Printer Friendly
The Free Library
23,403,340 articles and books

Reading the Bible Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse.

This essay is concerned with the ways in which two Early Middle English texts--Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse--deploy biblical citation and imagery, and with the traditions of biblical reading in which those deployments operate. The importance of Scripture in all kinds of medieval writing makes biblical reading and response a vast subject, which continues to receive attention from perspectives including structural analysis, narrative allusion, verbal patterning, imagery, and thematics. (1) Such work, of course, crucially depends on our understanding of medieval biblical scholarship and attitudes to the sacred text itself. (2) Medieval manuscripts and modern editions of Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse note many biblical quotations and allusions, but nevertheless, the complex ways in which Scripture inhabits these works still merit our attention. (3) Of course, authors and readers in this period developed attitudes to the Bible from varied religious and linguistic traditions, placing different pressures on the interaction between biblical texts and didactic and devotional literature. At the risk of oversimplifying this massive programme of biblical reading and scholarship, I should like to contextualize my comments on Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse by recalling very briefly some of the modes of reading and academic response to the Bible that were current in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England, focusing on the method of the distinctio. (4)


In the introduction to Ancrene Wisse, its author draws attention to the structure of his work: 'Nv mine leoue sustren, [thorn]is boc ich todeale on eahte destinctiuns, [thorn]et 3(e) cleopie[eth] dalen' (fol. 4r/p. 6: 'Now, my dear sisters, I divide this book into eight distinctions, which you call parts'). (5) J. A. W. Bennett noted that 'destinctiuns' is borrowed here from a scholastic milieu (and translated for the benefit of the anchoresses). (6) The Latin word distinctio ('division, distinction') had a range of meanings including a punctuation mark, section of a book, and drawing a distinction, hence also distinguishing different meanings of a word. (7) Distinctio thus describes both a way of organizing information, and a technique for analysing it. Collections of distinctiones--often alphabetical compendia distinguishing the exegetical meanings of scriptural words--were popular in the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries. (8) The Ancrene Wisse author uses 'destinctiuns' in his introduction to mean 'sections of a book', but later he uses the exegetical method associated with distinctio collections, reflecting their widespread application in reading and citing scriptural texts. (9)

Although distnctiones as a genre became well known in the late twelfth century, the use of similar techniques was not new. An early forerunner of distinctio collections is the fragmentary Clads once attributed to the second-century saint Melito of Sardis. This was commented on and extended by Carolingian writers including Hrabanus Maurus, and by twelfth-century scholars such as Peter the Chanter. The Clavis matches excerpts from the Bible with scriptural, patristic, and later comments, indicating their exegetical significance. The first chapter, for example, headed 'De Deo', starts with general references and then addresses different aspects of God, such as 'Alae Domini, protectio divina. In psalmo: "In umbra alarum tuarum sperabo" [Psalm lvi.2].' (10) The layers of accreted material in the Clavis are indicative of a wider process of commentary exemplified by Isidore of Seville's encyclopaedic Etymologiae (early seventh century) and Defensor of Liguge's Liber scintillarum (c.700). (11) The Liber scintillarum, for example, provided a list of lemmata for a given topic, drawn from Scripture and the Fathers for use in sermons or exegetical work. Such compendia both complemented and catalogued the patristic exegetical tradition, and formed a basis for the more systematic productions of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, though patristic writers had themselves developed similar techniques, as for example Gregory the Great in his Moralia in Iob and Homiliae super Evangelia. (12)

Despite the growth of reference works, however, direct reading and meditating on Scripture and commentaries (the lectio divina) remained central to biblical engagement in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Sophisticated memorial techniques enabled writers to combine references and allude to biblical texts with great freedom, and without the weight of exegetical apparatus, in the knowledge that their audience was equally well versed. (13) This deep engagement with Scripture is integral to the process of meditative reading, or ruminatio, which has far-reaching implications for the style and structure of medieval religious writing. (14) In his classic account of monastic devotional culture, for example, Jean Leclercq defends Bernard of Clairvaux from the charge that his Sermones super Cantica cantirorum are too loose in structure by placing them in the context of the monastic collectio, whose informal quality allowed the speaker to travel through the Scriptures as one word, phrase, or image suggested another. Bernard's Sermones use 'hook-words' to trigger this movement and link his ideas together in verbal chains, or catenae. (15) Leclercq draws a distinction between these habits of mind, which he calls 'monastic', and an analytical, codified approach which he defines as 'scholastic'. This is to overplay the differences: the 'monastic' Cistercians themselves established a college in Paris, the centre of scholastic activity, (16) and in practice most scholars and preachers no doubt combined memorial recollection and ruminatio with written aids to reading and preaching. (17) Indeed, the distinction between reading the Bible and reading commentary and codified exegesis breaks down further when we remember that Bible manuscripts increasingly included glosses, cross-references, and exegetical apparatus around the scriptural text. (18) In this way, the experience of reading the Bible was constantly enriched and mediated by accretive scholarly activity. Numerous other aids to scholarship and exegesis were also being produced, including a verbal concordance to the Scriptures, and reference apparatuses appear more frequently in texts of the first half of the thirteenth century. (19) For example, one manuscript of the Moralia super Evangela includes two indexes, one a subject list, the other alphabetical. (20) The Moralia was clearly intended as a preaching source, so its indexes would be useful for locating a particular subject quickly. (21)

These scholarly aids inevitably affected the practice of preaching. A less hierarchical, more eclectic approach to sources saw anecdotal exempla and interpretations drawn from distinctiones and bestiaries interacting with the Bible more and more in sermons and didactic and devotional writing. (22) An energetic mix of homiletic and rhetorical techniques--both continental and insular--can be found in Ancrene Wisse and Sawles Warde; (23) this variety of influences was itself part of a long tradition, since Anglo-Saxon preachers had always assimilated continental models, and were in turn read and adapted long after the Norman Conquest. (24) By the late twelfth century, then, a complex hierarchy of Scripture and scriptural apparatus existed in England, drawing on varied traditions, and fostering numerous approaches, interpretations, and compilations. And while Leclercq distinguishes the 'monastic' and 'scholastic' modus operandi too starkly, there is no doubt that scholastic techniques provided a fertile environment for codifying scriptural and patristic knowledge. Collections of distinctiones flourished in this environment.

Distinctiones did not provide new interpretations, but their systematic and utilitarian approach to defining words was innovatory. For example, the Pseudo-Hrabanus Maurus Allegoriae in universam sacram Scripturam (probably a twelfth-century compilation) helps a preacher or exegete by distinguishing meanings and references for scriptural words that complement various levels of exegesis. (25) The word 'ancilla', for example, has five interpretations, each reinforced by a biblical citation. The first two move from 'the Church' to 'corruptible flesh':
 Ancilla est Ecclesia, ut in Psalmis: 'Salvum fac filium ancillae
 tuae [Psalm lxxxv.16],' id est me, qui sum membrum Ecclesiae.
 Ancilla, caro corruptibilis, ut in Genesi: 'Ejice ancillam et filium
 ejus, [Genesis xxi.10],' id est, carnem despice, et carnalem fructum
 elus. (col. 858) (26)

The Allegoriae's entry for 'ignis' is much longer (cols 966-9), with significations including 'Spiritus Sanctus' (citing Luke xii.50), 'caritas', 'ardor sanctitatis', 'persecutio', 'dolus Antichristi', 'poena aeterna', and 'concupiscentia'. (27) The manuscripts do not give chapter and verse references; (28) readers were expected to recall the context of citations from memory. Pseudo-Hrabanus Maurus adapts traditional patristic interpretations, but recontextualizes them to shed new light on the exegesis of scriptural words, while the quotations from the Bible also make the Allegoriae a basic concordance.

For further ease of reference, distinctiones were sometimes arranged in diagrammatic form: words were written at the margin and lines pointed to their definitions, as in the 'schematic text' of Peter of Poitiers's late twelfth century Distinctiones super psalterium. (29) Peter's work, like the Summa superp psalterium by his near-contemporary Prepositinus of Cremona, is arranged like a commentary. Other collections, such as the Distinctiones monasticae et morales, the Distinctiones theologice by William de Montibus, and Peter the Chanter's Summa Abel, are in alphabetical order. (30)

Distinctiones were mostly designed as preaching aids, (31) but a more suggestive or philosophical approach is combined with this function in Alan of Lille's Distinctiones dictionum theologicalium. (32) Gillian Evans remarks of this text that '[Alan] seems to have collected passages in which the word occurs [in the Bible] and then to have allowed his list of meanings to arise out of the contexts themselves'. (33) Alan's keen interest in grammar and linguistics affects his attitude to theological language and its relationship to divine and human referents. His thoughtful engagement with scriptural language is exemplified by his interpretation of 'anima' (cols 699-701). He gives eighteen distinctions, starting with 'spiritus rationalis'. 'Anima' can also mean man, or animal:
 Dicitur homo, quia est pars hominis, unde legitur in Gen. quod otto
 animae fuerunt in arca, id est octo homines ... Dicitur etiam animal
 unde in Gen.: creavit Deus cete grandia et omnem animam viventem, id
 est animal vivens, quia anima pars est animalis. Nomen enim partis
 sumitur in designatione totius. (34)

In these definitions, Alan employs synecdoche, explaining the technique in the second case. He also includes some wordplay--'anima pars est animalis'--suggestive of the punning ideas on grammar and its 'literal' applications elaborated in his De planctu Naturae. (35) In a similar way, definitions are extended to include their consequential actions; thus 'anima' can mean 'voluntas quae procedit ex anima', 'gulositas', and 'voracitas quae ex gulositate procedit'. Alan refers not only to the Bible; 'anima' can be 'sanguis, unde Virgilius: Purpuream vomit ille animam'. (36) Here he employs literary techniques developed in the accessus ad auctores and glosses to school texts.

Alan's definitions are not all as individual as that of 'anima'. He describes 'crux' (col. 755) as mortification of the flesh ('carnis mortificatio, unde in Evangelio: Qui vult venire post me, abneget seipsum, et tollat crucem suam' (quoting Matthew xvi.24)), and as faith or preaching of the Cross ('fides vel praedicatio crucis, unde Apostolus: Absit mihi gloriari nisi in truce Domini' (Galatians vi.14)). These are standard references for an interpretation of crux. Part VI of Ancrene Wisse, for example, explores the image of the Cross as active participation in Christ's suffering, using the same quotation: 'al [thorn]et 3(e) [thorn]olie[eth], is ow martirdom ... for 3(e) beo[eth] niht ant dei up o Godes rode ... Mihi absit gloriari, nisi in cruce domini mei Iesu Christi' (fol. 94r). (37) Nevertheless, Alan of Lille's Distinctiones are not just a quarry for preaching references, but a valuable and sometimes playful guide to contemporary exegetical ideas and the significance of particular terms in the spiritual lexicon, exploring scriptural language, grammar, and the signifying power of words. (38)

Works such as these, ranging from biblical texts themselves to glossed Bibles, patristic commmentaries, indexes, and distinctiones, participated in a culture of scriptural engagement, an engagement that did not stop once the books were closed: the liturgy, private prayer, church art and architecture reinforced interactions between biblical texts and religious life. Early Middle English writings enter enthusiastically into this creative dialogue with Scripture and its diverse meanings. The lay (and especially female) readers of Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse would have had relatively little training in the linguistic and exegetical skills taught in monasteries and universities, and so the English texts use the Bible to teach Latin, create a scriptural 'book of memory' for their readers, and also direct that knowledge towards practical, spiritual, and devotional ends. (39)


Sawles Warde is a vernacular homily modelled on a Latin text--the pseudo-Anselmian De custodia interioris hominis (40)--and it gains coherence and didactic power by developing groups of biblical quotations and images from its source. It is commonplace to note that Sawles Warde adapts De custodia to become more like a sermon. (41) The English author places the protagonists' speeches in a narrative framework, making them easier to follow when read aloud by one person, while the dialogue form of the Latin seems more suited to the written page. He places the initial quotation from Matthew xxiv. 43 at the head of Sawles Warde as a free-standing pericope, and ends with the Trinitarian formula. He expands and develops the visions of hell and heaven. Description and action are made livelier and more naturalistic. All these changes are important to the English text's modus operandi. What I shall focus on here, however, is the way in which Sawles Warde develops a group of images and reference points from the Bible, sometimes following De custodia's lead, sometimes departing from it. These allusions and alterations bring different concepts into focus for the audience of Sawles Warde. The author makes central the theme of judgement and develops notions concerning the body as a house, the relationship between lord and servant, and the Second Coming.

The biblical context of Sawles Warde's pericope is central to its network of allusions and images: 'Si sciret paterfamilias qua hora fur uenturus esset, vigilaret utique et non sineret perfodi domum suam' (p. 86, lines 1f.). (42) This verse occurs in Christ's prophecy of the Last Days in Matthew xxivf. and its analogues Mark xiii and Luke xii--perhaps the most important sources for eschatological writing in the Middle Ages. Even in sermons apparently unconcerned with Doomsday, references to these chapters appear as a shorthand warning of judgement. The figural nature of the verse is already apparent in the Gospel, and thus itself initiates a process of narrative and figurative development. In Sawles Warde, then, the biblical house (that is, man: '[eth]is hus [thorn]e ure Lauerd spekec[eth] of is seolf [thorn]e mon' (p. 86, line 8)) contains [thorn]e tresor [thorn]et Godd 3ef himseolf fore, [thorn]et is, monnes sawle' (p. 86, lines 26f.).

The idea of the soul as a treasure inside the body clarifies the mise-en-scene, but also has a place in the context of Sawles Warde's pericope. (43) A similar image occurs in Luke xii.34: 'ubi enim thesaurus vester est ibi et cor vestrum erit' ('for where your treasure is there will your heart be also'). Just two verses later, the image of servants in a household is employed: 'et vos similes hominibus expectantibus dominum suum ... Beati servi illi quos cum venerit dominus invenerit vigilantes' (Luke xii.36f.: 'And you yourselves [are] like men waiting for their lord ... blessed are those servants whom the lord when he comes will find keeping watch'). There follows a verse parallel to Sawles Warde's pericope: 'si sciret pater familias ...' (Luke xii.39). This whole passage from Luke is an exhortation to store up heavenly treasure for the soul, rather than earthly riches. The verses on the heart's treasure in Luke xii are also paralleled earlier in Matthew: 'Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in caelo ... ubi fures non effodiunt nec furantur: ubi enim est thesaurus tuus ibi estet cor tuum' (Matthew vi.20f.: 'Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven ... where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also'). Already, then, the idea of the soul as treasure has a more meaningful context in the Gospels on which Sawles Warde draws. Sawles Warde extends the image by repeating how God has bought the soul by sacrificing himself: it is 'tresor, [thorn]et Godd bohte mid his dea[eth] ant lette lif o rode' (p. 86, lines 28f.; echoing lines 26f. quoted above).

After a description of Reason (the head of the household) and the cardinal virtues who help to guard the house, the arrival of hell's messenger 'Fearlac' (p. 86, line 35) brings us back to Sawles Warde's pericope. Fearlac's initial statements about death once again echo those in the Gospels:
 Ich nat nawt [thorn]e time, for ha ne seide hit me nawt; ah eauer
 loki[eth] hwenne, for hire wune is to cumen bi stale, ferliche ant
 unmundlunge, hwen me least wene[eth]. (p. 90, lines 6-8) (44)

This passage incorporates important biblical statements: 'De die autem ilia et hora nemo scit' (Matthew xxiv.36); 'Vigilate ergo: quia nescitis qua hora Dominus vester venturus sit' (Matthew xxiv.42); 'vigilate itaque, quia nescitis diem neque horam' (Matthew xxv. 13).(45) Fearlac

also links the 'vigilate' passages with some of their earliest exegesis. In I Thessalonians, St Paul echoes these Gospel passages: 'ipsi enim diligenter scitis quia dies Domini sicut fur in nocte ita veniet'; and 'igitur non dormiamus sicut ceteri, sed vigilemus' (I Thessalonians v.2 and v.6). (46) Thus the biblical ideas 'be watchful', 'no one knows the hour', and 'the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night' are all conveyed in Fearlac's first brief sentence, and locked together by allusion to St Paul's letter.

The inclusion of sections on hell and heaven in Sawles Warde is natural, given the eschatological context of the text's pericope. Two of the biblical allusions made by Fearlac come from Matthew xxivf. Fearlac says of hell (following De custodia): '[eth]er is remunge i [thorn]e brune ant to[eth]es hechelunge i [thorn]e snawi weattres' (p. 92, lines 7f.: 'There is wailing in the fire and gnashing of teeth in the icy waters'). This alludes to Matthew xxiv.51, xxv.30 or xxii.13: 'illic erit fletus et stridor dentium' (xxiv. 51: 'there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth').(47) Summing up his description, Fearlac says of those who earn a place in hell: 'wel were him 3ef [thorn]et he neauer ibore nere' (p. 94, lines 9f.), a clear reference to Matthew xxvi.24: 'vae autem homini illi per quem Filius hominis traditur: Bonum erat ei si natus non fuisset homo ille' ('but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed: it were better for him if that man had not been born'). In Fearlac's speech as a whole, the Sawles Warde author skilfully combines these biblical references with material from apocryphal and medieval traditions of the otherworld to magnify the impact of Fearlac's warnings, while the strongly rhythmical and alliterative conclusion to the hell vision is directly in the tradition of Old English homiletic writing:
 O helle, Dea[eth]es hus, wununge of wanunge, of grure ant of
 granunge, heatel ham ant heard, wan of alle wontreac[eth]es, buri of
 bale ant bold of eauereuch bitternesse ... (P. 94, lines 1-3) (48)

The vision of heaven is also suffused with biblical references. 'Liues Luue' says of God: 'Ich habbe isehen him ofte, nawt tah alswa as he is' (p. 98, line 36-p. 100, line l: 'I have seen him often, but not as he really is'). He must view the Godhead 'through a shining mirror' ('[thorn]urh a schene schawere' (p. 100, line 4)). The heavenly host, however, are 'like him, in the same glory as he is himself, because they see him as he is, face to face' ('ilich him, i [thorn]e ilke wlite [thorn]et he is, for ha seo[eth] him as he is, nebbe to nebbe' (p. 102, lines 34f)). These antitheses (which the author has retained from the Anselmian text and made stronger) clearly allude to powerful images of sight and salvation in the Bible, especially I Corinthians xiii.12: 'videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate; tunc autem facie ad faciem' ('we see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face'), and I John iii.2: 'scimus quoniam cum apparuerit similes ei erimus: quoniam videbimus eum sicuti est' ('we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: because we shall see him as he is'). Their employment, along with a visionary mode drawn from Revelation, powers the contribution of Liues Luue and suggestively binds together several biblical passages. (49)

Towards the end of his vision, Liues Luue quotes in Latin 'Intra in gaudium, et cetera' (p. 104, line 19) from Matthew xxv.21 and xxv.23: 'intra in gaudium domini tui' ('enter into the joy of your lord'). The verses from Matthew are part of the parable of the talents: in verses 21 and 23 the master rewards his 'good and faithful' servants who increased their money; in verse 30 (to which, as we have seen, Sawles Warde p. 92, line 8 refers), the master punishes the servant who buried his talent. These allusions in the visions of hell and heaven neatly combine the parable of the talents with the fates of souls at Doomsday. Indeed, themes of service and the lord-servant relationship appear throughout Sawles Warde and its biblical context. Matthew xxiv.44-51 (the verses immediately following Sawles Warde's pericope) develop the idea of servants preparing for their lord's arrival. Matthew xxv.14-30 contains the parable of the talents, whose significance lies in its interweaving of service and judgement. Likewise Luke xii.36-48 compares the Second Coming to a master returning to his household (Luke xii.36f, is quoted above, p. 24; Mark xiii.33-7 is analogous). These scriptural parallels underpin the similitudo developed in Sawles Warde as a whole. The biblical context of judgement also helps to shift emphasis (and exegetical framework) from defending the house against the devil as a thief at the start of Sawles Warde, to watching for death, to ultimately preparing the household for the entry and transformation achieved by Christ. As reference to I Thessalonians shows, (50) both the day of the Lord and the devil can be compared to a thief. The servants/senses also have a double significance: they are on one level internal to each person, and on another are the audience themselves, who must be watchful for the Last Judgement. This layering of references is something that exegetical reading encourages, and that Sawles Warde (following De custodia's lead) neatly exploits.

An additional significant feature of Sawles Warde's overall structure derives from a biblical allusion in De custodia. At the end of Sawles Warde Fearlac is forced to leave, since Liues Luue has replaced him:
 'Varpe[eth] ut' quo[eth] Rihtwisnesse, 'Farlac ure fa! Nis nawt riht
 [thorn]et an hus halde [thorn]eos tweien; for [thorn]er as
 Mur[eth]es sonde is, ant so[eth] Luue of eche Lif, Farlac is fleme.'
 (p. 106, lines 12-14) (51)

This provides a satisfying conclusion to the narrative, but it also alludes to 1 John iv.18: 'timor non est in caritate: sed perfecta caritas foras mittit timorem' ('Fear is not in love: but perfect love casts out fear'). (52) The ending of Sawles Warde thus embodies a biblical statement. Indeed, the whole movement from Fearlac's warnings to Liues Luue's vision of heaven forms a dramatic enactment of this scriptural verse,(53) Sawles Warde hints at this progression early on, when Reason quells and instructs his unruly servants 'both with fear and with love': '[thorn]ah we hit ne here nawt, we mahen felen hare nur[eth] ant hare untohe bere, a[thorn]et Wit cume for[eth] ant ba wi[eth] eie ant wi[eth] luue tuhte ham [thorn]e betere' (p. 86, lines 21-3 (not found in De custodia)). Sawles Warde deftly adapts its narrative to prepare for an important biblical citation and creates a dramatic scenario from a biblical verse to crystallize its didactic message.

Here we might compare Sawles Warde with another adaptation of De custodia, a Latin sermon that appears in a twelfth-century manuscript, Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale de la France, MS lat. 12 202, fol. 136(r-v). (54) The work makes some changes similar to Sawles Warde: it introduces more concrete, natural description (for instance, it includes a reference to musical instruments, which the virtues play in order to stay alert) (55) and some liveliness into the dialogue. However, the sermon is rather formal in its rhetoric, for instance making the duties and actions of the senses a chance for sixfold repetition and homeoteleuton: 'Oculi ad uidendum, aures ad audiendum. Nares ad olfaciendum. Os ad gustandum et loquendum. Manus ad tangendum et operandum, pedes ad ambulandum' (p. 221). (56) Sawles Warde, by contrast, simply mentions the senses and presses on: 'sih[eth]e ant herunge, smechunge ant smeallunge ant euch limes felunge' (p. 86, lines 15f.) (57) Other differences include the explanation of 'thesaurus' as the virtues themselves in MS 12 020 ('uirtutum thesaurum' (p. 222, retaining the arrangement of De custodia) and the delayed identification of the devil with the 'fures' of the pericope: 'explorauerunt eum fures, diabolus scilicet et satellites sui' (p. 222: 'thieves reconnoitred it [i.e. the treasure], that is, the devil and his accomplices'). (58)

As Becker notes, the Latin sermon reduces the discussion of heaven. (59) Sawles Warde expands the descriptions both of heaven and hell, though both texts show a keen interest in the hierarchy of the heavenly host. MS 12 020 highlights its monastic audience by retaining from De custodia those who are 'apostolici et doctores' and 'monachos' (p. 225) amongst the blessed. Sawles Warde leaves out these coenobitic heroes, while expanding the section on virgins, who are 'ilikest towart engles' (p. 102, line 9)--an appropriate emphasis, given Sawles Warde's context in the Katherine Group. MS 12 020, by contrast, mentions virgins only briefly, within the bounds of a conventional biblical reminiscence: 'Uidi uirgines "canticum nouum cantantes", et agnum quocunque ibit sequentes' (p. 225: 'I saw virgins "singing a new song", and following wherever the lamb went'). (60)

Throughout the Latin sermon, biblical references act as catchphrases or pointers to relevant scriptural passages rather than fully developed allusions. Sometimes the biblical citations are linked in a chain of references. For example, after Timor has spoken, the next passage (pp. 223f. (seventeen lines)) contains fifteen biblical citations. Seven of these are inherited from De custodia, and the others are added to create tissues of citations as speeches for the virtues. By contrast, in the equivalent section of Sawles Warde there are five citations or allusions, only one of them shared by De custodia and MS 12 020 (the general reference to Ephesians vi: 'nis Godd ure scheld? ant alle beo[eth] ure wepnen of his deore grace' (p. 94, line 34: 'Why, is not God our shield? and all our weapons are from his precious grace')).

The author of Sawles Warde is thus relatively sparing of citations, but incorporates them carefully into his work's narrative, drawing biblical citations and allusions together in order to illuminate the background to its pericope. The smaller number of direct references concentrates attention on the homily's main theme--the struggle for the soul and its eschatological significance--which is imaged in anagogical visions of warning and encouragement. The eschatology of the synoptic Gospels (especially the imagery of Matthew xxivf.) sets the tone and imaginative parameters of Sawles Warde's narrative. The Bible, then, has a distinctive role in the construction of Sawles Warde's narrative as compared to the Latin versions we have considered, and the author has also skilfully combined vernacular and Latin traditions, reshaping his Anselmian and biblical sources to provide a coherent, dramatic, and scripturally informed exegesis.

 For nothing is better for preventing useless ideas or driving out
 impure imaginations than the study of God's word. The virgin should
 make herself so familiar with it that she is incapable of occupying
 her mind with anything else even when she wishes to do so. Let her
 be thinking over the Scriptures when she falls asleep, let something
 from the Scriptures be the first thought to come to her mind when
 she wakes up; as she sleeps let her dreams he interspersed with some
 verse from the Scriptures which has remained fixed in her memory.

Thus AElred of Rievaulx writes in De institutione indusarum, a guide for female recluses that was among Ancrene Wisse's major sources. (62) A similar overwhelming involvement in Scripture as a source of authority and invention is revealed both in the practical directions that the Ancrene Wisse author gives to his audience (down to gestures and habits of thought appropriate for prayers and the liturgy), and in his own language. The stylistic and linguistic affinities of Ancrene Wisse have attracted much attention, (63) as has its historical milieu. (64) The work's place within a tradition of biblical usage and interpretation is an integral part of that style, but has not been analysed to the same extent, and the potential of the Bible as a structural entity in Ancrene Wisse has still fully to be explored. (65)

Ancrene Wisse employs biblical reminiscence in numerous ways, using both 'traditional' approaches and other methods of reading that became prominent in the thirteenth century. It cites verses from most books of the Bible, but of course some were more popular sources than others, or more appropriate for the author's purpose. The index to citations compiled by Anne Savage and Nicholas Watson suggests that by far the most cited book is Psalms (they list seventy-seven citations), followed by Matthew (thirty-two), and Isaiah (twenty-seven). (66) The Psalms had a central place in the liturgy. Their varied styles and poetic language, their personal voice and--to medieval readers--prophecies of the incarnation made them a vital part both of rudimentary biblical teaching and of ambitious scriptural exegesis. Likewise Isaiah is rich in both imaginative breadth and Christological prophecy, making it the most important prophetic book in the Christian exegetical tradition. Matthew was the most quoted of the Gospels in medieval religious literature. Ancrene Wisse also quotes the Song of Songs frequently (Watson and Savage record eighteen citations). This is significant, for the English work begins by citing Song of Songs i.3, and the book's imagery of love and yearning provides an important frame for Ancrene Wisse's own imaginative landscape. (67)

The author, however, does not only quote or refer directly to the Bible. As Geoffrey Shepherd notes: 'Often his approach to the text is through the crust of traditional commentary ... Often, of course, his use of Scripture depends on the use made of it by the author he is following.' (68) These intermediate sources make the allusions in Ancrene Wisse more difficult to assign to a single biblical passage, but they also contain the potential for a much more complex interaction with Scripture: the author may allude both to his immediate source and to a verse of the Bible which that source quotes. (69) Biblical verses frequently became associated through repeated comparison in exegesis, and so use of similar citations does not of itself prove direct borrowing by a later author, but does show how widespread and accretive were exegetical traditions. (70) Here I shall concentrate on part vii to illustrate the varied way in which Ancrene Wisse incorporates scriptural citations, interpretations, and ideas. This part of the text, whose subject is love, forms the climax of the 'inner rule'. (71) Biblical citations work in numerous ways to enhance the work's cohesion and didactic force.

The Ancrene Wisse author often uses translation and paraphrase to highlight one view of a citation and load it with exegetical significance. A Latin quotation thus validates the author's own words, while the English paraphrase can give the citation a particular shade of meaning. In doing this he both authorizes his own interpretation and prepares the next step of his argument. The opening of Ancrene Wisse VII exemplifies this subtle manipulation of the Bible. The author begins by referring to scriptural authority: 'Seinte Pawel witne[eth].' The reference introduces not a quotation (not yet, anyway), but the author's own statement: 'Seinte Pawel witne[eth] [thorn]et alle uttre heardschipes, alle flesches pinsunges ... al is ase nawt azeines luue [thorn]e schire[eth] ant brihte[eth] [thorn]e heorte' (fol. 104r). (72)

This statement leads to a quotation from I Timothy iv.8, which is first given in Latin and then paraphrased: 'Exercitio corporis ad modicum ualet: pietas autem ualet ad omnia: [thorn]et is, licomlich bisischipe is to lutel wur[eth], ah swote ant schir heorte is god to alle pinges' (fol. 104r). (73) The English paraphrase of St Paul is drawn towards the author's own opening statement by verbal reminiscence: 'uttre heardschipes ... licomliche swinkes' become 'licomlich bisischipe'; 'luue [thorn]e schire[eth] ant brihte[eth] be heorte' is echoed by 'schir heorte'. The scriptural 'pietas' is assimilated to the English 'schir heorte' without further explanation. (74) The contrast between 'uttre heardschipes' and 'luue' has already brought to mind Ancrene Wisse's introduction, with its distinction between the inner rule--'[thorn]eos riwle is chearite of schir heorte' (fol. 1r/p. 1)--and the other, which 'is al wi[eth] uten ant riwle[eth] [thorn]e licome ant licomliche deden ... Et hec est exercitio corporis que iuxta apostolum modicum valet' (fol. 1v/p. 2; again quoting I Timothy iv.8).

In the first two sentences of part VII, then, three statements have been made, all of which appear to have St Paul's authority, though only one is a quotation from the apostle. The Ancrene Wisse author has prepared for his verbatim quotation from I Timothy by providing a contextualizing interpretation. After the quotation, the English translation/paraphrase makes a verbal link between the scriptural verse and the author's initial statement, while the chosen biblical text acts as a microcosm of Ancrene Wisse's distinction between outer and inner rules. Each 'repetition' serves to authorize or explain the others, and direct the citation to the subject of the author's own discussion. There follows a quotation from I Corinthians xiii.1-3:
 Si linguis hominum loquar, et angelorum, et cetera; si tradidero
 corpus meum ita ut ardeam, et cetera; si distribuero omnes
 facultates meas in cibos pauperum, caritatem autem non
 habeam, nichil michi prodest. (fol. 104r) (75)

Ancrene Wisse retains the statements in Corinthians relating to outer actions, while inner attributes mentioned in the scriptural passage that also fail in the absence of love--like the spirit of prophecy and faith--are excluded from the quotation. The changes reinforce the author's argument that outward actions are useless without inner love. The order is also rearranged; in the Vulgate text, giving all one's goods to feed the poor comes before the climax of giving one's body to be burned. Ancrene Wisse's alteration has the effect of finishing with an example directly relevant to the anchoresses: they have forgone worldly goods and comforts to follow their religious discipline. (76) The English paraphrase/gloss that follows is again more than a straight translation. The second example is interpreted in the anchoresses' own ascetic context: [thorn]ah ich dude o mi bodi alle pine ant passiun [thorn]et bodi mahte [thorn]olien' (fol. 104r/p. 177: 'though I laid on my body all the torture and torment that a body might endure'), and the final section is expanded: 'zef ich nefde luue [thorn]erwi[eth] to Godd ant to alle men, in him ant for him, al were ispillet' (ibid.: 'if I did not have love as well, for God and for all men in him and for him, all would be wasted').

The phrase 'in him ant for him' is crucial, for the English text here introduces an idea that the author subsequently draws on and develops--one about loving God personally and loving others for or through God: 'Schir heorte, as seint Bernard sei[eth], makie[eth] twa [thorn]inges: [thorn]et tu al [thorn]et tu dest, do hit o[eth]er for luue ane of Godd, o[eth]r for o[thorn]res god ant for his biheue' (fol. 104r); and later: 'ase sei[eth] seint Austin ... "lauerd, leasse ha luuie[eth] [thorn]e, [thorn]e luuie[eth] eawt bute [thorn]e, bute ha luuien hit for [thorn]e"' (fol. 104v). (77) This division into loving God for himself, and loving others for the sake of God, was a popular patristic theme. (78) It has no foundation in I Corinthians, but the English paraphrase has planted the idea in the biblical citation; the author then develops it organically rather than introducing a new idea abruptly.

His success can be measured against the relative failure of the Latin version of Ancrene Wisse. The Latin text, of course, cannot 'translate' scriptural citations. In order to include the idea of love 'in him ant for him', the adaptor resorts to repeating 'caritatem' and providing a ponderous gloss: 'Caritatem: id est dilectionem ad Deum et ad omnes homines in Deo et propter Deum, quia sicut dicit abbas Moyses ...' (79) The addition also loses the smooth transition to the quotation from 'abbot Moses' that the English text achieves. In this case then, the vernacularity of Ancrene Wisse works to its stylistic and didactic advantage.

Similar manipulation of scriptural paraphrase occurs throughout Ancrene Wisse VII:
 Apostolus: Christus dilexit ecclesiam, et dedit semer ipsum pro ea:
 Crist, sei[eth] seinte Pawel, luuede swa his leofmon [thorn]et he
 zef for hire [thorn]e pris of him seoluen. (fol. 105r, quoting
 Ephesians v.25) (80)

Here the paraphrase/translation makes explicit what is implicit in the biblical text. The image of the Church as bride of Christ is of course an exegetical commonplace drawing on the Song of Songs. The Ancrene Wisse author thus uses the biblical reference and its translation to provide both romance and exegesis--ecclesia as Christ's 'leofmon'--without the weight of explanatory apparatus. The same occurs with 'For [thorn]i sei[eth] [thorn]e salmwruhte, Non est qui se abscondat a calore eius: nis nan [thorn]et mahe edlutien [thorn]et ha ne mot him luuien' (fol. 108r). (81) Here the author interprets 'calor' as love and applies it to the anchoresses without further explanation. (82) Later, Romans xii.20/Proverbs xxv.21f. is quoted and translated, but this time the signposts of exegesis appear: '[thorn]et is', [thorn]et is to understonden', '[thorn]et is to seggen' (fol. 109v/p. 186).

We have seen how the author carefully places a scriptural verse at the start of Ancrene Wisse VII. Citations also initiate the argument of the introduction, and parts II, III, and VI. Scholars have commented on the affinities of Ancrene Wisse's style to sermon literature, (83) and these initial citations correspond to pericopes at the start of a homily. The initial quotation from I Timothy does indeed provide a unifying theme for the argument of Ancrene Wisse VII, and the author employs techniques familiar to the homilist, such as divisions into lists (the four loves) and the use of exempla (Christ the 'lover-knight'). However, Ancrene Wisse VII is not a conventional exposition of a pericope, but is rather freer in its imagery and structure.

More typical of Ancrene Wisse as a whole is part III, which clearly adopts a sermon structure. Its initial citation is from Psalm ci.7: 'Similis factus sum pellicano solitudinis, et cetera' (fol. 32r/p. 60: 'I am become like to a pelican of the wilderness, etc.'). The argument is structured closely around this verse and the next, returning frequently to the image of the pelican, and referring to Psalm ci.7 a further four times. (84) In addition, ideas around the words solitarius, solitudo, and deserto are constantly developed. Ancrene Wisse III makes extensive use of etymology of biblical names, lists (eight reasons to be vigilant, eight reasons to flee the world), and animal imagery. It also draws on more diverse sources than the concentrated rhetoric of Ancrene Wisse VII allows; for example, Horace's Epistles are quoted (fol. 33r/p. 61). Likewise Ancrene Wisse VI introduces a group of quotations that are referred to and extended throughout the section. Part IV, on the other hand, is longer and less tightly organized, though after an introductory section, it starts the discussion of temptation with a powerful quotation from James i.12: 'Beatus vir qui suffert temptationem, quoniam probatus fuerit accipiet coronam vite quam repromisit Deus diligentibus se' (fol. 48v/pp. 87f.: 'Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him'). In the Corpus manuscript another exemplary quotation from Matthew iv.1 appears before this: 'Ductus est iesus in desertum a spiritu ut temptaretur a diabolo' (fol. 48r/p. 87: 'Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil'). This quotation is taken up by the compiler of a French version of Ancrene Wisse in Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R. 14.7, and placed at the head of part IV, making the text look more like a sermon. (85) In context, then, Ancrene Wisse VII signals its homiletic affinities by its didactic techniques and relationship to Ancrene Wisse as a whole, though its structure is not so obviously that of a traditional sermon.

The influence of one such technique--the distinctio--is apparent in Ancrene Wisse VII's analysis of the shield of Christ. (86) The author picks a citation to illustrate each stage of interpretation. First 'Relicto eo, omnes fugerunt' (fol. 106r/p. 180: 'All leaving him, they fled' (Matthew xxvi.56)). This literal statement from the Bible explains Ancrene Wisse's own figurative image of Christ as a shield without sides. The next citation is itself figurative, 'Dabis scutum cordis laborem tuum' (ibid.: 'Thou shalt give [them] a buckler of heart, thy labour' (Lamentations iii.65)), and is paraphrased/interpreted in advance as protection from temptations: '[ETH]is scheld is izeuen us azein alle temptatiuns.' Then the shield is interpreted anagogically: '[thorn]is scheld ... crune[eth] us in heouene scuto bone uoluntatis' (ibid.: 'this shield ... crowns us in heaven with a shield of good will' (Psalm v.13)). By another verbal link, the phrase 'bone uoluntatis' is related to Isaiah liii.7: 'Oblatus est quia uoluit' (ibid.).

Alan of Lille makes a similar interpretation in his Distinctiones. He defines 'scutum' thus:
 Dicitur gratuita Dei voluntas uel protectio divina, unde David:
 Domine, scuto bonae voluntatis tuae coronarti nos ... id est
 gratuita voluntate in praesenti nos munis contra vitia, in
 futuro coronabis in gloria. (col. 938) (87)

Alan cites Psalm v.13 and puns on 'coronasti', which can mean both 'surround' (and, Alan implies, 'protect') and 'crown'. These are also the meanings juxtaposed in Ancrene Wisse. The English text completes its distinctio by picturing Christ's shield as that of a knight, hanging in church as a memorial of his prowess. In a characteristically powerful imaginative turn, the author thus makes the shield of Christ a tangible part of the anchoresses' world: it was common practice to display coats of arms in church in this way. (88)

Here, then, the Ancrene Wisse author has stepped back to distinguish several different meanings of shield. Interpretations are placed on it by intellectual analogy (having no sides), by reference to biblical occurrences of 'scutum' (Psalm v.13, Lamentations iii.65), by visual correspondence (shields hanging in church). The movement from Lamentations iii.65 to Psalm v.13 to Isaiah liii.7 is based on a chain of verbal reminiscences. The links made by the use of 'scutum' are imaginatively closer but still operate more on a verbal than conceptual level. Such connections have been identified as an important part of Ancrene Wisse's style: 'Everywhere the writer's thought can be seen advancing by purely verbal rather than logical nexus.' (89) The technique here is reminiscent of Ancrene Wisse's introduction, where the author draws on meanings of 'rule' and their biblical occurrences to apply them to his work: 'Recti diligunt te ... Est rectum gramaticum; rectum geometricum; rectum theologicum' (fol. 1r). (90) Ancrene Wisse's distinctions of 'right' and 'rule' in its introduction are again comparable to Alan of Lille's Distinciones, where 'regula' is defined by Alan as 'regularis ordo vivendi', 'instrumentum geometricum', and 'evangelica doctrina' (col. 923).

Towards the end of Ancrene Wisse VII, several meanings of fire are distinguished. Fire is interpreted as Christ, as the Holy Spirit, as Love. A parallel approach may be found in the Pseudo-Hrabanus Maurus Allegoriae, under 'ignis'. The Allegoriae interprets Luke xii.49f. as a reference to the Holy Spirit: 'Ignem veni mittere in terram, et quid volo nisi ut ardeat?' ('I am come to cast fire on the earth: and what will I, but that it be kindled?'). It then explains the word 'earth' as a reference to the 'terrena conscientia':
 In hanc terram Deus ignem mittit, cum illam afflatu Spiritus
 sancti incendit. Tunc ardet terra, cure relictis concupiscentiis
 conscientiis ad amorem Dei fervet frigida prius conscientia.
 (col. 966) (91)

Citing Psalm xcvi.3, the Allegoriae then interprets fire as love, which turns enemies into friends: 'Ignis ante ipsum praecedet, et inflammabit in circuitu inimicos ejus' ('A fire goes before him, and burns up his enemies round about'). Ancrene Wisse also quotes Luke xii.50, and makes a similar hot-and-cold analogy: 'Ich com to bringen, he sei[eth], fur in to eor[eth]e, [thorn]et is, bearninde luue in to eor[eth]lich heorte ... Utinam frigidus esses, aut calidus' (fol. 108v/p. 184: '"I came to bring," he says, "fire into the earth"--that is, burning love into earthly hearts ... I would thou wert cold or hot' (quoting Revelation iii.15)). The English text then links fire and love to the Holy Spirit, before introducing the explosive 'Greek fire' as an image of love that can overcome all foes and kindle their love in turn (fols 108v-109v/pp. 184-7). Throughout this passage the author of Ancrene Wisse draws on the distinctio technique but also invests his interpretations with an imaginative energy that produces a didactic and rhetorical tour de force at the climax of part VII.

The author's biblical reading and writing work at various exegetical levels in Ancrene Wisse. For example, Old Testament types appear as exempla. The author interprets the wood gathered by the woman of Sarepta as the Cross: 'En, inquit, colligo duo ligna ... [THORN]eos twa treon bitacni[eth] [thorn]et a treo [thorn]et stod upriht ant [thorn]et o[thorn]er [thorn]e eode [thorn]wertouer o [thorn]e deore rode' (fol. 108v, quoting III Kings xvii.12). (92) This is one of numerous small instances of typology. A more subtle and pointed use of types occurs earlier in Ancrene Wisse VII, when the author asks why Christ deserves out love. Before quoting Psalm viii.8f., he paraphrases the verses, with a change of pronoun that emphasizes the personal involvement of the reader--'we', not 'he' (i.e. mankind), had power over the world before the Fall: 'al [thorn]et is [thorn]e world he weorp under ure fet--beastes ant fuheles--ear we weren forgulte. Omnia subiecisti sub pedibus eius' (fol. 105r). (93) By sacriticing himself in the Crucifixion, this passage claims, Christ gives us the authority over creation that we lost after the Fall. (94) The author's argument echoes St Paul, who quotes Psalm viii.8 in I Corinthians xv.26. The context of Paul's citation is an affirmation of the Resurrection, emphasizing the typological link between Adam and Christ. In this one brief reference, then, the Ancrene Wisse author is able to allude to the whole cycle of Salvation History and the redeeming power of Christ.

A different exegetical level--that of scriptural allegory--is used in the narrative of Christ as a royal knight wooing a lady. (95) Although the Bible is not quoted directly, the narrative alludes widely to the events of Salvation History, with the patriarchs and prophets, the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection all signified within it. When he introduces the story, the Ancrene Wisse author probably draws on the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matthew xxi). (96) The parable's conclusion (the lord takes revenge for his son's death by killing the miscreants) certainly has a bearing on Christ's threat to the recalcitrant soul later in Ancrene Wisse VII. 'Narrative allusion' like this is rare in Ancrene Wisse, though it is put to effective use as imitatio Christi in the saints' lives of the Katherine Group. (97)

The contexts of Ancrene Wisse's non-biblical sources can yield significant exegetical connections. Early in Ancrene Wisse VII the author quotes Augustine's Tractatus in epistolam Iohannis, VII.4, (98) and Titus i.15, paraphrasing them in one balanced statement: 'Haue eauer schir heorte [thorn]us, ant do al [thorn]et tu wult; haue wori heorte, al [thorn]e sit uuele' (fol. 104v). (99) Augustine, commenting on I John iv, argues just after this that no good comes 'nisi de radice charitatis'. The image of love as the root of goodness is common, especially when placed in apposition to greed as the root of evil (I Timothy vi.10: 'radix enim omnium malorum est cupiditas'). When, shortly after the reference to Augustine, Ancrene Wisse quotes Gregory's Homiliae super Evangelia II, Homily 27, this image is employed: 'Alle Godes heastes, as sein Gregoire sei[eth], beo[eth] i luue irotet' (fol. 104v/p. 178: '"All God's commandments," as St Gregory says, "are rooted in love"'). The verb 'irotet' replaces a different metaphor--that of building--in Gregory's own text: 'quidquid praecipitur, in sola caritate solidatur.' (100) The Ancrene Wisse author may perhaps have been influenced by the Augustinian text here, but he would also have encountered the root image if he read on in Gregory: 'Vt enim multi arboris rami ex una radice prodeunt, sic multae virtutes ex una caritate generantur.' He would also find the direction to love 'in God and for God', the same clarification that we have seen him add to I Corinthians xiii: 'Ille enim veraciter charitatem habet, qui et amicum diligit in Deo, et inimicum diligit propter Deum.' (101) These correspondences strengthen the suggestion that the Ancrene Wisse author was reading carefully in the context of his source materials, using their verbal and thematic links to reinforce his own message, whether he worked from full texts, or from collections of distinctiones and patristic florilegia, or from his remembered reading. In this case, the pattern of allusions enriches the author's intricate layering of natural and agricultural imagery in Ancrene Wisse VII.

The quotation from Augustine's Tractatus in epistolam Iohannis is also significant for its biblical context. Augustine is commenting here on I John iv, and the epistle was fundamentally important to a discussion of God and love. If we consider I John as a whole, several themes and images emerge which illuminate the argument of Ancrene Wisse VII. For example, love and obedience to God are closely related in Ancrene Wisse, and, as we shall see, intertwined in the image of a 'schir heorte'. This is the force of Ancrene Wisse VII's quotation from Romans xiii.10: 'Plenitudo legis est dilectio' (fol. 104v/p. 178: 'Love is the fulfilling of the law'). The idea is round in I John ii.5: 'qui autem servat verbum eius, vere in hoc caritas Dei perfecta est' ('But he that keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected' (see also ii.3f.)). Likewise Ancrene Wisse's quotation from Augustine 'habe caritatem et fat quicquid uis' (fol. 104v/p. 178: 'have love, and do whatever you wish') echoes I John v.14: 'quodcumque petierimus secundum voluntatem eius audit nos' ('whatever we ask according to his will, he hears us'). The end of Ancrene Wisse VII develops this idea when love is described as directing God's will: 'he make[eth] hire his meistre ant de[eth] al [thorn]et ha hat' (fol. 110v/p. 187: 'he makes her his master and does all that she commands'). (102)

In Ancrene Wisse VII, love is presented in terms of sight and knowledge; the eyes of an impure heart 'ne mei cnawen Godd, ne gleadien of his sih[eth]e' (fol. 104r/pp. 177f.: 'cannot recognize God or rejoice at the sight of him'). In I John, whoever hates his brother is in darkness 'quoniam tenebrae obcaecaverunt oculos eius' (ii.11), while those who do not love, do not know God: 'qui non diligit non novit Deum' (iv.8). In contrast, 'scimus quoniam cum apparuerit similes ei erimus: quoniam videbimus eum sicuti est' (iii.2). (103) In both texts, love of God is set against love of the world. I John warns: 'nolite diligere mundum neque ea quae in mundo sunt' (ii.15: 'Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world'), and 'nolite mirari fratres si odit vos mundus' (iii.13: 'Marvel hot, brethren, if the world hate you'), while the contempt of the world proposed in Ancrene Wisse VI helps to prepare for the discussion of inner love in part VII. Ancrene Wisse VII has been criticized for concentrating too much on God's love for humanity--on why he deserves love, rather than on how the anchoresses should love God. (104) However, this apparent imbalance is explained if we take into account two more passages from I John: 'in hoc est caritas: non quasi nos dilexerimus Deum, sed quoniam ipse dilexit nos' (iv.10: 'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us'), and 'in hoc cognovimus caritatem, quoniam ille pro nobis animam suam posuit' (iii.16: 'Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us'). Finally, the most fundamental idea in I John is that God is love: 'Deus caritas est, et qui manet in caritate in Deo manet et Deus in eo' (iv.16: 'God is love, and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him'). Ancrene Wisse assumes this claim as a basis for all its discussion of love. Although I John is not quoted directly in Ancrene Wisse, then, many of its major statements closely parallel the didactic argument of Ancrene Wisse VII, and underlie the English text's imaginative field; in effect it forms a 'pre-text' for all of Ancrene Wisse's discussion. (105)

Many other ideas and images in Ancrene Wisse are, of course, illuminated by Scripture and exegetical tradition. The image of a 'schir heorte' first appears in Ancrene Wisse's introduction, and occurs numerous times in part VII. (106) Schir can mean pure, calm, bright, resplendent, both in the literal and moral sense, and also carries the idea of clarity of vision; 'schir ant of briht sih[eth]e' (fol. 104r/p. 177). (107) The word carries much significance in vernacular homiletic writing; in the Old English poem Christ III, for example, Christ is described as 'scircyning', and those brought to judgement become transparent 'swa [thorn]aet scire glaes'. (108) Baldwin argues that purity of conscience is the important concept in Ancrene Wisse, rather than purity of heart in the sense of love. (109) However, with 'schir heorte' the author fuses both concepts--those of purity in the sense of piety, and the heart as the seat of love. The former is exemplified by two texts quoted in Ancrene Wisse VII: I Timothy iv.8 ('pietas autem ualet ad omnia', fol. 104r/p. 177: 'godliness is profitable to all things'), and Titus i.15 ('omnia munda mundis', fol. 104v/p. 178: 'all things are clean to the clean'). Both 'pietas' (directly) and 'munditia' (by implication) are interpreted as 'schir heorte' by the author. Their meaning is clarified by the close relation we have seen between love and doing God's will; piety is thus an integral part of loving God.

A well-known verse from the Beatitudes provides a scriptural focus for the image of a pure heart: 'beati mundo corde quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt' (Matthew v.8: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God'). In Ancrene Wisse I the author recommends that the anchoresses pray to receive the blessings promised in the Beatitudes (fol. 7r/p. 15), and Ancrene Wisse VII itself apparently alludes to Matthew:
 [N]a flesches derf nis to luuien bute for [thorn]i [thorn]et Godd te
 rea[eth]ere [thorn]iderward loki mid his grace, ant make[eth]
 [thorn]e heorte schir ant of briht sih[eth]e, [thorn]et nan ne mei
 habben wi[thorn] monglunge of un[thorn]eawes, ne wi[eth]
 eor[eth]lich luue of worltliche [thorn]inges; for [thorn]is mong
 wore[eth]) swa [thorn]e ehnen of [thorn]e heorte [thorn]et ha ne
 mei cnawen Godd, ne gleadien of his sih[eth]e. (fol. 104r) (110)

Here the author employs the imagery of purity and sight that occurs in Matthew v.8 (and, as we have seen, I John iiif.) to warn his audience of the dangers of an impure heart. (111) Characteristically, he signifies both spiritual and physical elements of the image. (112) 'Wore[eth]' literally means 'mingle', 'cloud', or 'pollute' (the author later contrasts 'schir heorte' with 'wori heorte' (p. 19, lines 32f.)). Love that is eor[eth]lich--'earth(l)y'--may indeed make the eyes of the heart muddy or dirty, especially as schir is commonly used to describe water in Middle English. (113) Likewise, the biblical promise to the 'pure in heart' has been transferred to a physical image: in Ancrene Wisse, the heart is imagined as a microcosm of the anchoress, having its own eyes to know and see God. (114)

The image of love as a heavenly steward concludes the opening section of Ancrene Wisse VII: 'for heo ne edhalt na [thorn]ing, ah zeue[eth] al [thorn]et ha haue[eth], ant ec hire seoluen' (fol. 104v/p. 178: 'for she holds back nothing, but gives all that she has, and herself also'). The resonance of the passage relies on out remembering that God is love, and that the supreme expression of that love was to give himself to redeem humanity. A few lines later, the author says of God 'He dude zet mare--zef us nawt ane of his, ah dude al him seoluen' (fol. 105r/p. 179: 'He did still more--gave us not only his, but gave us himself, all in all'). The verbal correspondence in these descriptions binds the image of love as heavenly steward more closely to God. The passages resonate on another level too, that of the eucharist. Christ's giving 'al him seoluen' refers to the Passion, while he also acts as steward at the Last Supper, distributing bread and wine to the disciples. (115) Thus Christ is both heavenly fond and heavenly steward, whose function is re-enacted by the celebrant at the eucharist.

The Bible, then, is a constant presence in Ancrene Wisse, strengthening the English text's rhetorical and didactic power. This productive dialogue between Latin Scripture and English exposition has the effect of teaching the anchoresses not only how to act and think spiritually, but also how to read exegetically. Indeed, both Ancrene Wisse and Sawles Warde display an acute sense of how Scripture can serve their didactic rhetoric and the needs of their audiences. Developments in the 'organization of knowledge'--including concordances, distinctiones, and other scholarly aids--form an important context for vernacular religious writing in the thirteenth century, and the author of Ancrene Wisse in particular employs them deftly. They do not, however, replace memorial and oral practices, but mingle with them: the use of lists and definitions, for example, has academic affiliations, but is also effective as rhetoric and mnemonic. Reading the Bible in Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse thus means hearing, voicing, and remembering the Bible too; in fact, both English texts suggest how all five senses, so vulnerable to temptation, might be activated by scriptural language. In another dynamic exchange, the differences between Latin and vernacular are exploited by the English writers, who play on the creativity inherent in translation to energize and direct their writing towards interpretations, images, and even genres (romance, for example) not easily available to Latin authors. (116) It might be possible to read these relationships in the context of the Derridean supplement--in this case, an invasion or decentring of the biblical text by its glossators and commentators, or of Latin by the vernacular, just as the supposed isolation and self-sufficiency of the enclosed life are apparently breached by these texts' pungent narratives of temptation and struggle. (117) Certainly, the whole question of 'vernacular theology', biblical translation, and the text of Scripture became the subject of intense debate and of legislation in the later Middle Ages and beyond. (118) Here I would prefer, though, to emphasize the fertile engagement of ideas and language that comes about through the reading and rewriting of authoritative texts in early Middle English. Through their 'biblical imagination', (119) Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse remind us that the Bible was a living text whose inexhaustible meanings could be animated through the most subtle kinds of quotation, translation, exposition, and allusion.


I am very grateful to Jill Mann, Bella Millett, and the Medium AEvum reader and editors for valuable comments and suggestions at various stages in writing this article.

(1) A range of these approaches is used in, for example, John A. Alford, 'The role of the quotations in Piers Plowman', Speculum, 52 (1977), 80-99; id., 'Langland's exegetical drama: the sources of the banquet scene in Piers Plowman', in Literature and Religion in the Later Middle Ages: Philological Studies in Honor of Siegfried Wenzel, ed. Richard G. Newhauser and John A. Alford (Binghampton, NY, 1995), pp. 97-117; David C. Fowler, The Bible in Middle English Literature (Seattle, Wash., 1984); D. R. Howlett, British Books in Biblical Style (Dublin, 1997); Avril Henry, 'Some aspects of biblical imagery in Piers Plowman', in Langland, the Mystics and the Medieval English Religious Tradition: Essays in Honour of S. S. Hussey, ed. Helen Phillips (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 39-55; Michael P. Kuczynski, Prophetic Song: The Psalms as Moral Discourse in Late Medieval England (Philadelphia, Pa, 1995); Peter Dronke, 'The Song of Songs and medieval love-lyric', in his The Medieval Poet and his World (Rome, 1984), pp. 209-36; Andy Orchard, '"Audite omnes amantes": a hymn in Patrick's praise', in David Dumville et al., Saint Patrick, A.D. 493-1993 (Woodbridge, 1993), pp. 153-73. On biblical translation and paraphrase in medieval England, see Geoffrey Shepherd, 'English versions of the scriptures before Wyclif', in The Cambridge History of the Bible, II: The West from the Fathers to the Reformation, ed. G. W. H. Lampe (Cambridge, 1969), pp. 362-86, David Lawton, 'Englishing the Bible, 1066-1549', in The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, ed. David Wallace (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 454-82, and James H. Morey, Book and Verse: A Guide to Middle English Biblical Literature (Urbana, Ill., 2000).

(2) Still influential are Henri de Lubac, Exegese medievale, 4 vols (Paris, 1959-64), Andre Wilmart, Auteurs spirituels et textes devots du Moyen Age latin (Paris, 1932; repr. 1971), and Beryl Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, 3rd edn (Oxford, 1983). More recent examples include R. E. Kaske, Medieval Christian Literary Imagery: A Guide to Interpretation (Toronto, 1988), Denys Turner, Eros and Allegory: Medieval Exegesis of the Song of Songs (Kalamazoo, Mich., 1995), and Christopher Ocker, Biblical Poetics before Humanism and Reformation (Cambridge, 2002).

(3) Treatments of biblical citations in Ancrene Wisse and related texts include M. W. Smyth, Biblical Quotations m Middle English Literature before 1350 (New York, 1911), Ruth Elizabeth Falk, 'The use of the Bible in the Ancrene Riwle' (unpub. Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1965), and S. Suzuki, 'Biblical Latin quotations in Ancrene Wisse', English Language and English Literature, 7 (1960), 3-54. None of these fully addresses the rhetorical and stylistic implications of the biblical material. Some suggestive comments are made in Ancrene Wisse, Parts 6 and 7, ed. Geoffrey Shepherd (London, 1959), pp. xxv-xxvii; this and other editions also note many individual quotations and borrowings.

(4) I use 'Bible' here to mean not only the Vulgate text, which was of course the dominant version of the Latin Bible in this period, but also variant readings--such as those from the Vetus Latina (Old Latin) Bible--that were in circulation, for example via quotation in patristic works or in the liturgy. Memorial citation also had a major role in the circulation of scriptural verses and language. In this article, I quote from a modern edition of the Vulgate (Biblia sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem, ed. Robert Weber, 3rd edn (Stuttgart, 1983)), and have modernized its punctuation. (For translations from the Bible, I have drawn on the Douai-Rheims and Authorized versions.) As I hope my argument will make clear, however, medieval biblical engagement was not a straight forwardly textual phenomenon, let alone one based on a single, unified book. On Old Latin biblical texts, see Philip Burton, The Old Latin Gospels: A Study of their Texts and Language (Oxford, 2000).

(5) Quotations of Ancrene Wisse parts I-V and VIII are from Ancrene Wisse: MS. Corpus Christi College Cambridge 402, ed. J. R. R. Tolkien, EETS, OS 249 (London, 1962). Quotations of parts VI and VII are from Shepherd's excellent edition (Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd). I cite bath by folio number, and also refer by page to Ancrene Wisse: Guide for Anchoresses, trans. Hugh White (Harmondsworth, 1993), from which I draw my translations. I have introduced modern punctuation to the quotations from Tolkien's edition, and silently expanded some abbreviations. Both Tolkien and Shepherd edit the Corpus text, written c.1230 and incorporating some authorial revisions to match a slightly expanded readership. I have also consulted some other versions, especially London, British Library, MS Cotton Cleopatra (the earliest surviving manuscript, ed. E. J. Dobson, EETS, OS 267 (London, 1972)), and British Library, MS Cotton Nero A.xiv (ed. Mabel Day, EETS, OS 225 (London, 1952)).

(6) J. A. W. Bennett, ed. and completed by Douglas Gray, Middle English Literature (Oxford, 1986), pp. 265, 267. Bella Millett has drawn attention to a more specific precedent for the Ancrene Wisse author: the distinctio structure of the Premonstratensian statutes, probably as adapted by the Dominicans in the early thirteenth century. See Bella Millett, 'The origins of Ancrene Wisse: new answers, new questions', MAE, 61 (1992), 206-28 (p. 214).

(7) Sec A Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, ed. R. E. Latham, D. R. Howlett, et al. (London, 1975-), s.v. 'distinctio', 1(d), 2(a), 3(c). Both Gratian's Decretum and Peter Lombard's Sententiae were divided into distinctiones.

(8) See Andre Wilmart, 'Un repertoire d'exegese compose en Angleterre vers le debut du XIIIe siecle', in Memorial Lagrange, Ecole biblique et archeologique francaise de Jerusalem (Paris, 1940), pp. 307-46, Smalley, Study of the Bible, pp. 246-9, Richard H. and Mary A. Rouse, 'Biblical distinctiones in the thirteenth century', Archives d'histoire doctrinale et litteraire du Moyen Age, 41 (1974), 27-37, and Kaske, Medieval Christian Literary Imagery, pp. 33-40.

(9) See Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, pp. xxvi-xxvii, and above, p. 32.

(10) Spicilegium Solesmense, ed. J. B. Pitra, 4 vols (Paris, 1855), 11, 8. ('Wings of the Lord--divine protection. In the psalm: "In the shadow of your wings I shall place my trust"'.)

(11) Defensor's work survives in about 350 manuscripts; see Defensor of Liguge, Liber scintillarum, ed. H. M. Rochais, 2 vols, Sources chretiennes 77, 86 (Paris, 1961-2), I, 10.

(12) Moore illustrates this point by condensing a section of Ambrose's Enarrationes into distinctio form (P. S. Moore, The Works of Peter of Poitiers (Notre Dame, Ind., 1936), pp. 8 of.).

(13) See, for example, M. T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England, 1066-1307, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1993), pp. 172-81, Mary J. Carruthers, The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture (Cambridge, 1990), esp. pp. 80-5 and 261-6, and id., The Craft of Thought (Cambridge, 1998), for example pp. 147f.

(14) Discussed by Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God, trans. Catharine Misrahi, 2nd edn (London, 1978), p. 90. Using the word 'shield' as an example, Bonaventure outlines this approach in his Breviloquium: 'the task of the expositor es ... once a meaning has been brought forth, to make it clear through another, more direct Scriptural passage' (quoted by Alford, 'Role of the quotations in Piers Plowman', p. 82).

(15) Leclercq, Love of Learning, pp. 91-3. In Sermon 61, for example (a work known to the Ancrene Wisse author), Bernard uses petra as a 'hook-word' (Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones super Cantica canticorum, ed. J. Leclercq, C. H. Talbot, and H. M. Rochais, 2 vols (1957-8), II, 149-50). The technique is discussed in Etienne Gilson, 'De quelques raisonnements scripturaires usites au Moyen Age', in his Les Idees et les lettres (Paris, 1932), pp. 155-69, and see also Alford, 'Role of the quotations in Piers Plowman', pp. 81f.

(16) This college was probably in operation at least by the 1220s; see Richard H. and Mary A. Rouse, Preachers, Florilegia and Sermons: Studies on the 'Manipulus florum' of Thomas of Ireland (Toronto, 1979), who remark: 'It is ... an almost meaningless distinction to speak of Cistercian tools and University tools after the establishment of ... the College of Saint Bernard' (pp. 16f.).

(17) See Thomas M. Charland, Artes praedicandi: contribution a l'histoire de la rhetorique au Moyen Age (Ottawa, 1936), Alford, 'Role of the quotations in Piers Plowman" (pp. 84f.), and H. Leith Spencer, English Preaching in the Late Middle Ages (Oxford, 1993), pp. 82-6.

(18) The most influential biblical gloss, the Glossa ordinaria, was incorporated into the layout of scriptural texts by the late twelfth century; sec Smalley, Study of the Bible, pp. 49-66, Malcolm B. Parkes, 'The influence of the concepts of ordinatio and compilatio on the development of the book', in Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays Presented to Richard William Hunt, ed. J. J. G. Alexander and M. T. Gibson (Oxford, 1976), pp. 113-41 (pp. 116f.), and Lesley Smith, 'The theology of the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Bible', in The Early Medieval Bible: Its Produclion, Decoration and Use, ed. Richard Gameson (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 223-32. See also Carruthers, Book of Memory, p. 215, for the memorial functions of the layout of glossed Bible manuscripts. The Glossa ordinaria itself became the subject of lecturing and glossing, and its interpretations often accompanied biblical references, as happens in Ancrene Wisse (see below, n. 68) and Piers Plowman (see Alford, 'Langland's exegetical drama').

(19) See Richard H. and Mary A. Rouse, 'The verbal concordance to the scriptures', Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 44 (1974), 5-30. The mid-thirteenth century saw both a subject concordance--the Pseudo-Antony of Padua--and, probably by 1239, the first alphabetical concordance. The latter was produced at Saint-Jacques in Paris under Hugh of Saint-Cher. A system of chapter and section divisions was developed for finding biblical references (it was also used in Hugh's influential Postillae in totam Bibliam) but the first concordance had no lemmata to provide the references with contexts. The Concordantiae Anglicanae did give lemmata, but their length made the work cumbersome. A third concordance with brief lemmata appeared by 1286; this was the model for subsequent productions. As Rouse and Rouse comment: 'Only in the 1280s did medieval Europe finally have an effective biblical concordance' (Preachers, Florilegia and Sermons, p. 10). These concordances were all produced by Dominican friars; the nature of their organization allowed such laborious tasks to be undertaken as a co-operative effort. See Smalley, Study of the Bible, p. xiii; Parkes, 'Ordinatio and compilatio', pp. 137f. A similar production, the Registrum Anglie de Libris actorum et docterum, catalogued patristic works in English libraries (see Rouse and Rouse, Preachers, Flerilegia and Sermons, pp. 24f.). For evidence of Dominican affiliations in Ancrene Wisse, see Millett, 'Origins', and on Dominican biblical aids, see further M. Michele Mulchahey, 'First the Bow is Bent in Study': Dominican Education before use, Studies and Texts 132 (Toronto, 1998), esp. pp. 480-526.

(20) Oxford, Lincoln College, MS 79. In 'Moralities on the Gospels': A New Source of Ancrene Wisse (Oxford, 1975), E. J. Dobson claimed that the Moralia was a major source of Ancrene Wisse. However, aspects of his argument and its implications for dating both works were convincingly challenged by Richard H. Rouse and Siegfried Wenzel in their review of his book, Speculum, 52 (1977), 648-52.

(21) In this it parallels the Cistercian Liber exceptionum, a book of patristic extracts divided into numbered distinctiones with an alphabetical subject index. See Rouse and Rouse, Preachers, Florilegia and Sermons, p. 15.

(22) For these varied traditions in Ancrene Wisse, see Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, pp. XXV-XXX, and for the development of 'popular' preaching and artes praedicandi, see Phyllis B. Roberts, 'The ars praedicandi and the medieval sermon', in Prearher, Sermon and Audience in the Middle Ages, ed. Carolyn Muessig (Leiden, 2002), pp. 41-62. The relationship between sermons and the distinctio technique is discussed in Christina von Nolcken, 'Some alphahetical compendia and how preachers used them in fourteenth-century England', Viator, 12 (1981), 271-88, and Mary E. Carroll, A Thirteenth-Century Preacher's Handbook: Studies in MS Laud Misc. 511, Studies and Texts 128 (Toronto, 1997), esp. pp. 175-212.

(23) On the different rhetorical traditions at work there, see Bella Millett, 'Hali Mei[eth]had, Sawles Warde, and the continuity of English prose', in Five Hundred Years of Words and Sounds: A Festschrift for Eric Dobson, ed. E. G. Stanley and Douglas Gray (Cambridge, 1983), pp. 100-8.

(24) For the variety of sources available to Anglo-Saxon preachers, see for example Mary Clayton, 'Homiliaries and preaching in Anglo-Saxon England', Peritia, 4 (1985), 207-42, Joyce Hill, 'AElfric and Smaragdus', Anglo-Saxon England, 21 (1992), 203-37, Malcolm Godden, AElfric's Catholic Homilies: Introduction, Commentary and Glossary, EETS, SS 18 (Oxford, 2000), pp. xxxviii-lxii, and J. E. Cross, 'Vernacular sermons in Old English', in The Sermon, ed. Beverly Mayne Kienzle, Typologie des sources du Moyen Age occidental 81-3 (Turnhout, 2000), pp. 561-96. Cambridge, Pembroke College, MS 25, from Bury St Edmunds, is just such a compilation; see J. E. Cross, Cambridge, Pembroke College MS 25: A Carolingian Sermonary Used by Anglo-Saxon Preachers (London, 1987), pp. 57-9 et passim. Cycles of homilies, especially AElfrician ones, were glossed and adapted into the thirteenth century at centres such as Rochester and Worcester--the latter, of course, near the area where Ancrene Wisse and the Katherine Group texts were written. See Angus F. Cameron, 'Middle English in Old English manuscripts', in Chaucer and Middle English Studies in Honour of Rossell Hope Robbins, ed. Beryl Rowland (London, 1974), pp. 218-29, Mary P. Richards, Texts and their Traditions in the Medieval Library of Rochester Cathedral Priory (Philadelphia, Pa, 1988), and Christine Franzen, The Tremulous Hand of Worcester: A Study of Old English in the Thirteenth Century (Oxford, 1991). Some twelfth-century manuscripts of Old English texts show signs of having been read and annotated by women; see Susan Irvine, 'The compilation and use of manuscripts containing Old English in the twelfth century', in Rewriting English in the Twelfth Century, ed. Mary Swan and Elaine M. Treharne (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 41-61 (p. 53). This book as a whole gives a valuable context for vernacular religious reading and writing in the period under consideration.

(25) Pseudo-Hrabanus Maurus, Allegoriae in universam Sacram Scripturam, PL, CXII, cols 849-1088. The Allegoriae are discussed, and their attribution to Hrabanus Maurus refuted, in Andre Wilmart, 'Les allegories sur l'ecriture attribuees a Rahan Maur', Revue benedictine, 32 (1920), 47-56.

(26) "Handmaid is the Church, as in the Psalms: "Save the son of thy handmaid", that is, me, who am a member of the Church. Handmaid: corruptible flesh, as in Genesis: "Cast out this handmaid and her son", that is, despise the flesh, and its carnal fruits.' The other interpretations given for 'ancilla' are the preachers of the Church (quoting Job xl.24), the effeminate minds of the Jews (Job xix.15), and the humble (Proverbs xxxi.13).

(27) The first two of these meanings are developed in Ancrene Wisse; see above, pp. 32f.

(28) These only started to be standardized from the thirteenth century; see Carruthers, Book of Memory, pp. 95-9.

(29) See Moore, Peter of Poitiers, pp. 80-5, and Smalley, Study of the Bible, pp. 246-9).

(30) On the Distinctiones monasticae, see Richard William Hunt, 'Notes on the Distinctiones monasticae et morales', in Liber Floridus: Mittellateinische Studien, ed. Bernhard Bischoff and Suso Brechter (St. Ottilien, 1950), pp. 355-62, and id., 'A manuscript containing extracts from the Distinctiones monasticae', MAE, 44 (1975), 238-41. Extracts are printed in Pitra, Spicilegium Solesmense, vols II and III. The Distinctiones theologice are discussed and extracts printed in Joseph Goering, William de Montibus (c.1140-1213): The Schools and the Literature of Pastoral Care, Studies and Texts 108 (Toronto, 1992), pp. 261-303 (and see ibid., pp. 11f., for Peter the Chanter). On alphabetization and systems of categorization in the thirteenth century, see Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, pp. 177-82 and Richard H. and Mary A. Rouse, "Statim invenire: schools, preachers, and new attitudes to the page', in their Authentic Witnesses: Approaches to Medieval Texts and Manuscripts (Notre Dame, Ind., 1991), pp. 191-219 (pp. 201-4). The article was originally published in The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century, ed. R. L. Benson and G. Constable (Cambridge, Mass., 1982), pp. 201-25.

(31) Rouse and Rouse, 'Biblical distinctiones', pp. 55-7.

(32) PL, CCX, cols 687-1012, hereafter cited by column in the text.

(33) Gillian R. Evans, 'Alan of Lille's Distinctiones and the problem of theological language', Sacris erudiri, 24 (1980), 67-86 (p. 68).

(34) 'It is said to be man, since it is part of man, whence one reads in Genesis that "eight souls were in the ark", that is, eight men ... it is also said to be animal, whence in Genesis: "God created great whales and every living soul"--that is living animal, since the soul (anima) is part of the animal (animalis). For the name of the part is taken to refer to the whole.'

(35) See Jan Ziolkowski, Alan of Lille's Grammar of Sex: The Meaning of Grammar to a Twelfth-Century Intellectual (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), pp. 13-49. Alan also plays with the etymology of the near-anagrams animalis and alimonialis. 'homo enim a prima origine habuit animalitatem, scilicet naturam animalem, id est cibo et potu indigentem; unde homo ante peccatum dicitur fuisse animalis, id est alimonialis, quasi alimonia cibi indigens' (col. 700).

(36) Quoting Virgil's Aeneid IX.349: 'purpuream vomit ille animam et cum sanguine mixta.'

(37) 'All that you endure, is martyrdom for you ... For you are night and day upon God's cross ... Let me not glory, save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ' (p. 160).

(38) Evans ('Alan of Lille's Distinctiones', pp. 85-6) discusses Alan's attitude to words as spiritual signifiers.

(39) On the devotional context and audience of Sawles Warde and Ancrene Wisse, see Linda Georgianna, The Solitary, self: Individuality in the 'Ancrene Wisse' (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), Nicholas Watson, 'The methods and objectives of thirteenth-century anchoritic devotion', in The Medieval Mystical Tradition IV, ed. Marion Glasscoe (Cambridge, 1987), pp. 132-53, and Bella Millett, 'The audience of the saints lives of the Katherine group', Reading Medieval Studies, 16 (1990), 127-56 (pp. 138-42). Millett characterizes the audience of Ancrene Wisse as made up of 'concentric circles' (p. 142), noting that the text was intended from early on to have an audience beyond the three recluses to whom it is most closely directed.

(40) Printed in Memorials of Saint Anselm, ed. R. W. Southern and F. S. Schmitt, Auctores Britannici medii aevi 1 (London, 1969), pp. 354-60. It is not listed in Richard Sharpe, A Handlist of the Latin Writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540 (Turnhout, 1997); see pp. 59-61 for Anselm and pseudo-Anselmian works. Southern and Schmitt note the work's stylistic affiliations with Anselm (Memorials of Saint Anselm, pp. 354f.), but Wolfgang Becker is more sceptical ('The literary treatment of the ps-Anselmian dialogue De custodia interioris hominis in England and in France', Classica et medievalia, 35 (1984), 215-33 (pp. 215-17)). See also id., 'The source text of Sawles Warde', Manuscripta, 24 (1980), 44-8.

(41) For example, Early Middle English Prose and Verse, ed. J. A. W. Bennett and G. V. Smithers, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1968), p. 247, Bennett, Middle English Literature, pp. 276-80, Becker, 'Literary treatment', pp. 217-20, and Bella Millett and Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Medieval English Prose for Women (Oxford, 1990), pp. xxv-xxix (which focuses on the dramatic features of Sawles Warde's narrative).

(42) 'If the head of the household knew at what time a thief would come, he would keep watch and not allow his house to be broken into.' Quotations of Sawles Warde are from Millett and Wogan-Browne, Medieval English Prose for Women, by page and line number. They provide a facing translation, which I also quote.

(43) Becker ('Literary treatment', pp. 217f.) regards this arrangement as an attempt to avoid the term conscientia, a word used in De custodia which became contentious in twelfth-century religious debate, but just as important is the vernacular tradition of the body as the soul's habitation, exemplified in Old and Middle English 'soul and body' poems; see Millett and Wogan-Browne, Medieval English Prose for Women, pp. xxvf. In De custodia the paterfamilias gathers 'thesauros virtutum' (Memorials of Saint Anselm, p. 356, line 3) to guard against the thief, but Sawles Warde is much clearer in making the soul itself the treasure.

(44) 'I do not know the time, as she did not tell me when it would be; but always watch out for it, because it is her habit to come by stealth, suddenly and unforeseen, when she is least expected.'

(45) 'But about that day and hour nobody knows'; 'Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord will come'; 'watch therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.' See also Mark xiii.33, Luke xii.40, and Luke xxi.36. The vigilate references are present in De custodia, but their impact is somewhat dissipated by being separated (Memorials of Saint Anselm, p. 356, lines 14 and 24f.).

(46) 'For you know very well that the day of the Lord shall come, as a thief in the night'; 'Therefore let us not sleep as others do; but let us watch.'

(47) Here Sawles Warde employs the common image of hot and cold in hell, which probably developed from a misinterpretation of 'stridor' to mean chattering or grinding with cold, rather than gnashing in anguish.

(48) 'O hell, house of Death, habitation of lamentation, of horror and execration, harsh and hateful home and dwelling of all distresses, stronghold of sorrow and abode of every bitterness ...' Compare, for example, Vercelli Homily 11 (in The Vercelli Homilies and Related Texts, ed. D. G. Scragg, EETS, OS 300 (Oxford, 1992), esp. pp. 60-4). Elsewhere, Sawles Warde includes familiar homiletic topoi such as the blackness of hell (p. 90, lines 30-2) and the inexpressibility of its torments, which occurs twice in extended forms (p. 90, lines 26-30, and p. 92, lines 21-36. Lines 21-3 allude ultimately to Aeneid VI. 625-7. See the note to these lines in Millett and Wogan-Browne, Medieval English Prose for Women, p. 156).

(49) The repeated use of 'vidi' ('Ich iseh' in Sawles Warde) to introduce each category of heaven's inhabitants is of course indebted to the Book of Revelation, as are many of the details of Liues Luue's vision. Revelation sums up the relationship between the saved and the Godhead by saying 'videbunt faciem eius' (Revelation xxii.4), itself a close analogue of Matthew v.8, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' For the emphasis on sight in Sawles Warde, see also Millett and Wogan-Browne, Medieval English Prose for Women, p. xxvii.

(50) Above, p. 24.

(51) '"Cast out our enemy Fear!" says Prudence. "It is not right that one house should hold these two; for where Joy's messenger is, and the true Love of Eternal Life, Fear is put to flight."'

(52) The phrase 'perfecta caritas foras mittit timorem' is quoted in De custodia, p. 360, lines 21f.

(53) We have already seen (above, p. 25) how Sawles Warde also comments on I John iii.2. The affinities of I John with Ancrene Wisse are discussed above, p. 35. The same technique--with resonances in liturgical drama--is used to great effect by Langland in Piers Plowman, where the verse 'Misericordia et Veritas obviaverunt sibi; Iusticia et Pax osculate sunt' (Psalm lxxxiv.ii) is enacted by the sisters Mercy, Truth, Justice, and Peace (Piers Plowman B, XVIII 110-423). For an excellent discussion of such scriptural dramatization elsewhere in Piers Plowman, see Alford, 'Langland's exegetical drama'.

(54) Edited in Becker, 'Literary treatment', pp. 221-6. Quotations are by page number of this edition. For the contents of the manuscript, see ibid., pp. 230f. n. 24. Of the date, Becker says, 'The sermon is written in a neat French or English gothic bookhand of s. xii ex.' (p. 221).

(55) Ibid., pp. 222f.

(56) On rhetorical devices and cursus in this manuscript, see ibid., pp. 220f.

(57) As Millett notes, this phrase also occurs in Hali Mei[eth]had and Ancrene Wisse; see Hali Mei[eth]had, ed. Bella Millett, EETS, OS 284 (Oxford, 1982), p. xix.

(58) In Sawles Warde, the devil is immediately identified as the thief of the pericope, making the work's opening more stark.

(59) Becket, 'Literary treatment', p. 220, and see p. 230 n. 23. Becker claims that the two descriptions are made equal in length in the sermon, but this is not strictly accurate. The description of hell runs from about p. 223, line 8 to p. 223, line 30, making twenty three lines in all. The description of heaven runs from p. 224, line 16 to p. 225, line 24, making forty-four lines.

(60) Becker gives eight possible sources for 'canticum novum cantantes', five from the Psalms, one from Isaiah, and two from Revelation. The primary, allusion is undoubtedly to Revelation xiv.3. Becket does not trace the allusion in 'agnum quocunque ibit sequentes', which refers to Revelation xiv.4. This chapter was indeed the conventional scriptural reference to virgins, and a common model for visions of heaven.

(61) AElred of Rievaulx, De institutione inclusarum, in Aelredi Rievallensiso opera omnia, I: Opera ascetica, ed. A. Hoste and C. H. Talbot, CCCM 1 (Turnhout, 1971), pp. 635-82; trans. M. P. McPherson, A Rule of Life for a Recluse, in Aelred of Rievaulx: Treatises and the Pastoral Prayer (Kalamazoo, Mich., 1971), pp. 41-102. This quotation is from ch. 20 (trans. McPherson, p. 68). For AElred see Sharpe, Handlist, pp. 28-30.

(62) See AElred of Rievaulx, De institutione inclusarum: Two English Versions, ed. John Ayto and Alexandra Barratt, EETS, OS 287 (London, 1984), pp. xxxviii-xliii.

(63) See, for example, J. R. R. Tolkien, 'Ancrene Wisse and Hali Mei[eth]had', Essays and Studies, 14 (1929), 104-26 (on the language), and many articles on style, including Cecily Clark, 'Early Middle English prose: three essays in stylistics', Essays in Criticism, 18 (1968), 361-82, Dennis Rygiel, 'The allegory, of Christ the lover-knight in Ancrene Wisse: an experiment in stylistic analysis', Studies in Philology, 73 (1976), 343-64, id., 'Structure and style in part 7 of Ancrene Wisse', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 81 (1980), 47-56, id., 'A holistic approach to the style of Ancrene Wisse', Chaucer Review, 16 (1982), 270-81, and T. P. Dolan, 'The rhetoric of Ancrene Wisse', in Langland, the Mystics and the Medieval English Religious Tradition, ed. Phillips, pp. 203-13. For a fuller listing, see Bella Millett, Annotated Bibliographies of Old and Middle English Literature, II: 'Ancrene Wisse', the 'Katherine Group' and the 'Wooing Group' (Woodbridge, 1996) Though not available at the time this article was completed, I understand that A Companion to 'Ancrene Wisse', ed. Yoko Wada (Cambridge, 2003) will contain discussions of language and style.

(64) For example, E. J. Dobson, The Origins of 'Ancrene Wisse' (Oxford, 1976), Millett, 'Origins', Ann K. Warren, Anchorites and their Patrons in Medieval England (Berkeley, Calif., 1985), and Watson, 'Methods and objectives'.

(65) Mary Baldwin, for example, regards the Bible as a source for maxims and moral advice in Ancrene Wisse, without considering its more subtle and complex linguistic and thematic importance: 'Exegesis of texts from Scripture in their own context had not yet come into vogue at the time Ancrene Wisse was written' ('Ancrene Wisse and its background in the Christian tradition of religious instruction and spirituality' (unpub. Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 1974), p. 128), On the contrary,, biblical contexts are of great importance in Ancrene Wisse's citations and allusions. In her book Structure and Imagery in 'Ancrene Wisse' (Hanover, NH, 1974), Janet Grayson implicitly acknowledges that biblical exegesis is essential to the text's patterning, but she rarely explores specific connections between the English text and the Bible.

(66) Anne Savage and Nicholas Watson, Anchoritic Spirituality: 'Ancrene Wisse' and Associated Works (New York, 1991), pp. 435-42. I have counted those references that they cite in the text itself; as they acknowledge, this is only a guide to the more obvious quotations and references. Other tallies include Luke (twenty-three), Genesis (nineteen), John (nineteen), and Proverbs (fifteen), with frequent references to St Paul's epistles. See also Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, pp. xxvf. for a succinct discussion of the distribution of biblical references.

(67) The compiler of one thirteenth-century Ancrene Wisse manuscript (now Cambridge, Gonville and Caius College, MS 234/120) recognizes this affinity; he brings many of the Song of Songs references into one section, and adds more of his own. See The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle: Gonville and Caius MS. 234/120, ed. R. M. Wilson, EETS, OS 229 (London, 1954), pp. 47-9.

(68) Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. xxvi. Ancrene Wisse sometimes quotes the Glossa ordinaria or another gloss along with a scriptural verse; see for example in part vi, fol. 96v/p. 164, and fol. 97v/p. 166. Of one passage of part VII (fol. 108r/p. 184), Shepherd notes that the psalm gloss provides its 'links of thought' (Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. 64).

(69) Shepherd mentions Bernard's seventh sermon for Lent, which Ancrene Wisse part VI closely follows. Ancrene Wisse makes subtle use of Bernard's own biblical citations, incorporating them into its own arguments about penance. Part VI also makes extensive use of AElred's De institutione inclusarum. The probable use of didactic florilegia by the author further complicates matters, and, as in many medieval works, makes defining a 'source' a complex issue.

(70) For example, Shepherd cites Bernard's De moribus et officio episcoporum, ch. III, as the source of the quotation 'Schir heorte, as seinte Bernard sei[eth], makie[eth] twa [thorn]inges ...' (fol. 104r/p. 178). Many citations in this section of De moribus occur in Ancrene Wisse (for example, I Timothy i. 5, Galatians ii.20, Song of Songs iv.9). De moribus was well known, and also used in Hali Mei[eth]had (see Hali Mei[eth]had, ed. Millett, pp. xlviif.), but it would still be rash to claim direct dependence on Bernard for the use of these biblical citations: they fall into an exegetical group which was widely employed. Shared traditions are here more important than individual quotations.

(71) See Rygiel, 'Structure and style', p. 47.

(72) 'St Paul testifies that all outer hardships--all mortifications of the flesh and bodily labours--all is as nothing in comparison with love, which purifies and brightens the heart' (p. 177).

(73) 'Bodily exercise is profitable to little; but godliness is profitable to all things--that is, "Bodily effort is of little value, but a sweet and pure heart is good for all things"' (pp. 177).

(74) On the author's use of the 'scire heorte' image, see further above, pp. 35f.

(75) 'If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, etc.; if I should deliver my body to be burned, etc.; if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing' (p. 177).

(76) This rearrangement could have come via a variant text, or the author could simply be quoting (as he often does) from memory. However, the passage was so well known and its graded order so clear, that the change is here more likely to be deliberate and significant, intended to emphasize the relationship of the biblical text to the anchoresses' experience. Texts of the Vetus Latina have the same order as the Vulgate: see Pierre Sabatier, Bibliorum sacrorum Latinae versiones antiquae seu Vetus Latina ..., 3 vols (Rheims, 1743), III, 706. The patristic sources cited in Sabatier's apparatus also overwhelmingly keep to this order. See also Herman Joseph Frede, Ein neuer Paulustext und Kommentar, 2 vols, Aus der Geschichte der Lateinischen Bibel (Beuron Vetus Latina) 7f. (Freiburg, 1973-4), I, 153. Bella Millett reminded me that the anchoresses have not literally given all their goods to feed the poor (see Ancrene Wisse VIII, fols 112r-v/pp. 191f., where the author is cautious about charitable giving), but the orientation of the biblical text towards the living experience of the anchoresses is nevertheless significant.

(77) 'Two things, as St Bernard says, make a pure heart--that you should do all that you do either for love of God alone or for the good of another and for his advantage' (p. 178); and 'as St Augustine says ... "Lord, less do they love you who love anything except you, unless they love it for you"' (ibid.).

(78) See Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. 53.

(79) The Latin Text of the Ancrene Riwle, ed. Charlotte d'Evelyn, EETS, OS 216 (London, 1944),' p. 151: 'Charity: that is, love for God and all men in God and on account of God, since Abbot Moses said thus ...'

(80) 'The Apostle: Christ loved the Church and delivered himself up for it--"Christ", St Paul says, "loved his beloved so much that the price he gave for her was himself"' (p. 179).

(81) 'Therefore the Psalmist says, There is no one that can hide himself from his heat--"There is no one who can hide away so that she doesn't have to love him"' (p. 184).

(82) As we have seen (above, n. 68), the interpretation here is indebted to the psalm gloss.

(83) Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, pp. lix-lxxiii: 'Ancrene Wisse falls within the genre of medieval sermon' (p. lix). See also Bennett, Middle English Literature, pp. 271f.

(84) See James F. Maybury, 'On the structure and significance of part III of the Ancrene Riwle with some comment on sources', American Benedictine Review, 28 (1977), 95-101, Baldwin, 'Ancrene Wisse and its background', pp. 60-5, and Falk, 'Use of the Bible', pp. 64-8.

(85) The French Text of the Ancrene Riwle: Trinity College Cambridge MS. R.14.7, ed. W. H. Trethewey, EETS, OS 240 (London, 1958), p. 253, line 31; see Baldwin, 'Ancrene Wisse and its background', p. 129 n. 12. This French text, which extracts and incorporates material from Ancrene Wisse in a longer religious compilation, dates from the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century.

(86) I use Alan of Lille's Distinctiones as a comparison here, but I am not trying to prove a specific link between the two texts. E. J. Dobson claimed that Ancrene Wisse's discussion of the shield is directly indebted to the Moralia super Evangelia (Dobson, 'Moralities on the Gospels', pp. 8-10 and 178f.), but the resemblance is more likely to evince a shared tradition than a specific borrowing.

(87) 'It is called God's graciously-given favour or divine protection, whence David: Lord, you will encompass us with the shield of your good will ... that is you protect us now with graciously-given favour, and in the future will crown us in glory.'

(88) Ancrene Wisse is not unique in using this analogy", but it corresponds to a pattern throughout the text of making such images tangible or corporeal. The author then expands the shield analogy and invites contemplation of the Passion (fol. 106r-v/p. 181). This type of meditation or memoria Christi is developed more fully in AElred's De institutione inclusarum.

(89) Bennett, Middle English Literature, p. 269. See also his comments on Ancrene Wisse III (ibid., pp. 274f.), where the author uses 'foveas' and 'nidos' as a basis for concordia verborum. As Bennett suggests, many features of Ancrene Wisse's style--such as verbal reminiscence and repetition--themselves owe much to the rhetoric of the Bible; for a parallel argument, see John A. Alford, 'Biblical imitatio in the writings of Richard Rolle', ELH, 40 (1973), 1-23 (pp. 20f.).

(90) 'The Right love thee ... There is a grammatical right, a geometrical right, a theological right' (p. 1). See Linda Georgiana, The Solitary Self: Individuality in the 'Ancrene Wisse" (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), pp. 18-31, and for an analogous discussion of Piers Plowman, see Alford, 'Langland's exegetical drama', p. 109.

(91) 'God sends fire into this land, setting it alight with the breath of the Holy Spirit. Then the land burns, when, leaving behind lustful desires, the previously cold conscience is inflamed with love for God.'

(92) 'Behold, she said, I am gathering two sticks ... These two pieces of wood signify the one piece that stood upright and the other that went crosswise on the dear cross' (p. 185).

(93) '[He] cast everything that is in the world, the animals and the birds, under our feet before we were convicted of sin: Thou hast subjected all things under his feel" (pp. 178f.).

(94) The glories of nature were a common reason given for the debt of love owed to God by humanity. See Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. 54.

(95) Christ's wooing the soul has its own backgrounds in romance and devotional writing; see Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. 55, Rosemary Woolf, 'The theme of Christ the lover-knight in medieval English literature', Review of English Studies, NS 13 (1962), 1-16, and Christopher Cannon, 'The form of the self: Ancrene Wisse and romance', MAE, 70 (2001), 47-65.

(96) See Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. 55.

(97) For example, Seinte Katerine includes reminiscences of the Annunciation and an explicit parallel with the Crucifixion (Seinte Katerine, ed. S. R. T. O. d'Ardenne and E. J. Dobson, EETS, SS 7 (Oxford, 1981), pp. 36-8 and 130).

(98) Augustine, Tractalus in epistolam Iohannis ad Parthos, PL, XXXV, cols 1971-2062 (col. 2033).

(99) 'Always have a pure heart in this way, and do all that you want: have a troubled heart, and all affects you badly' (p. 178).

(100) Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Evangelia, ed. Raymond Etaix, CCSL 141 (Turnhout, 1999), p. 229 (PL., LXXVI, col. 1205): 'whatever is decreed, is founded in love alone.'

(101) Ibid.: 'For just as many branches of a tree grow from a single root, so many virtues are generated from one love'; and 'For he truly has love, who both loves his friends in God, and loves his enemies on account of God.' See above, p. 30, for Ancrene Wisse's use of this idea. In the Latin version of Ancrene Wisse, the 'irotet' of the English text is retranslated as 'radicatur' (Latin Text of the Ancrene Riwle, ed. d'Evelyn, p. 152). No variants to 'solidatur' are cited by Etaix.

(102) On the identification of love with God's will in Piers Plowman and the writings of Bonaventure, see Alford, 'Role of the quotations in Piers Plowman', pp. 94 and 98, and id., 'The scriptural self', in The Bible in the Middle Ages." Its Influence on Literature and Art, ed. Bernard S. Levy (Binghamton, NY, 1992), pp. 1-21 (pp. 13f.).

(103) 'We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.' We have already seen (p. 25) how this phrase and another from I John--'perfecta caritas foras mittit timorem' (iv.18)--are important in Sawles Warde. I John iv.18 is also the basis for a discussion of fear and love in another contemporary guide for a female recluse, Thomas of Froidmont's Liber de modo bene vivendi ad sororem, PL, CLXXXIV, cols 1199-306 (cols 1203-10).

(104) Baldwin, 'Ancrene Wisse and its background', p. 107.

(105) Themes from I John likewise form a doctrinal 'bloc' in Bernard's thinking; see Etienne Gilson, The Mystical Theology of Saint Bernard, trans. A. H. C. Downes (London, 1940; repr. Kalamazoo, Mich., 1990), pp. 22-4.

(106) Of the thirteen appearances of 'schir' in the Corpus text, three are in the introduction, seven in part VII, and one at the very end of part VI. Six occurrences of the word are grouped on fol. 104, at the start of Ancrene Wisse VII. Nearly all the occurrences in Ancrene Wisse refer to 'heorte'. 'Schire[eth]' and 'schirnesse' (twice) also appear in Ancrene Wisse VII in the same connection. See Concordance to Ancrene Wisse, ed. Jennifer Potts, Lorna Stevenson, and Jocelyn Wogan-Browne (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 630f.

(107) MED, s.v. 'shir(e', adj.

(108) Christ III, in The Exeter Book, ed. George Philip Krapp and Elliott van Kirk Dobbie, ASPR 3 (London, 1936), pp. 27-49; lines 1152 and 1282.

(109) 'Ancrene Wisse and its background', pp. 27-38. She recognizes that in Ancrene Wisse VII pure heart means love, not merely purity of conscience (pp. 101, 114), but sees this 'shift' in focus as an imbalance.

(110) 'No suffering of the flesh is to be loved, except in so far as God may the sooner look that way with his grace and make the heart pure and bright of vision--which no one can have with a mixing in of vices or with earthly love of worldly things, for this mixing in so troubles the eyes of the heart that they cannot recognize God or rejoice at the sight of him' (pp. 177f.).

(111) The image is also reminiscent of I Corinthians xiii.12: 'videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate; tunc autem facie ad faciem.'

(112) See Jocelyn Price, '"Inner" and "outer": conceptualizing the body in Ancrene Wisse and Aelred's De institutione indusarum', in Medieval English Religious and Ethical Literature: Essays in Honour of G. H. Russell, ed. Gregory Kratzmann and James Simpson (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 192-208: 'The Ancrene Wisse author works with a physiological level of response to analogy, which, re-internalized, and exploited rather than suppressed in the conceptual apprehension of simile and metaphor, allows his reclusive audience still further dimensions of imagined bodily experience' (p. 202); see also Cannon, 'The form of the self', for a study of the relationships between bodily and textual form in Ancrene Wisse.

(113) MED, s.v. 'shir(e', adj. (d). The image used in Ancrene Wisse recalls Matthew vii.3, which compares sin to a speck of dust in the eye.

(114) Knowing God and oneself is the ultimate goal and consequence of love for Gregory, the Great and Bernard. See Gilson, Mystical Theology, pp. 68-72. The image of the 'scir heorte' makes a powerful reappearance later in Ancrene Wisse VII. Returning to his statement from the introduction that Love dominates each activity and religious order, the author demands that the anchoresses choose between earthly and heavenly consolation: 'Cheose nu euch an of [thorn]es twa, eor[eth]lich elne and heouenlich, to hwe[eth]er ha wule halden; for [thorn]et o[eth]er ha mot leten; for i [thorn]e tweire monglunge ne mei ha habben neauer mare schirnesse of heorte ... Luue make[eth] hire schir, gri[eth]ful ant cleane' (fol. 110r/p. 187: 'Now let everyone choose which of these two things--earthly consolation and heavenly--she will hold on to; for she must let the other go. For if there is a mixing of the two, she cannot any more have purity of heart ... Love makes her pure, peaceful, and clean'). The 'monglunge' of earthly and heavenly here suggests moral corruption (the word is used in Ancrene Wisse 11 to mean illicit hand-holding (fol. 31v/p. 58)), but the image also implies material pollution or alloying of the pure heart--another example of Ancrene Wisse's suggestive interlacing of the material and spiritual.

(115) In some medieval pictures Christ is shown pouring out his blood directly into the chalice of an eager communicant. See Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (Berkeley, Calif., 1987), plate 26--a late-medieval painting depicting 'Caritas' as the recipient of the blood/wine. The apposition of Christ as food and Christ serving food is also made in a fifteenth-century retable (illustrated ibid., plates 1 and 2); on the centre panel Christ emerges from a mill as the host, while on the closed wings he washes the disciples' feet and distributes food at the Last Supper. In his Sermones super Cantica canticorum LXI (a text known to the Ancrene Wisse author (see Parts 6 and 7, ed. Shepherd, p. 59)), Bernard meditates on the wounds of Christ as providing food: 'through these fissures I can suck honey' (Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons on the Song of Songs III, trans. Kilian Walsh and Irene M. Edmonds, Cistercian Fathers Series 31 (Kalamazoo, Mich., 1979), p. 143; for the Latin text, see Sermones super Cantica canticorum, ed. Leclercq, Talbot, and Rochais, II, 150).

(116) For assessments of the energetic interplay between cultures and languages in the post-Conquest period, see Elizabeth Salter, English and International: Studies in the Literature, Art and Patronage of Medieval England, ed. Derek Pearsall and Nicolette Zeeman (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 29-74; and Thomas Hahn, 'Early Middle English', and Christopher Cannon, 'Monastic productions', both in The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, ed. David Wallace (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 61-91 and 316-48, respectively.

(117) Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore, Md, 1976), pp. 142-59, and see Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction: Theory, and Criticism after Structuralism (Ithaca, NY, 1982), pp. 102-6. On the problematic oscillations between desire and containment, language and body in Ancrene Wisse, see Price, '"Inner" and "outer"', Sarah Beckwith, 'Passionate regulation: enclosure, ascesis and the feminist imaginary', South Atlantic Quarterly, 93 (1994), 803-24, and Cannon, 'The form of the self'.

(118) See, for example, Lawton, 'Englishing the Bible', and Nicholas Watson, 'Censorship and cultural change in late-medieval England: vernacular theology, the Oxford translation debate, and Arundel's Constitutions of 1409', Speculum, 70 (1995), 822-64.

(119) Leclercq, Love of Learning, p. 93.


Girton College

COPYRIGHT 2003 Society for the Study of Mediaeval Languages and Literature
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Perkins, Nicholas
Publication:Medium Aevum
Date:Sep 22, 2003
Previous Article:Fecamp and vernacular historiography.
Next Article:In folly ripe, in reason rotten: The Flower and the Leaf and the 'purgatory of cruel beauties'.

Related Articles
The origins of 'Ancrene Wisse': new answers, new questions.
Concordances to the Katherine Group (MS Bodley 34) and the Wooing Group (MSS Nero A XIV and Titus D XVIII).
On some French elements in early middle English word derivation.
The Ancrene Wisse: A Four-Manuscript Parallel Text.
A Companion to Ancrene Wisse.
The Ancrene Wisse: A Four-Manuscript Parallel Text. Preface and Parts 1-4.
Ancrene Wisse: A Corrected Edition of the Text in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 402, with Variants from Other Manuscripts, Vol. 1.
The Linguistic and Literary Context of the Ancrene Wisse Group.
Ancrene Wisse: A Corrected Edition of the Text in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 402, with Variants from Other Manuscripts.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters