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Job, Ecclesiastes, and the mechanics of wisdom in Old English poetry Persson, Karl Arthur Erik 2014

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    JOB, ECCLESIASTES, AND THE MECHANICS OF WISDOM IN OLD ENGLISH POETRY by KARL ARTHUR ERIK PERSSON B. A., Hon., The University of Regina, 2005 M. A., The University of Regina, 2007     A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (English) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) February 2014 ? Karl Arthur Erik Persson, 2014   ii"Abstract This dissertation raises and answers, as far as possible within its scope, the following question: ?What does Old English wisdom literature have to do with Biblical wisdom literature?? Critics have analyzed Old English wisdom with regard to a variety of analogous wisdom cultures; Carolyne Larrington (A Store of Common Sense) studies Old Norse analogues, Susan Deskis (Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition) situates Beowulf?s wisdom in relation to broader medieval proverb culture, and Charles Dunn and Morton Bloomfield (The Role of the Poet in Early Societies) situate Old English wisdom amidst a variety of international wisdom writings. But though Biblical wisdom was demonstrably available to Anglo-Saxon readers, and though critics generally assume certain parallels between Old English and Biblical wisdom, none has undertaken a detailed study of these parallels or their role as a precondition for the development of the Old English wisdom tradition. Limiting itself to the discussion of two Biblical wisdom texts, Job and Ecclesiastes, this dissertation undertakes the beginnings of such a study, orienting interpretation of these books via contemporaneous reception by figures such as Gregory the Great (Moralia in Job, Werferth?s Old English translation of the Dialogues), Jerome (Commentarius in Ecclesiasten), ?lfric (?Dominica I in Mense Septembri Quando Legitur Job?), and Alcuin (Commentarius Super Ecclesiasten). It then traces parallels between the Jobean and Ecclesiastean traditions and various instances of Old English wisdom. These instances include wisdom in heroic, hagiographic, and riddling poetry, including Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, Guthlac A & B, the Exeter riddles, and Solomon and Saturn I; they also include typical exemplars of the Old English wisdom canon, including Solomon and Saturn II, Maxims I & II, The Fortunes of Men, Precepts, Vainglory, The Wanderer, and The Seafarer.              iii"Preface This dissertation is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Karl Arthur Erik Persson.                 iv"Table of Contents Abstract ii Preface iii"Table of Contents iv"Acknowledgements ix"Dedication xi"Introduction 1"Chapter 1: Old English and Biblical Wisdom: Critical and Historical   Contexts 8 1.1 Biblical Wisdom 8 1.2 Wisdom: Paremiology, Folklore Studies, and Close Analysis 12 1.3 A Working Definition of Wisdom 15 1.4 Old English Wisdom: The Critical Background 17 1.5 Scope of Dissertation 25 1.6 The Platonic Ascent Toward Wisdom 29 1.6.1 "Baptizing" Plato with Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgos, and Augustine 34 1.6.2 The Augustinian Inward and Upward Turn 36 1.6.3 Wisdom and Warfare 38 1.6.4 Conclusion 39 Chapter 2: Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Commentary Tradition in   Anglo-Saxon England 40 2.1 Introduction 40 2.2 Ecclesiastes 42 2.2.1 Solomon and the Platonic Ascent 42 2.2.2 Gregorian "Voice Theory" and Ecclesiastes 44 2.2.3 Frustration and Vanity in Ecclesiastes 45 2.2.4 The Heavenward End of Ecclesiastes 50 2.3 Job 51 2.3.1 Apparent Contradictions and Circuitous Hermeneutics   in Job 51 2.3.2 Ecclesiastean Rhetoric in the book of Job 54   v"2.3.3 Voices in Job 55 2.3.4 Frustration in Job 58 2.3.5 The Heavenward Orientation of the Wisdom Struggle 60 2.3.6 Job and the Language of the Battlefield 61 2.4 Conclusion 64 Chapter 3: Beowulf, Mourning, and Heroic Wisdom 66 Preface: Heroic Wisdom 66 3.1 Critical History of Wisdom and Beowulf 67 3.2 Engaging Exegetical Criticism and Its Critics 69 3.3 Heroic Wisdom 76  3.3.1 Defining Heroic Wisdom 76  3.3.2 Heroic Power/Wisdom in Hrothgar 80  3.3.3 Heroic Wisdom in Beowulf 81 3.4 Challenges to Heroic Wisdom 82  3.4.1 The Challenge of Grace 82  3.4.2 The Challenge of Frustration 84  3.4.3 Identifying Wyrd 89 3.5 Instances of the Interplay Between Heroic Wisdom and Its   Challenges 90 3.6 Wisdom and the Unferth Episode 94 3.7 Critical and Theoretical Responses to Mourning 100 3.7.1 Critical Response to Mourning 100 3.7.2 Augustinian Response to Critics 101 3.8 Mourning and Wisdom: A Synthesis of Earl's and Kaske's Interpretations of Beowulf 103 3.8.1 Earl's Interpretation 103 3.8.2 Kaske's Interpretation 104 3.8.3 Synthesis of Kaske and Earl 105 3.9 Conclusion and Summary 109 Chapter 4: The Interplay of Heroic and Hagiographic Wisdom in   The Battle of Maldon 112 4.1 The Genre of Maldon: Heroic, Hagiographic, or Sapiential? 112   vi"4.2 The Mechanics of Wisdom in The Battle of Maldon: A General Introduction 115 4.2.1 Heroic Wisdom in Maldon 115 4.2.2 Frustration of Heroic Wisdom 118 4.3 Characterising the Mechanics of Wisdom in Maldon 120 4.3.1 The Wisdom of Age and Youth, with ?lfwine   and Byrhtwold 121 4.3.2 Godric and Unwisdom 123 4.3.3 Byrhtnoth's Spiritual Wisdom 124 4.4 Conclusion: Maldon Between Beowulf and Guthlac 125 Chapter 5: Baptizing Heroic Wisdom in Guthlac A & B 128 5.1 Introduction to Monastic Wisdom 128 5.1.1 Defining the Guthlac Poetry 128 5.1.2 Wisdom Affinities in Guthlac A & B 129   5.1.2.1 Guthlac A 129   5.1.2.2 Guthlac B 131  5.2 Guthlac A 132  5.2.1 Guthlacian Wisdom as Riddling Warfare 132 5.2.2 The Riddle of Prideful Christians 133 5.2.3 The Riddle of Pharisaical Holiness 137 5.2.4 The Riddle of Humility and Despair 139 5.2.5 Giving Way to Grace in the Form of Bartholomew 142 5.3 Guthlac B 143 5.3.1 Guthlac B's Typical Sapiential Use of Wyrd 143 5.3.2 Establishing the Universality of Death at the Beginning   of Guthlac B 144 5.3.3 The Victorious Guthlac 148 5.3.4 Guthlac's Lamentive Servant 149 5.3.5 Conclusion 152 Chapter 6: Riddling Wisdom 154 Preface: From Hagioheroic Wisdom to Riddling Wisdom 154 6.1 Context and the Evaluation of Wisdom 156 6.2 Old English Riddles as Subgeneric Wisdom 157   vii"6.3 The Play of Power in Riddles 158 6.3.1 Some Textual Examples 158 6.3.2 The Implied Social Context 160 6.4 Riddles, Humility, and the Riddle of Creation 161 6.4.1 Humility Through Wonder 165 6.4.2 Humility Through Wyrd 166 6.5 Hierarchy in the Riddle World 168 6.6 Case Study: The Double Entendre Riddles 170 6.7 Conclusion 173 Chapter 7: Solomon and Saturn I 176 7.1 Solomon and Saturn I: A Critical Survey 176 7.2 Saturn's Manipulative Quest for Wisdom 178 7.3 Solomon's Alternate Use of Wisdom 181 7.4 Examples of the Contrast Between Saturnine and Solomonic   Wisdom 182 7.5 Critical Implications 184 Chapter 8: The Wisdom Ascent in Solomon and Saturn II 186 8.1 Critical Context 187 8.2 Competing Wisdoms in Solomon and Saturn II  190   8.2.1 Saturn?s Problem of Mutability 190   8.2.2 Critical Context for Solomon 197   8.2.3 Solomon?s Response to Saturn?s Problem 198   8.2.4 Summary of Sapiential Movement 204   8.2.5 Saturn?s Warlikeness, Solomon?s Passivity 204   8.2.6 Frustration and Turn to Grace 205  8.3 Conclusion 206 Chapter 9: The Public Wisdom Debate and Its Vestiges in Maxims I & II   and The Fortunes of Men 208 9.1 Introduction 208 9.2 Maxims II 209 9.3 War Against Wyrd as Theme of Maxims 214 9.4 More Subtle Examples of Wisdom's War Against Wyrd 217 9.5 Maxims I 218   viii"9.5.1 Introduction to Maxims I and Its Differences 218 9.5.2 Maxims I and Theology 218 9.5.3 Maxims I and Social Context 223 9.6 The Fortunes of Men and the Representation of Wyrd 224 Chapter 10: Toward Wisdom on mode in Vainglory, Precepts, The Wanderer,   and The Seafarer 228 Preface on Sapiential Asceticism: Leaving Behind a This-Worldly Mechanics of Wisdom 228 10.1 Vainglory 230 " 10.1.1 Active Fight in Vainglory 230 " 10.1.2 Passive and Non-Violent Wisdom in Vainglory 232 10.2 Precepts 234  10.2.1 Introduction 234  10.2.1 A Triumph of Introspective Wisdom 235 10.3 The Wanderer and The Seafarer 239 " 10.3.1 The Wanderer 239"      10.3.1.1 Warrior Culture 240      10.3.1.2 Wisdom 244   10.3.2 The Seafarer 248 Chapter 11 Conclusion 255 Bibliography 261 Appendix A: The Jobean Beatific Vision 280   ix"Acknowledgements  Among many other things, the process of writing a dissertation is an education in one?s radical dependence, as a scholar and a human, on a complex of people, institutions, and resources. To comprehensively identify let alone give full acknowledgement to all who have provided for me all kinds of support during the process of writing this dissertation must necessarily be impossible; but though I cannot be exhaustive, I do wish to acknowledge the following people and institutions which have had a measurable impact on my dissertation.  Research such as that which I have undertaken in this dissertation is not possible without material support; I am grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for having enough faith in my project to offer the funding necessary to complete it. At the more local institutional level, I am grateful for the generous support of the University of British Columbia, including library resources, funding opportunities, and multiple opportunities for professional development.  More locally, in the UBC department of English, I am grateful for a variety of people involved directly and indirectly in the process of completing this dissertation. Many thanks to Louise Soga; it seems impossible to list all the various instances in which she has been helpful, but she has always been there to provide a clear and friendly path through the often daunting tangles of administrative niceties. I am thankful, too, for my students in multiple sections of English 340 and 343, as well as for Dr. Stephen Partridge who graciously permitted me to teach alongside him; we become instructors just to the degree that we are willing to learn and open ourselves to the questions and provocations of our students and colleagues, and the conversations in these classes very often served as a generative stimulus for ideas I have pursued in my dissertation. I am also thankful for my enduring friendship with Dr. Dennis Danielson, who examined my Masters dissertation and has continued to be a mentor and friend not only in matters academic, but personal and spiritual as well. In addition to such generous friendship at UBC, I am also grateful to Drs. Greg Maillet and Stephen Moore, who went out of their way in my undergraduate degree to teach me Old English, which was only rarely offered at the University of Regina.  More particularly, I would like to thank the three stellar members of my committee, Drs. Gernot Wieland, Robert Rouse, and Mark Vessey, particularly for enduring my often scattered dialogical manner of thinking, which meant reading and giving feedback on some fairly rough drafts. I am thankful for Robert?s general support and encouragement in the process of writing, as well as the perspective that he brings from his work on Alfred?s wisdom. I am likewise thankful for the very astute questions that Mark always raises regarding my work. On numerous occasions his provocative questions have piqued my curiosity and spurred me toward a deeper and more thorough engagement with what I am doing.  Gernot has in all ways been an impeccable supervisor, but particularly so in calling me to a high standard of clarity, cogency, and scholarship. He has been a careful reader of my work and has encouraged in me the academic rigor so necessary to balance out some of the more fantastic and creative tendencies in my scholarship. He has been attentive to my questions, concerns, and arguments, and has been particularly patient as a dialogue partner for the arguments in my dissertation; as someone who does most of my thinking dialogically ? whether in my own mind or with another person ? I have greatly appreciated his astute critiques and tactful suggestions. The quality of one?s supervisor is perhaps the single most important factor in completing a   x"Doctoral dissertation, and whatever success I have achieved in this work is due in large part to him. In addition my committee, I am thankful to Dr. Robert Cousland and Dr. Courtney Booker, who were gracious and thought provoking in their roles as my University Examiners at my Defence. I am also thankful to Dr. Thomas Schneider for his management of the Defence as Chair. Thanks is also due to Dr. Daniel Anlezark from the University of Sydney for his thorough examination of my dissertation, as well as his thoughtful suggestions and questions in response.  I am thankful for the spiritual communities that have sustained me through the often harrowing experience of living daily with a project such as this. In particular, I am thankful for the churches of St. John?s Vancouver and St. James Anglican. I am thankful also for the deep friendships, support and challenges I was blessed with through Christian groups and institutions on UBC campus, including the Graduate Christian Union, the Graduate and Faculty Christian Forum, the Graduate Christian Fellowship, and Regent College. Most particularly, I am deeply grateful for the Bible study that met in our house, which was so often an island of spiritual communion in the midst of various storms, spiritual, personal, and otherwise. Thank you for surviving with me.  I also want to acknowledge numerous friends, who have helped in all kinds of ways, whether by providing community and encouragement, offering practical help such as childcare, or by honing the way I think about my work. Their gifts to me are too numerous to iterate here, but I do want to acknowledge: Jamie Paris, Katie Calloway Sueda, Shinjiro Sueda, Joe and Jena Leung, Simon Charles, Stephen Ney, Elizabeth Ludlow, and Donald Derrick. Paisley Mann has been an amazing friend to me and my family in too many ways to count; I am deeply grateful for her abiding friendship. We will miss Abigail Mary Scott for the rest of our lives, and I am deeply grateful for the time we had with her as part of our family; again, her contributions are beyond reckoning. I would also like to thank Mathew Block and Andrew Davis for their ongoing encouragement and friendship, and the hope they give me that Inklings-like groups and friendships are not quite dead. I am also thankful for my friends at the University of Notre Dame who have so graciously adopted me into their community and provided yearly encouragement in medieval studies in a way I have found nowhere else; I am particularly thankful for Melissa Mayus, who so graciously invited me into this community in my first year at the Congress of Medieval Studies, when I first attended the conference; I am also so very thankful for the friendship and encouragement of Jacob Riyeff, who graciously opens his home to me every year; in my visits with him at UND, I have been enriched personally, spiritually, and academically. As well, I am thankful for my many friends who came together at the eleventh hour to help me with some late editing issues in this dissertation; these include Paisley Mann, Ann Woods, Jeremy Geddert, Jamie Paris, my parents Arthur and Marian Persson, and my wife, Meg Persson.  Finally, I am deeply thankful for my family: my parents, Arthur and Marian Persson, raised me to have a deep faith and a deep intimacy with books; my sisters, Karen, Christina, and Rachel, have not only been helpful in all kinds of practical matters (such as childcare), but I am also glad to call them friends. We are a close-knit family, and your support and encouragement has meant much to me. Finally, I want to thank my son Andrew for sharing me with my ?thesis book? and the rest of the academic world; it will remain to be seen whether doing things like this are (as you once described them) ?a family condition,? but whatever you do, I pray you maintain your excitement and energy that reminds me to love God?s world and draws me back to the curiosity that is at the root of my interest in scholarship. Finally, I want to thank Meg, who has been with me throughout and before this whole process; Divinity aside, you are the centre of my life, and this dissertation is as much yours as it is mine.   xi"Dedication     In loving memory of Abigail Mary Scott, S. D. G. May 16, 1986 ? June 18, 2011             1"Introduction What does Old English wisdom literature have to do with Biblical wisdom literature? This is the question that orients this dissertation, and, though it may seem simple enough, the question becomes complex once one begins to investigate it more thoroughly. What, for instance, is wisdom? How does one determine which Biblical and which Old English text should be considered wisdom literature? How does the difference between Anglo-Saxon and modern Biblical exegesis affect a comparison of these bodies of literature? And what specifically does such a comparison tell us about Anglo-Saxon literature; is the relationship one of influence, resonance, or cultural happenstance? As subsidiaries and bypaths of the original question concerning Old English and Biblical wisdom, these questions and the research required to answer them are the primary matter of this dissertation. However, as is usual with research, my investigation into these questions has led to further related discoveries, the foremost of which was the discovery of a pattern of ascent to wisdom common throughout the commentary traditions I investigate as well as the Old English poetry that parallels it; within this latter corpus, variations on this wisdom ascent abound. Though I have been hesitant to propose any kind of strong interpretation of the historical development of these variations, I have been able to trace the different guises taken by forms of the Jobean/Ecclesiastean wisdom ascent in Old English poetry; of particular interest in my analysis is the interplay of a very public secular heroic wisdom; a baptized version of this heroic wisdom; and a more meditative and introspective kind of wisdom, more often than not featured in the mind of a single speaker rather than in a public setting. In at least one instance, I have gone so far as to suggest evidence of the direct influence of the Biblical wisdom on the Old English poetry, but, for the most part, my argument focuses on Biblical wisdom as a backdrop or   2"precondition for the development of Old English wisdom. I do not argue that everything found in Old English wisdom is Biblical in origin - indeed, much of it probably consists of vestigial elements of an earlier Anglo-Saxon paganism - but I argue rather that the parallels between the approach to and compilation of wisdom in both the Biblical texts and Old English texts suggest these Biblical texts as exemplars and guides that at least some Anglo-Saxon scops, writers, and compilers looked to as models for working with their own native wisdom tradition, particularly in relation to the more recently discovered wisdom of Christianity. The research in this dissertation supports the probability of this claim, and, though the difficulty of determining influence makes it impossible to extend this claim much further, this dissertation's analysis of this critically ignored yet quite probably influential precondition is, I hope, an illuminating contribution in the study of Old English wisdom. To be clear about my methodology from the beginning, I have refrained from making any strong argument regarding the historical development of Old English poetry; this is in part because it is beyond the scope of my dissertation, which largely seeks to show the patterns rather than explain them; it is also in part because the probability of oral circulation prior to extant manuscript copies makes it difficult to tell what parts of which poems came first. My initial inclination is to suggest that what I discover, the transition from a more public to a more private and introspective wisdom mechanics, is due to the transition from an oral pagan culture to a Christian culture possessing writing technology. But a different study entirely, dealing with oral-formulaic studies and some of the Germanic roots of Old English wisdom, is required to show the degree to which such a theory is demonstrable. Secondly, I want to clarify that this is a study of Old English poetry found in a number of different manuscripts, and this dissertation considers these poems in relation to patterns found in   3"other Old English wisdom poems and Biblical exegesis rather than in relation to surrounding texts in the manuscripts. While the monastic context responsible for these manuscripts is important in the Christian inflections I discover in otherwise apparently agnostic poetry, the interplay of texts and genres within single manuscripts is not the matter of this dissertation. While I have no doubt that such a study would be fruitful, particularly with regard to the Exeter book, the details involved in such a study are well beyond the scope of my project, and would in many ways constitute an entirely different study of their own. With regard to the progression of the dissertation's argument, Chapter 1 surveys the study and definition of wisdom literature in Old English, and defines and situates the dissertation's contribution and response to prior criticism; it also justifies the scope of the dissertation, which deals with Old English wisdom literature proper, wisdom in other Old English genres, and commentary on the Biblical books of Job and Ecclesiastes. Moreover, it delineates the Platonic ascent to wisdom which, though not accessible to Anglo-Saxons directly through the works of Plato, nonetheless informs interpretations of Job and Ecclesiastes available to Anglo-Saxon readers.  Turning to historical contextualization of the Biblical wisdom, Chapter 2 outlines some major aspects of the commentary tradition on the books of Job and Ecclesiastes available to Anglo-Saxon readers. Both books feature an encounter with some form of frustration that challenges earthly wisdom and causes those encountering it to turn to a higher, heavenly wisdom. More particularly, Ecclesiastes mimes a hubbub of dialogic voices that must eventually be stilled by the voice of an authoritative speaker at the conclusion. Job differs from Ecclesiastes in its more explicit employment of martial language in the explication of wisdom.   4"Turning to the wisdom passages and themes in Beowulf, Chapter 3 shows how the text mirrors Ecclesiastes and Job in its configuration of wisdom as a warlike struggle featuring dialogue of various wisdom voices. It further shows how this poem configures heroic earthly wisdom as a limited good that guarantees survival and flourishing up to a point, but that eventually fails and leaves its audience longing for a more stable transcendent wisdom that the text implicitly approaches but never overtly states. In this, the poem mirrors the ascent to wisdom in Job and Ecclesiastes. Chapter 4 continues discussing the continuum between heroic and transcendent wisdom discovered in the prior chapter, and argues that The Battle of Maldon differs from Beowulf insofar as it approaches the transcendent wisdom Beowulf only implies. Like Beowulf, Maldon, with its relative abundance of sententious passages, values heroic wisdom even as it values heroism. However, more than Beowulf, it focuses on the failure of heroic wisdom, and asserts more explicitly the kind of transcendent wisdom and spiritual experience that one might turn to on account of this failure. In depicting this continuum, the text reflects the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of Job and Ecclesiastes, particularly in its Jobean amalgam of wisdom and martial language. Turning from secular to overtly religious texts, Chapter 5 investigates the way that the wisdom struggle of Ecclesiastes and Job toward higher wisdom not only helps illuminate the movement from secular to spiritual things, but also helps illuminate the ascent from lower to higher wisdom that occurs entirely within Christian spiritual experience. The texts studied in this chapter are Guthlac A & B. Though Guthlac's battles against the demons in A are spiritual, these spiritual battles are configured in heroic language. In Guthlac B, readers are confronted with a spiritual heroism that fails in the face of death and points toward the even higher wisdom in the   5"spiritual realms of heaven. Following the same sapiential pattern as Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon, Guthlac A & B transpose the Jobean/Ecclesiastean ascent toward wisdom into a register of faith far more overt than that of the other two poems. Transitioning between the heroic wisdom poetry explored in the first chapters and the wisdom poetry proper explored in the latter part of this dissertation, Chapter 6 considers the Old English riddle tradition as a transitional space between these two manifestations of poetic wisdom. Turning on its head language related to both wisdom and heroic literature, riddles frustrate the riddlee and thereby demonstrate his or her own situatedness in the world and consequent need for a higher wisdom that is usually only implied. In its mimicry of worldly frustration and puzzlement, riddling language mirrors the techniques of Job and Ecclesiastes. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss key texts in the intersection of Old English and Biblical wisdom themes, Solomon and Saturn I & II. Though Solomon and Saturn I has more to do with runic lore and magical texts than wisdom, the characters of Solomon and Saturn in this poem are rudimentary sketches of the more developed versions of these characters in Solomon and Saturn II. In both poems, Saturn represents a this-worldly wisdom that is overcome by the more Christian wisdom of Solomon; the difference between the poems is that, where Solomon and Saturn I features warrior letters and runes, these ?warriors? are replaced in Solomon and Saturn II by bits of lore from an arcane wisdom tradition. Like that of Job and Ecclesiastes, this wisdom is dialogic, riddling, and oriented such that it transitions between the lower reaches of earthly wisdom and the higher reaches of heavenly wisdom; like Job, this poem is martial in its wisdom, which is exchanged in a game of one-upmanship, not unlike the traditional flyting form that it evokes.   6"Chapter 9 continues the prior chapter's discussion of wisdom flyting, and finds in Maxims I & II an indiscriminate play of wisdom that looks much like that embodied in the Saturn of the Solomon and Saturn poems; like Saturn, the Maxims amalgamate spiritual and earthly wisdom, and so appropriate a theological wisdom for the purposes of a this-worldly pragmatism. The Maxims thus read like instances of the play of voices in Ecclesiastes and Job before these voices are brought to resolution. As if in response to this atmosphere, the Fortunes of Men raises questions about such pragmatic wisdom developed in the public arena; the limitations of courtly wisdom are shown up by the inevitability of often brutal death, with only a hint of a higher heavenly wisdom that might answer such death and suffering. The Fortunes of Men marks the beginning of a turn away from the public mechanics of wisdom of Maxims I & II and Solomon and Saturn II, and opens the way for an appreciation of a more private mechanics of wisdom, carried on individually or in very small groups outside the public sphere. Chapter 10 deals with what this dissertation describes as sapiential asceticism. This wisdom is in many ways similar to the riddling and heroic wisdom dealt with in earlier chapters, and it similarly follows an Ecclesiastean/Jobean pattern of wisdom ascent. What differentiates it from this other wisdom is its suspicion of the development of wisdom in the public and open arena; here, the flyting of the hall is replaced by dialogue that, though not less agonic than flyting, nonetheless occurs in a private context, among a few people or even in the form of soliloquy or mental reflection. The suspicion of public, this-worldly wisdom, is particularly evident in Vainglory and Precepts, which favour a private mechanics of wisdom as an alternative to a public and this-worldly mechanics of wisdom. The Wanderer and The Seafarer further privatize this mechanics, featuring a wisdom developed within dialogic reflections in the mind or speech of (probably) a single person. Though all four of these poems follow the wisdom patterns   7"discovered in Job and Ecclesiastes, the latter two are particularly like Ecclesiastes with its ?dialogue? of undifferentiated wisdom units compiled by a single voice and brought under the aegis of faith at the conclusion. Throughout the dissertation, editions used are noted at the introduction of each work, and can be found under their titles in the bibliography. Where I use the translations of other scholars, I note this in a citation. Translations with no cited reference are my own, with the exception of translations of the Moralia in Chapter 2; since all translations here are from the nineteenth century translation in the Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, I specify at the beginning of the chapter that citations refer to this work.   8"Chapter 1: Old English and Biblical Wisdom: Critical and Historical Contexts The premise of this dissertation is deceptively simple, and can be summed up in a single statement: to explore the role of select books of Biblical wisdom (Job and Ecclesiastes) as part of the cultural matrix wherein Old English wisdom developed and was written down, with Biblical wisdom contextualized historically via contemporaneous commentary on these books. I will use the remainder of this chapter to clarify each aspect of this project: what I mean by Old English wisdom, why I have chosen these particular Biblical books, and how this study will make a significant contribution to the field of Old English wisdom studies. 1.1 Biblical Wisdom To begin with what is perhaps both the most important and the trickiest task in this dissertation, I offer below some varying definitions of wisdom drawn from the broader context of wisdom studies, followed by my own working definition for this dissertation; one of the best ways of contextualizing such definitions is through a brief survey of the critical background of Old English wisdom studies. The field of Anglo-Saxon wisdom studies exists at the intersection of a few scholarly traditions and streams of thought; some of the most prominent of these are Biblical interpretation, folkloric studies, and a focus on close reading emerging from the English discipline's grounding in New Criticism. Hence, a discussion of these trends is helpful in situating this dissertation's definition of wisdom. In the field of Biblical studies, the modern conception of ?wisdom literature? emerges from the school of Biblical form criticism, begun by Hermann Gunkel. Gunkel's interest in categorizing Biblical texts in terms of generic and other kinds of ?forms? led him to posit a class   9"basis for a literature developed by a social strata of sages in ancient Israel.1 Later critics furthered Gunkel's hypothesis, one of the most influential being Gerhard von Rad,2 who suggested that wisdom was the working out of a philosophy of mundane things within the Yahwism of ancient Israel, a practical theology developing parallel to the more transcendentally-oriented covenantal theology.3 Since von Rad, critics have taken the difference between wisdom and Yahwism in a variety of ways; this difference is highlighted by the differing emphases of James Crenshaw and Roland Murphy, both leading scholars in Biblical wisdom and authors of influential introductions to the field. For Crenshaw, there is a clash between the revelatory mode of knowledge in Yahwism and the experiential and largely anthropocentric wisdom literature.4 Murphy, on the other hand, sees continuity between wisdom and Yahwism, following Zimmerli's influential suggestion that the wisdom literature is a form of natural theology grounded in creation.5 This question, of the degree to which Yahwist or Christian revelation is compatible with experiential wisdom, is one which recurs not only in Biblical scholarship, but also in scholarly discussions that attempt to define the relation between wisdom and Christianity in Old English poetry, as this dissertation will demonstrate. ?Wisdom? in the field of Biblical studies is notoriously difficult to define, and at present the definition is grounded in what critics generally recognize as the Old Testament wisdom canon: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes in the primary canon; and, in the deuterocanon, the Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach (Ecclesiasticus). Critics also on occasion include in their """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""1 R. E. Clements, One Hundred Years of Old Testament Interpretation (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), 102."2 Gerhard von Rad, Wisdom in Israel (London: S.C.M. Press, 1972). 3 Clements, One Hundred Years of Old Testament Interpretation, 112?114."4 See James L. Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2010), 229?50."5 See Roland E Murphy, The Tree of Life: An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature, 1st ed, Anchor Bible Reference Library (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 111?31."  10"discussion of this canon some of the Psalms,6 and the Song of Songs on the basis of its alleged Solomonic authorship. What follows is a brief summary of some of the most basic features of wisdom, as defined in the scholarly study of Biblical wisdom. Contemporary studies of Biblical wisdom particularly concern those Biblical activities and passages relating to the Hebrew word hokma, a term which can refer to areas such as politics and tradesmanship, but which refers generally in the wisdom literature to ?an intellectual quality that provides the key to happiness and success, to ?life' in its widest sense.?7 Scholars have isolated a variety of different aspects of this wisdom, and by surveying this variety one can get a composite picture of what wisdom is according to Biblical studies. Though the core literary form in Biblical wisdom is the masal, often translated loosely as ?proverb,? there are other significant forms of Biblical wisdom; most pertinent for the purposes of this dissertation are the dialogue, the didactic narrative, and the riddle.8 The matter of Biblical wisdom pertains for the most part to the created world and the human affairs in it;9 in this sense, it is this-worldly rather than focused on an afterlife, and is thus more amenable to international discourse than the more stubbornly distinct and less malleable aspects of Old Testament faith.10 God's primary role in the text is as creator and orderer of the cosmos, as implied in Walther Zimmerli's claim that ?wisdom thinks resolutely within the framework of a theology of creation?;11 however, God's proximity to the """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""6 See Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom, 187?95."7 R. N. Whybray, qtd. in E. C. Lucas, ?Wisdom Theology,? ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry, and Writings (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008), 902."8 See Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom, 31?3."9 See Murphy, The Tree of Life, 111?132.; Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom, 207?28."10 This international character of Biblical wisdom is noted by Crenshaw: ?A single feature of the Solomonic tradition strikes readers as strange beyond measure: the comparison of Solomon's wisdom with that of non-Israelite sages. One can hardly imagine a prophetic narrative that placed a Yahwistic prophet alongside a Baalistic one, even if Yahweh's spokesmen were ranked first. This unusual feature of wisdom furnishes a clue to the international character of the sapiential tradition. We shall examine non-Israelite wisdom later on, but wish at this time to paint that phenomenon in broad strokes.? Ibid., 50."11 qtd. in Lucas, ?Wisdom Theology,? 903."  11"world should not be mistaken for a deist detachment. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom,12 and the personification of wisdom13 often found in the tradition seems prototypical of Christ's incarnation.14 Alongside issues pertaining to the order of creation, Biblical wisdom also discusses complexities that pose problems to the human understanding, such as questions related to theodicy.15 In terms of the social context it implies, it is often associated with sage ?father? figures, or famous exemplars of wisdom such as King Solomon.16 The tradition behind this understanding of wisdom literature, distilled from the wisdom texts of the Bible and other Near Eastern texts relative to them, is one of the primary sources of the methodology and theorization of wisdom in the study of Old English wisdom literature, though it often goes unacknowledged. Morton Bloomfield takes his initial definition of wisdom from this field in his famous call for further study of wisdom among Anglo-Saxonists.17 He likewise in his later more internationally focused work (with Dunn) notes the importance of scholarship on Biblical wisdom as a precondition for his own study.18 Similarly, Elaine Tuttle Hansen grounds her definition of Old English wisdom in a survey of Old Testament wisdom and other related Near Eastern wisdom.19 Hence, the study of Biblical wisdom pertains to the study """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""12 See Proverbs 9:10; for a scholarly elaboration of this, see Von Rad, Wisdom in Israel, 53?73."13 See Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom, 85?88.; Murphy, The Tree of Life, 133?9."14 Paul A. Olson, The Journey to Wisdom: Self-Education in Patristic and Medieval Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 36?7."15 See E. W. Nicholson, ?The Limits of Theodicy as a Theme of the Book of Job,? in Wisdom in Ancient Israel, ed. John Day, Robert P. Gordon, and H. G. M. Williamson (Cambridge University Press, 1995), 71?82."16 For further on the personae of the sages, see Murphy, The Tree of Life, 3?5.; Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom, 13?16."17 Morton W. Bloomfield, ?Understanding Old English Poetry,? in Essays and Explorations; Studies in Ideas, Language, and Literature (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1970), 71?2."18 ?In the past fifteen or twenty years, for the first time we believe, the full range of the early notion of wisdom is beginning to be understood. This new understanding of the notion of wisdom is visible above all in recent Biblical scholarship.? Charles W. Dunn and Morton W. Bloomfield, The Role of the Poet in Early Societies (D.S. Brewer, 1989), 106."19 Elaine Tuttle Hansen, The Solomon Complex: Reading Wisdom in Old English Poetry, McMaster Old Eng. Studies & Texts: 5 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988), 12?40."  12"of Old English wisdom, since the former is one of the major contexts from which the latter emerged in academic discourse.  1.2 Wisdom: Paremiology, Folklore Studies, and Close Analysis Alongside this influence from Biblical studies, another influence on Old English wisdom scholarship has been the field of paremiology, a subset of folklore studies. This too was encouraged by the directions suggested by Bloomfield; even greater than his interest in Biblical wisdom in his later work with Charles Dunn20 is his interest in the workings of international wisdom, which often falls under the purview of these fields. The field of paremiology itself emerged as a serious scholarly discipline in the early twentieth century. Two important precursors to this were Richard Chenevix Trench's On the Lessons in Proverbs, published in 1853, and F. Edward Hulme's verbosely titled Proverb Lore: Being a Historical Study of the Similarities, Contrasts, Topics, Meanings, and Other Facets of Proverbs, Truisms, and Pithy Sayings, as Explained by the Peoples of many Lands and Times, published in 1902. However, it was Archer Taylor's The Proverb, published in 1931, that laid the serious scholarly foundations of the field, and the field continues to thrive under the aegis of a number of scholars, the foremost of whom is Wolfgang Mieder.21  The primary difference between the paremiological approach and Biblical wisdom studies is the narrowness of the fields' scopes. Whereas Biblical wisdom includes not only proverbs proper, but also proverb-like material and material associated with the figure of the ?sage,? the field of paremiology is confined to the study of the proverb, period. The difference is highlighted """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""20 Dunn and Bloomfield, The Role of the Poet in Early Societies."21 For a more expansive history of the field, see Wolfgang Mieder, Proverbs: A Handbook (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), xi?xvi."  13"in Wolfgang Mieder's response to Stephen D. Winick's attempt to expand the definition of the proverb into the more literary realms of intertextuality: Stephen D. Winick, in an erudite essay on ?Intertextuality and Innovation in a Definition of the Proverb Genre,? has tried valiantly to break with the requirement of traditionality for new proverbs, arguing that a text becomes a proverb upon its creation. That would make the sentence ?Where there are stars, there are scandals? a proverb! As a folklorist and paremiologist I disagree with this assessment. The fact that the sentence is ?proverb-like? does not make it a folk proverb, putting in question Winick's convuluted definition:  Proverbs are brief (sentence-length) entextualized utterances which derive a sense of wisdom, wit and authority from explicit and intentional reference to a tradition of previous similar wisdom utterances. This intertextual reference may take many forms, including replication (i.e., repetition of the text from previous contexts, imitation (i.e., modeling a new utterance after a previous utterance), or use of features (rhyme, alliteration, meter, ascription to the elders, etc.) associated with previous wisdom sayings. Finally, proverbs address recurrent social situations in a strategic way. (Winick 2003: 595)  While Winick goes too far in claiming proverbiality for ?proverb-like? utterances (i.e., ?explicit and intentional intertextual reference to a tradition of previous similar wisdom utterances?), he includes other valid and important criteria of proverbiality that summarize the findings of important theoretical work in paremiology.22  Winick's broad definition applies well to the Biblical wisdom and is very like what T. A. Shippey describes as ?proverbiousness? in Old English and Old Norse wisdom.23 Yet a strictly paremiological approach excludes such creative play of proverbiousness, as Mieder makes clear in his rejection of this definition. In addition to these strands of analysis inflecting the field of Old English wisdom from quarters of paremiology and Biblical studies, it is also important to consider close analysis of primary Old English texts that have elements of wisdom in common, and this strand of scholarship is best represented in the work of T. A. Shippey. Whereas critics such as Bloomfield and Hansen draw liberally from work on wisdom in other fields, Shippey, the first to establish """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""22 Ibid., 5."23 See the discussion in the following paragraph, as well as T. A. Shippey, ?The Wanderer and The Seafarer as Wisdom Poetry,? in Companion to Old English Poetry (Amsterdam: Vrije UP, 1994), 156?7.; and T. A. Shippey, ?Proverbs and Proverbiousness in Hrafnkels Saga Freysgo?a,? in The Hero Recovered: Essays on Medieval Heroism in Honor of George Clark, ed. James Weldon and Robin Waugh (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute, 2010), 127?41."  14"the Old English wisdom canon,24 works largely by grouping common features that he observes throughout the corpus of Old English literature. Of course, though Shippey's work is based largely on his own engagement with primary texts, his approach and methodology overlap with the interests of both the paremiologically informed scholars and those more influenced by Biblical scholarship. Sententious phrases such as those of interest to paremiologists figure prominently in his work, but his interest in what he calls ?proverbiousness? - the play of proverbs in literary contexts rather than formal definitions25 - aligns him more closely with the broader understanding of wisdom in Biblical studies. These foundations of Old English wisdom scholarship are the groundwork for most subsequent studies. Susan Deskis's Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition,26 for instance, follows a more formally defined paremiology, as does Paul Cavill's Maxims in Old English Poetry.27 Hansen, as mentioned above, is indebted to the Biblical studies model, while Bloomfield and Dunn28 divide their time between Biblical studies and a more folkloric approach. Carolyne Larrington follows the lead of Shippey in close analysis of parallel texts with an interest in sententiousness rather than sentences alone, but she is also indebted to Hansen and therefore implicitly indebted to the Biblical model used by Hansen.29    """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""24 T. A Shippey, ed., Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English (Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer, 1976)."25 On proverbiousness, see Shippey, ?The Wanderer and The Seafarer as Wisdom Poetry,? 156?7. ; and Shippey, ?Proverbs and Proverbiousness in Hrafnkels Saga Freysgo?a.?"26 Susan E. Deskis, Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition (Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1996)."27 Paul Cavill, Maxims in Old English Poetry (Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK!; Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 1999)."28 Dunn and Bloomfield, The Role of the Poet in Early Societies."29 Larrington situates her work as a development and response to the work of Shippey and Hansen; Carolyne Larrington, A Store of Common Sense, Oxford English Monographs (Oxford University Press, 1993), 10?11."  15"1.3 A Working Definition of Wisdom With regard to these intersecting fields, this dissertation is more informed by the Biblical studies approach and that of Shippey than by the study of paremiology proper. In particular, it focuses on aspects drawn from the list of Biblical wisdom features above, including wisdom's grounding in the created world and the society that is part of that world; the emphasis on earthy and more ?mundane? matters rather than transcendent matters; the agonic grappling with matters that frustrate human understanding and capacity for progress; and the relationship of wisdom and theology. As noted above, Biblical wisdom is more broadly defined than the proverbial unit of paremiology; it is thus more appropriable for a useful discussion not only of proverbs proper, but of the proverbiousness identified by Shippey and outlined above. The most basic aspects of this Biblical definition are particularly useful for analyzing an intersection of pagan/secular and Christian traditions such as that found so often in Old English poetry, for many of the matters that fall under its purview are the common property of Christians and pagans alike; regardless of the god one serves, forst sceal freosan30 (Maxims 1 B 1), and ?the sun also rises.?31 However, things become more complicated as wisdom literature approaches the less earthly realm of theology. Here, the wisdom is not defined so much by its earthly and anthropocentric content as it is by its methodology which features agonic struggle against threats in one's environment or mind - what one might usefully describe as ?complexity? or ?frustration.? Whereas poems of a secular or pagan bent are liable to deal with such frustration via heroic values and an emphasis on fame, the wisdom that approaches Christian theology often turns the struggle of wisdom into a mystical struggle that eventually finds its rest in God. This too is something latent in the Biblical wisdom tradition, for the fear of God is the beginning of """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""30  ?Frost must freeze? 31 Ecclesiastes 1:5"  16"wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), but it raises a problem for definition, particularly when wisdom is, as Biblical scholars often insist, defined over against the revealed knowledge of theology.32 With regard to this problem, it is helpful to think of wisdom and theology as overlapping modes. In this overlap, the highest reaches of wisdom correspond to the beginnings of theology, much as the height of Greco-Roman philosophy could approximate theology in the hands of Christian interpreters in late antiquity. This overlap is the reason why the Old English wisdom is in some poems synonymous or nearly synonymous with theology. In making this distinction between wisdom and theology I am following a long tradition of Biblical scholarship, but am parting ways with Bloomfield and Hansen. One of the common assumptions of both critics is that theology and religion itself is another kind of folk tradition that can be analyzed in the same way that one would analyze the wisdom of any group. There is thus little distinction for Bloomfield between the revealed wisdom of Christ or Torah and the more organically ?natural? wisdom of the wisdom books: ?Wisdom in the Bible cannot be confined to Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. It is ubiquitous. It is not accidental that both Jesus and the Father as well as the Torah itself were ultimately linked with wisdom.?33 Ubiquitous though it may be, such an approach blurs the theological distinctiveness of Christological revelation over against some version of wisdom's ?natural theology.? More starkly in Hansen's Solomon Complex, any consideration of the revealed content of the Christian wisdom is eclipsed by a focus on the form it shares with the other Old English wisdom poems; in fact, Hansen seems to consider the content a distraction from the more interesting literary technique used in these poems: ?If we respond to the simultaneously subtle and conventional verbal strategies of An Exhortation to Christian Living or The Menologium?we see that each addresses more engaging issues than """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""32 See Crenshaw, Old Testament Wisdom, 207?28."33 Dunn and Bloomfield, The Role of the Poet in Early Societies, 106?107."  17"their apparent themes of Christian instruction might immediately suggest.?34 While such studies are important, they do tend to sideline a hierarchical aspect of medieval sapiential thinking that placed God's revealed wisdom at the top and this-worldly wisdom at the bottom, with humans painfully and gradually ascending the heights of this wisdom. By drawing on scattered fragments of a general Platonic heritage, as well as their more specific incarnations in commentary on Job and Ecclesiastes, this dissertation seeks to illuminate such wisdom hierarchy and the mechanics by which humans scale it, replicated in the Biblical and Old English wisdom traditions alike. 1.4 Old English Wisdom: The Critical Background Having offered and critically situated this dissertation's working definition of wisdom, I now turn to the the scholarly gap that it responds to, that is, the lack of an extended scholarly study of parallels between Old English wisdom and the Biblical wisdom that was arguably a significant precondition for the development of the former. The history of this scholarly gap begins with the justification of Old English wisdom to other disciplines, a defensive response evoked by a critical tendency to overlook Old English wisdom or dismiss it for its lack of artistry. For instance, the critical history of Vainglory is so small that it fills only four pages in Poole's annotated bibliography, and there has hardly been an explosion of Vainglory criticism since its publication in 1998; Poole notes that this poem is ?seldom the object of praise.?35 Hansen offers a helpful survey of the charges against Precepts: ?Precepts has occasioned as little scholarly discussion as any poem in the Old English canon; where the work is mentioned, it is usually described as an ?uninspired admonition? full of ?platitudinous advice? and written by a poet ?who wrote zealously but not too well.? This ?determinedly humdrum? writer, we are told, """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""34 Hansen, The Solomon Complex, 101."35 Russell Gilbert Poole, Old English Wisdom Poetry, Annotated Bibliographies of Old and Middle English Literature v. 5 (Cambridge, Eng.; Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 1998), 373."  18"gives us ?the raw material of poetry rather than poetry itself.? In terms of genre, Precepts is most frequently included among the minor homiletic or ?miscellaneous minor poems, and as recently as 1977, the poem was classified with ?the debris or spoil heaps of the monastic tradition.??36 Such comments represent the critical neglect of and bias against wisdom poetry, which have haunted it throughout its critical history. Counters to such comments can be divided into two forms; those seeking to justify Old English wisdom in terms of a New Critical/romantic understanding of the English discipline, and those seeking to justify it in a more post-structuralist milieu. Regarding the former justification, T. A. Shippey has done a heroic job of gradually expanding the literary horizons of readers more accustomed to ?romantic-looking? Old English poems such as the elegies. The introduction to his survey of Old English literature makes this purpose quite clear; the first chapter is titled ?An Apology for Verse,? by which he means Old English verse, and his addressees seem to be of a New Critical school for whom the highest form of literature is associated with figures such as Ezra Pound, Robert Graves, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and T. S. Eliot.37 In his chapter on wisdom, Shippey begins with romantic impulses that might be familiar to his readers - a quotation from William Blake's The Four Zoas followed by discussion of the Old English elegies so popular in romantic milieux38- and gently moves beyond these things in the hope of expanding his readers' interest in the broader Old English wisdom tradition related to such poems. Whereas Bloomfield offered a call to arms for the defence of Old English wisdom,39 Shippey took a more subversive approach. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""36 Hansen, The Solomon Complex, 40."37 For his references to these poets, see T. A Shippey, Old English Verse (London: Hutchinson, 1972), 12."38 For a summary of the Romantically oriented Germano-English interest in and appropriation of the so-called Old English elegies, see Maria Jose Mora, ?The Invention of the Old English Elegy,? English Studies 76, no. 2 (March 1995): 129?139."39 Bloomfield, ?Understanding Old English Poetry.?"  19"This approach paid off, and it was the beginning of a process that would allow Shippey to define the contours of an Old English wisdom canon,40 and to more forcefully divorce The Wanderer and The Seafarer from the appropriation of romantic critics.41 But though Shippey is perhaps more than anyone responsible for the existence of a field of Old English wisdom studies, his means of justification had the probably unintended consequences of maintaining these studies under the shadow of romantic and New Critical norms. This is evident in one of the reasons he gives for studying the wisdom canon compiled in Poems of Wisdom and Learning: ?There are tendrils of sense and beauty in all the didactic poems in Old English, and the tendrils are worth following both for critics and historians: they lead us to a better understanding of the nature of poetry for Anglo-Saxons, and perhaps to some awareness of their cultural preoccupations.?42 Though Shippey leaves here a little room for a more historicist appreciation of the alterity of Old English poetry, he appeals for justification of his work to the ?tendrils of sense and beauty? romantically defined, shards of the New Critical ?well wrought urn? to be discovered amidst the ruin that is Old English didacticism. But while Shippey was justifying the wisdom poetry to a romantically inclined English discipline, the field of English underwent a sea change that prepared the way for a different kind of defence, undertaken by Hansen. This sea change was the radical critique of many of the underpinnings of the English discipline, particularly those romantic and New Critical assumptions that Shippey appealed to. In many ways, this was good news for the field of Old English wisdom. Part of the critique against the old New Critical and romantic underpinnings was that they were discriminatory toward various instances of the ?other? that might threaten these underpinnings, and Old English wisdom was certainly an instance of such alterity. Hansen """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""40 Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English."41 Shippey, ?The Wanderer and The Seafarer as Wisdom Poetry.?"42 Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English, 4."  20"was the critic who took up this line of thought, configuring Old English wisdom as a self-reflexive and prototypically ?postmodern? kind of poetry: It sounds authoritarian, but in fact takes authority as its subject and hence may reflect on and question what it seems to take for granted. It often begins with last words, and rejects the possibility of ending; it may at points look closed in form, but often in fact relies on the impossibility of closure. It invokes and explores the power of past observation, recorded in certainly formally marked utterances, to control the present, and it thereby struggles with the fact that we seem to need most desperately to fix is subject to infinite flux and endless rereading.43  Here, Hansen argues for a radical indeterminacy in the Old English wisdom tradition, implicitly appealing to an academy in which Derridean ideas of deconstruction and slippage were becoming commonplace. Hansen thus stepped in to offer an apology for Old English wisdom to a postmodern readership that might consider Shippey's New Critical roots old fashioned; by doing this, she guaranteed continuing critical conversation regarding an Old English wisdom canon, however defined, and her book remains a standard text in the field.  But though Hansen's success in establishing the genre for postmodern readers was great, one of the aspects her study appears to sacrifice in its postmodern approach is historical and cultural contextualization, which she too readily dismisses in her justification of this approach: The historical approach itself is of course a recent critical perspective, as fundamentally ahistorical as any of my more blatantly twentieth-century presuppositions. As a critical method, it covers many problematic assumptions; at worst, historical criticism may rest on seriously unexamined notions about periodization and generalization, about the truth of history, the possibility and desirability of accurate reconstruction, and the status of the literary text as historical evidence. While signalling a necessary reminder the texts are situated in contexts, that writers write and readers read in specific places at specific times, the historical few bears in this reminder its own contradiction.44   Having successfully established the canon, Hansen left the task of historically nuancing and contextualizing the genre to other scholars, a task that has occupied critics in the most recent history of the field. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""43 Hansen, The Solomon Complex, 11."44 Ibid., 10."  21"This task of contextualization was begun soon after Hansen's work by none other than the initiator of the study of Old English wisdom, Morton Bloomfield. Together with coauthor Charles Dunn, Bloomfield produced an interdisciplinary volume comparing wisdom traditions in a variety of cultural and historical contexts.45 Including elements from Biblical studies, paremiology, and folklore studies, this work began, if very broadly and cursorily, the task of contextualizing the Old English wisdom genre. A number of studies following this work have taken up more particular aspects of this task. Paul Cavill has investigated the formal aspects of maxims and the role they might have played in broader Anglo-Saxon culture.46 Carolyne Larrington has looked particularly at the parallels between Old Norse and Old English wisdom.47 A number of critics have undertaken discussion of wisdom in Beowulf, with the most thoroughgoing of these being Susan Deskis in her Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition.48 Nicholas Howe has discussed a number of wisdom poems as forms of catalogue poetry.49   Most recently, critics have begun once again to appreciate Old English wisdom poetry in terms of the Christian milieu that produced it, a critical decision that is long overdue. Throughout its critical history, the wisdom poetry has occupied an odd space in its relation to paganism and Christianity. Whereas a poem such as Beowulf has undergone critical phases with strong emphasis on secular/pagan Germanic culture and religious culture respectively, the critical history of wisdom has been more resistant to Christian interpretation. Brian O'Camb notes regarding the Exeter Maxims (Maxims I) that, when the discovery of vestigial paganism in Old """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""45 Dunn and Bloomfield, The Role of the Poet in Early Societies."46 Cavill, Maxims in Old English Poetry."47 Larrington, A Store of Common Sense."48 Deskis, Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition. On other critics who have engaged with wisdom in Beowulf, see Chapter 3 of this dissertation."49 Nicholas Howe, The Old English Catalogue Poems, vol. 23. Anglistica (Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1985)."  22"English poetry fell out of vogue, critics did not seek to interpret the poem as Christian (as had happened with Beowulf), but rather as simply secular.50 And while such impulses protected the wisdom poems in varying degrees from overdetermined allegorical interpretations such as that which Goldsmith applies to Beowulf,51 it also left some areas unexplored. Recently, two critics in particular have been seeking to remedy this neglect. Michael Drout identifies a number of wisdom poems as products of the Benedictine reform that helped to spread Benedictine ideals memetically through Anglo-Saxon culture.52 O'Camb, building on Drout's work, likewise argues that the manuscript evidence of the Exeter book recommends an interpretation of Maxims I via the religious context that produced it:  Exeter maxims is a monastic book production, whatever its more distant origins may be. Recognizing the Exeter Maxims is "inscribed verse" included in a unique medieval manuscript allows us to interpret how poetry influenced those social groups that encountered, read, produced, and ultimately performed Old English gnomic poetry. Despite the understandable modern critical impulse to seek out historical documents representative of the underrepresented social attitudes of secular and lay members of Anglo-Saxon society, we must accept that most of those material documents were produced in powerful ecclesiastical institutions, and so were filtered through the particular cultural lens of monasticism. Rather than speculating about what the poem's contents may imply about its possible oral provenance, I read the poem's inscribed contents within its immediate manuscript context. By focusing on the material fabric of Exeter, Cathedral Library MS 3501, we may profitably ask why Exeter Maxims was valued enough to be included in a vernacular poetic anthology produced in a monastic scriptorium during the late tenth century. Moreover, study of the poem in its manuscript context allows us to explore how it was valued by its audience ? which surely included ecclesiastical as well as secular individuals ? and begin to understand its social function.53  Following O'Camb, this dissertation presumes that the manuscript context of the poetry it treats implies a monastic interest in its matter; moreover, it presumes that one of the important tasks of the Old English critic involves an educated suggestion regarding some of the reasons these texts might have interested clerics. My overall response in this thesis is that one of the streams of """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""50 Brian O?Camb, ?Toward a Monastic Poetics: Exeter Maxims and the Exeter Book of Old English Poetry,? Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009, 9?11."51 Margaret E. Goldsmith, The Mode and Meaning of ?Beowulf? (London: Athlone Press, 1970)."52 Michael D. C. Drout, How Tradition Works: a Meme-based Cultural Poetics of the Anglo-Saxon Tenth Century (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006), 219?92."53 O?Camb, ?Toward a Monastic Poetics,? 14?15."  23"influence in this monastic reception, writing, redaction etc. of the Old English wisdom was the Biblical wisdom literature, particularly Job and Ecclesiastes, as well as the exegetical traditions accrued by these books. No one has undertaken such a study, which is curious not only because the study of wisdom in Old English was in some ways birthed from the study of wisdom in the Bible; it is also curious because the Biblical wisdom books were as readily available if not more so to the audience of these poems than some of the other analogues that have interested wisdom scholars. Scholars do not know how much access the audience of these poems had to the Norse analogues that Larrington compares them to; Larrington can only posit a hypothetical Germanic wisdom tradition out of which both Old English and Old Norse wisdom traditions emerged: ?I contend that there was a body of folk-wisdom, not yet in metrical form, a body which can be sensed as a living, pulsing, gnomic background to all Germanic poetry - not just verse specifically intended as didactic. There is a gnomic ?key' which sounds in other genres, both in Old Norse and Old English, as this study will demonstrate.?54 Similarly, Deskis draws in part on evidence from a period later than that of Old English poetry to establish a hypothetical proverb tradition in which to situate the Old English works.55 In spite of their limitations, these studies do make useful contributions to the study of Old English wisdom, but if these projects are worth undertaking in """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""54 Larrington, A Store of Common Sense, 18."55 Deskis, Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition, 8. ?The reader will notice that many of the analogues adduced in the following chapters postdate Beowulf by a century or two. The explanation for this relative lateness is, unfortunately, historical. Proverbs circulated in medieval Europe in three ways: that is, in oral discourse, in literature, and in deliberately compiled collections. The contents of oral communication are, of course, lost to us, and literature has preserved proverbs only unsystematically and accidentally, though one may occasionally be lucky in locating multiple versions of the same sentence. Written collections of proverbs are a Latin, rather than vernacular genre which did not really blossom until the eleventh century; furthermore, their preservation and transmission were subject to the same vagaries of fate affecting all medieval texts. Thus, our knowledge of the medieval proverb tradition is less complete than is to be desired. Still the material that is available should be used to its best advantage. Although most proverbial analogues to Beowulf, like its legendary and narrative analogues, are later than any accepted dating for the poem, the distribution of these analogues can provide information about the earlier period. That is, the appearance of a proverb or sentence in England, France, and Germany by the twelfth century presupposes a somewhat earlier origin for that proverb. We cannot pinpoint that origin, but neither should we discount it.?"  24"spite of their limitations, it is certainly worthwhile to investigate Old English wisdom with regard to texts that are known to have been accessible to literate Anglo-Saxons: the Biblical wisdom and the extant commentary on this wisdom. However, in comparing Biblical and Old English wisdom, one must be careful concerning assumptions regarding what the Biblical wisdom is. In past comparisons between Old English and Biblical wisdom, scholars have not been careful to distinguish between the Biblical wisdom as read in a 21st century context and the Biblical wisdom as it would have appeared to an Anglo-Saxon readership - they speak of Biblical wisdom as though its definition is intuitive and one that has always been held.56 My purpose in this dissertation is to find out what exactly this Biblical wisdom meant to an Anglo-Saxon readership and whether this meaning might have opened up an imaginative space for the transmission and translation of the Old English wisdom poetry. To be clear, the purpose of this dissertation is not to track down the distant origins of material in either the Old English or exegetical bodies of literature. For the Old English wisdom, the origins of some of the wisdom no doubt lie in a distant pagan past. Similarly, in the exegetical works, the ideas are not always particular to Job and Ecclesiastes; the motif of the holy warrior, for instance, is widespread and hardly unique to Gregory's commentary on Job. This is because these works are not commentaries as one might define them from a post-Reformation and vaguely Protestant or New Critical perspective, works which begin with the hard evidence of the text and work gradually and carefully outward. Instead, they employ an associative process of interpretation that lessens the distinction between Christian tradition and """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""56 See Hansen, whose approach is typical of this assumption. While it is true that some scholars have investigated Old English literature with regard to patristic interpretations of wisdom books (such as Margaret Goldsmith's interpretation of Beowulf via the Moralia), these interpretations usually aim to give a broadly allegorical or typological Christian reading of the poem - wisdom is taken as shorthand for Christianity, and the particular nuances of the wisdom genre within the broader Christian framework of belief is overlooked. Hansen, The Solomon Complex, 12?40 ; Goldsmith, The Mode and Meaning of ?Beowulf.?"  25"the Biblical text; the exegetes skillfully interweave Biblical text and tradition, producing a creative synthesis rather than an interpretation confined to the narrow limits of the letter. Such an interweaving technique does not in the least threaten this dissertation's argument, for its interest is not in the originality or non-originality of these ideas. Rather, I am interested in the nexus of ideas grouped around the concepts of wisdom in the wisdom books by exegetes whose work might have been available to Anglo-Saxon audiences, authors, and scribes; I am particularly interested in the overlap between this nexus of ideas and that found in the Old English wisdom. 1.5 Scope of Dissertation The Old English wisdom canon is not as fixed as that of other more clearly demarcated genres, so the list of poems I have chosen to discuss in this dissertation is representative rather than comprehensive; many other poems might have been included. The latter part of the dissertation covers some of the standard works in the wisdom canon, as defined by Shippey57 and Hansen:58 Precepts, Maxims I & II, Vainglory, The Fortunes of Men, Solomon and Saturn I & II, The Seafarer, and The Wanderer. The former part treats Old English poetry that is not wisdom proper, but that contains wisdom elements helpful for understanding the social and poetic context of Old English wisdom, a context that is often left underdefined in the wisdom poetry proper; these include Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, Guthlacs A & B, Solomon and Saturn I, and the general poetic technique of the Exeter riddles.  Before proceeding, one issue that must be addressed concerning this corpus is the manuscript context, and whether the question of the overlap between Biblical/exegetical material and the wisdom literature is worth pursuing. This matter is made more complex by the """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""57 Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English.; Shippey, ?The Wanderer and The Seafarer as Wisdom Poetry.?"58 Hansen, The Solomon Complex."  26"speculative nature of determining exactly what that manuscript context is. Because of the uncertainty surrounding this matter, I have made my argument such that it does not depend on a too specific manuscript context, but rather what I consider to be something of a historical puzzle: the question of why a scribal culture interested largely in exegetical and theological material might also be interested in the more literary material - and in the case of Beowulf, fairly secular material - that it was also involved in preserving. This can only be a question if one grants certain premises. The first is that the poems are in fact preserved by this same ecclesial scribal culture, but I think this is plausible in the case of all of these poems and probable for most of them. Of the poems discussed, all except five (Solomon and Saturn I & II, Maxims II, Beowulf, and The Battle of Maldon) are from the Exeter book, and, as Michael Drout argues, Benedictine influence lies behind the construction of this manuscript.59 Daniel Anlezark, the most recent editor of the Solomon and Saturn poems, discovers a similarly learned Christian community behind these poems.60 That the almost secular Maxims II was finally written down in a Christian context is clear, not so much from its content, but from its inclusion alongside the ornately liturgical Menologium,61 a poem charged with ecclesial themes. The Christian backdrop against which these poems were preserved thus invites the question of how the matter of these poems is related to the traditions and beliefs that furnished this backdrop.  However, two of the poems are more difficult to place with regard to their relationship to a Christian scribal culture: The Battle of Maldon and the Nowell Codex, containing Beowulf. The former exists only in a transcription from the original manuscript, which was burnt in the fire in """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""59 Drout, How Tradition Works, 219?86."60 Daniel Anlezark, ed., The Old English Dialogues of Solomon and Saturn, Anglo-Saxon Texts 7 (Cambridge!; Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 2009), 49?57."61 See Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English, 13."  27"the Cotton library,62 so that details of its context must be gleaned from the poem and other historical sources pertaining to the battle. However, judging from the near hagiographic construction of the poem and the detail from the Vita Oswaldi that monks from the abbey of Ely came to the battlefield to collect Byrhtnoth?s bones,63 it is not a stretch to posit some kind of ecclesial influence behind the poem. More difficult to theorize are the historical impulses behind the final transcription of Beowulf. Of all the poems discussed in this dissertation, this is the one most likely to raise questions about origins and the degree to which there are Christian themes in the poem. However, most scholars agree that the production in its final form was produced by clerics,64 and it is reasonable to assume its authors/compilers would have been familiar with basic ?large concepts? of Christianity. Though it is impossible to tell if the person involved in preserving/writing Beowulf read the Moralia detail by detail, it is probable that the ?large concepts? from the exegesis were familiar to them, and so I have striven as far as possible to focus on these rather than more obscure passages that might be less well known - such large concepts include matters such as Ecclesiastean vanitas, Jobean patience, the general Godward direction of these books, and their association with wisdom. Given the multiple wisdom books in the Bible as well as a definitional looseness that can in some cases allow for the discovery of wisdom in all Biblical texts, an assessment of Old English wisdom that covers the entirety of Biblical wisdom texts is well beyond the scope of this thesis. Rather, I have chosen to focus on the two Biblical wisdom texts that seem to reflect most closely the spirit of Old English wisdom: Job and Ecclesiastes. Though further discussion below will """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""62 D. G Scragg, ed., The Battle of Maldon, AD 991 (Oxford [England]!; Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell in association with the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies, 1991), 15?17."63 Alan Kennedy, in The Battle of Maldon, AD 991, ed. D. G. Scragg (Oxford [England]!; Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1991), 65?8."64 Robert E. Bjork and Anita Obermeier, ?Date, Provenance, Author, Audiences,? in A Beowulf Handbook, ed. Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 28?31."  28"illuminate further the parallelism and similarities between Old English wisdom and the medieval conception of these books, my first and most basic reason for choosing these books is their melancholy expression of faith, which is also a distinct feature of most Old English wisdom. Other Biblical wisdom presumably also shaped the milieu in which Old English wisdom was produced, but at the heart of the overlapping borders of Old English and Biblical wisdom is this melancholy, so different from the more optimistic wisdom of a book like Proverbs or the rapture of joyful wisdom in Song of Solomon - and, indeed, also different from much that passes for wisdom in modern society.  Furthermore, though deuterocanonical wisdom such as Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and The Wisdom of Solomon also shaped the way Anglo-Saxon readers and writers understood wisdom, they are a patchwork of wisdom comprised of a combination of wisdom from the Torah, Old Testament wisdom writings, and Greek philosophy.65 Some parts of this patchwork correspond well to the melancholy of Old English wisdom, while others do not. Because dealing with the ?mixed? nature of this wisdom and its reception is a complicated matter, it is not simply a footnote that can be added to a study such as this, and must require an extensive study of its own to be dealt with thoroughly. I have therefore chosen to limit the scope of this dissertation to Job and Ecclesiastes, with the understanding that the complexities of the deuterocanonical books merit an entirely separate discussion of their own.  Though I seek to carefully historicize the texts I use so as not to assume that my own unaided interpretation of the Bible is the same as that of medieval readers, I find that every substantive and increasingly objective analysis begins in something much more subjective, an impression or idea that evokes further research, clarification, correction, and analysis. The impression pursued in this dissertation is the sense that both Old English and Biblical wisdom """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""65 See Daniel J. Harrington, S. J., Invitation to the Apocrypha, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 55-91.   29"gesture toward a particular stance that combines a clear-eyed and sober realism with a tenacious faith that will not let go of a God who is both a consolation and a frustration, a problem to be solved and the answer to this problem. This impression is hardly enough on its own to justify this comparison - such justification will consist in the argument built up throughout this dissertation - but it has informed my decision to limit my discussion of Biblical wisdom to Job and Ecclesiastes. One must begin somewhere, and it is this sense of a melancholy faith that has determined the ?somewhere? in which to ground a study of Old English and Biblical wisdom that I anticipate will branch out to the consideration of other Biblical texts in further scholarly work. 1.6 The Platonic Ascent Toward Wisdom As a way of preparing for the next chapter's discussion of Job and Ecclesiastes in the exegetically-informed Anglo-Saxon imagination, it is useful to establish the prehistory of the Platonic ascent to wisdom that informed the cultural and intellectual backdrop against which this imagination developed. The Anglo-Saxons presumably did not have access to many of the originators of the conception of this ascent, particularly as many of them were in the Greek rather than Western Latin tradition. Nonetheless, through channels and avenues too numerous to trace, the idea of the Platonic ascent to wisdom found its way through the Latin tradition and was one of the contexts that informed interpretation of Job and Ecclesiastes. Hence, before delving into particular interpretation of Job and Ecclesiastes, I offer a sketch of some of the primary features of this Platonic wisdom ascent as it evolved through the development of early Christian   30"philosophy and theology. One of the most useful outlines of this ascent and its reception is that offered by Paul Olson in The Journey to Wisdom, summarized below.66 The basic concept of Plato's ascent to wisdom is famously represented in Plato's image of the cave at the beginning of Book 7 of The Republic. In this image, the world is a cave wherein humans are trapped, encountering only shadows of the realities that lie outside the cave. The purpose of philosophy - the love of wisdom - is to lead people outside the cave so they can encounter the real world of forms rather than the shadow world of material. This was the task of philosophy undertaken by figures such as Socrates and Plato. In the Platonic tradition, the most straightforward way to get outside the cave was to begin by observing the order of the cosmos. Through the study of this order, one could ideally reach beyond the material world to the forms behind this order. The study of mathematics and metaphysics was therefore more important in the Platonic wisdom ascent than the honing of rhetorical skills, as these former were some of the areas of study that allowed one to burst through the observable world and get at the foundation of reality itself. By getting at this reality, one could, in turn, live in accordance with the structure of the cosmos.67 In making this claim, Plato set himself in opposition to the school of the Sophists, whom he charged with gaining power through wisdom-technique rather than conformity to a pre-""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""66 Paul A. Olson, The Journey to Wisdom: Self-Education in Patristic and Medieval Literature (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1995). At my Defence of this dissertation, one of my examiners brought to my attention the limited scope of Olson?s study as well as his imprecision in failing to make distinctions between various schools and figures, such as Neoplatonism and the Plotinian tradition; in fact, the story of the development of Platonism prior to the Middle Ages could be told in a number of ways with varying emphases on various figures. In future work with the matter of this dissertation, I intend to be more clear about such matters; however, insofar as the development outlined by Olson is indeed about Plato and the way readers after Plato developed his work, his work is not incorrect, but simply less nuanced than it could be. Given this, I have elected to continue using the term ?Platonic ascent? as shorthand for the development of Platonism Olson describes. Even if it whitewashes a multitude of complexities that could be dealt with, it is nontheless sufficient for the argument in this dissertation, which suggests this complicated cluster of Platonic and Neoplatonic ideas as a philosophical reference point for understanding later exegesis on Job and Ecclesiastes rather than as a tradition that can be tracked into the Middle Ages on a manuscript by manuscript basis. 67 Ibid., 8-12."  31"existent set of forms determined by a logos underlying all reality.68 Such opposition put Platonic philosophy in tension with more institutionalized forms of schooling; it is difficult to codify an education dependent on something more dynamic and fluid than technique.69 As a result of this tension with systematized forms of learning, the wisdom promoted by Socrates and Plato often involves the ironic undercutting of ?wisdoms? that pretend to be such when they in fact are not, as seen in their project of dismantling Sophistic rhetoric.70 The exposure of Sophistic wisdom's incoherence, along with the search for cosmic order explored above, are two of the most important elements of the Platonic heritage of the Middle Ages, and they recur in various forms throughout the history of changes wrought on Platonism by thinkers after Plato. Though this ascent appears in various forms in the pre-Christian world after Plato, the most important changes wrought on it were those that occurred when it was brought into dialogue with the particularities of Hebrew and Christian tradition. The primary tension that occurs here is the tension between the extra-material forms and the concrete, incarnate means of revelation that both Judaism and Christianity insist upon. Whereas Platonism involves escape from matter, both Judaism and Christianity insist on a good, God creation and the possibility of God's revelation through this creation: in the case of Judaism, God's historical interference and self-revelation in his rescue of Israel from Egypt; in the case of Christianity, Christ's incarnation.71 In Hebrew thought, the confluence of Platonic wisdom and Hebrew tradition had the effect of an intensified personification of Woman Wisdom, as well as an identification of wisdom with more local and earthy Near Eastern aspects of wisdom. Though a number of Biblical instances """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""68 Ibid., 9."69 Ibid., 11."70 Ibid., 3?8."71 On this ?particularizing? of the Platonic ascent in Judaism and Christianity, see ibid., 38?9."  32"might be aptly used to demonstrate this, I follow Olson in using a particularly representative passage from Sirach 24:1-9: Wisdom speaks in her own praises, In the midst of her people she glories in herself. She opens her mouth in the assembly of the Most High, She glories in herself in the presence of the Mighty One; ?I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, And I covered the earth like mist. I had my tent in the heights, And my throne in a pillar of cloud. Alone I encircled the vault of the sky, And I walked on the bottom of the deeps. Over the waves of the sea and over the whole earth And over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I searched for rest, And looked to see in whose territory I might pitch camp. Then the creator of all things instructed me, And he who created me fixed a place for my tent. He said, ?Pitch your tent in Jacob, Make Israel your inheritance.? From eternity, in the beginning, he created me, And for eternity I shall remain.72  Though such a description is in part indebted to the Greek figuration of wisdom as a feminine figure, as Olson notes,73 it is clear that this passage features a figure more substantially intertwined with history and the created world than Platonic wisdom. Where Plato's Socrates sees shadows, Sirach sees a world created by a wisdom that also takes part in the histories of peoples such as the descendants of Jacob.74 The contrast, to be sure, should not be considered stark, for there is certainly overlap between this Hebrew conception of wisdom and, for instance, the figuration of wisdom/Diotima in Plato?s often this-worldly Symposium. Generally speaking, """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""72 qtd. ibid., 22?3."73 Ibid., 23."74 As Olson notes, the difference here is particularly illuminated in the difference between Platonic treatment of Homeric mythology and Jewish treatment of the story of Israel. For Israel, there is something in this very story that is God's self-revelation while, for Platonists, Homeric poetry must become a metaphor for metaphysics before the lying poets can be admitted into the republic. Ibid., 39."  33"though, the Hebrew attachment to historical particulars and a good created order gives flesh and bones to the more ethereal Greek figuration.  This enfleshing of wisdom is further taken up by Christians in their interpretation of Christ as this wisdom figure mediating between the world and the spiritual world of forms; as Olson notes, ?Early Christianity, arguing that its Logos announced a new Torah for which the center of history is not the history of a nation but of the Christ person, turns Israel's emphasis on history toward the history of individuals.?75 While the Platonic tendency to recover important but hard-to-interpret stories through symbolic readings does not disappear from Christianity - there is plenty of evidence for it in allegorical interpretation of the Bible76 - the Christian reception of the Platonic ascent continues to develop the ?historical turn? started in Jewish culture. However Platonic one wanted to be as a Christian, the historical incarnation of Christ worked as a thorny counter to Platonic abstraction. Given the importance of this Christian redaction of wisdom for the exegetes available to Anglo-Saxon readers, the details of this Christian ascent to wisdom/Christ are worth exploring in depth. For Olson, there are three figures in particular who represent the development of the Christianized Platonic ascent: Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgos, and Augustine. The pertinent work concerning the former two figures is Oratio Panegyrica in Origenem, in which Gregory chronicles his own ascent to wisdom under the tutelage of Origen. St. Augustine in his Confessions further develops this Christian understanding of the wisdom ascent. These works, according to Olson, participate in a process of articulating and reshaping the Platonic ascent for Christian purposes. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""75 Ibid."76 Olson notes that early Christians believed in ?a Bible that is to be read as history but also as a Platonic philosophical fable.? Ibid."  34"1.6.1 "Baptizing" Plato with Origen, Gregory Thaumaturgos, and Augustine According to Olson, the understanding of pain in the Origenian ascent is one of the marked changes that Origen makes to Plato's original conception; contrasting Gregory's Origenian wisdom ascent with the lives of the ?Olympian Plato and Socrates,?77 Olson traces the way that the experience of pain takes a more prominent position in Gregory's account of his ascent, including ?the pain of the ?death' of the father, the pain of Origen's pummeling dialectic, and the pain of departure from Origen.?78 Olson's earlier citation of Gregory Thaumaturgos helps to illuminate the nature of this pain: At times [he] attacked us in the manner typically used by Socrates and tripped us up with his arguments when he saw us becoming restless with him, like unbroken horses that ran away from the road and galloped crazily about randomly until with a bridle he persuaded us. And this process was at first unpleasant and painful to us, when he drove and cleansed us with his own learned discourse, we who were certainly inexperienced and unprepared for reason.79  According to Olson, a pedagogic interpretation of pain such as this passage represents is the result of a Pauline emendation of Plato wherein Origen and Gregory take seriously Paul's development of a cruciform Christian wisdom, particularly as it is outlined in 1 Corinthians 1-4.80  This pain ?leads the student away from the rhetorical, legal studies and mechanical pedagogy to a struggle with real life problems? wherein ?the interpretation of these problems comes from the inner Logos and from a providentially provided teacher,?81 in this particular case, Origen. The self-emptying that occurs through the experience and interpretation of pain prepares one for the study and appreciation of the overarching Logos of the cosmos, largely """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""77 Ibid., 32."78 Ibid."79 qtd. ibid., 29?30."80 Ibid., 32-3. 81 Ibid., 33."  35"through scientific disciplines. This study, beginning with earthly things, ascends through traditional ?lower? and ?higher? subjects in Greek philosophy. It is facilitated by a collaborative process between the student, teacher, the student's internal impression of the Logos, and an external personified Logos that also intervenes. Perhaps most importantly with regard to the Christianization of Platonism, Origen equates Christ, the wisdom of God, with the external Logos.82 Though Origen and Gregory were some of the first Christians to work out this Platonist-Christian synthesis, St. Augustine?s development of the subject was perhaps the most influential throughout the Middle Ages, whether directly or through intermediate works; hence, an understanding of the particular shape of this Augustinian version of the Platonic ascent is necessary for further discussion of its permutations throughout the medieval period. This Augustinian journey outlined in The Confessions consists in the self-emptying enacted through pain/discovery of vanity; a turn outward from the emptied self toward the stuff of creation; an identification of the God seen in creation with the one found in the Bible; and a final mystical union with this God. The first stage that Augustine goes through is one that Olson refers to as self-emptying, and it corresponds to the painful self-growth seen in Origen's programme, as discussed above. The pain through which Augustine experiences this self-emptying is of varying sorts, and could also be labelled ?frustration? or ?vanity,? to use the Ecclesiastean term, for it frustrates him and teaches him to see the limitations of his own self and society. It includes undeserved punishment in school and grief that turns to prayer upon the death of a friend. However, it is not ?large? griefs such as these but rather the comparatively banal experience of a toothache that eventually drives home for him the message of suffering, that he suffers from Original Sin and is in need of """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""82 Ibid., 26?40."  36"salvation external to himself.83 Precisely what he begins to learn through this process is well articulated by Olson, who describes the way pain supplements and delimits his Neoplatonism: Unfortunately, the Neoplatonist power and Wisdom of God has not known pain, has not emptied Himself. The Neoplatonists could not teach Augustine the meaning of pain or the message of Antony's life, the meaning of 1 Corinthians 1.24. They could not communicate what Augustine learns in the ?Tolle, lege? garden?But after pain has opened Augustine to the world beyond myth and outside himself, he is ready to seek a more objective knowledge.84  This ?more objective knowledge? takes the form of two distinct but overlapping categories: scientific knowledge and the more local but nonetheless empirical knowledge arising from personal experience. Alongside this opening to creation, Augustine similarly opens himself to the divine revelation that allows him to name and identify the Logos he encounters in the world as the very same God revealed in Christ and sustaining the universe. This opening to divinity culminates in the experience of mystical contemplation given to Augustine in Ostia.85 Thus, the Augustinian version of the Platonic ascent to wisdom can be summarized as follows. The person, puffed up with rhetoric and sophistry, experiences pain and frustration and a perception of the vanity of the world. This opens him or her to the twin realities of creation and the Christ-shaped Logos lying behind it. As the contemplative works his/her way through experience of the created order, he/she eventually reaches the experience of mystical contemplation of God. 1.6.2 The Augustinian Inward and Upward Turn As a way of further clarifying this ascent, it is useful to consider particularly the function of an inward and upward turn in Augustine's ascent to wisdom. With regard to the inward turn, """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""83 This summary is informed by that of Olson, ibid., 54?5."84 Ibid., 55."85 Ibid., 55?67."  37"Mary Wallis notes its invention by Augustine and further deployment by Alfred in the Anglo-Saxon Consolation, where Mod replaces the speaking ?I?: Augustine claims in the Soliloquia to have ?invented a genre whose achievement was to internalize the process of dialogue by writing fictions of the mind in conversation with itself??.Augustine's use of the dialogue in this way finds an analogue in Boethius' Consolatio, which shows the sound mind of the wise man taking shape through a self-reflexive and progressively internalized debate. In Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of the Consolatio, where, significantly, the OE mind word Mod is used to replace the ?I? of the original, wisdom is seen to lie in the divinely enlightened mind instructing itself. Here, the dialogue is an induction into inner wisdom; error and mental distraction are replaced by knowledge and centredness.86  Simply put, this inward turn is the replacement of external interlocutors with a variety of personae speaking in a single mind. This turn from the more public social debate to a more internal and private debate is one which this dissertation will encounter frequently in the Biblical commentaries with their focus on the ascent from external to contemplative spirituality; it is also evident in certain of the Old English poems that transmute the Old English flyting debate along similar lines, as Wallis herself very briefly notes of The Wanderer and The Seafarer.87 It is important, though, to bear in mind that this inward focus should not be seen as a narcissistic shutting out of external things but rather as a withdrawing from external things so as to get at the higher things to which they allude. There is a movement from outward things to inward things, and then the gaze of the soul is moved upward from within toward spiritual things. Phillip Cary has explained this well in his summary of Confessions 7. Cary finds that the Platonist (likely Plotinian) book that led Augustine toward Christianity would in fact have contained an idea contrary to Christian doctrine, that the soul itself is divine. According to Cary, Augustine silently passes over this doctrinal error by adding a feature to Plotinian inwardness, an upward turn that follows the inward turn. As Cary puts it, Augustine is ?simply trying to state what he thinks is the truth: that the soul can turn inward to find God, as Plotinus says, but that it """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""86 Mary V. Wallis, ?Patterns of Wisdom in the Old English Solomon and Saturn II? (Ph.D., University of Ottawa, 1991), 100?101."87 Ibid., 101.   38"is more complicated than Plotinus makes it out to be, and therefore we need to correct his description using the older Platonist language of height and ascent.?88 This movement inward and upward is taken up in medieval interpretations of Job and Ecclesiastes, as will be shown in the following chapters; it is also evident in the Old English wisdom tradition's turn from a public mechanics of wisdom toward a mechanics more private and withdrawn from the dialogic debate of the public sphere. 1.6.3 Wisdom and Warfare Although this Augustinian outline encapsulates for the most part the synthesis of the Platonic ascent inherited by medieval thinkers, there is one further development of its reception that is useful to keep in mind throughout the rest of this study; this development is the representation of this ascent in terms of epic poetry, particularly the martial imagery associated with epics as well as other epic motifs related to struggle. According to Olson, this process has its roots in a desire to defend the Greek Homeric tradition against its dismissal in the Platonic tradition. In the original Plato, the philosopher charges poets with telling lies, and makes no room for them in his Republic. However, later Platonists did not take such a hard line on poetry, and sought to rescue the Homeric tradition from Plato's dismissal. This they accomplished by reading the epics not in the strictly literal terms that had induced Plato to think of poets as liars, but rather through an allegorical method that interpreted the martial themes of the poems as types of the educational struggle as conceived of in the Platonic ascent. Later interpreters used the same process to interpret Vergil, and the technique became particularly popular among a Christian readership that could not wholly affirm the pre-Christian values of these classical """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""88 Phillip Cary, Augustine?s Invention of the Inner Self: The Legacy of a Christian Platonist (Oxford!; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 40."  39"works of literature.89 As heirs of the Latin Christian tradition, Anglo-Saxons were thus also heirs of this tradition accustomed to configuring martial imagery as an alternate way of talking about the Platonic ascent to wisdom. The probable influence of this way of thinking is evident in the intersection of martial and sapiential discourse so common in the poetic, Biblical, and commentary texts that are the matter of this dissertation. 1.6.4 Conclusion Though Olson devotes an entire book to analysis of this wisdom ascent, the above summary provides sufficient context for understanding the next chapter's discussion of the way that medieval commentators approached Job and Ecclesiastes. To be clear, I am not claiming that exegetes used this Platonic ascent as a rigid programme in their works; neither am I even claiming that all the aspects of this ascent were known to every single exegete. What I am suggesting is that this Platonic ascent, such a significant part of the background in which Jobean and Ecclesiastean exegesis was shaped, affords a useful grammar for discussing this exegesis. What is important for this dissertation?s argument is not the degree to which there is a ?through line? from the Platonic ascent to the Old English wisdom traditions; rather, what an understanding of this ascent offers is a terminology and context for understanding the exegesis on Job and Ecclesiastes available to Anglo-Saxon readers, which exegesis this dissertation suggests as a significant context for the development of Old English wisdom. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""89 Olson, The Journey to Wisdom, 85?116."  40"Chapter 2: Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Commentary Tradition in Anglo-Saxon England 2.1 Introduction The purpose of this chapter is not to provide a comprehensive reception history of Job and Ecclesiastes. Rather, it is to outline a rhetorical form common to both books (as interpreted in commentary available to Anglo-Saxon readers) and also to the Old English wisdom explored in later chapters. Roughly, this form involves the navigation of a world of difficulty and frustration, sometimes with a particular focus on this frustration as experienced in the realms of human cognition and agency (Ecclesiastes), and sometimes with a broader focus on suffering and pain in general (Job). The form of this navigation is dialogic, with a variety of voices or personae representing a variety of opinions often in conflict; the dialogue form leads these more earthly perspectives toward a higher, heavenly perspective. Where Ecclesiastes and Job differ in their conceptions of this ascent is in the degree to which it is associated with public and visceral drama and struggle; the nature of the Ecclesiastean dialogue is elusive at the best of times, often resisting clear explanation, while the book of Job with its already dramatic context lends itself to the more straightforward association of its dialogue with external and public milieux. Reinforcing this association with external and public milieux is the martial language that medieval readers perceived in Job; this martial language sets it apart from the more ethereal language used to describe the struggles in Ecclesiastes. These differences will become important for later distinctions between kinds of wisdom in Old English poetry. The sources used to demonstrate these interpretations of Job and Ecclesiastes are not comprehensive, nor are they meant to be; outlining the nuances and details of every minor   41"similarity and difference amidst all texts accessible to the Anglo-Saxons would be a dissertation-length project in itself. Rather, I have chosen certain of the texts and themes because they were (arguably) the most influential treatments of these books available to Anglo-Saxons - alternatives certainly exist, but the works covered here are sufficient to speak for traditions of Jobean and Ecclesiastean interpretation in the main.  For Ecclesiastes, this chapter mainly relies on two texts: Gregory's interpretation of Ecclesiastes in his Dialogues, and Jerome's commentary on Ecclesiastes. The former is important because, rather than remaining tangled in the obscurities of the Dialogues, it became a popular gloss included in commentaries on Ecclesiastes,90 and it was translated into Old English with the rest of Gregory's Dialogues by Werferth.91 Jerome's commentary is important as the source Anglo-Saxon readers might have turned to in order to clarify things about Ecclesiastes; not only did Anglo-Saxon readers have access to it, but it even seems to have been available to those one might not expect to possess manuscripts, such as women; according to the ex libris inscription on an Italian manuscript (W?rzburg, Universit?tsbibliothek, M. p. th. q. 2, Lapidge, page 163, #78), this copy belonged to an Abbess named Cuthswith in England around 700 A. D.92 Parts of """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""90 Eric Jon Eliason, ?Vanitas Vanitatum: Piers Plowman, Ecclesiastes, and Contempt of the World? (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1989), 87?8."91 Citations of the Dialogues throughout this chapter are from Gregorius Magnus, Bischofs Waerferths von Worcester ?bersetzung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen ?ber das Leben und die Wunderthaten italienischer V?ter und ?ber die Unsterblichkeit der Seelen, ed. Hans Hecht, trans. Werferth, Bibliothek Der Angels?chsischen Prosa, Begr?ndet Von C. W. M. Grein...5. Bd (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1965). Translations are my own." 92 Michael Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library (Oxford [England]!; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 56n21. See also Michelle P. Brown, ?Female Book-Ownership and Production in Anglo-Saxon England: The Evidence of the Ninth Century Prayer Books,? in Lexis and Texts in Early English: Studies Presented to Jane Roberts, ed. Christian Kay and Louise Sylvester, Costerus new ser. 133 (Amsterdam!; Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 2001), 47?8. Other evidence of knowledge of Jerome's commentary in Anglo-Saxon England includes two manuscripts and some citations by Bede. One of these (Kassel, Gesamthochschulbibliothek, Fol. theol. 21) is of Northumbrian provenance, and was brought to Fulda in the seventh century (Lapidge, page 159, #38); the other (W?rzburg, Universit?stbibliothek, M. p. th. q. 28a) seems to have been produced by Anglo-Saxon scribes on the Continent in the Fulda-W?rzburg region circa 800 A. D., and only contains excerpts of the Ecclesiastes commentary (Lapidge, page 163, #83). Bede also clearly had access to the text, as he cites them in his Commentaries on Luke, James, Proverbs, and the Song of Solomon. Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library, 215."  42"Alcuin's commentary on Ecclesiastes also supplement this chapter's argument, since Alcuin's exegesis offers a case study of an Anglo-Saxon engaging with Ecclesiastes,93 even if there is little evidence of extensive English engagement with this text.94 With regard to Job, Gregory the Great's Moralia was certainly the most influential and accessible text in Anglo-Saxon England; there is enough manuscript evidence that Lapidge can list it as one of the staples of a typical Anglo-Saxon library.95 This evidence, considered alongside Gregory's popularity as the patron of England's salvation,96 suggests that the Moralia were probably not only considered an aid to reading Job, but also more generally a key text on scripture and spirituality for Anglo-Saxon readers. Though I supplement the Moralia with ?lfric's sermon on Job (?Dominica I In Mense Septembri Quando Legitur Iob?), the Moralia on their own are more than sufficient in establishing probable major trends in Anglo-Saxon interpretation of Job. 2.2 Ecclesiastes 2.2.1 Solomon and the Platonic Ascent One of the best means of understanding the ascent toward wisdom discovered in Ecclesiastes is its place in a tripartite reading of the Solomonic books roughly corresponding to """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""93 Though Alcuin?s move from England to France make him a less than typical example of an Anglo-Saxon scholar, his continued communication with others from his homeland in England demonstrates Alcuin?s sustained interest in and therefore influence by and on Anglo-Saxon culture. Cultural context is not only determined by the physical geography in which one lives, but also by those traditions one engages with, and Alcuin?s engagement is sufficient to speak of him as an Anglo-Saxon author. On Alcuin?s ongoing interaction with the English while he was in France, see Chapter 3: Between Two Courts in Donald A. Bullough, Alcuin: Achievement and Reputation, (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 331-431. 94 Lapidge lists three manuscripts produced on the continent and (allegedly) in England before the Norman invasion. However, for two of these (London, British Library, Harley 213; and Salisbury, Cathedral Library 133), the English provenance is unknown (see Lapidge, page 170, #37; and page 173 #74). The English provenance for the third manuscript (Rouen, Biblioth?que municipale, 26) is in the eleventh century (Lapidge, page 172, #71), so that its arrival before the Conquest could be a debatable point. Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library."95 Ibid., 127."96 On Gregory's popularity in Anglo-Saxon England, see Patrizia Lendinara, ?Gregory and Damasus: Two Popes and Anglo-Saxon England,? in Rome and the North: The Early Reception of Gregory the Great in Germanic Europe, ed. Rolf H. Bremmer, Cornelis Dekker, and David F. Johnson, Mediaevalia Groningana New ser., v. 4 (Paris!; Sterling, VA: Peeters, 2001), 137?56."  43"stages in the educational ascent toward wisdom in Platonic tradition. Eric Eliason, whose study is still one of if not the most thorough analysis of this correspondence, nicely summarizes this influential Origenian approach to the Solomonic books: In Origen's view of the process of education, Ecclesiastes holds a mediating position between the most basic religious instruction?good conduct?and the most sublime religious achievements?the mystical contemplation of divine things. Or, in other words, Ecclesiastes pertains to those whose religious instruction is already significantly under way, but who have yet to attain the highest goals of that instruction. It is the next to last stop in the project of learning to love. Jerome, faithful to Origen, expands these ideas in his commentary (250-1) and from this source they pass into the works of Alcuin (668-9), glossa ordinaria (Eccl. 1.1), Hugh of St. Victor (116), and Honorius of Autun(92).97  As Olson notes,98 this Origenian programme amalgamates the Solomonic books with the Platonic ascent to wisdom outlined in the prior chapter, and the position of Ecclesiastes in this tripartite ascent to wisdom is significant in understanding the book's function in an imagination shaped by this Origenian reading - in this case, the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of Ecclesiastes, shaped by Jerome's interpretation of the book and represented in Alcuin's commentary. In this tripartite reading, Ecclesiastes emerges as a middle space between simplicity and perfection, a training ground where one might prepare oneself for the final perfection of contemplation. Given this interpretation, it is hardly surprising that the book came to be associated with asceticism, as seen in the commentaries of Jerome and Alcuin, discussed below.99   """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""97 Eliason, ?Vanitas Vanitatum,? 54?5."98 ?He [Origen] says that the Greeks speak of three disciplines aside from the verbal discipline of logic: ethics, physics, and contemplation (i.e., metaphysics or theology). Of these disciplines, physics corresponds to what Gregory calls natural philosophy, and the mathematical subjects and contemplation correspond to the theology that ascends above the creation to the Logos. Origen locates these ?philosophic? disciplines in the Solomonic books as well as in Greek works. He asserts that ethics is found in Proverbs; physics in Ecclesiastes (which teaches of the cycles, vanities, and uses of natural things); and ?contemplation? in the Canticle of Canticles. The allegorical progress which Origen finds in the three Solomonic books is analogous to that which he says are also to be found in the ?works of the Greeks? (i.e., Plato) by certain Platonists.? Olson, The Journey to Wisdom, 34."99 See section 2.2.3 below."  44"2.2.2 Gregorian "Voice Theory" and Ecclesiastes While Origen's interpretation establishes the place of Ecclesiastes in the broader rhetorical schema of the Solomonic books, Gregory the Great's Dialogues are responsible for an interpretation of the book more relevant to its particulars. This interpretation develops after Peter the Deacon asks Gregory about Ecclesiastes 3:18-20, which verses seem to contradict the doctrine of the resurrection. Gregory replies that, in the book, Solomon, the author, takes on a variety of personae. The perspectives of these personae are stand-ins for real beliefs that people might hold, but they vary in degree of truthfullness. Solomon's purpose in the book, then, is to imitate the kinds of arguments and assertions that the sinners and unlearned might make in order to lead them to the final truth at the end of the book.100 Though only a small portion of the Dialogues, the interpretation in this Gregorian passage was popular throughout the Middle Ages. As Eliason notes: Gregory treats only a minuscule portion of the text of Ecclesiastes, but because he chooses a few of the most provocative cruces in the book and offers a powerful and attractive method for interpreting them, the influence of his work is out of proportion to its brevity. Alcuin (670-1), the glossa ordinaria (Eccl. 1.1), and """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""100 So?lice ?eos boc is haten rihtraciend, ac Salomon, ?a ?a he spr?c be ?ysum wisum in ??re bec, he onfeng ??s hlydendan folces 7gyte 7 w?s mid ?y abysgod, ??t ?a (113a) wisan, ?e he ??r spr?c ?urh his race 7 socne, wen is, ??t ?a ongyte ?us ??t ungel?rede mod 7 ??t gedr?fde, 7 hit w?re ?y swa ungewiss for costnunge 7 gehlyde ??s folces. Hit is gelic ?on swylce he onfengce swa manige hadas to him mislicra manna to gerihtanne, swa manige swa he cwydas onstyrede ?urh his socne. Ac ??t by? se so?sagola raciend 7 dema, se ?e mid his a?enedre handa gestille? ?a geruxl 7 ??t gehlyd eallra manna 7 hi ?onne gespane? 7 gela?a? to anum dome. Eac in ??re ylcan bec Salomones is gecweden: ?gehyre we ealle samod ?one ?nde ?issere spr?ce.? 7 eac hit is gecweden: ?ondr?d ?e God 7 heald his bebodu; ??t by? so?lice ?lc man, se ?us de?? (4.4.5-17). Gregorius Magnus, Bischofs Waerferths von Worcester ?bersetzung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen ?ber das Leben und die Wunderthaten italienischer V?ter und ?ber die Unsterblichkeit der Seelen, 265.   ?This book is rightly called the orderer, for Solomon, when he spoke concerning these things in that book, took up the understanding of these clamoring folk, and was with that busied, so that these mindsets, which he articulates there through his rule and questioning, perhaps these he might test - the mind unlearned and disturbed and, as it were, by that so uncertain on account of temptation and the loudness of the folk. It is therefore like such that he took upon himself so many personae of various men to correct, as many as the speeches he stirred up through his questions. But that is the truthful ruler and judge, who with his extended hand stills the tumult and that clamor of all men and entices and invites them to a single judgement. Also in that same book is the saying of Solomon: ?Let us all together hear the end of this speech.? And also it is said: ?Fear you God and hold his commandment: that is truly each man, who thus does.?"  45"Hugh of St. Cher (f.70v) incorporate this section of Gregory's work into their commentaries in something close to its entirety.101  Following this observation, Eliason goes on to demonstrate its influence on the commentaries of Pseudo-Rupert of Deutz, Nicholas of Lyra, and most significantly, Bonaventure. Though all of these except Alcuin post-date the Anglo-Saxon period, the passage's popularity suggests a prior history wherein the quote did not simply remain accessible only to those who stumbled onto it in the Dialogues, but was circulated among commentators on Ecclesiastes at least as far back as the time of Alcuin. 2.2.3 Frustration and Vanity in Ecclesiastes While Gregory's interpretation frames the book, it does little to connect the individual pieces, so that though one knows the book to be a conversation of multiple personae, one is nonetheless left with the feeling that the matters of the book are disparate and barely connected. Jerome's commentary,102 another resource the Anglo-Saxons had access to, might have confirmed this - often his remarks seem occasional, reflecting piecemeal on the individual verses rather than binding the book together into an overarching theme.103 The phrase Gregory uses to """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""101 Eliason, ?Vanitas Vanitatum,? 87?8." 102 Citations for Jerome refer to Hieronymus Stridonensis. Commentarius in Ecclesiasten, in S. Hieronymi Presbyteri Opera, Pars I, ed Marc Adriaen, Vol. 72, 246-361, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina. (Turnhout: Brepols, 1959). Translations are my own. 103 Hard evidence of this text as a restless text chaotically pushing against any fixed sense of cohesion is difficult to pin down; it is an impression one gets when one reads the commentary and tries to summarize what one read; there are instances that gesture toward the broader organization, but they are often bogged down in paraphrases and elaborations, such as the following commentary on 4:4:   Et uidi ego universum laborem et simul omnem virtutem operis; quia aemulatio uiri a sodali eius; et quidem hoc uanitas et praesumptio spiritus. Conuerti me rursus ad alia, et uidi omnem fortitudinem et gloriam laborantium, et deprehendi bonum alterius esse, alterius malum, dum inuidus aliena felicitate torquetur et patet insidiis gloriosus. Quid enim uanius, quid instar spiritus sic nihili, quam homines non suas flere miserias, uel propria lugere peccata, sed melioribus inuidere? (IV.47-55) Ibid., 284-5.  ?And I saw all labor, and all the virtue of work together ? from rivalry of man against his fellow ? and this indeed was vanity and presumption of spirit. I turned myself again to other things, and I saw all the strength and renown of laborers, and I discovered the good of one to be the evil of another, while the envious one is tormented by the   46"describe the Ecclesiastean dialogue in the Old English in fact confirms such an interpretation - he describes the voices in the book as ??t ungerydelice 7 ??t hlude geflit ??s folces,104 a description that brings to mind the circuitous and often more associative than logical flyting methods embodied in Old English poetry such as Solomon and Saturn II and the flyting match between Beowulf and Unferth. But unruly though it is, if one were to hypothesize a theme of the book for Anglo-Saxon readers, it would be vanity, or frustration. The concept of vanity at this stage in the interpretation history is not as codified as it becomes in later scholastic reception, but it is clear from Jerome that it permeates the world - both Christian and secular/pagan. Jerome offers in various places a number of particular instances of frustration, and though he does not explicitly say that each and every of these is a direct definition of the word ?vanity,? it is implied that the frustration represented offers snapshots of the world of vanity that is the theme of the book. In one instance, vanity thwarts the gaining and maintenance of material possessions.105 In another, it is seen frustrating cognitive understanding of the world.106 Moreover, this vanity is not simply confined """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""happiness of others, and the vainglorious one exposed to traps. For what is more vain, what image of the spirit more worthless, than men not lamenting miseries, or mourning their own sins, but envying betters??  While this is an apt reflection, it does not give a sense of the verse's place in the overall thematic and rhetorical structures of the book, though in doing this it is only reflecting the restlessness of the primary text itself."104 4.4.2 Gregorius Magnus, Bischofs Waerferths von Worcester ?bersetzung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen ?ber das Leben und die Wunderthaten italienischer V?ter und ?ber die Unsterblichkeit der Seelen, 265.?that unruly and loud flyting of the people.?"105 Quid superest homini in omni labore suo, quo laborat sub sole? Post generalem sententiam, quod uana sint omnia, ab hominibus incipit: quod frustra in mundi istius labore desudent, congregantes diuitias, erudientes liberos, ambientes ad honorem, aedificia construentes, et in medio opere subita morte subtracti audiant: Insipiens, hac nocte auferetur anima tua a te: quae autem parasti, cuius erunt? maxime cum ex omni labore nihil secum ferant, sed nudi in terram redeant, unde sumpti sunt. (I.107-15) Ibid., 253.   What profit is there for man in all his labor, in which he labors under the sun? After the general saying, that all is vain, he expounds from human nature: that in vain they toil in the work of this world, gathering riches, teaching children, going after honor, constructing buildings ? and in mid-work, suddenly taken by death, they hear: Fool, this night your soul will be taken from you; whose then will be your contrivances? Just so they bear nothing with them from all their labor, but return naked to the ground, whence they were taken. 106 Omnes sermones graues non poterit uir loqui. Non satiabitur oculus uidendo, et non implebitur auris auditu. Non solum de physicis, sed et de ethicis quoque scire difficile est. Nec sermo ualet explicare causas   47"to the secular sphere; in one instance, Jerome, after extensively describing the toil and weariness that humans endure, goes on to describe its effects on holy persons in the church.107 In yet another instance, the toil of vanity comes to be associated with those who are (according to Jerome) erroneous in their intellect - such as philosophers and heretics.108 The very particular """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""naturasque rerum, nec oculus, ut rei poscit dignitas, intueri, nec auris, instituente doctore, ad summam scientiam peruenire. Si enim nunc per speculum uidemus in aenigmate, et ex parte cognoscimus et ex parte prophetamus, consequenter nec sermo potest explicare quod nescit; nec oculus, in quo caecutit, aspicere; nec auris, de quo dubitat, impleri. Simul et hoc notandum, quod omnia uerba sint grauia et magno labore discantur, contra eos, qui putant otiosis sibi, et uota facientibus uenire notitiam scripturarum. (I.206-18) Ibid., 256.   Man cannot articulate all burdensome speeches. The eye will not be satisfied seeing, nor will the ear be fulfilled by what is heard. To know is difficult, not only concerning physics, but also concerning ethics. Discourse cannot explicate the natural causes of things, nor can the eye contemplate as the worth of the thing demands, nor can the ear, by an instructing teacher, arrive at the sum of knowledge. For if now through a glass we see in riddles, and we know in part and prophesy in part, discourse consequently is not able to explain what it knows not; nor can the eye, in things to which it is blind, perceive; nor can the ear, in things which it doubts, be fulfilled. At the same time this too is to be noted, that all words are burdensome, and learned with great labor, contra those who believe a knowledge of Scripture to come for their idle selves by making prayers. 107 Omnis labor hominis in ore eius et quidem anima non implebitur. Quid enim est amplius sapienti a stulto, quid pauperi, nisi scire, ut uadat contra uitam? Omne quod laborant homines in hoc mundo, ore consumitur et attritum dentibus ventri traditur digerendum. Cumque paululum gulam delectauerit, tamdiu uidetur tribuere uoluptatem, quamdiu gutture continetur. Cum uero in aluum transierit, desinit inter cibos esse distantia. Et post haec omnia, non repletur anima comedentis: siue quod rursum desideret, quod comedit, et tam sapiens quam stultus absque cibo nequeat uiuere, et pauper nihil aliud quaerat, nisi quomodo possit organum sui corpusculi sustentare, nec interire inedia. Suve quod nullam utilitatem anima ex refectione corpusculi capiat et cibus tam sapienti quam stulto communis sit, et illuc uadat pauper, ubi opes esse perspexerit. Melius est autem hoc intelligi de ecclesiastico uiro, qui in scripturis caelestibus eruditus, omnem laborem suum habet in ore suo et anima ejus non impletur, dum semper cupit discere. Et in eo plus habet sapiens, quam insipiens, quia cum pauperem esse se sentiat, pauperem autem illum, qui in euangelio beatus dicitur, properat ad ea comprehendenda, quae uitae sunt, et ambulat arctam et angustam uiam, quae ducit ad uitam, et pauper est a malis operibus et scit ubi Christus qui uita est, commoretur. (VI.45-68) Ibid., 298-9.  All man?s labor is for his mouth, and indeed his soul is not filled. For what more is for the wise one than the fool, what more the poor one, unless to know how he may go toward life? All that men labor at in this world is consumed by the mouth, ground by teeth, and given to be digested in the belly. And when a morsel delights the palate, it seems to give pleasure so long as it is kept in the throat. Indeed, when it has passed through the stomach, the difference between foods ceases to be. And after all this the soul is not replenished by eating.  Or if he might again long for what he has eaten, then even so the wise one as much as the fool cannot live without food, and the pauper seeks nothing else except in what way he can sustain the organ of his puny body, how not to die by starvation. Or if what the soul takes from the refreshment of the body is of no use, and food for the wise as much as the fool is common, and the pauper goes there, where he has seen riches to be. Better is this understood concerning an Ecclesiastical man, who, erudite in the heavenly scriptures, has all his labor in his mouth, and his soul is not filled, while always he desires to know. And in this he has more wisdom than folly: because with the pauper he knows himself to be poor, that poor one moreover who in the gospel is called blessed, and hastens toward those things to be comprehended which are of life, and walks the straight and narrow way, which leads to life, and the pauper is kept from the works of evil, and knows where Christ is, who is life. 108 Labor stultorum affliget eos, qui nesciunt ire in ciuitatem. Cum superioribus etiam hos iunge uersiculos: aut generaliter de omnibus stultis, qui ignorent Deum, aut specialiter de haereticis disputat. Lege Platonem; Aristotelis euolue uersutias, Zenonem et Carneadem diligentius intuere et probabis uerum esse quod dicitur: Labor   48"details of these instances are not, for the purpose of this dissertation, as important as the ubiquity of vanity they convey; around every corner - even if they are Christian corners - one encounters it and deals with it in the best way one can. All these elements together - the book's apparent disorganization, its inclusion of both falsehood and truthfulness via ?voices,? and its exploration of vanity - make for a particularly harrowing reading experience for those seeking to understand the book. The difficulty of facing the issues explored in Ecclesiastes is implicit in Jerome's prefatory note, which presents it as a study in asceticism,109presumably following Origen's interpretation of the book as the purifying """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""stultorum affliget eos. Veritatem illi quidem omni studio quaesierunt; sed quia non habuerunt ducem, et praeuium itineris, et humanis sensibus rati sunt se comprehendere posse sapientiam, ad ciuitatem minime peruenerunt, de qua in psalmo dicitur: Domine, in ciuitate tua imaginem eorum dissipabis. Omnes enim umbras et diuersas imagines atque personas, quas sibi in uariis dogmatibus induerunt, in urbe sua Dominus dissipabit. De qua et alibi scribitur: Fluminis impetus laetificat ciuitatem Dei. Et in euangelio: Non potest abscondi ciuitas super montem posita. Et in Isaia: Ego civitas firma, civitas quae oppugnatur. Siquidem hanc ueritatis et sapientiae ciuitatem, cum firma sit et robusta, omnes et sapientes saeculi et haeretici impugnare conantur. Et quod de philosophis diximus, hoc idem etiam de haereticis sentiendum, quod frustra laborent et affligantur in studio Scripturarum, cum ambulent in deserto, et ciuitatem inuenire non ualeant. De quorum errore et psalmista commemorat, dicens: Errauerunt in deserto et in inaquoso, uiam civitatis et habitationis ejus non inuenerunt. (X.227-251) Ibid., 339-40.   The labor of fools beats them down, who know not how to go to the city. With the above join even these verses: he speaks either generally concerning all fools, who ignore God, or particularly concerning heretics. Read Plato; unravel the cunning of Aristotle, look diligently upon Zeno and Carneades, and you will prove true what is said: The labor of fools beats them down. Indeed with all eagerness they seek truth; but because they have no leader, or prior direction, and they imagine by human sense that they are able to comprehend all wisdom, they arrive not at all at the city, concerning which it is said in a psalm: Lord, in your city you will disperse their image. For all shades and diverse images and persons, who cloak themselves in various philosophies, God will dissipate in His city. Concerning which it is written elsewhere: ?The Strength of a river brings the city of God joy. And in the gospel: A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. And in Isaiah: ?I am a strong city, a city which is attacked.? Since indeed, when it is firm and robust, all the worldly wise and the heretics undertake to attack this city of truth and wisdom; even what we have said concerning philosophers, this same is to be understood concerning heretics, who labor in vain and are beaten down in the study of Scripture, when they walk in the desert, and are not able to find the city. Concerning which error the Psalmist recalls, saying, ?They have wandered in the desert and in dry places, they have not found the way to their city or habitation. 109 Memini me ante hoc ferme quinquennium, cum adhuc Romae essem et Ecclesiasten sanctae Blesillae legerem, ut eam ad contemptum istius saeculi prouocarem, et omne quod in mundo cerneret, putaret esse pro nihilo, rogatum ab ea, ut in morem commentarioli obscura quaeque dissererem, ut absque me posset intelligere, quae legebat. (?Praefatio? 1-6) Ibid., 249.  I remember how, nearly five years before this - when I was then at Rome, and interpreted Ecclesiastes for holy Blessila, so that I might provoke her to contempt of this age, and that she might reckon all she surveyed in this world to be for nothing ? I was asked by her to examine all obscurities by way of a small commentary, so that she might be able to understand what she was reading in my absence.   49"asceticism that prepares one for the mystical experience of the song of Solomon.110 Alcuin111 also suggests in a prefatory poem to his commentary that reading the book unaided is a little like going to sea in stormy weather;112 and while he promises that his aid in navigating the book will produce placid waters in flowering meadows, the actuality of this interpretation is not in fact much less ascetically oriented than Jerome's, as he notes elsewhere in the commentary: In quem librum, ex sanctorum opusculis Patrum, ac maxime de beati Hieronymi commentario, parvum composui Breviarium, vestri causa, filii charissimi, quatenus paterna sollicitudine admonerem vestrum nobile ingenium, ne nimio amore studeatis caducis, et cito transitoriis inhiare divitiis, quae citissime velut volatiles recedunt umbrae, et ut, si quid supersit in eis necessario vitae vestrae stipendio, pauperibus erogare studeatis: quia, ut idem Salomon ait: Redemptio animae viri, propriae divitiae ejus.113 (PL 100:410-11)  As this passage shows, in spite of his talk of flowery meadows and smooth sailing, Alcuin's Ecclesiastes is somewhat like Jerome's: a stern ascetic regime leading one to the heights of heavenly wisdom through the tangled and often frustrating text of Ecclesiastes. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""110 See section 2.2.1 above."111 Citations for Alcuin refer to Alcuinus, Commentaria Super Ecclesiasten, in Migne's Patrologia Latina, volume 100, accessed through the Patrologia Latina database. Translations are my own."112 Flumina qui metuat modica sulcare carina   Grandia, ne mergat turbidus Auster eam:  Iste suo placidas lembo pernaviget undas   Currentes inter florida prata pie.   Sic qui magnorum sensus rimare profundos   Doctorum timeat pectoris ingenio,  Nostra legat felix animo commenta sereno,   De gazis veterum quae tulit unca manus. (PL 100:411)  ?Who fears to plow with modest keel great currents, Lest turbid Auster sink it: May with that his boat sail through placid streams Flowing among flowering meadows piously  Even so, who fears to open up, with the ingenuity of his breast,  the profound observations of the great doctor, May, happy, read our contrivances with serene soul, Concerning the treasures of old which the crooked hand brings.?"113 In which book, from little works of the holy Fathers, and largely from the commentary of blessed Jerome, I have composed a small breviary, because of you, dearest brother, in order that I might admonish with paternal solicitude your noble breast, lest with too much love you study fallen things, and too quickly gape at transitory riches, which most quickly recede like winged shades, and that if any in this goes beyond the necessary stipend of your life, you might study to distribute it to the poor, as that same Solomon says, ?Redemption of the soul of man, redemption of his riches.?"  50"2.2.4 The Heavenward End of Ecclesiastes The final element in the rhetorical flow of Ecclesiastes is the stilling of the tumultuous voices by a turn to God and heaven at the conclusion. Gregory describes this final turn as the stilling of the tumult when Ecclesiastes finally produces the truth of God's judgement as the measuring rod by which all conversations in the book must be judged:  Ac ??t by? se so?sagola raciend 7 dema, se ?e mid his a?enedre handa gestille? ?a geruxl 7 ??t gehlyd eallra manna 7 hi ?onne gespane? 7 gela?a? to anum dome. Eac in ??re ylcan bec Salomones is gecweden: ?gehyre we ealle samod ?one ?nde ?issere spr?ce.? 7 eac hit is gecweden: ?ondr?d ?e God 7 heald his bebodu; ??t by? so?lice ?lc man, se ?us de?.?114 (4.4.12-17)  Alcuin's introductory poem to his abbreviated commentary of Jerome similarly points to a God-ward, particularly Christward, end for the reader of Ecclesiastes: Vos vivete (sic ms.) Deo semper, nam vivere mors est   Huic mundo; vera est vivere vita Deo.  Vos, rogo, conservet felices gratia Christi,   O dulces nati, sancta salutis ope.115 (PL 100:411)  Along similar lines, the Origenian approach iterated above, interpreting Song of Solomon as a mystical conclusion to the ascetic Ecclesiastes, also points to the God-ward and heavenward orientation of the wisdom ascent in Ecclesiastes. This is the point where the ascetic toil pays off and those practising ascesis are rewarded by the mystical experience of intimacy with God.   """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""114 Gregorius Magnus, Bischofs Waerferths von Worcester ?bersetzung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen ?ber das Leben und die Wunderthaten italienischer V?ter und ?ber die Unsterblichkeit der Seelen, 265. But that is the truthful ruler and judge, who with his extended hand stills the tumult and that clamor of all men and entices and invites them to a single judgement. Also in that same book is the saying of Solomon: ?Let us all together hear the end of this speech.? And also it is said: ?Fear you God and hold his commandment: that is truly each man, who thus does.?"115 ?Live you all always for God, for to live is death to this world; True life is to live for God. May you, I ask, remain blessed by Christ's grace, Oh, sweet ones born, ordained by work of salvation.?"  51"2.3 Job 2.3.1 Apparent Contradictions and  Circuitous Hermeneutics in Job As shown in the above discussion of Ecclesiastes, Gregory the Great's ?voice theory? became instrumental in later interpretations of the book; arguably, though, this ?voice theory? was in fact for Anglo-Saxon readers not only a rhetorical outline for Ecclesiastes, but also a rhetorical model for interpreting Job. The key text for discovering the rhetorical parallel between Job and Ecclesiastes is Gregory's interpretation of Job's imprecation against the day of his birth, a passage that is in many ways a case study and model for Gregory's treatment of other thorny passages in the text. Job is righteous, as God declares at the end of the book, and Gregory is well aware of this; but on the other hand, it is apparently self-evident to Gregory that no righteous person could utter the words that Job utters cursing his creation and literally mean them; the literal meaning for Gregory is both incoherent and sinful. This creates a problem for Gregory; of the content of verse 7:15, he queries:116 Qui rursum pressus percussionibus dicit: Elegit suspendium anima mea et mortem ossa mea. Et quis rectum sapiens credat uirum tanti praeconii, quem uidelicet constat ab interno iudice praemia pro patientiae uirtute recipere, decreuisse inter uerbera suspendio uitam finire? (?Ad Leandrum,? 126-30)117  """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""116 All citations from Gregory's Moralia are from Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, ed. Marc Adriaen, vol. 143?143B, 3 vols., Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (Turnhout: Brepols, 1985). References are listed by section and line number following the quotation, and by page number in the bibliographic reference note. All translations are cited by section number with the volume and page numbers following the colon, in that order; translations are from Gregory the Great The Book of the Morals of St. Gregory the Pope, or an Exposition on the Book of Blessed Job. 3 vols., A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church (London; Oxford: J. G. F.and J. Rivington and John Henry Parker, 1844-50)."117 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 4?5. ?Again, under the pressure of calamities he exclaims, So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than life. Now who that is in his right senses could believe that a man of so high praise, who in a word, we know, received from the Judge of that which is within the reward of the virtue of patience, settled amidst his afflictions to finish his life by strangling?? (?The Epistle,? 3:1.7-8)   52"The way Gregory solves the problem of such a verse is by proposing that, where the historical sense of the passage contradicts other things one knows to be true through Scripture and tradition, one then turns to other senses of Scripture as well as a more circuitous hermeneutic to decipher the passage which ?cannot? mean what it seems to mean at face value. As he notes: Sed nimirum uerba litterae, dum collata sibi conuenire nequeunt, aliud in se aliquid quod quaeratur ostendunt, ac si quibusdam uocibus dicant: dum nostra nos conspicitis superficie destrui, hoc in nobis quaerite, quod ordinatum sibique congruens apud nos ualeat intus inueniri (?Ad Leandrum,? 157-62)118  This method of resolving apparent contradictions is one that Gregory uses throughout and applies rather liberally to navigate his way through cruces in the text. For instance, there is the problem of Paul's use of a wisdom saying of Eliphaz; on the one hand, Paul's unironic use of this saying suggests its truth,119 but this is hard to reconcile with its original placement in the mouth of Eliphaz,120 which would seem to undercut its worth within the broader narrative of Job. Gregory solves this by suggesting the error implied by the placement of this phrase in Eliphaz's mouth is not an error of content, but rather a category mistake - this saying would apply to some people (such as those to whom Paul is speaking), but Eliphaz has mistakenly applied it to Job, a righteous man, and not the kind of worldly ?wise? person indicated in the saying.121 Similarly, """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""118 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 5. ?Yet doubtless whereas the literal words when set against each other cannot be made to agree, they point out some other meaning in themselves which we are to seek for, as if with a kind of utterance they said, Whereas ye see our superficial form to be destructive to us, look for what may be found within us that is in place and consistent with itself.? (?The Epistle,? 3:1.8-9)"119 1 Corinthians 3:19."120 Job 5:13."121 Mira autem sunt multa quae dicunt, nisi in sancti uiri aduersitate dicerentur. In semetipsis igiture magna sunt, sed quia iustum uirum transfigere appetunt, eiusdem magnitudinis pondus perdunt. Quia et quamlibet forte, frustra iaculum mittitur ut dura saxa feriantur; eo namque obtusum longius dissilit quo intortum fortiter uenit. Igitur amicorum dicta licet in quibusdam ualde sint fortia cum tamen sancti uiri fortem uitam feriunt, cunctum sui acuminis mucronem retundunt. Quia ergo et in semetipsis magna sunt sed contra beatum Iob nullo modo assumi debuerunt; et Paulus haec ex uirtute pensans in auctoritate proferat; et iudex quia incaute prolata sunt ex personae qualitate reprhendat. (5.11.250-61). Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 236?7.   ?And many things that they say are admirable, were they not spoken against the afflicted condition of the holy man. So that in themselves they are great, but because they aim to pierce that righteous person, that greatness loses its weight, for with whatever degree of strength, it is in vain that the javelin is sent to strike the hard stones, since it glances off the further with blunted point, the more it comes hurled with strength. Therefore, though the sayings of Job's friends be very forcible in some points, yet, since they strike the Saint's well-fenced life, they turn back all the   53"Job is seen both to repent and to be proclaimed righteous by God; Gregory explains this by saying that no one is so righteous that he need not repent before God, and this is why Job repents generally, but in comparison to his friends, Job does possess a greater degree of righteousness.122 Though these examples are ones that appear starkly as apparent contradictions in the literal text, Gregory does not reserve this method of interpretation only for such instances; indeed, the interpreter is responsible not only for harmonizing apparent contradictions, but for bringing out the most edifying meaning of the text: Sic nimirum, sic diuini uerbi esse tractator debet, ut, cum de qualibet re disserit, si fortasse iuxta positam occasionem congruae aedificationis inuenerit, quasi ad uicinam uallem linguae undas intorqueat et, cum subiunctae instructionis campum sufficienter infuderit, ad sermonis propositi alueum recurrat. (?Ad Leandrum,? 100-105)123   Presumably, such a curatorial imperative meant that the Anglo-Saxon reader interpreting Job alongside Gregory was not only responsible for deciphering the riddling tangle of text that is the primary matter of Job - he was also responsible for harmonizing, contextualizing, and """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""point of their sharpness. And therefore because they are both great in themselves, and yet ought never to have been taken up against blessed Job, on the one hand let Paul, weighing them by their intrinsic excellence, deliver them as authoritative, and on the other let the Judge, forasmuch as they were delivered without caution, censure them in respect of the quality of the individual.? (5.xi.27:1.261-2)"122 Quomodo enim superius beatus Iob reprehenditur, si in comparatione eius rectitudinis amici illius nequaquam coram Domino rectum locuti memorantur? An adhuc illa de eo sententia confirmatur, qua antiquo hosti dicitur: Vidisti seruum meum Iob, quod non sit ei similis super terram. Sed quid est hoc, quod et laudatur hosti et in seipso reprehenditur; in se autem ipso reprehenditur et tamen amicis loquentibus antefertur, nisi quod sanctus uir cunctos meritorum suorum uirtute transcendit, sed eo ipso quo homo fuit, ante Dei oculos esse sine reprehensione non potuit? In sancto quippe homine in hac interim uita comorante, diuini examinis regula habet adhuc quod iudicet, quamuis iam ex comparatione ceterorum hominum heabeat quod laudet. (35.7.12-24) Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 1779.   ?For how is it that blessed Job is blamed above, if, in comparison with his uprightness, his friends are said not to have spoken that which is right before the Lord? Is not this decision concerning him still further confirmed, in which it is said to the ancient enemy, Hast thou seen My servant Job, that there is none like him upon the earth? [Job 1:8] But what is this, that he is praised to the enemy, and reproved in his own person; reproved in his own person, and yet preferred to the friends who spake to him? Unless it be that the holy man surpassed all men by the virtue of his merits, and yet, inasmuch as he was man, could not possibly be without blame before the eyes of God. For in a holy man sojourning in this temporary state, the rule of the Divine judgment has still something to judge, though in comparison with the rest of men it has even now something to praise.? (35.vii.9:3.667)"123 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 4.  ?Thus unquestionably, thus should it be with everyone that treats of the Divine Word, that if, in discussing any subject, he chance to find at hand any occasion of seasonable edification, he should, as it were, force the streams of discourse towards the adjacent valley, and, when he has poured forth enough upon its level of instruction, fall back into the channel of discourse which he had proposed to himself? (?The Epistle,? 2:1.6-7).   54"complicating the voices in the texts such that they fit in details and doctrine not only with the rest of the book, but with the rest of Christianity; this is evident in ?lfric's articulation of his purpose in his sermon on Job, probably influenced by Gregorian reflection on the book:  Mine gebro?ra. We r?da? nu ?t godes ?enungum be ?an eadigan were Iob. Nu wille we eow hw?t lytles be him gereccan. For ?an seo deopnys ??re race / oferstih? ure andgit. And eac swi?or ??ra ungel?redra; Man sceal l?wedum mannum secgan be heora andgites m??e. Swa ??t hi ne beon ?urh ?a deopnesse ?mode. Ne ?urh ?a langsumnysse gea?rytte (1-6).124   ?lfric here articulates Gregory's understanding of the role of the reader of Job, which resembles that of the Ecclesiastean curator, dealing with the unruliness (or deepness) of the text's voices via the measuring rod of faith for the edification of the faithful. 2.3.2 Ecclesiastean Rhetoric in the book of Job Indeed, such a parallel is not inexact, for at the very point where Gregory introduces this method - the point where Job curses his day of birth - he cites the Solomonic voice theory as an analogue to the riddling workings of the book of Job.  Qui textum considerat et sensum sacrae locutionis ignorat, non tam se eruditione instruit quam ambiguitate confundit quia nonumquam sibi litterae uerba contradicunt; sed dum, a semetipsis per contrarietatem dissidunt, lectorem ad intellegentiam ueritatis mittunt. Quid est enim quod Salomon ait: Melius est comedere et bibere; et non longe post subicit: Melius est ire ad domum luctus quam ad domum conuiuii? Cur luctum conuiuio praetulit qui prius esum potumque laudauit? Si enim per electionem bonum est comedere et bibere, procul dubio esse melius debet ad domum gaudii, quam ad domum lamenti properare. Hinc est quod iterum dicit: Laetare, iuuenis, in adolescentia tua. Et paulo post subicit: Adolescentia enim et uoluptas uana sunt. Quid est hoc quod uel prius reprehendenda praecipit, uel post praecepta reprehendit, nisi quod ipsis litterae uerbis innuit ut qui difficultatem exterius patitur, ueritatis intellegentiam consideret, quam sequatur? Quae nimirum ueritatis intellegentia cum per cordis humilitatem quaeritur, legendi assiduitate penetratur. Sicut enim ignotorum hominum facies cernimus et corda nescimus, sed si familiari eis locutione coniungimur, usu colloquii eorum etiam cogitationes indagamus. Ita cum in sacro eloquio sola historia aspicitur, nihil aliud quam facies uidetur; sed si huic assiduo usu coniungimur, eius nimirum mentem quasi ex collocutionis familiaritate penetramus. Dum enim alia ex aliis colligimus, facile in eius uerbis agnoscimus, aliud esse quod intimant, aliud quod sonant. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""124 Aelfric, ?Dominica I in Mense Septembri Quando Legitur Job,? in Aelfric?s Catholic Homilies: The Second Series: Text, ed. Malcolm Godden, SS (Early English Text Society) no. 5 (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by Oxford University Press, 1979), 260. Translation mine.  ?My brothers, we read now at God's church service concering the blessed man Job. Now will we expound for you a little concerning him because the deepness of the exposition overreaches our understanding, and also more powerfully that of the unlearned; A man must speak to laymen according to the measure of their understanding, so that they will not be dismayed by the deepness, nor overwhelmed by the length.?"  55"Tanto autem quisque notitiae illius extraneus redditur quanto in sola eius superficie ligatur. (Book 4, ?Praefatio,? 1-28)125  Though this observation, cited just before Gregory's engagement with Job's birthday curse, does not go so far as to posit explicitly personae, voices, or a Solomon to sum things up at the end, it is grounded in the same problem of Ecclesiastes that Gregory notes in the Dialogues, and suggests that Job works in a way very similar to Ecclesiastes. Just as one must read through the entirety of Ecclesiastes to get past its apparently nihilistic and hedonistic surface to the truth, so one, encountering the ?surface? of the scriptural narrative of Job, must press past these ?surface? voices to get at the heart of the broader truth maintained by the rest of the book, Scripture, and Christian tradition. 2.3.3 Voices in Job Once one realizes the analogue, it is fairly simple to chart out the way the Gregorian Job accords with, complements, and clarifies the Ecclesiastean ascent. Not only are the voices of debate demarcated much more clearly than those in Ecclesiastes due to the Jobean dialogues' more dramatic narrative context, but Gregory hears in this narrative a polyphony of voices that """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""125 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 158. ?He who looks to the text and does not acquaint himself with the sense of the holy Word, is not so much furnishing himself with instruction as bewildering himself in uncertainty, in that the literal words sometimes contradict themselves; but whilst by their oppositeness they stand at variance with themselves, they direct the reader to a truth that is to be understood. Thus, how is it that Solomon says, There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink; [Ecc. 2:24] and adds not long after, It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting? [Ecc. 7:2] Wherefore did he prefer mourning to feasting, who had before commended eating and drinking? For if by preference it be good ?to eat and drink,' undoubtedly it should be a much better thing to hasten to the house of mirth than to the house of mourning. Hence it is that he says again, Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; [Ecc. 11:9] yet adds a little after, for youth and pleasure are vanity. [Ecc. 11:10] What does this mean, that he should either first enjoin practices that are reprehensible, or afterwards reprehend practices that he has enjoined, but that by the literal words themselves he implies that he, who finds difficulty in the outward form, should consider the truth to be understood, which same import of truth, while it is sought with humility of heart, is penetrated by continuance in reading. For as we see the face of strange persons, and know nothing of their hearts, but if we are joined to them in familiar communication, by frequency of conversation we even trace their very thoughts; so when in Holy Writ the historical narration alone is regarded, nothing more than the face is seen. But if we unite ourselves to it with frequent assiduity, then indeed we penetrate its meaning, as if by the effect of a familiar intercourse. For whilst we gather various truths from various parts, we easily see in the words thereof that what they import is one thing, what they sound like is another. But everyone proves a stranger to the knowledge of it, in proportion as he is tied down to its mere outside? (Book 4, ?The Preface?:1.177-8).   56"are presumably the basis for his understanding of the multiple senses. Explaining how the book of Job might have been written by Job himself in spite of the third person references to the character ?Job,? Gregory elaborates the way that Scripture speaks in voices and ways other than those one might expect from a straightforward, ?natural? text: Hinc David ait: Attendite populo meus legem meam inclinate aurem uestram in uerba oris mei. Non enim lex Dauid, aut populus Dauid, sed personam eius, ex quo loquebatur, assumens, ipsius auctoritate loquitur, cuius inspiratione replebatur. Hoc cotidie fieri in Ecclesia cernimus, si uigilanter inuemur. Nam stans in medio populi lector clamat: Ego sum Deus Abraham, Deus Isaac et Deus Iacob. Et quod ipse Deus sit, uere profecto non dicit nec tamen per hoc quod dicit, ueritatis regulam deserit, quia cui ministerium lectione exhibet, eius dominium uoce praetendit. Itaque scriptores sacri eloquii, quia repleti sancto Spiritu super se trahuntur, quasi extra semetipsos fiunt et sic de se sententias, quasi de aliis proferunt. Vnde et beatus Iob sancto Spiritu afflatus, potuit sua gesta, quae erant uidelicet supernae aspirationes dona, quasi non sua scribere, quia eo alterius erant qua loquebatur quo homo loquebatur quae Dei sunt. Et eo alter quae erant illius loquebatur, quo Spiritus sanctus loquebatur quae hominis sunt. (?Praefatio,? 1.56-73)126  This passage describes the exact converse of the way Ecclesiastes takes up personae; whereas Ecclesiastes takes on the persona of error to lead it to a higher truth, the author of Job, it would seem, can take up in his own humble voice the voices of God and the Holy Spirit. Ann Astell offers a useful description of this ?mental movement from the slippery body of the literal text to its abiding spiritual meaning?: ?Through a polysemous discourse Job thus combines in his person both the instructed and the instructor, the patient and the physician, the Boethius who weeps and the Philosophia who consoles.?127 Such polysemic voicing in Job raises questions about who is speaking when, and how one ought to interpret the speaker; in doing this, the Job of """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""126 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 10. ?Hence David exclaims, Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. For it was neither David's law, nor David's people, but he, assuming the character of Him from whom He spoke, speaks with His authority with Whose inspiration he was filled. This we perceive to be daily practised in the Church, if we regard the thing attentively; for the reader standing in the midst of the people exclaims, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. [Exod. 3:61] Yet that he is himself God, he says not certainly with truth, nor yet by saying what he does is the line of truth deviated from; for by his voice he first proclaims the sovereignty of Him, Whose minister he is in the office of reading. Therefore the writers of Holy Writ, because when full of the Holy Spirit they are lifted above their own nature, are as it were put out of themselves, and in this manner they deliver sentiments about themselves, as though about other persons. In this way Blessed Job also, being under the influence of the Holy Spirit, might have written his own acts, which were, for that matter, gifts of inspiration from above, as though they were not his own; for in so far as it was a human being, who spoke things which were of God, all that he spake belonged to Another, and in so far as the Holy Spirit spake of what is proper to a human being, it was Another that gave utterance to the things that belonged to him.? (?The Preface,? i.3:1.16). 127 Ann W. Astell, Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), 91."  57"Gregory's Moralia is much like Ecclesiastes with its multiplicity of voices that must be navigated. Particularly worth noting is the distinction between these voices? inherent value as wisdom and the moral status of the attitude with which they are presented. This is particularly clear in Gregory?s treatment of Elihu?s words to Job just prior to the conclusion of the book. According to Gregory, Elihu, in contrast to the other ?heretical? comforters, is in fact an orthodox believer and does speak truth. However, his delivery is less than desirable, for he delivers his speech with an attitude of pride; he represents those in the church who may be doctrinally correct but do not practice this correctness with humility.128 This allows Gregory to make a distinction between the content of wisdom discourses and the manner in which this content is delivered: Omne enim quod dicitur quadripertita potest qualitate distingui; se aut mala male, aut bona bene, aut mala bene, aut bona male dicantur (23.1.141-3).129 Such a """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""128 Post hos quoque Eliu iunior in beati Iob exprobratione subiungitur, ex cuius persona uidelicet species quorumdam doctorum fidelium sed tamen arrogantium designatur. Cuis uerba non facile intellegimus, nisi ea ex susequenti dominica correptione pensemus. Ait namque de illo Dominus: Quis est iste iuoluens sententias sermonibus imperitis? Cum uero dicit sententias, sed non addit protinus quales, uult procul dubio bonas intellegi. Nam cum sententiae nominantur, nisi etiam malae dicantur, male sentiri non possunt. In bono enim semper sententias accipimus quae sine reprobationis adiectione ponuntur, sicut scriptum est: Sapientior sibi uidetur piger, septem uiris loquentibus sententias. Quod uero dicitur, quia eius sententiae imperitis sermonibus inuoluuntur, hoc summopere ostenditur, quia ab eo cum elationis fatuitate proferuntur. Magna quippe in eo imperitia est, humiliter dicere rescire quod dicit, et ueritatis sensibus elationis uerba miscere. (23.1.125-40) Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 1146.  ?After these also, Eliu, a younger person, is joined to them in their reproaches of blessed Job. In his person is represented a class of teachers, who are faithful, but yet arrogant. Nor do we easily understand his words, unless we consider them by the help of the subsequent reproof of the Lord. Who is he that involves sentences in unskilful words? [Job 38:2] For when He uses the word ?sentences,? but does not immediately subjoin of what nature they are, He intends the word without doubt to be understood favourably. For when ?sentences? are spoken of, unless they are said to be bad, they cannot be understood in a bad sense. For we always take the word in a good sense, if no unfavourable addition is made; as it is written, A slothful man seems wiser in his own opinion than seven men uttering sentences. [Prov. 26:16] But by its being said that his sentences are involved in unskilful language, it is plainly shewn that they were uttered by him with the folly of pride. For it is a great unskilfulness in him, to be unable to express himself with humility in what he says, and to blend with sentiments of truth the words of pride.? (23.i.4:3.5) 129 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 1146. ?For the nature of every thing that is said can be distinguished by four different qualities. If, for instance, either bad things are said badly, good things well, bad things well, or good things badly.? (23.i.5:3.5)   58"distinction - between the validity of wisdom content on one hand and the attitude of approach to that content on the other - will become important in understanding the Old English wisdom literature, particularly in cases such as the Solomon and Saturn poems in which the most important aspect is not so much the precision of the data presented by each character as it is the purposes and intents behind their respective quests for wisdom. 2.3.4 Frustration in Job As shown in the earlier part of this chapter, the ascent to wisdom in Ecclesiastes involves struggling through the vanity of earthly life. Though Job's scope is broader than mere vanity of the sort encountered in Ecclesiastes, the book nonetheless contains a similar component of frustration that one must fight through in the ascent to wisdom. However, this frustration is multifaceted and more difficult to sum up in a single word than the Ecclesiastean vanity. In some instances, it looks very much like the vanity of Ecclesiastes, with an emphasis on the cognitive frustration that one encounters in trying to understand the world.130 However, Jobean frustration """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""130 Consider, for instance, Gregory's paraphrase of Elihu's words, which interprets the complexity of creation as a humility inducing riddle in much the same way as Ecclesiastean vanity:   Ac si diceret: Ex ipsis creaturis intellege quas altiores te esse corporaliter uides, quantum a diuinae potentiae sublimitate disuingeris; atque ex hac tua consideratione collige quia Deum nec bene uiuendo adiuues, nec rursum malis actionibus graues. (26.12.70-74) Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 1279.  Understand from the very creatures, which thou seest by thy bodily senses, to be higher than thyself, how far thou art removed from the loftiness of the Divine Power, and conclude, from this thy consideration, that thou canst neither benefit God by thy good living, nor, again, injure Him by thy evil deeds. (26.xii.18:3.145-6)   Along similar lines, Gregory elsewhere suggests the complexity of the created world as a mirror of the complexity one ought to expect when encountering God and his wisdom:  Quid mirum si aeterna Dei sapientia conspici non ualet, quando ipsa quoque inuisibilia quae per eam sunt condita humanis oculis comprehendi non possunt? In rebus ergo creatis discimus creatorem omnium quanta humilitate ueneremur, ut in hac uita usurpare sibi de omnipotentis Dei specie mens humana nil audeat, quod solum electis suis praemium in subsequenti remuneratione seruat. (19.1.1-7) Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 956.    59"goes well beyond this. Kevin Hester has described this frustration as ?pain,? and has done a thorough job explicating its varieties, including external bodily pain and inner pain (pain of the mind or soul);131 he has also examined a variety of purposes that Gregory assigns to this pain,132 the most important of which (for the purposes of this dissertation) is its pedagogical function.133 """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""What wonder is it if the Eternal ?Wisdom' of God is not able to be seen, when the very invisible things themselves as well, which were created thereby, cannot be embraced by the eyes of men? So then by things created we learn with what self-abasement to revere the Creator of all things; so that in this life the human mind should not dare to usurp to itself aught belonging to the Appearance of Almighty God, which He reserves for His Elect only as their reward in the ensuing Recompensing. (19.1:2.394)  A third instance of such ?vanity? in Job includes Paul's discussion of the creation as vanity, and the righteous person's struggles with changeableness and the instability of life:   Cunctis diebus quibus nunc milito, exspecto donec ueniat immutatio mea. Qui itaque immutationem suam tanto desiderio exspectat, quam sit de resurrectione certus insinuat, et cursum uitae praesentis quantum despiciat innotescit, qui hunc militiam appellat. Per militiam quippe semper ad finem tenditur et cotidie conclusionis terminus exspectatur. Cursum itaque uitae huius despicit et statum soliditatis requirit, qui per hoc quod mutabiliter militat, ad immutationem suam peruenire festinat. Iusto quippe in hac uita ipsa sarcina suae corruptionis onerosa est. Quod uigiliae defatigant, somnus quaeritur ut uigiliarum labor atque anxietas temperetur. Sed nonnumquam etiam somnus occididt. Fames corpus atterit atque, ut eius necessitas repellatur, cibi requiruntur. Sed saepe et cibi grauant qui ad repellendum debilitatis grauamen quaesiti fuerant. Grauis itaque est sarcina corruptionis, quae nisi ita grauis esset, Paulus nequaquam diceret: Vanitati creatura subiecta est, non uolens, sed propter eum qui subiecit in spe, quia et ipsa creatura liberabitur a seruitute corruptionis, in libertatem gloriae filiorum Dei. Scimus enim quod omnis creatura congemiscit et parturit usque adhuc. Sanctus ergo uir incorruptionis statum desiderans, dicat: Cunctis diebus quibus nunc milito, exspecto donec ueniat immutatio mea.(12.13.1-23) Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 638?9.  He that waits for his change with such ardent longing, shews how great his certainty was of the Resurrection, and he makes it appear how greatly he looks down upon the course of the present life, who designates it a ?service militant.' For in the militant state there is the going on continually to an end, day by day the finishing of the conclusion is expected. Thus he despises the course of this life, and looks for the settling of fixedness, who hereby, that he is serving subject to changeableness, is in haste to attain to his change. For to the just man in this life the very load of his corruption is burthensome. Because watchings exhaust with weariness, sleep is sought, that the labour and harassing effect of watchings may be moderated: but sometimes even sleep kills. Hunger wastes the body, and that its craving may be banished, victuals are sought after: but frequently even the very victuals oppress, which had been sought in order to banish the oppression of debility. And so the load of corruption is a heavy burthen, which except it were so heavy, Paul would never have said, For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him Who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [Rom. 8:20-22] So let the holy man, longing for the state of incorruption, say, All the days that I now serve militant will I wait till my change come. (12.xiii.17:2.56)"131 Kevin L. Hester, Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great: The Christological Synthesis of Gregory?s Morals on the Book of Job (Bletchley, Milton Keynes!; Waynsboro, GA: Paternoster, 2007), 66?71."132 Ibid., 71?6."133 Ibid., 82?6."  60"Carole Straw has looked at it under the loose term ?imperfection,?134 and shows how secular responsibilities and the trials of dealing with affairs of the world are frustrations that one can convert into a form of asceticism. Translation of such frustration into the wisdom ascent is at the very heart of Gregory's Moralia; as Gregory himself notes, even his own suffering is translated into a hermeneutic for understanding the book of Job.135 Though it is hard to pin down an exact term to cover these frustrations, ranging as they do from pain through mental angst through encounters with a sinful world, they occupy the place that vanity occupies in Ecclesiastes - the thwarting thing experienced in earthly existence that is at once an impediment and an instrument for teaching one wisdom. 2.3.5 The Heavenward Orientation of the Wisdom Struggle As in Ecclesiastes, this agon of ideas and voices in Job works its way upward toward God. Christ is the end of Job's struggles, a goal articulated not only in Gregory's interpretation of Job as a prophet looking toward Christ's incarnation and the bodily resurrection,136 but also in """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""134 Carole Ellen Straw, Gregory the Great: Perfection in Imperfection, Transformation of the Classical Heritage 14 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988)."135 Multa quippe annorum iam curricula deuoluuntur, quod crebris uiscerum doloribus crucior, horis momentisque omnibus fracta stomachi urirtute lassesco, lentis quidem, sed tamen continuis febribus anhelo. Interque haec dum sollicitus penso, quia scriptura teste: Omnis filius , qui a Deo recipitur, flagellatur, quo malis praesentibus durius deprimor, eo de aeterna certius praesumptione respiro. Et fortasse hoc diuinae prouidentiae consilium fuit, ut percussum Iob percussus exponerem, et flagellati mentem melius per flagella sentirem. (?Ad Leandrum,? 189-97) Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 6.   ?For many a year's circuit has gone by since I have been afflicted with frequent pains in the bowels, and the powers of my stomach being broken down, makes me at all times and seasons weakly; and under the influence of fevers, slow, but in constant succession, I draw my breath with difficulty; and when in the midst of these sufferings I ponder with earnest heed, that according to the testimony of Scripture, He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth; [Heb. 12:6] the more I am weighed down by the severity of present afflictions, from my anticipations for eternity, I gather strength to breathe with so much the better assurance. And perchance it was this that Divine Providence designed, that I a stricken one, should set forth Job stricken, and that by these scourges I should the more perfectly enter into the feelings of one that was scourged.? (?The Epistle,? 5:1.10)"136 See Gregory's Moralia on Job 19:25-29 (14.54-9). Gregory takes these verses not only as a prophecy of Christ's incarnation, but also as an important piece of Biblical proof for the resurrection of the body; expounding on the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, he goes on at length about an argument he had with Eutychius on the matter, wherein the latter allegedly came to share Gregory's view before he died. Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 739?48."  61"Aelfric's identical emphasis on the resurrection-oriented verses 19:25-29 in his greatly abbreviated sermonic pr?cis of Gregory's commentary:  Eft he cw??; Ic wat so?lice. ??t min alysend leofa?. And ic on ?am endenextan d?ge of eor?an arise. And ic beo eft mid minum felle befangen. And ic on minum fl?sce god geseo. Ic sylf and na o?er; ?es hiht is. On minum bosme geled (171-5).137  In addition to this prophetic focus on Christ and his resurrection, the heavenward orientation of the book of Job is evident in the end toward which the book works; just as Ecclesiastes brings the crowd to silence in the face of God's judgement, so, as Gregory specifies, God's judgement brings Job to silence after he has sifted through his multitude of challenging thoughts.138 Finally, the heavenward ascent of the Jobean wisdom struggle is clear in the cycles of practical mysticism that occur throughout the text; the oscillations between an enviable contemplative stance and the cares and temptations of the world are part of a slow purgatorial process whereby one is (eventually) brought into heavenly perfection.139 Just as Job shares similarities with Ecclesiastes in its depiction of struggle against frustration, so the Godward end of these struggles is the same. 2.3.6 Job and the Language of the Battlefield What the Gregorian Job adds, however, is a direct articulation of what is only implicit in the Latin tradition of Ecclesiastes: the martial patience required in what one might call the ?time between times? - the space of experience in which one finds oneself amidst the slings and arrows """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""137 Aelfric, ?Dominica I in Mense Septembri Quando Legitur Job,? 265. ?Again he said; I know truly that my saviour lives, and I will again at my last day from earth arise, and I will again be clothed with my skin, and I in my flesh will see God, I myself and no other; this is promised, brought forth in my bosom.? 138 See the quotation in Appendix A of this dissertation, which chronicles the silencing of Job in his encounter with God the judge."139 This more gradual process of cycles moving generally upward rather than in straight linear ascent reflects Gregory's own historical situation, in which he was not allowed to leap straight to the contemplative life, but oscillated between this and his papal duties to the Church and the world. For further explication of these upward moving cycles, see R. A. Markus, Gregory the Great and His World (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 23?4."  62"of life before one has reached the divinely appointed end of this struggle. This, for Gregory, is a recurring space in human experience, and one which cannot be wholly gotten rid of this side of heaven, so that the bearing of the Christian in medias res becomes one of the most important if not the most important aspect of Gregory's Jobean mysticism. With regard to the element of patience in this mysticism, it is of the utmost importance to clear up any confusion associated with the more popular modern association of patience and limp passivity, for Gregory's Moralia presents a fighting Jobean patience, perhaps more like what modern speakers might mean by fortitude or endurance. This is manifest when Gregory in the same breath discusses the patience of Job and his assaults on the devil: Quot enim uoces patientiae in laude Dei percussus reddidit, quasi tot in aduersarii pectore iacula intorsit et acriora ualde quam sustinuit infixit. Afflictus enim terrena perdidit, sed afflictionem humiliter sustinens caelestia multiplicauit. (2.18.40-45)140   In this passage, one encounters instances that are paradoxically both words of patience and darts thrown at the devil, and Gregory gets a lot of mileage out of such images - the patient Job - perhaps better described as the fortitudinous Job - is often cast as a warrior engaging enemies on a battlefield. Gregory in one instance notes that Ex bellis?exterioribus discimus quid de interioribus sentiamus (?Praefatio,? 4.19-20),141 and he relies often on this parallel; at one point, he conceives of Job's mind as a city under siege, defending itself against the various guises of its Satanic attackers: Ecce ad feriendum inuictissimum robur inimicus saeuiens, quot tentationum iacula inuenit; ecce quot obsidionum machinamenta circumposuit; ecce quot percussionum tela transmisit; sed in his omnibus mansit mens imperterrita, stetit cuitas inconcussa. (?Praefatio,? 4.38-42)142  """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""140 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 80. ?For whatever words of patience he gave forth to the praise of God, when he was stricken, he as it were hurled so many darts into the breast of his adversary, and inflicted much sorer wounds than he underwent; for by his affliction he lost the things of earth, but by bearing his affliction with humility, he multiplied his heavenly blessings.? (2.xviii.32:1.91) 141 Ibid., 143?143B:15. ?from external wars we are instructed how to think of those within.? (?The Preface,? iv.9:1.22)"142 Ibid., 143?143B:16.  ?Behold the enemy made to strike down his indomitable strength, how many the darts of temptation that he devised, see, what numberless beleaguering engines he set about him! See how many   63" Similarly, Gregory elsewhere speaks of the hope that Job recalls in his mind as a strong fortification against the devil's sieges:  Quod ergo bona sua ad mentem reuocat, non se per iactantiam eleuat; sed quasi collapsum inter uerba et uulnera ad spem animum reformat. Graui enim desperationis telo mens percutitur, cum supernae irae tribulationibus premitur et linguarum foris opprobriis arguitur. Beatus igitur Iob tot dolorum iaculatione confossus dum labefactari per opprobria timuit, ad statum se fiduciae ex anteacta uita confirmando reuocauit. (?Praefatio,? 3.62-9)143  These instances highlight an aspect of the Moralia that Ann Astell has chronicled thoroughly: for Gregory, Job is a wisdom hero in the classical epic tradition, who combines in himself the elements of a sage and a warrior.144 This configuration of Job seems to have been one of the key aspects of Job in the Anglo-Saxon imagination, as suggested by ?lfric's inclusion of it in what is necessarily a very selective sermonic pr?cis of the Moralian Job: Mannes lif is campdom ofer eor?an. For ?an ?an ?e ?lc ??ra ?e gode ge?ih? bi? on gewinne. Wi? ?one ungesewenlican deofol. And ongean his agenum lustum. ?a hwile ?e he on life bi?; And swa swa se hyrman his edleanes anbida?. Swa geanbida? se gastlica cempa his edleanes ?t ?am ?lmihtigum gode; Godes gecorenan sind on gewinne on ?yssere worulde. And ?a arleasan on hire blissia?. Ac ??ra rihtwisra / gewinn awent to blisse. And ??ra arleasra bliss. To biterum sarnyssum on ??re ecan worulde ?e gewelga? ?a ?olmodan. (150-60)145   """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""weapons of assault he let fly, but in all his mind continued undaunted, the city stood unshaken.? (?The Preface,? iv.10:1.23) 143 Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job, 14?15.  ?whereas then he recalls his good deeds to mind, it is not that he lifts himself up in self applause, but sets anew his mind to hope, when as it were sunk down amid those reproaches and those strokes. For the mind is smitten with a heavy weapon of despair, when it is both hard pressed with the tribulations of wrath from above, and galled by the reproaches of men's tongues without. Blessed Job therefore, thus pierced with the darts of so many woes, when he now feared to be brought down by their reproaches, recalled himself to a state of confidence, by the assurance derived from his past life.? (?The Preface,? iii.8:1.21) 144 Astell, Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth, 70?96."145 Aelfric, ?Dominica I in Mense Septembri Quando Legitur Job,? 265. ?Man's life is military service throughout earth. Because each of those who prosper for God are at war with the invisible devil and against his own lust during the time which he is alive; and just as the hireling awaits his reward, so waits the ghostly champion for his reward from the almighty God; God's chosen are at war in this world, and the graceless have enjoyment in it. But the war of the righteous turns to bliss, and the bliss of the graceless to bitter soreness, in that eternal world which makes the righteous prosper.?   64"Where Ecclesiastes only implies warlike struggle (in the Latin tradition), Job makes explicit the heroic elements of wisdom in a way that will help illuminate this dissertation's later analyses of Old English poetry that similarly blurs the lines between wisdom and warfare. 2.4 Conclusion This chapter has identified a number of aspects of the ascent to wisdom common to both Job and Ecclesiastes, as understood through commentary material available to Anglo-Saxon readers. Reflecting the Platonic ascent to wisdom, Ecclesiastes in the Origenian tradition occupies a middle space of ascesis between the more simple morality of proverbs and the mystical ecstasy of the Song of Solomon; though Origen's work was probably not directly available to Anglo-Saxon readers, this interpretation influenced both Jerome and Alcuin, whom Anglo-Saxon readers had access to. More particularly, the space of ascesis represented in Ecclesiastes is further defined by Gregory the Great, who reads the book as a series of voices of varying truthfulness, brought to the truth at the end by Ecclesiastes. This interpretation is nuanced by Jerome and Alcuin, who further define both the frustration and the Godward end that one gains by grappling with this frustration. Job features similar ?voices,? not only because it is more overtly dramatic than Ecclesiastes, but also because, in Gregory's interpretation, the same Ecclesiastean ?voice theory? is a means of navigating apparent contradictions in the book. Like Ecclesiastes, the book features numerous encounters with frustration, though this frustration is more broad than the primarily cognitive vanity of Ecclesiastes; it includes more external kinds of suffering, such as bodily pain. Like Ecclesiastes, the telos of the wisdom journey featured in Job is toward heaven and God via the thorny experience of suffering and the navigation of ?voices.? But though similar in all these ways, Job differs from Ecclesiastes in that it (at least in the Gregorian commentary tradition)   65"makes overt the martial aspects of the ascent to wisdom that are only hinted at in the Ecclesiastean commentary tradition. The following chapters discover this wisdom pattern repeated with variation in a variety of Old English poems. Some tend toward the martial imagery of Job, while others tend toward the more lonely and cognitive asceticism of Ecclesiastes. Some contain all elements of the ascent, while others - generally subgeneric wisdom such as riddles - particularly illuminate one specific part. Some are more heavily invested in the triumphant heavenly conclusion of the books, while others only imply it, if that. Though there are differences between each instance of Old English wisdom resembling this Biblical wisdom ascent, there are, I suggest, enough resonances between this ascent and the poems discussed in the following chapters to suggest plausibly this Biblical wisdom background as an important precondition for the development of Old English wisdom.   66"Chapter 3: Beowulf, Mourning, and Heroic Wisdom Preface: Heroic Wisdom In the following discussion of Old English wisdom, emerging from the prior analysis of Ecclesiastes and Job, I have decided for clarity's sake to divide the Old English wisdom poetry under discussion into three categories, roughly corresponding to three particular aspects of wisdom discovered in Job, Ecclesiastes, and their commentary traditions: the heroic motif found in the Jobean tradition; the riddling encounter with the frustration, vanity and stray ?voices? in both traditions; and an ascetic sapiential rhetoric that facilitates the transition from the open and public heroic wisdom milieu to the more secretive and contemplative wisdom mechanics of poems such as The Seafarer and The Wanderer. The purpose of this division is not to construct three categories that are mutually exclusive and hermetically sealed against intercourse, for in many instances the poems in each category possess characteristics that might allow them to be categorized otherwise; rather, these distinctions between poems are based on each poem's most prominent features, and are designed to add clarity and organization to an argument that could otherwise seem to pile discussion upon discussion with little sense of connection or organization. Ideally, this organization via categories educed from Biblical wisdom will allow readers to know exactly which part of the Biblical text any given poem is being primarily compared to - though the complexity of the poems and their tendency to participate in multiple categories ensure that the parallel between Biblical and Old English text is never quite as simple as this one-to-one correlation might make it sound. The first of the categories dealt with in this dissertation is the heroic wisdom, and that is the matter of the following three chapters. By heroic wisdom, I mean that wisdom shaped and   67"deployed in a context where the battlefield is the primary imaginative touchstone for understanding the rest of life. Gregory's many references to the wise Job in such heroic terms (chronicled above) presumably helped to legitimate the reception, invention, and adaptation of such wisdom in Christian literature. The nature of this heroic wisdom in Old English literature is borne out in the three texts explored below, with each text evidencing various degrees of ?baptism? of this wisdom. Beowulf, with its certain but also often tight-lipped Christianity, is the most secular of these, and since its matter is monsters and battles rather than religious themes overtly, it offers perhaps the best instances of heroic wisdom in Old Engish poetry. On the other end of the spectrum, Guthlac A & B feature the rhetoric and language of heroic wisdom quite comfortably amalgamated with Christian faith via the belief that part of the Christian life involves warfare against the devils that seek to hijack it. Between Beowulf and the Guthlac poetry, The Battle of Maldon, a poem both hagiographic and heroic, has one foot in both camps - the wisdom is very closely associated with the literal battlefield fray, but it also looks toward the Christian heroic wisdom of the Guthlac poetry in a much more direct way than does Beowulf. 3.1 Critical History of Wisdom and Beowulf The study of wisdom in Beowulf has a long history. It is firmly rooted in the classic and still very useful study by R. E. Kaske of sapientia and fortitudo,146 and it has enjoyed continuing critical success. With regard to the more paremiological approach, Deskis's book-length147 study is supplemented by articles such as that by Catherine Karkov and Robert Farrell.148 Scholars adopting a more Kaskean discussion of wisdom's entanglement with the narrative of Beowulf """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""146 R. E. Kaske, ?Sapientia et Fortitudo as the Controlling Theme of Beowulf,? in An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism, ed. Lewis E Nicholson (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966), 269?310."147  Deskis, Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition.  148 Catherine Karkov and Robert Farrell, ?The Gnomic Passages of Beowulf,? Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 91, no. 3 (1990): 295?310.   68"include T. A. Shippey,149 Robert Burlin,150 and Peter Baker.151 As noted in the last chapter, my own approach is informed by this latter perspective, though with an eye toward proverbial forms and the way they work themselves out in the broader tapestry of the wisdom text that is Beowulf. In terms of my overall discussion of Beowulf, I am not in this chapter proposing a radically new way of reading the poem, but rather am making explicit the role of wisdom in an interpretation of the text that is accepted by most critics. My purpose in doing this is twofold: to show how a discussion of wisdom might help us better navigate complex aspects of the text, such as the Christian/pagan dichotomy and the role of mourning; and to show how Beowulf participates in a larger textual conversation pertaining to wisdom and found in the Biblical exegesis explored in prior chapters as well as the Old English wisdom explored in later chapters. Two interpretations in particular figure prominently in this exploration of wisdom. The first is the juxtaposition of pagan and Christian elements that nearly all critics assent to in some form;152 more particularly, my argument builds on an interpretation that conceives of a Beowulf that subtly shows pagan wisdom collapsing in anticipation of a salvific Christian wisdom often only implicit in the text. However, my interest is not so much in separating the wisdoms in the text into piles labeled ?Pagan? and ?Christian,? but rather in looking at the way that both categories participate in a broader continuum in which wisdom is conceived of in terms of the wisdom ascent manifest in the Ecclesiastean and Jobean traditions. These traditions allow for a """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""149 T. A Shippey, ?Maxims in Old English Narrative: Literary Art or Traditional Wisdom,? in Oral Tradition, Literary Tradition, ed. Hans Bekker-Nielsen ([Odense]: Odense University Press, 1977), 38?46."150 Robert B. Burlin, ?Gnomic Indirection in Beowulf,? in Anglo-Saxon Poetry: Essays in Appreciation for John C. McGalliard, ed. Lewis E. Nicholson and Dolores Warwick Frese (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975), 41?49."151 Peter S. Baker, ?Beowulf the Orator,? Journal of English Linguistics 21, no. 1 (April 1988): 3?23."152 For an overview of the ongoing discussion of Christian and pagan elements in Beowulf, see Edward B. Irving, ?Christian and Pagan Elements,? in A Beowulf Handbook, ed. Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 175?192."  69"confluence of pagan and Christian elements not unlike that found in Beowulf, where it is not entirely clear where this-worldly wisdom ends and heavenly wisdom begins. The second interpretation that figures prominently in this chapter is the configuration of the poem as elegiac, with lament and mourning as some of its central subjects. Such a reading goes back as far as Tolkien's famous essay,153 but other critics since Tolkien have further developed it so that it represents one of the main strains of the many stranded web that is Beowulf criticism; James Earl's psychoanalytic interpretation is the most prominent of these,154 and his work on mourning has been further developed in radical postmodern directions by Eileen Joy.155 3.2 Engaging Exegetical Criticism and Its Critics Before getting more deeply into the textual specifics of this interpretation, however, I wish to situate my approach with regard to the broader critical history that constitutes the background of my argument. Particularly, given my proposal to interpret Beowulf as a participant in a tradition of Biblical and exegetical texts, it is useful to clarify where this dissertation is in agreement with and where it differs from other critics associated with such readings, particularly D. W. Robertson, Jr.156 and Margaret Goldsmith,157 who have become notorious exemplars of this school of reading. Their school of interpretation has become the object of legitimate critique """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""153 J. R. R. Tolkien, ?The Monsters and the Critics,? in An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism, ed. Lewis E. Nicholson (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963), 51?104. Tolkien asserts that ?Beowulf is not an ?epic', not even a magnified ?lay'. No terms borrowed from Greek or other literatures exactly fit: there is no reason why they should. Though if we must have a term, we should choose rather ?elegy'. It is an heroic-elegiac poem; and in a sense all its first 3, 136 lines are the prelude to a dirge? (85)."154 James Whitby Earl, Thinking About Beowulf (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1994)."155 Eileen A Joy, ?Introduction: Liquid Beowulf,? in The Postmodern Beowulf: a Critical Casebook (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2006), xxix?lxvii.; Eileen A Joy, ?James W. Earl?s Thinking About Beowulf: Ten Years Later,? The Heroic Age no. 8 (2005), <http://www.heroicage.org/issues/8/forum.html>."156 D. W. Robertson, Jr., ?The Doctrine of Charity in Mediaeval Literary Gardens: A Topical Approach Through Symbolism and Allegory,? in An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism, ed. Lewis E. Nicholson (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963), 165-88."157 Goldsmith, The Mode and Meaning of Beowulf."  70"to the point of caricature, but I hope to show that what I share with these critics is different from the target of this critique. Edward B. Irving is one of the best representatives of this critique: Probably the great wave of exegetical criticism has by now passed over and spent its force, but it has left a great deposit of sea wrack on the shore. It has left in the minds of many students of Beowulf the odd conviction that the poem is a covert operation. Some painfully literate theologian-poet, an Anglo-Saxon Umberto Eco, has left instructive Christian messages hidden in hollow Germanic trees. One has to supply the concept of a body of original readers who found the decoding of this text stimulating relaxation from the usual daily labors in the monastic library. For such imagined readers and for their all too imaginable present-day descendants, the poem may cleverly pretend to be in a pagan/oral tradition, but that is only its cover. Behind the scenes the preacher-poet, like the later evangelizing friars, is writing new pious lyrics for the bawdy old tunes that draw the crowd.  But those who still remain converted to this approach cannot, alas, be preached to. Not very sensitive to poetry, they do not notice or care that their reductive a priori assumptions usually result in interpretations that stand the poem very awkwardly on its head. They are always serenely sure of finding what they have already decided they will find. Once established and in operation, the secret circle cannot be broken into by mere inconvenient fact.158  After this assertion, Irving goes on to show in detail how Alvin Lee, whose archetypal criticism informed by Northrop Frye approaches exegetical criticism,159 is in in a number of instances guilty of exercising such ignorance toward the facts of the poem.  If exegetical criticism is in fact as Irving describes it - and indeed, some of the pioneers in this school were somewhat too eager to use patristic texts to produce cookie-cutter interpretations that they then ascribed to the conscious intention of authors, as Irving claims - then his critique is valid and the critically responsible thing to do would be to abandon it. However, a more nuanced understanding of allegorical criticism can answer such a critique. The first problem with this critique is that it assumes that exegetical criticism necessarily depends on the belief that a single artist conscious of his missiological task sat down and wrote Beowulf as a work of covert didacticism. Exegetical criticism need not depend on this, for one can just as easily imagine an oral story, of the kind Irving describes, being shaped, organized, and influenced gradually over time through the handling and preservation of a variety of Christians, """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" 158 E. B. Irving, Rereading Beowulf (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), 8."159 Alvin A. Lee, The Guest-hall of Eden (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972)."  71"no one of them having a single overarching purpose for the entire work, but each adding to it in his own way. One could then imagine it being received eventually as a work acceptable for Christians, even if many of the components employed are not Christian in origin.  Irving seems to allow for something like this - what he calls a ?Christian coloring,?160 borrowing from the classic article by Blackburn161 - but he seems to think that this final Christian patina colouring the work as it stands in the manuscript does not matter very much; in his own words, ?I should state here my absolute conviction that an acceptance of the oral basis of Beowulf rules out of court altogether any conclusions about the poem's meaning that are based exclusively on the text in its present written state.?162 Rather, he is interested only in the oral-formulaic origins of the text. This, for Irving, somehow seems to pass as more meaningful, in a literary sense, than the way it might have been received by Christians, and it is not entirely clear how Irving determines this. Yes, one should not, as Irving accuses Lee of doing,163 ignore the particulars of the literal text so as to make them fit into a certain interpretation. But one should also not ignore the problem that exegetical critics are trying to answer, which is the sheer oddness of the preservation of a poem like Beowulf in a society where the most literate of readers - the monastics - seem most interested in exegetical texts. Finding a heroic text like Beowulf in this context is a little like finding a whale in the middle of a desert. To extend the analogy, Irving would point out that when one brushes some of the sand off the whale one finds that it is nothing other than a common whale such as one might find in the ocean. What I and other exegetically inclined critics find more interesting, though, is the question of what the whale is doing in the """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""160 Irving, Rereading Beowulf, 21."161 F. A. Blackburn, ?The Christian Coloring in the Beowulf,? in An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism, ed. Lewis E. Nicholson (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963)."162 Irving, Rereading Beowulf, 15."163 Ibid., 11."  72"desert in the first place. How was the preservation of Beowulf justified in Christian terms to those Christians who were almost undoubtedly involved in preserving it?  I do not see why this question is any less justifiable than Irving's question - that of the oral-formulaic elements of Beowulf - nor do I think that any Anglo-Saxon reader looking for a Christian meaning would have considered any oral-formulaic roots of Beowulf a problem. As demonstrated in the prior chapter on Biblical interpretation, scriptural texts might mean for an Anglo-Saxon reader things well beyond what they meant in those texts' original historical contexts to their original authors. One must be careful about suggesting that all texts were interpreted in the same way as Biblical texts - they were not after all God-breathed in the same way - but they might still have a surplus of divinely bestowed meaning - extra literal meaning, that is - insofar as they participate in the creation God has made. If the cosmos as part of God's message to humans can mean more than its mere literal text,164 and if literature reflects in some way that cosmos, then from a Christian perspective it would be perfectly acceptable to read an earlier pagan version of Beowulf as an acute observation of a world and life that points to a God unknown to those who shaped the original poem, but nonetheless implicitly praised insofar as the poem is an accurate rendering of God's book of creation.   One other problem that critics seem to have - more often than not implicit rather than stated explicitly - is that exegetical criticism constitutes a reduction of textual complexity and nuance; Alvin Lee has helpfully identified the root of this problem:  from most modern or postmodern perspectives, the three spiritual levels of the ancient-medieval theory of polysemy are just as ?literal,? even ?historical? in the old sense of a true sacred story, as the first or literal level is. In a confessional context of Christian belief, the four irreducible ?facts,? causally related in the four-level scheme, are these: what you read; what you believe; what you do (because you read and believe); and what result follows for your soul, eternally (because you have read, believed, and acted according to """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""164 For an overview of this aspect of creation, see Ruth Wehlau, ?The Riddle of Creation?: Metaphor Structures in Old English Poetry, Studies in the Humanities: Literature-Politics-Society: 24 (New York, NY: Peter Lang, 1997), 8?13."  73"the rule of caritas or not). The problem for modern interpreters is not, as Greenfield thinks, that three of the old levels are too symbolic or allegorical but that they are too literal, not symbolic enough, for those of us who inhabit a post-Hegelian world and cannot be placed in a believing early medieval community.165   From such modern and postmodern perspectives, exegetical critics are involved in collapsing texts from complicated objects of artistic production into straightforward morality plays. The problem though is that there is in fact no such thing as a ?straightforward morality play? in the sense that such critics imply - morality is always complicated, and a consideration of literature in terms of Biblical exegesis involves a sophistication comparable and often surpassing that demanded of more literal readers. I would here turn to the work of Charles Taylor to illustrate my point. Taylor turns the usual modern interpretation of history on its head. Whereas typical modernity conceives of history in terms of progress - humans used to be simplistic barbarians but can now think in complex and nuanced ways - Taylor suggests a more complex history. For thinkers in an earlier age, the realm of the world was not (as in modern secularity) hermetically sealed against the interference of transcendence; interpreters were freer to produce polysemous interpretations of the world that ranged from earthly to heavenly things.166 This freedom is what allowed Biblical interpreters to develop the idea of the ?senses? of scripture, with some senses more akin to earthly matters and others more akin to the heavenly realms; rather than a delimitation of meaning, the further senses of Scripture were an expansive release from the """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""165 Alvin A Lee, ?Symbolism and Allegory,? in A Beowulf Handbook, ed. Robert E. Bjork and John D. Niles, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 246?7."166 Taylor's argument covers so wide a swath of history that it cannot be summarized or evaluated in its entirety here. A brief summary of the argument drawn upon here can be found at the beginning of A Secular Age; here Taylor lays out his thesis that the advent of secularity can be at least in part theorized as a loss of three aspects that premodern societies took for granted and that modern secularity does not: God's intertwinement with the workings of nature (e. g. weather, plagues etc. attributed to the wrath or pleasure of a divinity); God's intertwinement with the workings of politics (e. g. the idea that kingship is held by divine right.); and ?enchantment,? a term broadly covering the premodern sense that the world had regular intercourse with angels, demons, magical beings etc. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007), 25?6."  74"constraints of the letter, the most basic and earthly part of scripture.167 Texts interpreted according to these multiple senses discover a complex set of truths simultaneously recognized; the skilled interpreter in this tradition works as a juggler working to keep all his hermeneutic balls in the air, and this is indeed an intricate task. One can perhaps get a sense of it if one imagines whether it would be easier to write a straightforward story or try to maintain like Gregory in the Moralia a multiplicity of truths in historical, allegorical, and moral spheres. Modern readers and writers may have lost the ability to appreciate such complexity and interpretive adroitness, but this does not make the practice any less sophisticated, so the very least critics can do is to stop talking about exegetical criticism as a way of ?reducing? the meanings of texts.  A final objection might be that, while complex elaborations of the interpretive senses were perhaps useful for explaining difficult points of doctrine or Scripture, they were deployed as workarounds rather than ideals;168 surely the Bible is hard enough to understand without adding to it the crypticism of Beowulf. Yet evidence from Anglo-Saxon culture suggests otherwise, conveying a general preference for thorny and hard things over easy and comfortable things. The speaker of The Seafarer detests the easy life on land. The Battle of Maldon's Byrhtwold insists that it is better to die than to take the easy route of saving one's life by fleeing the battle.169 This taste for difficulty is in the Old English riddles, which lack the titular solutions of their Latin """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""167 For a good overview of this spiritual interpretation of Scripture, see the section on Dani?lou and De Lubac in Hans Boersma, Nouvelle Th?ologie and Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 149?190."168 See William Whallon, Charles Donahue, and Margaret Goldsmith, ?The Influence of Christian Doctrine and Exegesis on Old English Poetry: An Estimate of the Current State of Scholarship,? Anglo-Saxon England 2 (1973): 285?302. Donahue (293) argues that, since Augustine warns clerics against imitating the obscure passages of scripture, it is unlikely that poets set out with the deliberate intention to do so, and this is probably true. But there is a difference between being deliberately obfuscatory and using exegetical methods to deal with complicated realities that one doesn't want to curtail. It is this latter position that I argue informs Old English poetry."169 See Chapter 4.   75"counterparts,170 and it is also in the practice of kenning, which involves saying things in a more circuitous way than necessary;171 related to this is Geoffrey Russom's discovery of the Old English poet's ?avoidance of the useful? phrase as compared to typical oral-formulaic traditions.172 In Solomon and Saturn II, what is obscure and difficult becomes the very matter of the poem.173 In Vainglory, the poem does not hesitate to describe the gruesomeness of death over against the less viscerally striking experiences of a good life. And this attraction to difficulty is in the Anglo-Saxon engagement with Scripture itself; as Wehlau has shown, The Order of the World generally paraphrases Psalm 18, excepting the passage where the scope of the sun's rays are described as cosmic; Wehlau notes that ?where the Biblical version portrays the sun as inescapable heat, the Old English draws attention to the mystery and darkness of the sun's absence.?174 In this context, an Anglo-Saxon attraction to both Beowulf and the Bible as puzzles or riddles to be made sense of seems highly probable. Indeed, Daniel Pigg has argued for a reconciliation of Germanic and exegetical interpretations through a reading of Beowulf that interprets it in terms of ?Biblical riddlings and symbolic touches which aid the poet in telling a story of ancient people to his audience.?175 It is in this spirit that I approach the poem, and suggest that the poem contains a Christian answer to this riddle, not made explicit through direct and heavy-handed allegory, but rather implied, much as the Exeter riddles imply unstated solutions.  """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""170 Tiffany Beechy, The Poetics of Old English (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010), 92?3."171 On the artistic complexity of kennings, see Alvin A. Lee, Gold-Hall and Earth-dragon (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 53?83."172 Geoffrey R Russom, ?Artful Avoidance of the Useful Phrase in Beowulf, The Battle of Maldon, and Fates of the Apostles,? Studies in Philology 75, no. 4 (1978): 371?390."173 See Hansen, The Solomon Complex, 148?52."174 Wehlau, ?The Riddle of Creation,? 36."175 Daniel F Pigg, ?Cultural Markers in Beowulf: a Re-evaluation of the Relationship Between Beowulf and Christ,? Neophilologus 74, no. 4 (1990): 601."  76"3.3 Heroic Wisdom 3.3.1 Defining Heroic Wisdom Like the Gregorian Ecclesiastes, Beowulf speaks in a variety of wisdom voices; however, before analyzing this polyphony, it is necessary to draw a composite sketch of its general features and tendencies. As far as terminology goes, this wisdom can best be categorized as heroic, given the limitations imposed by the description of it as ?Germanic? or ?pagan.? With regard to the word ?Germanic,? the problem is that it precludes the possible Latinate roots of some of the ideas. ?Pagan? suggests that the wisdom in question is not Christian, when in reality much of the wisdom discussed in this dissertation can belong to pagans and Christians alike. The term, ?heroic,? however, does not exclude Latin and Christian traditions, so it leaves open more possibilities for interpreting this wisdom. Moreover, it describes the basic function of this wisdom, which is to preserve as far as possible heroic society. Though this heroic wisdom is formally discovered in the poem's maxims, the idea of wisdom in Beowulf goes well beyond the quoting of aphorisms, as Robert L. Kindrick has usefully outlined. In Kindrick's analysis, there are three spheres in which one finds this wisdom in Beowulf: the political, the tactical, and the rhetorical. The political is evidenced primarily in the poem's emphasis on good kingship and kinship.176 Kindrick sees a form of tactical wisdom in the way Beowulf plans and executes his fight with Grendel; this, according to Kindrick, is the reason for Hrothgar's odd-sounding praise of Beowulf's wisdom after he has battled the monster.177 Kindrick's third category is rhetorical, but his understanding of it must be supplemented by Carol Clover's and Peter Baker's work on the Unferth episode; where Kindrick """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""176 Robert L. Kindrick, ?Germanic Sapientia and the Heroic Ethos of Beowulf,? Medievalia Et Humanistica: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Culture 10 (1981): 5?6."177 Ibid., 9?10."  77"sees Beowulf dealing with Unferth ?reasonably,?178 Clover more acurately places his exchange in the context of Germanic flyting traditions179 - certainly ?reasonable? from the perspective of Germanic flyting, but hardly reasonable in a modern society reluctant to appreciate rhetorical ostentation, as Baker shows.180 To be sure, this is only one episode in the poem, but the critical argument highlights something readers must remember when speaking of Beowulf's rhetorical wisdom; rhetorical wisdom practiced well in an Anglo-Saxon context might be different from what modern readers consider wisdom or good rhetoric. Generally speaking, the purpose of the most straightforward version of this heroic wisdom is precisely the same as that of the fortitudo with which it is often paired in classical and medieval literature:181 survival and, if possible, flourishing, whether of one's own life, the life of a community, or the memory of such lives and communities. Kindrick suggests something like this in his suggestion that wisdom arose from ?the need for greater social coordination among the Germanic tribes? as ?an essential social ethic? that helped curb the ?dangerous individualism of the heroic ethic.?182 Aside from the main thrust of the text, explored below, there are two instances in particular that demonstrate this protective wisdom: the scene in which Beowulf encounters the coastguard, and Wealhtheow's protection of her sons in Heorot.183 Though Wealhtheow is not the most typical of Old English wisdom figures, the tact she shows in her navigation of the politically complex relations amongst Hrothgar, Beowulf, Hrothulf and her sons falls into the category of Old English wisdom. Earlier in the text, she is """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""178 Ibid., 8."179 Carol J. Clover, ?The Germanic Context of the Unfer? Episode,? in Beowulf: Basic Readings, ed. Peter Baker (New York; London: Garland Publishing, 1995)."180 Baker, ?Beowulf the Orator.?"181 Kaske, ?Sapientia et Fortitudo as the Controlling Theme of Beowulf.?"182 Kindrick, ?Germanic Sapientia and the Heroic Ethos of Beowulf,? 14."183 Citations from Beowulf refer to Fr Klaeber, ed., Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, 3d ed. -- (Boston: Heath, 1950)."  78"referred to in cognitive/wisdom related terms such as mode ge?ungen184 (624) wisf?st wordum185 (626), and cynna gemyndig186 (613); furthermore, as Nathan Breen points out,187 Wealhtheow's actions in the hall show her to be the exemplar of the wise queen prescribed in Maxims I B: Cyning sceal mid ceape cwene gebicgan, Bunum ond beagum. Bu sceolon ?rest Geofum god wesan. Gu? sceal in eorle, Wig geweaxan, ond wif ge?eon, Leof mid hyre leodum, leohtmod wesan, Rune healdan, rumheort beon Mearum ond ma?mum, meodor?denne For gesi?m?gen symle ?ghw?r Eodor ??elinga ?rest gegretan, Formam fulle to frean hond Ricene ger?can, ond him r?d witan Boldagendum b?m ?tsomne (11-22).188  Critics are divided concerning the purpose of Wealhtheow's wisdom; for instance, Michael Drout sees her protecting the claims of her own bloodline against the potential interloper, the ?adopted? Beowulf;189 Breen sees beyond this mere interest in her own bloodline an interest in protecting the affairs of the kingdom, an interest determined by her queenly capacity as royal counselor;190 and William Cooke, contra these critics, sees Wealhtheow's speech as a way of reminding """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""184 ?prospered in mind?"185 ?wise in words?"186 ?mindful of kin?"187 Nathan Breen, ?The King?s Closest Counselor: The Legal Basis of Wealhtheow?s Comments to Hrothgar, Beowulf 1169-87,? The Heroic Age no. 14 (November 2010): 26, <http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/14/breen.php>."188 Shippey, Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English, 66?70. ?A king shall pay bride-price for a queen, with rings and goblets. Both must first of all be free with gifts. The nobleman must have fighting-spirit, his courage must grow, and his wife be a success, liked by her people; she must be cheerful, keep secrets, be generous with horses and precious things; at mead-drinking she must at all times and places approach the protector of princes first, in front of the companions, quickly pass the first cup to her lord's hand, and know what advice to give him as joint master and mistress of the house together? trans. ibid., 69. With regard to Wealhtheow's character and the sapiential implications of this passage associating a queen with wisdom, four in particular are noteworthy: ge?eon in line 14 is the same verb used in the modifying phrase mode ge?ungen; leohtmod in line 15 concerns the condition of the site of wisdom, the mod; the ability rune healdan (6) is often associated with the secrecy associated with wisdom (cf. Maxims I C 1); and the expectation that she shall him r?d witan (21) of course describes the sapiential act of giving counsel."189 Michael D. C. Drout, ?Blood and Deeds: The Inheritance Systems in ?Beowulf?,? Studies in Philology 104, no. 2 (2007): 201?2."190 Breen, ?The King?s Closest Counselor: The Legal Basis of Wealhtheow?s Comments to Hrothgar, Beowulf 1169-87.?"  79"Hrothulf to treat her sons well when he (legitimately, for Cooke) ascends the throne, as well as a way of implicitly appealing to Beowulf as a potential protecter should Hrothulf fail her sons.191 Regardless of which critic one follows, however, the wisdom deployed by Wealhtheow is used as a means of protection, whether for her sons or the kingdom more generally, against a threat, whether that threat be Hrothulf or Beowulf himself.  The second instance of wisdom as a protective factor in Beowulf is the hero's exchange with the Coastguard. More pertinent for this dissertation than the much discussed meaning of the Coastguard's maxim192 is the very fact that he uses a maxim in his capacity as coastguard. What this suggests is the importance of wisdom as a means of exercising power protective of the Danish society. Though such a reading of this maxim may seem like an exaggeration of its function, the reading is confirmed by the theoretical reflection on the purpose of maxims by Jennifer Neville and Paul Cavill. Neville asserts that  By locking the natural world in the shackles of dactyls and spondees, enclosing it within rhetorical figures and literary allusions and limiting it to an inherited structure of one hundred riddles, all contained within the stated purpose of illustrating metre, Aldhelm achieves a victory similar to that of Beowulf over Grendel: he reduces the natural world to human scale and human terms.  This literary enclosure of the natural world prevails throughout Old English wisdom literature.193   Cavill corroborates this  Anything that can be typified, measured, located, compared or contrasted with other things, and related to human life can be comprehended by the form of the maxim and the gnome. The shock of the new can be diminished by simply applying one of these relativising descriptions, and a sense of cognitive control regained.194   """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""191 William Cooke, ?Hrothulf: A Richard III, or an Alfred the Great?,? Studies in Philology 104, no. 2 (April 1, 2007): 180?2."192 For a survey of the ongoing attempts to translate this grammatically complex maxim, see Stanley B Greenfield, ?Of Words and Deeds: The Coastguard?s Maxim Once More,? in The Wisdom of Poetry: Essays in Early English Literature in Honor of Morton W. Bloomfield (Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 1982), 45?51, 270.; R. E. Kaske, ?The Coastwarden?s Maxim in Beowulf: a Clarification,? Notes and Queries 229, no. 1 (1984): 16?18; and Baker, ?Beowulf the Orator.?"193 Jennifer Neville, Representations of the Natural World in Old English Poetry, Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 27 (Cambridge, U.K.!; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 195."194 Cavill, Maxims in Old English Poetry, 181."  80"Embodied in the Coastguard's maxim, and theoretically articulated by Neville and Cavill, is the practice of wisdom as a form of protective power. Like Wealhtheow, the Coastguard uses wisdom to protect his kingdom, and it is this protective power/wisdom as well as its failure that will be the matter of the rest of this chapter. 3.3.2 Heroic Power/Wisdom in Hrothgar  Turning from these comparatively minor instances, this heroic and protective power/wisdom is evident in two of the main figures in the text, Hrothgar and Beowulf. The nature of Hrothgar's protective wisdom is discovered by Neville through a comparison of Heorot's creation to the creation story in the Old English metrical Genesis. Neville finds that ?like God, Hrothgar first considers creation in his mind after quelling his enemies (in God's case, the rebel angels; in Hrothgar's, neighbouring kingdoms); like God, Hrothgar can carry out his plan because of the power of his word.?195 As Neville further notes, the purpose of the newly created Heorot is to set up an island of human civilization in the midst of a chaos that threatens it: ?the conspicuous proximity of God's example to Hrothgar's creation of Heorot reveals from the beginning that the standard to be achieved and the stakes at risk are both very high; though human beings cannot presume to equal God's power, failure means a return to chaos, the disintegration of society.?196 Heorot, conceived in the mind of Hrothgar as a fortification against the incursions of chaos and dissolution, thus represents the protective wisdom seen in the examples of the Coastguard and Wealhtheow.   """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""195 Neville, Representations of the Natural World in Old English Poetry, 64."196 Ibid., 67?8."  81"3.3.3 Heroic Wisdom in Beowulf As Neville further shows, Beowulf is similarly protective; in his fight with Grendel, he ?re-asserts the value and re-establishes the stability of the society initially created by Hrothgar.?197 The association of this stance with wisdom, however, is not as clear as in the mind-conceived stance of Hrothgar, and so it is worth surveying proof that Beowulf's protection of Heorot is in fact related to his wisdom. The examples of wisdom offered by Kaske in relation to Beowulf's episode with the Grendelkin are helpful here. Just after his defeat of Grendel, Beowulf is described as snotor ond swy?ferh?198 (826); Wealh?eow publicly recognizes his wisdom when she requests that he be lara li?e199 (1220) toward her sons; following the death of Grendel's mother, Hrothgar tells Beowulf that he holds m?gen mid modes snyttrum200 (1706); and upon Beowulf's departure, Hrothgar imparts this sentiment in a more elaborate way: ?u eart m?genes strang, and on mode frod,/wis wordcwida201 (1844-5). Such instances, Kaske argues, show the importance of wisdom in the defence of Heorot.202 Kaske's argument is further supported by the many cognitive and council-oriented words used regarding the events prior to Beowulf's defeat of Grendel. The question of the wisdom behind Beowulf's mission to destroy Grendel rises early in the text's assertion that the sages in Geatland approve of his mission: ?one si?f?t him snotere ceorlas/lythwon logon, ?eah he him leof w?re203 (202-3). It continues in Denmark prior to the fight with Grendel; following the aforementioned wisdom challenge provided by the Coastguard, Beowulf and his company encounter Wulfgar, regarding whom the poem asserts: w?s his modsefa manegum gecy?ed,/wig """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""197 Ibid., 81."198 ?wise and strong-minded?"199 ?gentle of counsel?"200 ?strength with mind's wisdom?"201 ?you are strong in might, mature in mind, and wise in speech?"202 Kaske, ?Sapientia et Fortitudo as the Controlling Theme of Beowulf,? 275."203 ?Little the wise men begrudged him that journey, though he was dear to them?"  82"ond wisdom204 (349-50). More than a passing reference, this description shows the importance of wisdom in one such as Wulfgar who, like the Coastguard, protects the kingdom from malicious strangers. After receiving the approbation of Wulfgar's wisdom and proceeding into Hrothgar's court, Beowulf is further careful to relate to Hrothgar the approbation of the wise men of his own kingdom concerning his endeavour: ?a me ??t gel?rdon leode mine,/?a selestan snotere ceorlas,/?eoden Hro?gar, ??t ic ?e sohte,/for?an hie m?genes cr?ft mine cu?on (415-8).205 On the heels of this justification follows Beowulf's flyting match with Unferth and, though it is not in the style usually considered typical of wisdom literature, it nonetheless approaches such literature, as demonstrated further on in this chapter. Thus, even before he encounters Grendel, Beowulf must successfully answer various figures who either explicitly or implicitly test his wisdom, further corroborating Kaske's argument for the importance of this heroic wisdom in his successful war against the Grendels. 3.4 Challenges to Heroic Wisdom 3.4.1 The Challenge of Grace  Atop the simple depiction of the power ideally achieved by such straightforward heroic wisdom - to create through construction and recreate through the defeat of monsters - the poem positions two other layers that complicate such simplicity; the first two victories of Beowulf point to the intervention of God's grace in the world, which cannot be manipulated in the same way as wisdom technique; and the thwarted Hrothgar points to experiences that frustrate and thereby implicitly question the salvific capacity of wisdom. The poem is quite explicit about God's involvement in Beowulf's first two victories, and the execution of both involves elements """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""204 ?his character was known to many, his wisdom and war-skill?"205 ?Me they exhorted - my people, those wisest of men - since they knew my skill in strength ? that I should seek you, King Hrothgar?"  83"that could not be planned prior, which might have been attributed to luck in a more pagan rendition of the story, but which represents providence in the current more Christian version. In the episode with Grendel, Beowulf's decision to face the monster unarmed and armorless is reminiscent of the Biblical David who refuses Saul's armour and weaponry in favor of trusting God for his victory (see 1 Samuel 17). By chance/providence, this counterintuitive means of assault ends up being an asset because the previously unrecognized invulnerability of the monster to weapons makes Beowulf's method the only workable one (791-805). Though Beowulf himself does not fully recognize the workings of grace in this unanticipated but very fortuitous decision against weapons, they are implied by the poet's constant reminders that Beowulf overcomes Grendel ?urh Drihtnes miht206 (940); not only is this made clear by Hrothgar207 and the poem's ?authenticating voice,?208 but Beowulf himself sees God at work even in the intimate details of what did and did not happen in the fight: Ic hine ne mihte, ?e Metod nolde,/ganges getw?man, no ic him ??s georne ?tfealh,/feorhgeni?lan209 (967-69). Similarly, when Beowulf encounters Grendel's mother in the mere, the otherwise trustworthy Hrunting fails him, and he just so happens to find a suitable alternative lying close by, an ancient and seemingly charmed weapon; this means of victory could not have been plotted in battle strategies prior to the encounter, and it therefore must be attributed to the workings of the grace specified as the metaphysical backdrop of the mere-scenario by the poet:   H?fde ?a forsi?od sunu Ecg?eowes  under gynne grund, Geata cempa,  nemne him hea?obyrne helpe gefremede,  herenet hearde, - ond halig God. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""206 ?through God's might?"207 a m?g God wyrcan/wunder ?fter wundre, wuldres Hyrde (930-931) ?always can God, guard of glory, work wonder after wonder?"208 For instance: So? is gecy?ed,/??t mihtig God manna cynnes/weold wide-ferh? (700-702) ?It is a known truth, that mighty God ever has rule of mankind.? On the poem?s ?authenticating voice,? see Stanley B. Greenfield, ?The Authenticating Voice in Beowulf,? Anglo-Saxon England 5 (December 1976): 51-62."209 ?I could not hinder from going whom God did not will, not firmly enough did I hold him, the death foe.?"  84" geweold wigsigor witig drihten,  rodera R?dend; hit on ryht gesced  y?elice, sy??an he eft astod.210 (1550-56).  Indeed, Gernot Wieland has plausibly identified the sword as a remnant of the flood left specifically for the purpose of carrying out its judgement on the remainder of Cain's kin,211 and if this is so, Beowulf does not simply get lucky, but becomes the final catalyst in a long overdue judgement set in place at the time of the flood itself. The fact that Beowulf requires such intervention for success in his victories shows that, wise though he is, his heroic wisdom only takes him so far, and that, for ultimate victory, he must depend on the intervention of God's grace, even if he may not always recognize or know what to call such grace. 3.4.2 The Challenge of Frustration But while these examples of grace in Beowulf's heroism show the shortcomings of heroic wisdom insofar as it requires divine supplement, Hrothgar's experiential failures and the wisdom borne out of these failures demonstrate the shortcomings of ?natural? wisdom in a more negative way. Like Ecclesiastes, Hrothgar, the patriarch of Heorot, has experienced enough evil to know that the success granted by certain kinds of wisdom is slippery and often treacherous; this is particularly manifest in the wisdom that he conveys to Beowulf in the passage that has become known as ?Hrothgar's Sermon.?  Since this ?sermon? has become something of a Rorschach blot for critics, I will begin by critically situating my own interpretation. For critics interested in the overall moral scope and didacticism of the poem, this sermon becomes the lens through which the entire poem is """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""210 ?The warrior Geat might have perished then,/Ecgtheow's son, somewhere under the earth,/had not his war-shirt given good help,/hard ring-netting, and holy God/controlled the fight, the mighty Lord,/Ruler of skies, decided it rightly,/easily, once he stood up again.? Howell D. Chickering, Beowulf$: A Dual-Language Edition (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1977), 1550?56."211 Gernot Wieland, ?The Unferth Enigma: The ?yle Between the Hero and the Poet,? in Fact and Fiction: From the Middle Ages to Modern Times. Essays Presented to Hans Sauer on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday ? Part II, ed. Renate Bauer and Ulrike Krischke (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2011), 43n28."  85"interpreted; the most extreme exemplar of this kind of criticism is Margaret Goldsmith, who devotes an entire chapter to it in The Mode and Meaning of Beowulf.212 Conversely, those more interested in downplaying the religious and moral elements of the poem are rather dismissive. Hansen downplays its significance in the broader narrative by discussing its function as a ??set piece? of wisdom literature,?213 and Irving is particularly biting in dismissing Hrothgar's ?usual preaching tone,?214 suggesting with reference to his Rereading Beowulf215 that Hrothgar is unheroic and therefore unworthy to expound the theme of the poem.  As an alternate to these somewhat extreme interpretations, this chapter roughly follows James Earl,216 who sees the passage as a hinge in the poem suggesting a means of interpreting history. This interpretation has on its side the fact that Hrothgar does in fact use his hermeneutic as a way of interpreting his own experience with Grendel, as Earl notes.217 Furthermore, Hrothgar at least suggests it as a hermeneutic for understanding the future as well; readers and Beowulf are not to be like the unwise person who ?a for?gesceaft/forgyte? ond forgyme?218 (1750-51). The wisdom offered here, then, is forward looking, and not simply a performance to be given in the hall and then forgotten. Through this wisdom pointing both backward and forward, Hrothgar traces a theme important in the wisdom ascent - the realization of the powerlessness of human wisdom in the face of death.  The theme begins even before Hrothgar begins to speak, as he meditates on the or?/fyrngewinnes219 (1688-9) graven on the hilt; this refers most immediately to the story of the flood, but it also fills in a conspicuous omission in the creation song that provoked Grendel, that """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""212 Goldsmith, The Mode and Meaning of ?Beowulf?, 183?209."213 Hansen, The Solomon Complex, 64."214 Irving, ?Christian and Pagan Elements,? 190."215 Irving, Rereading Beowulf."216 James Whitby Earl, Thinking About Beowulf (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1994)."217 Ibid., 93."218 ?forgets and neglects the future state?"219 ?the origin of ancient strife?"  86"is, the fall of creation, which could indeed be described in theological terms as the origin of ancient strife. This reference therefore serves to remind readers that, alongside the Biblical insistence on a wisdom that can be grounded in creation, there is also an insistence that something has happened (the Fall) that can contort and thwart such wisdom. What is notable for the purposes of the wisdom scholar, however, is that Hrothgar's subsequent exploration of this theme220 does not focus on monsters, as prior events in the narrative might lead one to expect, but rather on natural wisdom and its limitations. There are numerous aspects of this speech that point to its function as a wisdom poem, such as Hrothgar's introduction as se wisa221 (1698), his reference to himself as wintrum frod222 (1724), and his use of the term gid (1723) to describe his speech, a generic category often used to denote wisdom.223 However, the most prominent wisdom feature of his speech is his insistence that the mod, guided by natural wisdom, must not overstep its bounds. The very name of the foil Hrothgar proposes as a negative model for Beowulf immediately draws one's attention to this feature; the name Heremod, although presumably best translated as ?battle courage,? still points through the use of the word mod to the site of cognito-emotional response so important in Old English wisdom generally and a leitmotif """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""220 There has been some debate over the degree to which Hrothgar, who is not a Christian, can understand the Christian elements of this story; for a good introduction to this debate and ways of responding to it, see Seth Lerer, ?Hrothgar?s Hilt and the Reader in Beowulf,? in The Postmodern Beowulf: a Critical Casebook (Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2006), 587?628. To clarify my own position, I am not here claiming that Hrothgar sees the hilt and proceeds in his speech equipped with a full Augustinian metaphysics. Rather, he sees something that might be discussed by Christians and pagans alike - the idea that evil might have a beginning somewhere (or) - and so in his pre-Christian wisdom anticipates what a Christian audience can almost certainly identify as an instance of Original Sin."221 Though this word can simply mean leader, as listed in Klaeber's dictionary, its roots probably lie in the fact that one who is wise (wis) or able to know (witan) things is a fitting leader. If this word generally has such overtones, they are presumably emphasized her, as Hrothgar prepares to give a wisdom speech."222 ?mature in winters?"223 Alice Sheppard, ?A Word to the Wise: Thinking, Knowledge, and Wisdom in The Wanderer,? in Source of Wisdom: Old English and Early Medieval Latin Studies in Honour of Thomas D. Hill, ed. Frederick M. Biggs et al., Toronto Old English Series (University of Toronto Press, 2007), 130?5."  87"of this passage specifically.224 Heremod is bolgenmod225 (1713); in his gloss on the story, Hrothgar delineates the way that God Hwilom on lufan l?te? hworfen/monnes modge?onc m?ran cynnes226 (1728-9) so that it forgets that its seemingly natural snyttru227 (1726) is really from mihtig God228 (1725), and thereby falls into a state of unsnyttrum229 (1734). And even when the word mod is not overtly used, Hrothgar makes further reference to its thinking capacity; he warns Beowulf to beware oferhyda230 (1760), and the latter part of this word, which is in the nominative oferhygd, evokes hyge (mind) and hycgan (to think). Like the positive events of God's interventions in Beowulf's heroism, Hrothgar's exploration of the negative effects of a heroic wisdom grown too rash clearly demarcate the limits of such wisdom; it is useful, but those who exercise it must never be lulled into complacency or the illusion of self-sustenance; for the worldly wise person se sl?p to f?st231 (1742) can only be interrupted by a higher intervention from God or an experience of suffering (which are not mutually exclusive).  Intriguingly, Hrothgar emphasizes his point by elliptically intimating that his own experience of Grendel was, paradoxically, both his punishment for and his means of salvation from such self-contented complacency. His use of swa (1769) as a means of transition into the story of his own woes indicates that his life shares a pattern similar to that of the aforementioned Heremod and the hypothesized Beowulf who could too easily become proud after his exploits. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""224 For a useful study of the polysemous slippage that occurs amongst various definitions of mod, see Soon-Ai Low, ?Pride, Courage, and Anger: The Polysemousness of Old English Mod,? in Verbal Encounters: Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse Studies for Roberta Frank, ed. Antonina Harbus and Russell Gilbert Poole (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 77-88."225 ?mind-swollen?"226 ?Sometimes in love lets the mind-thought of men of illustrious kin rove about?"227 ?wisdom?"228 ?mighty God?"229 ?unwisdom?"230 ?of pride?"231 ?the sleep too fast?"  88"But the significant difference between Hrothgar's story and these other stories of actual and potential pride is succinctly conveyed in a matter of a few lines: ic ??re socne singales w?g modceare micle. ??s sig Metode ?anc, ecean Dryhtne, ??s ?e ic on aldre gebad, ??t ic on ?one hafelan heorodreorigne Ofer eald gewin eagum starige232 (1777-81).  These three lines nicely capture the primary distinction between a character like Hrothgar and a character like Heremod. The bolgenmod of the latter is replaced by Hrothgar's modceare micle, and this leads him not to pride, but to praise for God and his mercy; the appearance of Grendel and God's intervention in the person of Beowulf have pointed him toward his dependence on grace, which he may not have understood had his successful reign continued uninterrupted. One need not gather from this that Hrothgar was notoriously bad and that Grendel was necessarily a divine punishment,233 for, as Gregory so clearly highlights in his Moralia, even good men such as Job must be refined through suffering,234 and Hrothgar's virtuous paganism in some ways resembles that of Job. However, it is clear that the Grendel-Beowulf event has catalyzed for Hrothgar a movement from a good if somewhat superficial wisdom technique grounded in creation, toward a deeper wisdom that both recognizes and depends upon forces beyond this order. In the paradoxical way typical of Biblical thought, Hrothgar's loss and suffering is here translated into an experience of victory and gain ? grace is discovered when natural wisdom technique no longer has the capacity to defend one against the whips and scorns of time.  And this Hrothgarian movement from successful heroic wisdom to higher wisdom, catalyzed by suffering, is a synecdoche for the movement of the entire work, which is shot """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""232 ?I bore great heart-care, suffered continually/from his persecution. Thanks be to God,/the Eternal Lord, I came through alive,/and today may look at this huge bloody head/with my own eyes, after long strife! Chickering, Beowulf, 1777?81."233 See Earl, ?The Necessity of Evil in Beowulf,? 93?4."234 Hester, Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great, 82?6."  89"through with ?natural? wisdoms that are being dismantled and complicated by sites of suffering and conflict, though the happy ending granted Hrothgar is implicit or perhaps even absent in parallel examples. To be clear, heroic wisdom is not in any way inherently evil or useless, although it can certainly become so if it usurps the place of higher forms of wisdom. However, in the world of Beowulf, heroic wisdom (most often conveyed in maxims) ? while able to facilitate the general maintenance of society and its basic morality ? is inadequate to encounter some of the more complicated and dark forms of experience that would seem to challenge the straightforwardness of such wisdom; like the mead hall in Bede's parable of the sparrow, such structures can usefully protect one from the outside darkness for a time, but something else altogether is required to engage the darkness outside. 3.4.3 Identifying Wyrd  As a way of defining this darkness and unpredictability, it is useful to introduce the Old English concept of wyrd. There are a variety of definitions one could use, and Jon C. Kasik has listed differences in the way the word is used throughout Beowulf.235 However, this chapter is chiefly interested in that definition most pertinent to the world of heroic wisdom, the definition that is not at least explicitly subjugated to Christianity, since it is this that heroic wisdom must battle and lose in order to discover the higher heavenly wisdom it must turn to that encompasses and redefines wyrd itself. Kasik offers such a definition in his commentary on the maxim in line 455: ?This line contains the full impact which the idea of fate must have had on the pagan Anglo-Saxon who thought about the universe. It was something against which he was helpless. It organized everything in the world from births and deaths to the outcomes of battles, even those """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""235 Jon C. Kasik, ?The Use of the Term Wyrd in Beowulf and the Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons,? Neophilologus 63, no. 1 (January 1979): 128?135."  90"in which the gods intervened.?236 In this definition, wyrd is the arch-enemy of heroic wisdom, the thing it cannot overcome regardless of its cleverness.  3.5 Instances of the Interplay Between Heroic Wisdom and Its Challenges With regard to the aforementioned forces in the text, the narrative world of Beowulf cannot be wholly equated with either a wholly manipulable creation or a wholly unassailable wyrd ? rather, it is a middangeard between the two, and it is this intersection that opens a creative space for both the construction and dismantling of creational wisdom; on the one hand, heroic wisdom works because God's creation works, but, on the other hand, overweening attempts to comprehend or control too much via creational wisdom ? or even sometimes innocuous attempts plain and simple - can be thwarted by the counter effects of wyrd. This positioning of the wisdom tradition between Edenic perfection on one hand and dissolution on the other is what gives it its dynamism and impetus, for those who wield wisdom must be driven neither by blind optimism nor pessimistic fatalism, but must grapple their way through a tangled world that sometimes permits the human initiative or will encouraged by wisdom traditions, but at other times thwarts such initiative. This grappling ? which incidentally mirrors the classical theological discussion of predestination and free will ? is perfectly summed up in the sentence which asserts that wyrd oft nere?/unf?gne eorl, ?onne his ellen deah237 (572-3). The first part of this statement is almost a truism ? of course the man not fated to fail will not fail. However, the proverb is paradoxically qualified by the assertion that such favoring of fate is conditional upon the human maintenance of ellen. To be sure, ellen is a quality native to the battlefield rather than the didactic field of """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""236 Ibid., 130."237 ?Wyrd often spares the unfated man, when his courage avails?"  91"proverbial discourse, but, even if one of these fields were not a typological shadow of the other, both are still grounded in the causality presupposed by divine creation and order, and in the premonition that this causality can in some way be harnessed by the individual to ensure a positive outcome for him/herself. Thus, this proverb nicely embodies the central tension of the Old English wisdom tradition; one must not simply stop trying to find out how the world works and how one can be successful in it ? ellen is imperative ? but one must always recognize the role of the inscrutable wyrd in such success; to esteem one's successes too highly, whether in the battlefield or the didactic enterprise, is to forget that one's fate could easily have been different, and that it may indeed be different next time regardless of one's efforts. Arguably, the aforementioned proverb uses oft rather than a precisely to ensure that it maintains the creative and uncertain tensions of wisdom rather than evoking the more simplistic, formulaic, and mechanical overtones of a charm. Hence, the Old English wisdom represented in Beowulf navigates the tension between the comprehensible world fashioned and ordered by God, and the more inscrutable ambivalence of wyrd, and it can be assessed and analyzed in terms of these apparently polarized forces, particularly insofar as the proverbs and gnomes that convey it relate to the larger narrative contexts in which they are embedded.  In Beowulf's representation of this sapiential tension between proactive wisdom and the helpless passivity heralded by fate, there are two instances that make this tension particularly clear. The first is the poem's opening assertion that  Swa sceal (geong g)uma gode gwyrcean, fromum feohgiftum on f?der (bea)rme,  ??t hine on ylde eft gewunigen wil-gesi?as, ?onne wig cume leode gel?sten; lofd?dum sceal   92"in m?g?a gehw?re man ge?eon238 (20-25).  Admittedly, the benefits of this wisdom are generally borne out in the narrative through both positive and negative exemplars; the Scylding Beowulf, of whom this wisdom is spoken, is a leof leodcyning239 (54), and figures like Heremod demonstrate the converse ? kings who are stingy with gifts are not held in high esteem (1718-23), and are presumably therefore more likely to be deserted. Yet if this pattern which associates gift-giving and loyalty holds true ninety percent of the time in the narrative, wyrd spectacularly frustrates it when most of Beowulf's retainers fail to come to his aid when he most needs it in his battle with the dragon, as Wiglaf notes (2864-2891). Thus, while this proverb suggests a generally valid causal connection between the king's gift-giving and the thanes' loyalty, there is always the chance that wyrd will intervene and it will not guarantee the expected outcome. If the world and society were merely sustained and influenced by laws and order implemented by an orderly God, then the proverb would work for kings much as a computer program works for a programmer; however, the uncertainties that accompany wyrd make unpredictable the workings of the world, and thus facilitate events such as Beowulf's desertion in his fight against the dragon.  To simply abandon proverbial wisdom altogether ? to shrug one's shoulders and suggest that fate will be fate ? is not a suitable way to respond to this uncertainty, as Beowulf makes quite clear in his proverbial response to Hrothgar's lamentation after the second attack, which is indeed the second proverb that nicely situates itself between the tensions of creation and wyrd: Selre bi? ?ghw?m/??t he his freond wrece, ?onne he fela murne240 (1384-5). The can-do attitude expressed in this proverb reflects the confidence of a heroic wisdom tradition that is """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""238 ?So ought a [young] man, in his father's household,/treasure up the future by his goods and goodness,/by splendid bestowals, so that later in life/his chosen men stand by him in turn,/his retainers serve him when war comes./By such generosity any man prospers? Chickering, Beowulf, 20?25."239 ?dear people-king?"240 ?Better is it for anyone/to avenge his friend than to mourn much?"  93"fairly optimistic about its ability to take charge and remedy troublesome matters. However, the audience of this passage might have had dual reasons to wonder about the extent of the trustworthiness of this proverb; as Susan Deskis notes in her attempt to explain the reason for few extant analogues to this proverb, Christians preferred to leave vengeance to God, while a more heroic audience, though grounded in the vengeance code, might have had mixed feelings about this too ready proverb on the grounds that vengeance is never quite as simple as this and it is seldom without consequences: ?mixed feelings,? Deskis concludes, ?do not create successful proverbs.?241  Indeed, such mixed feelings nicely describe the tenor of the broader narrative context of Beowulf, which does much to undercut the more general applicability of this proverb. Certainly, in the instance in which the proverb is spoken, it is more prudent to get rid of the immediate problem than to wring one's hands about it. But throughout the poem, one encounters many situations that cannot be as easily helped ? mourning is seemingly the only option left. Within the cultural context that he is speaking, the last survivor can do nothing either to revive or avenge his tribe; the text describes how he unbli?e hwearf/d?ges ond nihtes, o???t dea?es wylm/hran ?t heortan242 (2268-70). The father whose son is hung symble bi? gemyndgad morna gehwylce243 (2450) of his loss, even as is Hrethel concerning the accidental death of Herebeald.244 The earlier part of the text is haunted by the image of Heorot's fiery demise, and the latter part by the eventual destruction of the Geats, and the advice of Hrothgar to Beowulf even at the height of his success is bleak: semninga bi?,/??t ?ec, dryhtguma, dea? oferswy?e?245 """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""241 Deskis, Beowulf and the Medieval Proverb Tradition, 125."242 ?went unblithely/day and night, until death's flood struck at his heart.?"243 ?always is reminded each morning?"244 For an extended explication of the way these episodes constitute a critique of heroic action such as that embodied in Beowulf's advocacy of active vengeance over mourning, see Linda Georgianna, ?King Hrethel?s Sorrow and the Limits of Heroic Action in Beowulf,? Speculum 62, no. 4 (1987): 829?850."245 ?presently will it be, warrior, that death overcomes you?"  94"(1767-8). All these strands of lamentation reach their culmination in the mourning that accompanies Beowulf's ultimate funeral. Hence, while action may be preferable to mourning when there is action that can be done, the hope offered by the proverb is limited only to those instances where something can be done ? where nothing can be done, mourning reigns, and it seems to me that one of the primary cruces in the poem is the matter of what the text is doing with this unresolved mourning. However, before turning to the discussion of this matter of the second half of the poem, I wish to add one further important example of the function of wisdom in the first half; this is the flyting match between Beowulf and Unferth. 3.6 Wisdom and the Unferth Episode  Beowulf's flyting episode with Unferth is a partial synecdoche of the wisdom movement of the entire poem. Particularly, the two components that highlight the human need for something higher than earthly wisdom figure prominently: wyrd and God's grace. As well, the function of wisdom alongside weaponry as a means of protective warfare is particularly clear in this passage, given that flyting is a verbal alternative to physical fighting. Not only, then, does this passage highlight the agonic nature of wisdom so important in the wisdom ascent, but it also touches on most of the key elements in this ascent.  With regard to critical context, I am not here rejecting Carol Clover's widely accepted explanation of this episode with regard to Germanic flyting,246 but am rather seeking to reveal a sapiential strand of meaning woven into this war of words. The strong critical reaction against Bloomfield's heavy-handed allegorical interpretation of Unferth247 has led critics to shy away from the exploration of such a didactic layer in the speech, but it is important to realize that """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""246 Clover, ?The Germanic Context of the Unfer? Episode.?"247 Morton W. Bloomfield, ?Understanding Old English Poetry,? in Essays and Explorations; Studies in Ideas, Language, and Literature (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1970), 71?2."  95"Bloomfield's approach is not the only way of discussing such didacticism. Though there is no proof for Kaske's claim that Unferth plays a lapsed sapientia to Beowulf's sapientia, I do think his parallel suggestion is worth pursuing, that this episode is a test of Beowulf's sapientia.248 However, whereas Kaske claims that the point of this wisdom contest is for Beowulf to beat Unferth (and in its most immediate dramatic context, it is), I suggest that the broader sapiential point of the story is to pit Beowulf's wisdom against the forces of wyrd that threaten all his plans, including those plans to kill Grendel.   One of the most overt clues in the text that this exchange evokes Old English wisdom is the reference to Unferth's initial volley of insults as a beadurune249 (501); in particular, the use of the word rune here demarcates a foray into the generic territory of wisdom literature. On the more figurative side ? interpreting rune as counsel, or meditation, as in The Wanderer (111) - this denotes some kind of recounting or grappling with the stuff of wisdom. However, on the more literal side, runic figures were themselves considered to have certain powers of protection and assault in battle, as demonstrated in Solomon and Saturn I, in which the letters of the Pater Noster paralleled by some of their runic equivalents 250 attack the devil in particularly violent ways.251 Thus, for an Anglo-Saxon audience, a beadurune presumably occupied an imaginative space somewhere between literal battle and the metaphorical verbal and psychological ?battles? more typical of wisdom literature. It is thus an extremely astute word to use with regard to an exchange such as that between Beowulf and Unferth, which is more barbed than some of the tamer examples of Anglo-Saxon wisdom, but which still relies on words rather than weapons as instruments of battle. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""248 Kaske, ?Sapientia et Fortitudo as the Controlling Theme of Beowulf,? 278?9."249 ?battle-rune?"250 See Anlezark, The Old English Dialogues of Solomon and Saturn, 28?31."251 For a study of the graphic violence associated with these figures, see John P. Hermann, Allegories of War: Language and Violence in Old English Poetry (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1989), 32?6."  96" The content of this word-battle involves Unferth unsettling Beowulf by exposing him to the truth behind the Ecclesiastean maxim: ?The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong?but time and chance in all? (9:11, Douay-Rheims). Breca lasted in the water till the eighth day of the contest, while Beowulf only lasted till the sixth,252 yet, given the circumstances, it is not as if Breca necessarily proved stronger when faced with the same conditions as Beowulf ? given the fact that the two were inadvertently separated from each other, Beowulf could only have won by arbitrarily guessing when Breca would emerge from the water and staying in longer, an act that would not only be perhaps foolhardy after expending all of one's strength on underwater battles with sea monsters, but may indeed have seemed pointless ? presumably the separation rendered the original terms of the contest null and void. Thus, what is disturbing about the events that Unferth raises in the hall is not simply that Beowulf lost a contest ? it is that certain powers exist in the world beyond the initiatives of heroism, and not even a Beowulf or a Breca could control the sea storm that drove them apart. And although Unferth himself only raises this question in a very surface way by an elliptical reference to Beowulf's ?loss,? Beowulf himself fills in the details of this ?loss? that presumably have raised doubts in Unferth's mind ? even if Beowulf's ?loss? is excusable in technical terms due to circumstances beyond his control, what is to prevent similar circumstances from intervening in his proposed assault on Grendel?   Indeed, the issue that Unferth and Beowulf raise here is the perennial issue of wyrd. However skilled a warrior may be, there are always aspects of reality - the way things are - that he cannot anticipate or account for. In the Ecclesiastean account, vanity is often the term used to denote this barrier insurmountable by human effort. In the Old English context, wyrd is the party behind such frustration. It does not mean exactly the same thing as vanity; the actual Old English """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""252 For a helpful overview of the contest, see Wieland, ?The Unferth Enigma: The ?yle Between the Hero and the Poet.?"  97"word used to translate the Ecclesiastean vanitas in Werferth's translation of the dialogues is idelnesse (4.3.23).253 However, the words overlap in their function as markers of things beyond human control that no amount of effort can overcome. Though there is more to the meaning of wyrd than this, it is this most basic sense that matters in understanding its role in the flyting match with Unferth. Wyrd is the thing that drives Beowulf and Breca apart despite their best efforts, and it is the spectre of this uncontrollable wyrd that looms over Beowulf's impending fight with Grendel.  However, if Unferth's question implicitly raises the adverse specter of thwarting wyrd and the potential jeopardy in which it puts Beowulf and by extension Heorot and those within it, Beowulf commendably faces this question squarely and answers it in terms typical of the wisdom tradition; even if human heroism is unable to trump the inscrutable forces of wyrd that often work against it, it is ultimately safeguarded by another uncontrollable power even higher than wyrd, a power which can transform the ostensible ?losses? caused by wyrd into alternate forms of victory. This is the point of Beowulf's description of his sea battle. Like any man, his fate might not be entirely in his own hands, but, when it comes to battling monsters, fate ? or more properly speaking, God's grace ? is on his side. Although he does attribute his victories in the most immediate sense to his own effort ? he uses the phrase ?urh mine hand254 (558) ? he insists that a broader force is guiding him, as indicated by his statement in the passive voice that victory gyfe?e wear? (555).255 The divine backing for his sea battle is further highlighted by his """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""253 Gregorius Magnus, Bischofs Waerferths von Worcester ?bersetzung der Dialoge Gregors des Grossen ?ber das Leben und die Wunderthaten italienischer V?ter und ?ber die Unsterblichkeit der Seelen, 264."254 ?through my hands?"255 Though Battaglia (52) comes up with a complicated theory regarding this passage wherein it constitutes the assertion of Woden/Othin's power over against that of the sea goddess Gefion, it seems far more simple and therefore probable to attribute the activity in this passive construction to either God or wyrd or both, given their immediate appearance in lines 569-74. Frank Battaglia, ?Gife?e as ?Granted by Fate? in Beowulf,? In Geardagum: Essays on Old and Middle English Language and Literature 23 (2002): 52."  98"description of sunrise as the beorht beacen Godes256 (570), and, in case the audience should miss his point that wyrd has worked for him in the service of grace, he overtly draws attention to its role in his victory through the maxim he cites, which also implies that, when it comes to monster battles, he is an unf?gne eorl257 (573) and thus favoured by wyrd (572). Even his weary surrender to sea currents can be possibly interpreted as a typological nod to the grace of God; in Biblical books like Jonah and the Psalms, the currents of the sea are themselves directed by God, so that passive submission to these currents can symbolize submission to the broader workings of God ? the Psalmist tells God that ?Deep calleth on deep, at the noise of thy flood-gates. All thy heights and thy billows have passed over me.? (Psalm 41:8, Douay-Rheims) Clearly some later Christians took the divine inspiration of waves and sea-currents quite seriously, as demonstrated by the monastics who washed up on the English shores in a boat without oars or rudders, as indicated in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle entry for year 891.258 Thus, if Unferth's speech explicitly brings up a swimming match that was perhaps foolishly undertaken by Beowulf and Breca when they were younger, it implicitly brings up deeper issues concerning the role of wyrd in a heroism that has no recourse against its potentially disastrous workings; however, Beowulf skillfully answers this concern not by foolishly denying a realm of fortune beyond his control, but rather by suggesting that he is backed by this realm which is in turn backed by God ? just as the Biblical David cites the success God has given him against animal predators as justification for a seemingly foolish attack on Goliath (1 Samuel 17:34-7), so Beowulf cites his encounter with the monsters as proof that God/fate has given him success in such enterprises and presumably will continue to do so ? and as this attack is completely unplanned within the terms of the swimming """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""256 ?bright guarantee of God?"257 ?unfated earl?"258 Michael Swanton, trans. and ed., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (New York: Routledge, 1996), 82."  99"match, it exemplifies the way that grace in the wisdom tradition can often redeem instances that are ostensibly losses by numerous other standards of judgement.  According to this interpretation, Unferth's role in the text is to raise the spectre of an inexorable wyrd so that Beowulf can explain how his heroism deals with forces beyond its control, an explanation which is necessary for the reinforcement of his heroism both in the minds of the Danes and the audience of the poem. Given this role, one can speculate ? but perhaps do little more than speculate ? about the ways that other aspects of Unferth's character fit into this discovery of wisdom themes in his exchange with Beowulf. Firstly, Hrothgar's character is not in the least suspect for letting Unferth sit at his feet (500) for, on a typological level, this permission reflects the character of God himself. Just as God permits what seems to be a rather chaotic and uncontrollable wyrd to control the earth ? one might even say, to ?sit at his feet,? since the earth is his footstool259 ? so Hrothgar gives the unpredictable spokesman of wyrd free reign to interrogate a stranger in his court. Moreover, just as wyrd on the surface seems to move in ways contrary or ambivalent to God's will, but in reality serves his purposes, so Unferth, while he hardly embodies the graciousness and circumspection that Hrothgar seems to possess, does after all ending up serving Hrothgar through his ?rudeness,? by discovering to Hrothgar and his retainers the very pith of Beowulf's heroism.   The Unferth episode thus parallels the wisdom ascent in at least three ways. First, it traces, if circuitously, a path from the threat of wyrd to a confidence in heavenly power. Second, its agonic element is reminiscent of the martial agon often used to typify the struggle for wisdom. Third, Unferth plays a persona, speaking in an at least somewhat artificial voice as a way of leading those in the hall to a better grasp of the truth of Beowulf's nature; this is reminiscent of the technique of Solomon in Ecclesiastes. """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""259 See Isaiah 66:1, Matthew 5:35, and Acts 7:49."  100"3.7 Critical and Theoretical Responses to Mourning 3.7.1 Critical Response to Mourning Whereas the wisdom seen in the Unferth episode and more broadly the first half of the poem is comic in the technical sense of the word, the second part turns to the exploration of unanswered mourning. Sensing the power of this deep current of mourning to eclipse meaning and worth in other aspects of the poem, some critics seek explanations that minimize it. Such explanations are not only found as one might expect in interpretations that read the poem as a highly didactic work,260 but also in other interpretations as well; Fred Robinson, for instance, interprets the poem as nearly comic in his suggestion that Beowulf is possibly being divinized at the conclusion of the poem.261 Such critical attempts to ?contain? the mournful strains of Beowulf emerge at least in part from the real critical threat that the issue of mourning poses; mourning disorients and deconstructs, making the subjective mourning self rather than any external arbiter the rule and gauge of interpretations - one can justify nearly any reading on the grounds that a work of mourning is an interruption of whatever ?normal? historical processes surrounded the original text, and so it exists by its own rules, appropriable by anyone. Though Earl is generally fairly well grounded in historical context, his psychoanalytic discussion of mourning in Beowulf comes close to such appropriation in his narration of two of his dreams, which he justifies on the following grounds: ?In short, who we are means quite a lot to our interpretations, and the best we can do is account for ourselves every step of the way. In this regard, the neuroses I bring to Beowulf are neither religious or heroic; but scholarship has its own """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""260 See, for example Goldsmith, The Mode and Meaning of Beowulf, 210?44. Goldsmith finds the primary matter of the conclusion to pertain to Divine judgement, and so the poem becomes more of an exemplum than a work of mourning."261 Fred Robinson, ?The Tomb of Beowulf,? in ?The Tomb of Beowulf? and Other Essays on Old English (Cambridge, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell, 1993), 3?19."  101"neuroses, so it might be pertinent here to report two recent dreams.?262 Following this lead, his student, Eileen Joy, introduces the idea of a ?liquid Beowulf? infinitely manipulable by modern critics. The justification for reading this ?liquid Beowulf,? it would seem, is as an alternate way of talking about ourselves and our own mourning; by some critical sleight of hand, Beowulf becomes a way of talking about our own modern trauma, such as the Holocaust and the Gulf War.263 This seems to me to do a disservice not only to modern trauma and to Beowulf, but to the critic him/herself. To conflate the trauma of the modern and Beowulfian worlds seems to me to miss the particularities of each of these worlds, to heap all the bodies of the past into a mass unmarked grave; though well-meaning, it makes a category mistake like that made by Fortinbras in Hamlet: Hamlet the scholar is borne like a soldier from the stage. For the critic, it reduces criticism to a stilted and posturing way of talking about oneself; there is no Beowulf ?out there? to talk about. Given the stakes, it makes sense why some of the critics mentioned above feel the need to historicize and thereby contain mourning in the text of Beowulf, but the problem then becomes a matter of knowing how to do this without reenacting the tendency of modernity to paper over problems in the universe. 3.7.2 Augustinian Response to Critics One way of the dealing with the problems of both extremes can be found in the work of St. Augustine, an early Christian author who encountered mourning and its threatening demeanour. In Augustine, one discovers instances of mourning as deep as that in Beowulf, a searing mourning that allows for a merciless dismantling of the norms and constructions around him; one also finds the narcissism that mourning leads to: """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""262 Earl, Thinking About Beowulf, 171."263 Joy, ?Introduction,? lv."  102" O madness, which knowest not how to love men, like men! O foolish man that I then was, enduring impatiently the lot of man! I fretted then, sighed, wept, was distracted; had neither rest nor counsel. For I bore about a shattered and bleeding soul, impatient of being borne by me, yet where to repose it, I found not. Not in calm groves, not in games and music, nor in fragrant spots, nor in curious banquetings, nor in the pleasures of the bed and the couch; nor (finally) in books or poesy, found it repose. All things look ghastly, yea, the very light; whatsoever was not what he was, was revolting and hateful, except groaning and tears. For in those alone found I little refreshment. But when my soul was withdrawn from them, a huge load of misery weighed me down. To Thee, O Lord, it ought to have been raised, for Thee to lighten; I knew it; but neither could nor would; the more, since, when I thought of Thee, Thou wert not to me any solid or substantial thing. For Thou wert not Thyself, but a mere phantom, and my error was my God. If I offered to discharge my load thereon, that it might rest, it glided through the void, and came rushing down again on me; and I had remained to myself a hapless spot, where I could neither be, nor be from thence. For whither should my heart flee from my heart? Whither should I flee from myself? Whither not follow myself? And yet I fled out of my country; for so should mine eyes less look for him, where they were not wont to see him.264  In this passage that reads like a parable on the history of modern literary theory, Augustine begins by mourning another and ends up being stuck with his own naked self and its illusions; in the