Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Male and Female He Created Them: Aelfric's Lives
of Saints and Patristic Theories of Gender
Dr. Paul E. Szarmach, Chair
Dr. Eve Salisbury
Dr. Timothy Graham
Dr. Jaclyn Maxwell
June 30, 2003, 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
This work researches the writings of the four
Latin Doctors, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great, in
order to challenge the scholarly stereotype of misogyny and anxiety
about women in the writings of these influential figures and, more importantly,
to build the cultural foundation upon which to base an interpretation
of Ælfric's portrayals of male and female saints in the Lives.
The transmission of the ideas of the Latin Doctors is then traced into
Anglo-Saxon England through Aldhelm, Bede, and Alcuin to Ælfrics
around the turn of the eleventh century in order to demonstrate which
cultural ideas about gender were most likely to influence Ælfric's
own understanding of female and male gender. Finally, by careful analysis
of both male and female saints' lives, both in Ælfric's Old English
translation and in the Latin sources, the dissertation seeks to build
a more accurate understanding both of Ælfric's own views about
men and women, and of the attitudes he expected his audience to share.
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