The Divine Office in Anglo-Saxon England, 597-c.1000
When did Anglo-Saxon monks begin to recite the daily hours of prayer, the Divine Office, according to the liturgical pattern prescribed in the Rule of St Benedict? Going beyond the simplistic assumptions of previous scholarship, this book reveals that the early Anglo-Saxon Church followed a non-Benedictine Office tradition inherited from the Roman missionaries; the Benedictine Office arrived only when tenth-century monastic reformers such as Dunstan and Æthelwold decided that "true" monks should not use the same Office liturgy as secular clerics, a decision influenced by eighth- and ninth-century Frankish reforms. The author explains, for the first time, how this reduced liturgical diversity in the Western Church to a basic choice between "secular" and "monastic" forms of the Divine Office; he also uses previously unedited manuscript fragments to illustrate the differing attitudes and Continental connections of the English Benedictine reformer, and to show that survivals of the early Anglo-Saxon liturgy may be identifiable in later medieval sources.
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