The Henry Bradshaw Society's policy of presenting integral editions of rare liturgical manuscripts is a reflection of the fact that, before the invention of printing, service books varied widely from country to country, from church to church, and even from individual book to individual book, with the result that surviving medieval liturgical manuscripts are usually unique entities which can profitably be studies as a reflection of the local circumstances (and frequently of the particular individuals) which produced them. This is especially true in the case of private prayerbooks, where each manuscript embodies the interests and spiritual concerns of the patron who commissioned it or the scribe who compiled and copies it. The present edition of 'AElfwine's Prayerbook' (which was originally produced as a doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Professor Helmut Gneuss, one of the Society's distinguished Vice-Presidents), by Beate Gunzel, is a splendid manifestation of the intellectual and spiritual interests of a dean who serves the community of the New Minster in Winchester during the first half of the eleventh century, and hence of the clear light which liturgical manuscripts can shed on the literary culture of later Anglo-Saxon England. It was is issued to members for the year 1992.
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