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Cross and Cruciform in the Anglo-Saxon World

Edited by
Sarah Larratt Keefer,
Karen Louise Jolly, and
Catherine E. Karkov

May 2010
PB  978-1-933202-50-1


Cross and Cruciform in the Anglo-Saxon World: Studies to Honor the Memory of Timothy Reuter is edited by Sarah Larratt Keefer, Karen Louise Jolly, and Catherine E. Karkov and is the third and final volume of an ambitious research initiative begun in 1999 concerned with the image of the cross, showing how its very material form cuts across both the culture of a society and the boundaries of academic disciplines—history, archaeology, art history, literature, philosophy, and religion—providing vital insights into how symbols function within society. The flexibility, portability, and adaptability of the Anglo-Saxon understanding of the cross suggest that, in pre-Conquest England, at least, the linking of word, image, and performance joined the physical and spiritual, the temporal and eternal, and the earthly and heavenly in the Anglo-Saxon imaginative landscape.

This volume is divided into three sections. The first section of the collection focuses on representations of “The Cross: Image and Emblem,” with contributions by Michelle P. Brown, David A. E. Pelteret, and Catherine E. Karkov. The second section, “The Cross: Meaning and Word,” deals in semantics and semeology with essays by Éamonn Ó Carragáin, Helen Damico, Rolf Bremmer, and Ursula Lenker. The third section of the book, “The Cross: Gesture and Structure,” employs methodologies drawn from archaeology, new media, and theories of rulership to develop new insights into subjects as varied as cereal production, the little-known Nunburnholme Cross, and early medieval concepts of political power.

Cross and Cruciform in the Anglo-Saxon World: Studies to Honor the Memory of Timothy Reuter is a major collection of new research, completing the publication series of the Sancta Crux/Halig Rod project. Cross and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England: Studies in Honor of George Hardin Brown, Volume 2 in this series, remains available from West Virginia University Press.

Volume 11 in the Medieval European Studies Series


  • Abbreviations
  • In Memoriam Timothy Reuter
  • Introduction
    Sarah Larratt Keefer, Trent Universty, Ontario
    Karen Louise Jolly, University of Hawai'i at Ma̅noa
    Catherine E. Karkov, University of Leeds
  • I. The Cross: Image and Emblem
    • The Cross and the Book: the Cross-Carpet Pages of the Lindisfarne gospels as Sacred Figurae
        Michelle P. Brown
    • A Cross and an Acrostic: Boniface's Prefatory Poem to his Ars grammatica
        David A. E. Pelteret
    • Abbot Ælfwine and the Sign of the Cross
        Catherine E. Karkov
  • II. The Cross: Meaning and Words
    • Sources or Analogues? Using Liturgical Evidence to Date The Dream of the Rood
        Éamonn Ó Carragáin
    • Writing/Sounding the Cross: The Dream of the Rood as Figured Poetry
        Helen Damico
    • Old English "Cross" Words
        Rolf H. Bremmer Jr.
    • Signifying Christ in Anglo-Saxon England: Old English Terms for the Sign of the Cross
        Urula Lenker
  • III. The Cross: Gesture and Structure
    • The Staff of Life: Cross and Blessings in Anglo-Saxon Cereal Production
        Debby Banham
    • The Anglo-Saxon Chapel at Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
        David A. Hinton
    • New Media and the Numburnholme Cross
        Martin K. Foys
    • The Enkolpion of Edward the Confessor: Byzantium and Anglo-Saxon Concepts of Rulership
        Lynn Jones
  • Index


This volume makes valuable contributions and should appeal not only to Anglo-Saxonists but also to those with interests in early medieval intellectual and cultural history, liturgy, and iconography.
Nicole Guenther Discenza, University of South Florida