Roland Brennan (UCL) - 2016-17 Students

The Semantic Field of the Sacred in Old English

I intend to study a group of words in Old English relating to the semantic field of the sacred. Scholarship on this topic has been varied, but somewhat diffuse. I intend to revise the scholarship on the meaning of the sacred in early Germanic languages at large and test the applicability of its conclusions to the specific context provided by Old English. I shall also explore the possibility for accurately uncovering historical semantic ‘strata’ through close analysis of phraseology and syntax. I shall try to determine whether such methods are useful to the study of religious concepts, particularly in circumstances of profound cultural shift, such as the conversion of the Germanic peoples from native belief to Christianity.

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