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The Cross and Culture in Anglo-Saxon England

Edited by
Karen Jolly, Catherine Karkov, and Sarah Larratt Keefer
PB  978-1-933202-23-5


As Volume One in the Sancta Crux/Halig Rod series, this collection of new research offers fascinating glimpses into how the way the cross, the central image of Christianity in the Anglo-Saxon period, was textualized, reified, visualized, and performed. The cross in early medieval England was so ubiquitous it became invisible to the modern eye, and yet it played an innovative role in Anglo-Saxon culture, medicine, and popular practice. It represented one of the most powerful relics, emblems, and images in medieval culture because it could be duplicated in many forms and was accessible to every layer of society. The volume speaks to critical issues of cultural interpretation for Anglo-Saxonists, medievalists of all disciplines, and those interested in cultural studies in general.


  1. Abbreviations
  2. Acknowledgements
  3. Introduction
      Karen Louise Jolly, University of Hawai'i at Ma¯noa
      Catherine E. Karkov, University of Leeds
      Sarah Larratt Keefer, Trent University
  4. Dedication: George Hardin Brown
      Rosmary Cramp, Durham University
  5. Reading and Speaking the Cross
    • Bede and the Cross
        George Hardin Brown, Stanford University
    • Preaching the Cross: Texts and Contexts from the Benedictine Reform
        Joyce Hill, University of Leeds
    • At Cross Purposes: Six Riddles in the Exeter Books
        Jill Frederick, Minnesota State University, Moorhead
  6. The Cross as Image and Artifact
    • In Hoc Signo: The Cross on Secular Objects and the Process of Conversion
        Carol Neuman de Veguar, Ohio Wesleyan University
    • The Cross in the Grave: Design or Devine?
        Gale R. Owen-Crocker and Win Stephens, University of Manchester
    • A Chip Off the RoodL The Cross on Early Anglo-Saxon Coinage
        Anna Gannon, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University
    • Crosses and Conversion: The Iconography of the Coinage of Viking York ca. 900
        Mark Blackburn, Fitzwilliam Museeum, Cambridge
  7. Performing the Cross
    • The Performance of the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England
        Sarah Larratt Keefer, Trent University
    • Hallowing the Rood: Anglo-Saxon Rites for Consecrating Crosses
        Helen Gittos, University of Kent
    • Prayers and/or Charms Addressed to the Cross
        R.M. Liuzza, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    • Reading the Cross in Anglo-Saxon England
        William Schipper, Memorial University, St. John's Newfoundland
  8. Contributors
  9. Index


Karen Louise Jolly is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She currently has a book in progress titled Pastoral Care and Liturgical Experimentation in Tenth Century Northumbria: Aldred’s Additions to the Durham Ritual.

Catherine E. Karkov is a professor at the School of Fine Art, Art History and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds in England.

Sarah Larratt Keefer is a professor at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. Her primary area of interest lies in Anglo-Saxon England, between AD 600 and 1100.