Edited and Translated by Joyce Tally Lionarons

© 2000, Joyce Tally Lionarons

The image of the Antichrist as a cowled beast is found in the margin of St. John's College Cambridge MS. 42, f. 94r., next to a copy of Wulfstan's Latin homily De Anticristo. It is reproduced here by permission of the Master and Fellows of St. John's College, Cambridge, and may not be downloaded or reproduced without permission.

Towards the beginning of his career, Archbishop Wulfstan of York (d. 1023) wrote five Old English homilies on the last days, a subject that preoccupied him throughout his life and writing, although he did not write specifically on that topic again. All five homilies are based in large part on Latin notes compiled from a variety of sources and printed by Dorothy Bethurum as Homily Ia of her edition. This electronic edition of the Old English eschatological homilies is designed to bring together Wulfstan's writings on the last days and his sources in an easily accessible format. It includes newly edited texts and new translations of the five homilies, fully glossed texts of each homily, and transcriptions of the manuscripts in which they are preserved, combined with the Latin and Old English sources and analogues which pertain to Wulfstan's work and a bibliography of primary and secondary materials.

An electronic edition provides certain advantages over a printed text. The most obvious is that the apparatus of the edition can be hyperlinked to the texts themselves so that the relevant notes, variants, sources, and glosses may be accessed with the click of a mouse. In addition, two or more texts can be compared side by side in adjoining frames, searches can be performed quickly and painlessly, and the texts themselves may be manipulated to reveal or conceal manuscript context, scribal interpolations, and emended or doubtful passages. Most important, however, is the fact that an editor need no longer choose between offering a diplomatic edition, a critical edition, or a simple manuscript transcription: all three can be provided simultaneously, and the interested student is thereby afforded an opportunity to see both the homilist and the editor at work.

The edition is still very much a work under construction. This introductory essay will be expanded and revised, and there are essays, notes and links still to be added, along with a search engine. But even when the work I plan is "finished," as an electronic edition this site will remain "open," since unlike a print edition, it can undergo virtually infinite expansion and revision as scholarly work on Wulfstan and Anglo-Saxon England continues.

I would like to acknowledge my debt to Melissa Bernstein's fine pioneering work on her electronic version of Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, which provided the inspiration and some of the format for this edition. I welcome comments on what I have done so far; please send your corrections and suggestions to me at jlionarons@ursinus.edu.