God Who Knows the Heart: The Christianization of Language and Emotion

  • Graham Williams
Part of the New Approaches to English Historical Linguistics book series (NAEHL)


This chapter documents the introduction of the Christian ‘God who knows the heart’, and shows how this affectively omniscient presence, reinforced through psalms, wisdom literature, saints’ lives and homilies, had a significant impact on how Anglo-Saxons thought about the relationship between words and emotions. Especial emphasis is placed on Christian prayer and confession, which are the ritual contexts where the ideal of sincerity is first put into practice, but it is also suggested that there were efforts in the Anglo-Saxon period to promote sincerity more generally for interpersonal relationships.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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