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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 13, 2018

Passives of Possessive (ge)habban in a Passage in Ælfric’s Catholic Homily I, 33 in the Light of a Recently Discovered Augustinian Source

Matti Kilpiö
From the journal Anglia


The main focus of this article is on a passage in Ælfric’s Catholic Homily I, 33 and its Latin source in Augustine’s Sermon 71. The correspondence between the Latin source text and Ælfric’s translation is exceptionally close, almost gloss-like. What is particularly striking is the occurrence of passives of possessive (ge)habban in the Old English, corresponding to passives of possessive habere in the source. In both Old English and Latin the expression of possession with the passives of both (ge)habban and habere is very rare. The Latin Trinitarian statement translated by Ælfric consists of three sentences which display a remarkable degree of parallelism at the level of syntax and lexis. This results in a compact statement consisting of parallel repeated elements, which not only establish differences between the three persons of the Godhead but also emphasise the essential unity underlying the Trinity. The article also briefly deals with another, syntactically more relaxed, formulation of the same Trinitarian statement occurring earlier in Augustine’s sermon and tentatively asks the question why Ælfric chose the more complex and unwieldy version with passives of habere as the base text for his translation.

Works Cited

Digitised Manuscript

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Published Online: 2018-6-13
Published in Print: 2018-6-11

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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