of Jesus, however, after an introduction
the sermon moves into the temporal cycle starting with the Annunciation
then stepping through Christmas
(with a special focus on redemption),
Epiphany-tide including Candlemas,
Passion-tide (again emphasizing the redemption),
andEaster including the requisite discussion of the final judgment linked with the Ascension andconcluding with Pentecost.
The last liturgical event, the Feast of the Holy Trinity
the Octave of Pentecost
segues into a concluding encomium on the Trinity.
While the sermon is clear and coherent as a stand-alone document, Pope notes that it is acombination of at least three known compositions from the pen of Ælfric, and
afourth that is no longer extant. The two most important
sources are supplemental homily XI
(without the ‗a‘)
and the Letter to Wulfgeat. The first is a sermon for the Feast of the Holy Trinity that serves as a retrospective
it looks back and summarizes the liturgical year from its beginning atChristmas up through the major seasons until the feast of the Holy Trinity that occurs one week after Pentecost closes out the Easter Season. From the second source is drawn the eschatologicalepic. In describing how these two are combined, Pope is rightly complimentary:
The combination of [these two texts] is what provides the structure of thediscourse. The liturgically inspired passage from the
serves as a reminder of Christ‘
slife on earth, his passion, resurrection, and ascension and his sending of the Holy Spirit tothe apostles. The passage from the Letter to Wulfgeat is a freely elaborated statement of thecreed, expatiating on the nature and operations of the Trinity, touching on the emergence of evil
in Satan, then outlining God‘s dealings with man from creation to judgment. The
passage thus gives the whole sweep of universal history before the nativity and after thesending of the Holy Spirit; and in the middle as it mentions the nativity and then moves atonce to the crucifixion, it overlaps the passage from the
, varying the account of thepassion, resurrection, and ascension, adding details of the harrowing of hell, and, like thecreed, bringing in the last judgement as a conclusion immediately after the scene of Christ
sitting at his Father‘s right hand.
It is in the overlapping section that the compiler
singenuity is most clearly displayed
, for he interweaves the two accounts so deftly as to
Hom XIa.53-60. Pope, Supp, 465.
Hom XIa.61-68. Pope, Supp, 466.
Hom XIa.69-85. Pope, Supp, 466-467.
For Twelve days we honor with worship the Savior with our songs of praise because of his great love at the time of hisbirth because he came to us to redeem us from the hateful bondage of the hell-fiends if we love him. [Twelf dagas we wurðiað to wyrðmynte þam Hælende mid urum lofsangum for his micclan lufe on his acennednysse timan, for ðan ðe hecom to us þa us to alysenne of ðam laðan ðeowte hellewites, gyf we hine lufiað.] Hom XIa.81-85. Pope, Supp, 467.
Hom XIa.86-127. Pope, Supp, 467-468.
Hom XIa.128-132. Pope, Supp, 468.
Then we honor the latter part of Lent in the holy reading of the Saviour‘s passion: how He redeemed us from thehateful bondage and from the devil‘s grasp through His own death. [
Eft we wurðiað on ufeweardan Lenctene on halgumrædingum þæs Hælendas ðrowunge, hu he alysde of þam laðan ðeowte, & fram ðæs deofles anwealde mid his agenumdeaðe.] Hom XIa.133-136. Ibid.
Hom XIa.137-142. Pope, Supp, 469.
Hom XIa.143-187. Pope, Supp, 469-470.
Hom XIa.188-196. Pope, Supp, 470-471.
Hom XIa.197-234. Pope, Supp, 471-472.