Reverse-Engineering the Old English Book of Judges
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Scholars have long recognized that the Old English Judges has aims extending well beyond translation. However, to classify the entire work as a homily would be to disregard the fact that not all of its parts answer to the same aim or genre. This article argues that the text’s inclusion of Samson’s biography is of no relevance to the moral lesson that seems to speak from both the biblical material that precedes it and the extrabiblical material that follows. The text may nevertheless be understood as a single work, crafted to relay the contents of the biblical Book of Judges to a lay audience while emphasizing that its implications for personal conduct remained valid in Anglo-Saxon times.