Posted by: kljolly | June 11, 2013

Thought and Belief

Going a bit further with Leslie Lockett’s Anglo-Saxon Psychologies, I am exploring Aldred’s use of thinking words.

Lockett works with a “hydraulic model” of interiority, a liquid view of the inner workings of the human person pumping from the chest or torso (rather than our mind/brain vs heart/emotion duality).  She posits (pp. 17-18) a four-fold anthropology for Anglo-Saxon popular views evident in narrative sources (versus the Augustinian anthropology of clerical writers like AElfric):  body, lichoma; soul, sawol or gast; life-force, feorh (lif or ealdor; and mind, mod (or hyge, sefa, ferhð).

Aldred’s language, as found in the glossary to Durham A.IV.19, is constrained by the nature of the Latin he glosses, Scripture and prayers for the most part.  Consequently, he does seem to portray the theological body-soul dualism in his use of lichoma and sawol, rather than the four-fold model.  When it comes to mind or thought, however, the variations are curious.  He does not use mod, hyge, sefa, or ferhð, except in certain compounds of mod and hyge. 

Instead, he uses primarily ðoht for Lat. cogitatio, mens, sensus, and anima (also glossed sawol).  Thought seems to be his all-purpose word for any form of human reflection.  In one instance noted in my book (pp. 180-81, on the 8 pounds of Adam), Aldred plays with mentium and sensus, looking unsuccessfully for variations on ðoht.  As noted in my earlier post on faith, hope, and love, he uses lufu (love) to gloss fides and then adds gileaf (belief).  So as Lockett posits, feeling and reason are not separate and oppositional functions, nor is belief separate from thought in some modern opposition between soul and mind/reason.

In another instance I just located, Aldred glosses Latin credere (to believe) with OE to love.

allm’ ece god ðv ðe ðisses [dæg]ges arwyrðne halgne

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui huius diei uenerandam sanctam

æc glæd’ eadges apo’stol ðines ioh’ 7 godspeller’

que laetitiam beati apostoli tui Iohannis et euuange

      symbeltide gisaldes sel ciricae ðinre ve bid’ 7 lvfia

liste festiuitate tribuisti, da ecclesiae tuae quesumus et a

þ/te lvfade 7 bodia þ/ gilærde

mare quod credidit, et predicare quod docuit. Per.

This Latin prayer for the celebration of the birth of St. John the Evangelist on 27 Dec. (fol. 23r6-9, item 311 in Correa’s edition) asks that God through St. John grant the church to love (amare) what he believed (credidit) and preach what he taught [I assume the referent is John].  However, Aldred glosses it to “love what he loved (lvfade) and preach what he taught.”  Perhaps it struck a chord with fidelity oaths (to love what one’s lord loves).

This new example again shows that “love” is multivalent in a way different from our range of meaning in the word.  It overlaps with belief and faithfulness.

Curiously, he also uses a “belief” word to gloss catholic, in the hot iron ordeal (fol. 54v10), one of the adjurations:

ic gihalsige ðec ðerh ða halga cirica gileaffvl’

adiuro te per sanctam ecclesiam catholicam

AldredcropWhether he knows catholic means universal or not, this gloss adds to the semantic range for gileaf as either and both “belief-ful” and “faith-ful.” The holy church is made up of those faithful believers or believing faithful.

I am still working on the obedience angle, trying to decide if and when Aldred might have been tonsured as a monk.  I would like to trace some kind of conversion experience over time.


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