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Title:Rebel angels: political theology and the fall of the angels tradition in old English literature
Author(s):Fitzgerald, Jill
Director of Research:Wright, Charles D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wright, Charles D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Trilling, Renee; Camargo, Martin; Anlezark, Daniel
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Old English
Biblical Poetry
Junius Manuscript
Fall of the Angels
Abstract:“Rebel Angels: Political Theology and the Fall of the Angels Tradition in Old English Literature” argues that the story of the fall of the rebel angels provided Anglo-Saxon authors with a rich discursive field in which to ground earthly business – political power, legal order, communal identity, and the cultural logic of rebellion and reform – in unearthly authority. This extra-biblical narrative shaped prevailing attitudes towards lordship and dissent and underwrote protocols for counteracting crises such as ecclesiastical corruption, external invasion, and social disobedience. This study traces the fall of the angels narrative through diverse Latin and vernacular genres including royal charters of the Benedictine Reform era (c. 964-984), vernacular homilies written during the Viking raids (c. 1002-1023), verse saints’ lives by Cynewulf, the anonymous poems Andreas and Guthlac A, and the Old English biblical poetry of the Junius Manuscript (Genesis A, Genesis B, and Christ and Satan). This project demonstrates how Anglo-Saxon authors appropriated the fall of the rebel angels narrative in moments of historical crisis and upheaval. Frequently casting their adversaries in the role of the fallen angels, Anglo-Saxon authors correlated this narrative with the exegetical “doctrine of replacement” – according to which faithful Christians would inherit the heavenly territories forfeited by the rebellious angels – as a way to articulate their national identity as a converted people.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Jill Marie Fitzgerald
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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