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Art. 113, De interrogandi moribundis beati Anselmi: Introduction

Abbreviations: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); DOML: Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library; FDT: French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages (Sinclair 1979); FDT-1French Devotional Texts of the Middle Ages, . . . First Supplement (Sinclair 1982); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

This item attributed to Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury (1093–1109), lists the questions that a priest ought to ask of the dying to affirm belief and penance, as the proper means by which to ready the departing soul. The dying person is addressed in habitu clericali (as a cleric) and as “brother” or “sister,” that is, as a person in religious vows. It may be that the Ludlow scribe has positioned this text in the manuscript as a conspicuous way to end it with thoughts of mortality and last things. The questions conjure the scene of a lonely soul’s judgment before God, and the next article, Against the King’s Taxes, will warn the rich that they may expect to ultimately face God’s harsh penalties. This selection also adds to the pious lists and rituals recorded elsewhere in quire 15. This text of Anselm’s questions has not been previously edited and translated. The paragraphing presented here conforms to the scribe’s rubrication. The translation is by Jan Ziolkowski, prepared for this edition.

[Fol. 137r–v. Scribe: B (Ludlow scribe). Quire: 15. Layout: No columns, written as prose, title underlined. Editions: None. Other Versions: PL 158:685–88; Schmitt, pp. 5–6. Translations: None.]

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