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Teaching Resources

The homilies edited here together make up well over 1,000 lines of prose, and taken as a whole are a lengthy piece of work for any student to undertake. Recognising this I have selected from the homilies sample passages of around 20-30 lines which teachers could use in their classes. At the moment I have put up four examples. Each comes with a brief introduction, appropriate notes and sources, the extracted text, and a link to the full glossary. They represent passages of interest which are challenging in terms of translation, and for literary analysis.



  1. Assassination or Murder? - Judith's killing of Holofernes is perhaps more morally questionable in Ælfric's version than in the Old English poem (28 lines).
  2. Speaking the Truth - The closing section of the homily on Judith. Ælfric seeks to impress on his audience how truthful his tale is, and explains the story's significance. In addition, the text displays features that may indicate more than one version of Judith existed (42 lines).

The Maccabees

  1. Elephants! - A discussion by Ælfric of the creature known as the 'ylp' in Old English (23 lines)
  2. War! - The rights and wrongs of war (24 lines).

Stuart Lee (the Editor)