Correcting Bede’s corrector? A runic note in the margins of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge MS 41

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Birkett, Thomas
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CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, Cambridge MS 41 is remarkable for the number of marginal texts that accompany the Old English Bede, including complete homilies, sequences of liturgical material and charms that fill the margins of successive pages. These additions are all dated to shortly after the copying of the main text,1 and there have been a number of recent attempts to identify the stages in which this marginal archive was compiled, its relationship to the Bede and the rationale behind the rather curious blending of the devotional and the profane.2 The runic script appears on several occasions in the manuscript, used as a logograph in the rendering of Solomon’s name in the marginal Solomon and Saturn I, as a pen test reproducing the first four letters of the alphabet as runes on p. 436 and as a short sequence in the left margin of p. 448, accompanying a section of the Bede documenting the early career of Wilfrid and his adventures on the continent (V/19). This last use of the script, which may interact with an earlier correction in the text, provides a snapshot of scribal practice and politics in eleventh-century England, and has its own rather compelling narrative.
Runic , Bede , Marginalia
Birkett, T. E. (2012) 'Correcting Bede’s Corrector? A Runic Note in the Margins of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge MS 41', Notes and Queries, 59(4), pp. 465-470.
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