Electronic version licensed for access by U. of T. users.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Toronto, 2007.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-06, Section: A, page: .
This thesis explores the perceived effects of the word on the physical and metaphysical human body as observed in early English and Celtic texts. It reveals that their comparable expression of the interface between word and body is a development from biblical, classical, and late-antique theory and practice. The texts are re-examined in light of the process of reception and transformation of the Christian Latin grammatical and rhetorical tradition in the period after Augustine in early medieval Britain and Ireland. The first chapter, "Biblical and Classical Examples of the Word-Body Interface: Words as Weapon and Cure", provides the relevant background to Judeo-Christian and Graeco-Roman strategies for the manipulation of the body through language inherited by the British Isles via the cultural and intellectual milieu of sub-Roman Britain. Chapter 2, "Patrick, Mediator of the Word: The Interface of Sub-Roman Christian Latin Tradition and Ireland", investigates the fifth-century Saint Patrick as a figure representing the continuity of the Christian Latin literary tradition from Late Antiquity through sub-Roman Britain to Ireland. Through analysis of his writings, it is suggested that Patrick was affected in his self-expression by an Augustinian view of language, and by an Augustinian perception of the effect of that language on the interior homo. Patrick's articulation of the interface between word and body is presented as the first glimpse of this developing literary theme in the Insular milieu. Chapter 3, "Flesh Made Word in the Grammar of Insular Devotion", turns to the examination of Irish and English prayer texts, principally collected in seventh- to ninth-century quasi-liturgical manuscripts and prayer-books. Grounding the composition of the prayers within the dominant hermeneutic of grammatica, it illustrates how the interface between the word and the body was expressed by analyzing particular features, such as use of the alphabet, anatomical enumeration, the lorica "breastplate" metaphor, and the image of Christ as medicus and scrutator of the interior. In conclusion, this study suggests that the texts represent a stage in the development of a Catholic anthropology of the body, underscored by the doctrine of bodily resurrection in Christ, and briefly considers the implications of the texts for future study. As a whole, it endeavours to address the need for a synthesizing overview of the logic of early English and Celtic prayer by tracing a developmental trajectory of the word-body theme in its interactive, and cross-generic context.