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The Junius Manuscript: Introduction

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Oxford, Bodleian Library Manuscript Junius 11 contains contains two so-called books, the first being written all in one hand and containing "Genesis," "Exodus," and "Daniel." The second is written in three other hands and contains "Christ and Satan"; scholars continue to debate whether this second book was meant to be part of the original plan. Chances are the first book, as it has passed down to us, was a work edited by one compiler. [1] The manuscript is named after its German seventeenth-century editor, who printed the manuscript in 1655 and called it "Caedmon the monk's poetical paraphrase of Genesis, etc." [2]; most editors agree, however, that the works were not written by Caedmon. [3]

The works in this manuscript are poetic but are not plain translations of the Bible. Instead, the rework the material so that it emphasizes the synthesis of the Old and New Testaments. [4]


1. S.A.J. Bradley, trans. and ed., Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Everyman: London, 1982), 9.

2. Margaret Drabble, ed., The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 5th edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 523.

3. Bradley, 9 and Drabble, 523.

4. Bradley, 9-10.



Krapp, Geoge Philip. The Junius Manuscript. New York : Columbia U P, 1931.


Kennedy, Charles W., trans. The Caedmon Poems, Translated into English Prose. New York, Dutton, 1916.

Critical Studies

Utley, F.L. "The Flood Narrative in the Junius Manuscript and in Baltic Literature." Studies in Old English literature in honor of Arthur G. Brodeur. Ed. Greenfield, Stanley B. Eugene: U of Oregon Books, 1963.

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