo-Saxon Christian Culture: Editions and Studies of Numerical Notes in Eight Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, c.800-c.1150. PhD thesis, University of York.