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Codex Junius 11   By:

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Codex Junius 11

(Author unknown)

This file contains translations from the Anglo Saxon of the following works: "Genesis A", "Genesis B", "Exodus", "Daniel", and "Christ and Satan". All are works found in the manuscript of Anglo Saxon verse known as "Junius 11."

These works were originally written in Anglo Saxon, sometime between the 7th and 10th Centuries A.D. Although sometimes ascribed to the poet Caedmon (fl. late 7th Century), it is generally thought that these poems do not represent the work of one single poet.


Other Translations

Bradley, S.A.J.: "Anglo Saxon Poetry" (Everyman Press, London, 1982)

Critical Editions

Doane, A.N. (ed.): "Genesis A: A New Critical Edition" (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1978)

Doane, A.N. (ed.): "The Saxon Genesis: An Edition of the West Saxon Genesis B and the Old Saxon Vatican Genesis" (University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1991)

Dobbie, Elliot VanKirk (ed.): "The Anglo Saxon Poetic Records, vol. I The Junius Manuscript" (Columbia University Press, New York, 1937)

Farrell, R.T. (ed.): "Daniel and Azarias" (Methuen & Co. Ltd., London, 1974)

Tolkein, J.R.R. (ed.): "The Old English Exodus" (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1981)

GENESIS (Genesis A & B)

NOTE: This work is generally believed to be a composite of two separate poems, usually referred to as "Genesis A" (or "The Earlier Genesis") and "Genesis B" (or "The Later Genesis"). "Genesis A" is the work at lines 1 234 and 852 2935; "Genesis B" is interpolated into "Genesis A" at lines 235 851.

The reason for this interpolation is not known. Perhaps the original compiler preferred the version of the story presented in "Genesis B", or perhaps the text of "Genesis A" from which he was working with was missing this section. Adding to this confusion is evidence that "Genesis B" appears to be a translation from an earlier and separate Old Saxon retelling of the biblical "Book of Genesis", a fragment of which (corresponding to lines 791 817 of "Genesis B") survives.

"Genesis", like the other poems of "Codex Junius 11", is not a direct translation into Anglo Saxon of the Old Testament "Book of Genesis". Rather, it is an effort to retell the story in the poetry and style of the Germanic Epic, a style still popular with the Anglo Saxons at the time "Junius 11" was compiled.




Genesis (I IV) Genesis B (IV XIV) Exodus (XLII XLIX) Daniel (L LV)


Christ and Satan (I VII) The Harrowing of Hell (VIII XII) The Temptation



(ll. 1 28) Right is it that we praise the King of heaven, the Lord of hosts, and love Him with all our hearts. For He is great in power, the Source of all created things, the Lord Almighty. Never hath He known beginning, neither cometh an end of His eternal glory. Ever in majesty He reigneth over celestial thrones; in righteousness and strength He keepeth the courts of heaven which were established, broad and ample, by the might of God, for angel dwellers, wardens of the soul. The angel legions knew the blessedness of God, celestial joy and bliss. Great was their glory! The mighty spirits magnified their Prince and sang His praise with gladness, serving the Lord of life, exceeding blessed in His splendour. They knew no sin nor any evil; but dwelt in peace for ever with their Lord. They wrought no deed in heaven save right and truth, until the angel prince in pride walked in the ways of error. Then no longer would they work their own advantage, but turned away from the love of God. They boasted greatly, in their banded strength, that they could share with God His glorious dwelling, spacious and heavenly bright.

(ll. 28 46) Then sorrow came upon them, envy and insolence and pride of the angel who first began that deed of folly, to plot and hatch it forth, and, thirsting for battle, boasted that in the northern borders of heaven he would establish a throne and a kingdom... Continue reading book >>

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